The Audioslave News Portal

The A.N.P - your source for news, tour-dates and everything in between.


Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Too much Audioslave news, and I have no time. I promise a big bunch of updates on Friday (or Saturday, if you, like me, live in Australia.) Sorry about this!

I owe some people further transcriptions of the KDGE interview. Promise these will also be completed on Friday.

Keep rocking,
- Le D

25/3 KDGE Interview Transcript

Friday, April 01, 2005
Transcribed from wavs of the interview provided by mshoneybuns of the forums.

KDGE interviews CHRIS CORNELL, 25th March 2005

Legend: K = KDGE, C = Chris Cornell, // = Gap in wav.

Part 1:

K: // If you've just tuned in your in for a real treat because we're speaking to Chris Cornell, the lead singer of Audioslave, they've got a brand new CD coming out, it's going to be in stores May 17th. And Chris, earlier you were talking a little bit about the creative process that went into making this new record, and I want to ask you about that because earlier this week I had the pleasure of talking to Josh from Queens of the Stone Age, and he related one of the fun things that happened when they were recording their new record was that they got together with Billy Gibbons of ZZtop, and at one point when they were recording the song his beard fell on the guitar, on the strings, and it created this weird cacophany but it worked and they kept it // ... were there any weird or fun things that happened in the studio by accident that ended up on the record?

C: I think there are always weird things that happen by accident that end up on the record. I mean, on the last record I was turning on a cell phone in the middle of someone putting up a rough mix for me to sing to, and it was in the right key. So I recorded the cell-phone going on, and then the cell-phone going off, because it made like a cascading tone going off, and going on it made this ascending tone - and it fit perfectly. It's in the second verse of Light My Way, and no one has ever asked "what is that?".

K: Wait, I've got that CD in here, I think that's track 12, let me play that part just so people can hear what you're talking about.

[Plays excerpt]

That is cool. Heya, if you're just tuning in we are speaking with Chris Cornell of Audioslave, new CD's going to be in stores on May 17th. We're talking about the creative process that goes into creating a record. Now, I read a great interview with System of a Down when they had worked with Rick Rubin and you guys worked with Rick Rubin on this CD - and System of a Down said that for some reason they had put a tent in the recording studio to get the vibe they were looking for. Did you have any process like that for yourself, and for the recording of this record?

C: No, I'm actually kinda anti-that. My whole thing is just put me in a dingy room, wherever the equipment works really well. As long as the equipment works great, that's kinda where I work the best, and I think it has something to do with sensory deprivation. If it's boring enough looking... you know, I'm not the guy that goes to Barbados to be inspired to write a record, I'm totally the opposite. I will be destracted if I'm looking at a beautiful thing or an interesting thing or in an interesting environment, I'm not thinking about music anymore.

So, our records, we worked at the same studio, this dingy little studio, and I'm not destracted by anything, I just want to do music because it's the most interesting thing. // ... To that, we took Rick's beard, and we tried to put it all over all of the guitars and drums and bass and it never sounded cool ever, so we didn't keep any of it.

K: Well, see I've always heard about Rick and his beard, that there's some sort of magnetic force that eminates from it.

C: That might be but I feel like Billy Gibbon's got 1 up on him, since Billy Gibbon's beard is turning into a recording artist, and that's not right.

K: [Laughs]

[Plays a Soundgarden track]

Part 2:

K: // ... has that changed yet?

C: No [?] ideas about the title... part of that's probably because we have about 10 songs more than we need for the record, and we love all the songs, we don't plan on putting out like a 2-disc set, we just wouldn't do that, and we're not going to put like 15 songs on the disc either, we're going to try to keep it a normal length. Until we know what songs end up on it... //

It's very exciting: we've got all this great material and we're into all of it. And the other exciting thing about it is that the third Audioslave CD will follow, you know it's going to take 2 years... //

K: Is there going to be an enhanced CD? You know, a lot of bands do that where they've got the music and then maybe there's DVD action as well - will you be doing that with this new record?

