May 24, 2005
Audioslave, the supergroup that combines threefourths of Rage Against the Machine with former Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell, is releasing its second album, ‘‘Out of Exile,’’ today.
No one suspects Audioslave’s latest will tank, no matter that its first single, ‘‘Be Yourself,’’ is more relaxed and less fiery than fans might expect.
As eager as its players were to forge a new identity, Audioslave was born amid a swirl of legal issues and bad vibes. Cornell was signed to one label and management firm, the Ragers to another. A planned coming-out during the 2002 Ozzfest was nixed when Cornell momentarily quit, claiming the project wasn’t progressing as he’d hoped it would.
‘‘I was in a horrible frame of mind,’’ he remembered, ‘‘particularly around the time I was writing lyrics. I was sick. I was trying to quit drinking and get off prescription medication. And I was floundering at the end of a very destructive relationship. I couldn’t have been more isolated.’’
What a difference an album and tour can make. Cornell, now 40, sober and cigarette-free, met a woman just as the band began to take off; they are now married and living in Paris with a 7-month-old and another child on the way.
‘‘It has completely transformed my life,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s changed even my most basic outlook on things. I don’t even want to know why; it’s just great that it’s happening.’’
Meanwhile, Audioslave, now established as a great deal more than just the sum of its parts, this time around only had to measure up to itself, not its past.
‘‘There was no mystery about how to approach this," Cornell says. "We’ll just do what we did before. But I think we did it with more enthusiasm and certainly a more relaxed nature because we know each other better as a band.’’