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Page 1


 Rick Rubin, the man who married rap and rock, sets his eyes on Rage and Chris Cornell ...



Page 2


 Audioslave quickly jell, write songs, land Ozzfest spot and then Cornell quits ...



Page 3


 Tom Morello creates 'electric termite' sounds, discusses Audioslave's future ...



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-- Corey Moss, with additional reporting by Heather Parry

A few weeks before Tom Morello reported to the seaside Casa Del Mar hotel to introduce his new band to the media, he picked up an issue of one of the magazines scheduled to interview him.

  "...rock is about to be back in a serious way." — Tom Morello
The Vines were on the cover with the words "Rock Is Back" plastered across the page. Morello chuckled. "I looked at that and I was like, 'You are in for a world of hurt if you think rock is back, because rock is about to be back in a serious way,' " he recalled.


It's been 10 years almost to the day since Morello last debuted a band to the world. Back then, critics were making the same declaration about the state of rock 'n' roll, pegging its return on Nirvana and Pearl Jam. And rap and rock were still learning how to get along.

Like now, Morello felt sure he was about to rattle the musical climate. And the guitarist couldn't have been more right about Rage Against the Machine.

Meanwhile, in 1992 Chris Cornell was part of the grunge tidal wave as the singer in Soundgarden. He was writing what would become their most successful album, Superunknown, and thinking nothing about rap-metal.

  "It wasn't until '96 that I really even understood Rage..." — Chris Cornell
"It wasn't until '96 that I really even understood Rage, because I'd heard them on the radio and I'd heard records, but I just assumed that they had, I don't know, electronics and loops and scratching," Cornell mused, his slim figure draped in a leather jacket.

Over the next 10 years, Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine cranked out influential albums, toured on Lollapaloozas and helped make alternative rock a radio format. They also battled inner-band turmoil that would eventually lead to both groups' demises.

In early 2001, no one had any idea these stories would intersect. Cornell was writing his second solo album in Seattle, while Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk were auditioning B-Real in Los Angeles. The remaining Rage members had nothing but praise for the Cypress Hill rapper, but they wanted someone who sounded nothing like Zack de la Rocha.

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Cornell had met Morello a few times over the years and even once talked about singing on a Morello solo album that never got off the ground. He had been courted by other bands but never considered joining another group until he received a call from Rick Rubin, the music mogul who orchestrated the landmark Run-DMC/Aerosmith rap-rock collaboration "Walk This Way" and produced albums for the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J and System of a Down as well as Rage's final release, the covers album Renegades.

Rubin saw past the two parties' lyrical differences — Cornell was known for introspective material, while Rage took on world issues — and set up a jam session.

When Cornell walked into the rehearsal space, he was stunned by the musicianship he heard. "I just thought, 'I am lucky. I get to be the singer in this band if I get up there and I am good.' So I decided to be good."

Good is an understatement, according to Morello. "He stepped to the microphone and sang the song and I couldn't believe it," the guitarist said. "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."




NEXT: Audioslave quickly jell, write songs, land Ozzfest spot and then Cornell quits ...
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