C: Yeah, it's what we think of as an enhanced CD where we're actually going to put good music on it, instead of like, mediocre music, so it's enhanced in kind of the quality, which //

K: // ... because I read a great interview with Brad Wilk where he talked about the difference with this new Audioslave CD in relation to the last one, is that when you recorded that first record, there was still a little history of the // ... bands, wheras with this new Audioslave CD, it was all you and it was just // ... did you find that as well?

C: Yeah. I think in particular for // ... rhythm section and basics, it was like a different world for them this time. We really... we were going in a lot of musical territory, specifically they had a // ... and then, maybe should have spent just a little more time doing that. Because we spent a lot of time arranging and re-arranging. We wrote the initial arrangements very quickly, but we did take a while to get the songs in final form. This time as a band we worked very quickly, you know, we wrote like 1 song a day and those songs pretty much stuck, we didn't spend much time going back through them. So we really got to get the material under our fingers.

And also, what it probably means is that my feeling, when I first got the // ... because I'd got offers to do lots of different stuff and I'd said no, and I'd imagined, OK, pretend it's Rage Against the Machine playing a Rage Against The Machine riff, part, whatever, two completely different worlds. I can bring entire songs of music in and bring bridges in and change things and arrange... and it felt like on a part of the record we kinda did that, we knew we could do that, and we did that on a few songs. Wheras, it's more riff-rock and I'm kinda wailing over it, and it's got a really nice groove to it, which Rage always had that. Songs like 'Like A Stone' and 'I Am The Highway' and 'Getaway Car'... so we got to feel around and like, OK, who are we though?

Then we toured, and I think a big part of it was that on tour, we played nothing but Audioslave songs and covers. I think that really was a fat statement to people: that we're our own band, we're going to make it on our own terms, we're [doing] our music now and that's that. And it wasn't in a pig-headed way, like, when someone like Bowie might come out and play nothing from his previous catalogue... It wasn't because we don't embrace the music of Soundgarden or Rage Against the Machine: we wanted to set a tone for our future. So, getting back into the rehearsal room and writing songs, by then, we'd done everything we could possibly do to prove the point - and then we were just free to just do whatever.

And I think that // ... for now, and we have enough material for two records.

Part 2

I'm curious Chris, a lot of bands are influenced by books, movies, even philosophers: were you influenced by any in writing the lyrics for this CD?

C: I kind of cracked upon a bunch of lyrical books. It's kind of staggering when I did it how prolific some of these guys were - one was Bob Dylan, one was Bruce Springsteen. Not so much for inspiration for me to write lyrics, but just to check out the body of work and just to read... I think I need to hit the reset button on myself every once in a while, musically and lyrically, to remember that everything is possible. When you're one person, and writing lyrics can be kind of a lonely thing. You're sitting around in a room with yourself, you can think down a tube and get stuck in a mould. And going through those books... Also, The Doors. Obviously [Jim] Morrison wasn't as prolific because he didn't have as much time. But it's incredible that you can fill a cofee table book full of Bob Dylan lyrics or Bruce Springsteen lyrics and it's like trying to crack open 'War and Peace' or something, it's a Steinbeck novel.

There's so much dialogue going on, just from their body of work lyrically. It was fascinating. And it was inspiring because I wrote lyrics for 22 songs, and afterward could look back at all of the printed words and go through them to put them on the record and make sure there were no typos and realising I myself have a huge body of work in there somewhere, and some day I'll put it all together and it will be in a coffee table book and I'll get to read it from beginning to end and wonder what that will be like. It's pretty exciting.

K: You're gonna get the fans salivating because I was just thinking, you do have enough of a body of work to put a coffee table book out right now, I mean, that would be brilliant.

C: Yeah, and if Audioslave keeps going like this it will be like an encyclopedia set!

