For Audioslave's third album, due in June, singer Chris Cornell wanted to explore a vocal style he feels closest to but has never touched on before: R&B. "I love rock music, but my favorite singers are not in rock bands," Cornell confesses. "They're Stevie Wonder, Mavis Staples, the Chamber Brothers." So on Audioslave's latest effort, appropriately dubbed Revelations, Cornell decided to follow the soul sound.
He really pushed his boundaries on the "groove oriented" song "Broken City." "It reminds me of The World Is a Ghetto[-era] War," Cornell says. "My vocal cadence is different, my approach to the vocal is different. And with this band, we have the ability to go into more of a soul/R&B direction and have it be authentic. It's exciting."
But never mind the Chamber Brothers -- Cornell's new role as a family man has had just as great an influence on his songwriting and his life. "As I'm getting older and I have children and my life is definitely settling down more, I'm really about family," he says while getting ready to play a West Hollywood benefit for the Stuart House, a group that helps sexually abused children and their families. "When I'm not in the studio making records with Audioslave, I'm at home with my wife and my kids," he continues. "So there are a lot of songs where I mention them -- where maybe the subject is about something else, but they're in there. My family is my chief concern."
Though still only just over a year old, Cornell's daughter has already made her opinion of Audioslave's music known. "My baby girl Toni listens to [last year]'s Out of Exile religiously, every day, dances to it in the kitchen. And if you take out that CD and put in something else, she'll whine and say no," Cornell says with a laugh. "We finished the new record just now, and the very first time I put it on she was like, 'This is not the record I know.' Everybody's a critic."