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Watch Chris Cornell blow the roof off a LA recording studio with Audioslave

Audioslave 2003
(Image credit: AOL / Sony)

Six songs from a 2003 AOL Sessions performance by Audioslave have been newly uploaded to the band’s YouTube channel, offering a poignant reminder of late frontman Chris Cornell’s extraordinary talent.

Taped on December 7, 2003, 11 months on from the November 2002 release of the quartet’s self-titled debut album, the original session featured nine songs, including covers of Nick Lowe’s (What’s So Funny ’Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding, and Funkadelic’s Super Stupid. While footage of the cover versions is absent from the recent uploads, the tracks featured, including alternate takes on the album’s five singles - Cochise, Like A Stone, Show Me How To Live, I Am The Highway and What You Are - illustrate the band’s dynamic power.

Rage Against The Machine, and formerly Audioslave, guitarist Tom Morello recently spoke to Metal Hammer about the band’s origins, and Cornell’s “dark poetry”.

“When Rage broke up, Brad [Wilk, drums], Tim [Commerford, bass] and I still wanted to play together, and we kept listening to [Soundgarden’s 1991 album] Badmotorfinger,” said Morello. “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.”

As Morello remembers, he first met Cornell in the company of music industry legend, and future Audioslave producer, Rick Rubin.

“He doesn’t leave the house for anything, unless it’s in a Rolls Royce inside another Rolls Royce,” Morello laughs, “but he’s in my van.” “Chris lived in LA 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.”

Back in 2018, Morello said that as-yet-unreleased Audioslave tracks will one day be released.

“There’s not a lot,” he admitted, “but it’s pretty great and it will come out at some point.”

Paul Brannigan
Paul Brannigan

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder and Metal Hammer. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.