Tom Morello Recalls First Time Meeting ‘Dark’ Chris Cornell
Despite their reign in the early 2000s being brief, Audioslave really put the "super" in supergroup. Tom Morello had a close relationship with Chris Cornell while they worked together, and the guitarist has recalled the first time he met the singer, who he described as having a "dark" aura about him.
When Zack de la Rocha announced his departure from Rage Against the Machine in 2000, rather than disbanding, the remaining members decided they wanted to continue playing together. Morello told Metal Hammer that he, Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford had been listening to Soundgarden's 1991 album Badmotorfinger a lot around the time.
"Chris had an amazing voice, but he had a dark, Edgar Allan Poe poetry to him, we wondered what he was really like, so we decided to go talk to him," the guitar virtuoso remembered.
Morello's first meeting with Cornell was also with renowned producer Rick Rubin, who later worked on Audioslave's first two albums.
"Chris lived in L.A. at the top of the last and loneliest mountain, it was dusk and the sunlight was going and this mansion he lived in was creepy as hell, the gates just opened like Addams Family style, and we drove in and there is Chris, 6’2 and a half, lanky of frame, dark of countenance, and he starts slowly walking towards us and Rick freaked out and goes, ‘Let’s get the fuck out of here!’ We stayed, he was the most loving and generous guy and we were in a band for six years together.”
Audioslave released three studio albums together between 2001 and 2007 — 2002's Audioslave, 2005's Out of Exile and 2006's Revelations. The quartet reunited once more in January of 2017 at Prophets of Rage's Anti-Inaugural Ball, where they played the hits "Cochise," "Like a Stone" and "Show Me How to Live."
Cornell died by suicide a few months after that reunion show took place, and Morello, along with the rest of the rock world, was in shock.
"I don't think I'll ever recover from his passing, but we have so many great memories," the rocker said. "We played an Audioslave show — the first one in 12 years — in January, so to be able to reconnect with him, both as friends and as musical collaborators, that's something I'm so glad we were able to do."
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