Audioslave: Interview with Tom Morello

AudioslaveThey surpassed falling into the pitfall of sounding like a mere hybrid of their previous historic outfits, Rage Against The Machine and Soundgarden. Hell, they didn’t even pull out classic crowd-pleasers like “Black Hole Sun” or “Bulls On Parade” while touring solely on their first self-titled record. Basically, that’s because Tim Commerford [bass], Chris Cornell [vocals], Tom Morello [guitar] and Brad Wilk [drummer] have already successfully imprinted Audioslave’s dynamics as their own unshakable and highly-recognizable musical force of domination. Need hardcore evidence of that? Try strings of sold-out dates on their 2003 touring itinerary, double-platinum praise for their Epic Records debut, and it’s not a bad start to play nationwide soldout venues before your new record sees the light of day.

What the masses have already savored from the much-anticipated release are the two singles, “Be Yourself” and “Your Time Has Come,” and both starkly contrast each other in message in method. The first being a ballad-type aphrodisiac of holistic self-acceptance and the latter is a tidal wave of empowerment and carpe diem euphoria. Once again, the foursome that shocked the rock world since their very formation, declare that they can and will do it all in grand fashion.

From Seattle, WA a slightly under-the-weather, but always incredibly astute Tom Morello expressed what went into making their new record Out Of Exile and what he regrets and promises Audioslave will deliver. “As Rage Against The Machine, I wish we would have made more albums, and I wish we would have toured South America. Those are regrets…but in Audioslave, we are going to right those wrongs,” insists the Jimi Hendrix of our time. “We are going to make lots of records and we are going to tour every place we have fans of our music. So while we are proud of those histories, we have been given a second chance to improve upon it.” Audioslave will be back to tour the U.S. once they have finished their summer European stint.

AW:Were you pleased with the reception as far as record sales and audience response?

Tom Morello:Yeah, when you sell four and a half million records all over the world…Yes, we were pleased with that.We weren’t expecting it, that’s not why we set out to write songs, but whenever you find an audience, it’s nothing to take for granted. And the fact that we made a record the we feel stands artistically with some of our best work from the past, and then went out on tour and didn’t play any of those Rage Against The Machine or Soundgarden songs, to use them as a crutch the first time around, it felt really good to establish Audioslave as its own independent entity, and to rock fools from coast-to-coast.

Yeah, not to downplay the impact of Velvet Revolver, but it was surprising that they chose to do STP and GN’R songs.

Yeah, I mean, any band that is artistically satisfied with that, then that’s what they need to do. It’s not you or my job to be in their band and in their shoes. It’s important for us, for Audioslave to be its own band, not go, ‘Hey, I am not sure if you know this new band, but you might remember these Lollapalooza hits.’ Having done that last time around, this time around we have completely owned our histories, and it feels awesome, and those bands are a really important thread of our musical lives. Now we have a second Audioslave record ready to drop, and we can draw from 10 or 11 platinum albums worth of songs. That is pretty awesome.

So you are integrating them into the mix this time around?

Absolutely, and unapologetically.

How did you spend your downtime between the last tour and making this record?

There was some downtime, but a lot of it for me was immersed in political activities as The Night Watchmen, which is this political, folk thing that I do. I toured with Michael Moore, I toured with the punk band Anti-Flag, and various election related tours, and I spent some time at home hiking with my dogs, but we have been working on this record for sometime now, and really pouring all of our energies into it.

On the last record, you wrote the songs in a relatively short amount of time, what was it like this time?

Once again with this record, why it is I am not sure, but it is very effortless for us to write songs together. The song-a-day-pace is what is natural for us to do. In addition, this time what I think the main difference was…we had a year-and-a-half of touring under our belts. First record, we had played zero shows as a band before we wrote and recorded the entire record, this time we had the experience of playing small theaters to open-air shows, and really gelling as a band, and we brought that experience into the studio this time.