Martin Cooper checks out the style of Chris Cornell and Tom Morello’s brilliant collaborative band, Audioslave.
Martin Cooper delves into the playing of Audioslave’s Chris Cornell and Tom Morello.
Formed in 2001 by Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and Rage Against The Machine trio of Tom Morello on guitar, Tim Commerford on bass and drummer Brad Wilk, Audioslave managed to not only blend the sound of their previous outfits but also forge a new identity that harked back to Led Zeppelin from the 1970s and the grunge and rock bands of the 1990s. They released three albums during their six-year career and sold over eight million albums worldwide in that time. Cornell left the band in 2007 citing musical and personal differences, which was followed by a subsequent Rage Against The Machine reunion tour and, after embarking on a successful solo career, Cornell’s reunion with Soundgarden.
Audioslave formed after legendary producer Rick Rubin suggested to Morello, Commerford and Wilk that they try working with Chris Cornell after RATM vocalist Zack de la Rocha had left the group. From the outset the chemistry between them was incredible and they decided to form a new band, rather than continue with the Rage Against The Machine name, writing 21 songs during 19 days of rehearsal. After some bumps in the road in terms of record labels and management issues the band released their eponymous debut album in 2002, selling over 160,000 units in its first week of release in the US. Cornell suffered personal issues during the recording and touring for the first album, but he managed to regroup and continue writing and recording with Audioslave for two further albums. The band reunited for one show in early 2017, with members apparently being open to a more permanent reunion, but this was sadly never to be after Chris Cornell’s death on 18th May.
Our track this month features some classic 1970s influenced riffs, but with a harder edge to them in terms of tone and performance. We’re in E minor (E-F#-G-A-B-C-D) but there are some chromatic notes in the solo, including C# and G# which give more of an aggressive edge to the Pentatonic phrases. The solo isn’t tricky to play, but check out the Playing Tips to see how to play it accurately and authentically. The recording makes use of some techniques to get a big, live sound including double tracking the bass guitar with one track being overdriven, and using parallel compression on the drums, where the compressed drum track is blended into the dry drum track. The rhythm is also double tracked and there is an ‘octave below’ harmony on the lead part.
NEXT MONTH Martin gets to grips with the prog inspired sounds of US group Kansas
Audiosla ve relea sed their first alb um in 2002, selling over 160,000 unit s in the fir st week of relea se in the US
Tom Morello and instantly recognisable ‘bitser’ guitar