K: Oh my god I'm so glad that you said encyclopedia! Surely you must know about Carmen and Marta in Spain, are you familiar with the Audioslavica Encyclopedia? It is the most brilliant... I've been in radio now about 16 years and internet has been really active for like the last 10. And I have to tell you about this website, because it is the great fan website I have ever seen! It's and they have got A-Z everything you ever needed to know... here, I'll read it to you verbatim: an encyclopedia of Audioslave advanced for the home, the layman and the family by the 2freakette's society, which is chartered in Madrid as a non-profit, scientific, educational organisation that has supported a gazillion explorations and research projects adding to knowledge of Audioslave music. I'm telling you, you will be floored by what they have done in your honour. And I'm telling you because I actually reached out to them just to see if they had any goofy questions, is it OK if I ask you a couple that they sent to me?

C: Of course.

K: Firstly they wanted you to confirm or deny the rumours that Audioslave would be submitting a song for Batman Begins?

C: Yeah, that's a no. And the first we heard of it was a couple of days ago on an interview.

K: It's been floating around VH1 and

C: It makes Tim very angry because his opinion is that somebody throws a name around from a band that's doing well to get other people involved, you don't get involved because your name is being used... it's totally illegal, people can't do that, but they do it. We didn't even know that movie exists, and I feel like he's probably right.

K: Speaking of movies, and I'm going to ask you this though I'm not sure you'll have any information on it, because it's actually about Brad, he's in a new movie with Maynard James Keenan, it's called 'Let Sleeping Dogs Lie'. Have you seen it yet, or do you know anything about it?

C: No, I don't. It sounds interesting. What's Maynard's role?

K: Ed Azner [sp] describes him as a sort of Barney Fife character.

C: [Laughs]. I'm interested now.

K: Now tell me about the movie you did: I don't know how old this is because I don't know if it was ever actually released called 'Amazing Grace', it's a documentary on Jeff Buckley?

C: I think I did an interview for that, and that's probably it. It's something that's been going on for quite a while.

K: Do you have a daily 5 o'clock ritual involving Jasmine tea?

C: No, at this point my 5 o'clock ritual is trying to avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.


K: I was wondering about your inspiration for the lyrics to 'Be Yourself' - was there someone in particular that you wrote it for?

C: No, I think it has more to do with my life, though if you listen to the verses I'm not really speaking about me I'm speaking about other people in a lot of different situations and a lot of opposite situations. But it comes back to I suppose my experiences by now, being 40, being re-married, having a new child, having a five year old child, becoming sober, I mean things are still going on: five days ago I quite smoking, I've had all the success that anyone could ever want, and all the luck that anyone could ever want, and I've had a lot of disasters and lost a lot of young friends - most of them are younger than I am. And through all of it, it has always come back to being that. And it's also biographical, as singer, guitar player, songwriter, what I think that any of us that do that go through, presenting themselves very differently throughout their career, it starts very young, and as time goes on... you can't have a 20 year career as a front-person without in some ways reinventing yourself, it just doesn't working that way.

Iggy Pop has done it, um... that's the only name that comes to mind! I really can't think of anyone else that has done that. And I went through a lot of different personal crises based on that many many years ago. As soon as the band opening for Soundgarden had a singer that would come out and be angry and jump around and smash stuff and climb things, I couldn't really do it anymore. It came naturally to me, but suddenly when other people were doing it, it seemed like a shtick. If I feel like doing it, that's great, it's real, but if I'm doing it because that's what people want, it's not, and then I didn't want to do it any more, and then I didn't know who I was or what I wanted to do, and that took a long time.

Part 3 coming next week!

Join The Online Team 1/4

You can now become a member of Audioslave's Online Team and help spread the word about the new album, 'Out of Exile'.

The online team for the band's first album was well worth being part of, and being a member made you eligible for competitions (from one such competition, I scored a signed Audioslave T-Shirt!), exclusive content, ticket pre-sales and breaking news. This one should be just as rewarding.

So, join already!

Download 'Be Yourself' on iTunes 1/4

'Be Yourself' was recently made available on iTunes for 99c US. If you have a credit card and live inside the U.S.A. (and are willing to spend actual money for an mp3), 'Be Yourself' can be yours at the iTunes Music Store.

Audioslave Hits #1 1/4

Audioslave have now reached #1 on both the Mainstream and Modern Rock Billboard Music Charts. The band knocked out Green Day and Beck to claim the #1 position.

Here's to hoping they stay there for a long time!