Audioslave Listen


Digging Deep
A fully fledged 21st Century supergroup, star-studded Los Angeles-based quartet Audioslave rose from the ashes of two of the 90s’ most successful alt.rock outfits. Vocalist Chris Cornell had previously fronted Soundgarden, who emerged from the late 80s Seattle grunge explosion which also sired Kurt Cobain’s globally successful but ill-starred Nirvana. Soundgarden were initially labelmates with Nirvana, with the rival bands releasing early, critically acclaimed slabs of vinyl through Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman’s hip Seattle imprint, Sub Pop. By 1988, though, Soundgarden had embraced the mainstream, signing to major label A&M. They later enjoyed multi-platinum success with 1994’s nine-million-selling Superunknown before splitting in 1997 after a tense, emotional world tour in support of 1996’s Down On The Upside. Guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk, meanwhile, had already worked together for a decade as three-quarters of the politically aware Californian rap-rock sensations Rage Against The Machine. Fronted by live-wire vocalist Zack de la Rocha, RATM scored monster hits with angry, outspoken anthems such as the expletive-stuffed ‘Killing In The Name’ and ‘Bulls On Parade’, while both their self-titled 1992 debut LP and 1996’s Evil Empire achieved triple platinum sales. Rage’s third LP, The Battle Of Los Angeles, also performed strongly, but the band’s progress ground to a halt when de la Rocha quit in October 2000. In response, Morello, Commerford and Wilk elected to continue working together and began searching for a new vocal foil, with Cypress Hill rapper B-Real among the candidates reputedly in contention. However, after the trio eventually decided not to work with another rapper – or anyone who sounded even remotely similar to de la Rocha – their friend and influential producer Rick Rubin introduced them to Chris Cornell.
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