During a conversation on The Howard Stern Show, Tom Morello talked about the time they formed Audioslave with Chris Cornell and compared his style and contribution to the band, to Rage Against the Machine’s former lead vocalist.
As you probably know, Rage Against the Machine was formed by Tom Morello, Zack de la Rocha, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk. However, due to creative differences, Zack decided to quit in October 2000 after which Morello approached Soundgarden’s frontman, Chris Cornell to start out a new band.
Chris Cornell accepted Tom Morello’s offer and they formed Audioslave. In a later interview, Morello admitted that he realized Chris Cornell would be a perfect fit as soon as he started singing their song. Morello described Cornell’s sound as ‘transcendent’ and said that there was an ‘irreplaceable chemistry from the first moment.’
Here’s what Tom Morello had said about Chris Cornell to the Rolling Stones:
“He stepped to the microphone and sang the song and I couldn’t believe it. It didn’t just sound good. It didn’t sound great. It sounded transcendent. And … when there is an irreplaceable chemistry from the first moment, you can’t deny it.”
During a recent interview, Morello discussed the difference between Zack de la Rocha and Chris Cornell. He started by saying that switching from Zack to Chris was a process that definitely required adjustment. The main reason for that was because while Chris was a melodic singer while Zack was more of a rapper and this influenced the music they created.
Tom Morello said that in RATM they would have the ‘same driving beat and the same driving rhythm that comes around’ as there was rapping by Zack de la Rocha. However, in Audioslave, they needed to add a few simple chords to the songs to allow Chris Cornell’s beautiful voice to soar.
Here’s what Tom Morello said when he was asked about whether working with Chris Cornell as their new lead singer was an adjustment for him:
“Yes, absolutely. I mean, not so much working with a new guy, but working with a melodic singer. His strengths were with melody, and it really challenged and pushed Tim and Brad, and I. The music of Rage Against the Machine is James Brown bass, it all comes around to the one, it’s the same driving beat and the same driving rhythm that comes around – because it’s rapping, it’s the excellent punk-rock vocals of Zack.
With Chris, in order to allow him to shine, there had to be this kind of harmonic counterpoint, so that song ‘Like a Stone’ was – it’s a few simple chords, but it allows Chris‘ beautiful voice to soar.”
Click here for the source and you can listen to ‘Like a Stone’ below.