When Audioslave were asked by their label to choose a director for the video for "Like a Stone," the band's management called up some of the music industry's hottest video directors and invited them to submit plots. But when the band looked at the pitched plot lines, none of them seemed right.
"They just didn't ring true with the song," guitarist Tom Morello said. "I think the best videos are the ones that really spring from the band and its essence. When we did 'Cochise,' the director, Mark Romanek, really caught the excitement of the moment. That was literally the first time the four of us had stood onstage in front of anybody, and you really get the feeling that the band is playing for its life. So for 'Like a Stone,' we needed someone that would capture the haunting vibe of that song."
Instead of returning to the yellow pages, and ringing up more heavy hitters, the bandmembers sat down and compiled a list of their favorite videos for passionate, mid-paced songs. They quickly noticed that one name kept popping up: Meiert Avis, who directed many of U2's most famous videos including "With or Without You" and "Where the Streets Have No Name."
"He did all of the videos off Joshua Tree and The Unforgettable Fire," Morello said. "Those are really great videos that give portraits of the songs that are compelling and true and honest to both the band and to the music. So we gave him a call and shot a fabulous video with him."
Avis and Audioslave decided the best way to capture the band was to artistically document it in its natural environment. So, since Audioslave were already rehearsing for their upcoming tour (see "Audioslave Ready To Get Onstage And Show Fools How It's Done") in an old, giant house in Los Angeles, Avis simply came and started rolling film.
"It was just us in our rehearsal and recording environment," Morello said. "We shot the band in its natural habitat, and it provides a little bit of a behind-the-scenes look, but from an artistic point of view in order to capture the mood of the song."
In addition to filming the band as it played in a cavernous room, Avis shot Audioslave hanging out between takes, and playing guitar and drums in a hallway and a stairwell.
Audioslave were still working "Cochise" at radio when "Like a Stone" was chosen as their second single. It wasn't their doing, nor their record label's. It happened naturally, as radio DJs across the country bonded with the gripping rocker.
"Who were we to stand in the way of the rising tide?" Morello joked. "It was getting tremendous reactions from the audiences of the radio stations, so we just went with it. The people had spoken."
For a full-length feature on Audioslave, check out "Audioslave: Unshackled, Ready To Rage."