If you haven't already forgotten about Audioslave's roots in Rage Against the Machine and Soundgarden, Tom Morello thinks you will come the next record.
"The thing that feels different [about the upcoming second album compared to the first] is there's even more spontaneity to it," Morello said recently. "With the last record, each of us was inevitably bringing some of our musical histories to the room. This record, it feels like, is just Audioslave. A lot of the songs grew up out of this fresh soil of getting to know each other."
Musically, Chris Cornell naturally fit in with Rage's former musicians from the beginning, Morello said, but now there's a level of comfort that's yielded more creativity (see "Audioslave 'Surprised' By Adventurous New Songs, Morello Says").
"When we played the last record, we had never even played a single live show together," Morello said. "Now we have over a year's worth of touring under our belts and the chemistry has developed further to make it more of a unique entity."
Audioslave have 22 songs written for their second record and are about halfway through recording them with producer Rick Rubin.
"He's the fifth Beatle," Morello said of Rubin. "He's a great collaborative partner. He has a big-picture way of looking at music, which only tends to bring out the best with the artists he works with" (see "What's Up With That Bearded Guy In The '99 Problems' Video?").
Audioslave are hard at work on the album, but the bandmembers made time for a few other endeavors. Drummer Brad Wilk recently starred in a short film (see "Tool, Audioslave Members Act Out Murder Mystery" ) and Morello and Wilk performed at last weekend's benefit for Axis of Justice, Morello and Serj Tankian's political activist organization (see "Flea, Tool Singer Join Fight Against Hunger, Homelessness" ). Like he did on a solo tour last fall, Morello performed material under the name the Nightwatchman, but he still has no plans to record the songs.
"The Nightwatchman plays for the people," he said. "When shows like this arise, it's a great opportunity to play those songs that are politically-based and from the dark recesses of the Nightwatchman's psyche. Other than that, I'm very busy."