Earlier today we reported that Chris Cornell had announced he'd be leaving Audioslave — a disclosure tantamount to the end of Audioslave as a whole. Our Andy Greene spoke to Cornell immediately following the news:
Was there any one moment when you knew you wanted to leave Audioslave?
There wasn't a key moment when I knew I wanted to quit. We finished our third record and I went back to Paris and felt like we needed some time away from each other. We did a lot of touring. We did three records. We had done a lot of stuff in a short time period of time. Everyone ran off and did their own thing. I got real busy working on music and getting into a world I was missing on the last record - which was the ability to experiment with where a song could go and spend some time on the craft of making songs. When you have four guys in a room writing songs, it different. It's great - that's what makes a band a band. Audioslave was great. But there's a lot I want to do and I don't want to juggle that with a band.
When did you tell the band?
They'll be hearing about this today. I haven't spoken to anyone in the band in a few months.
Where you guys not getting along towards the end?
We were getting along. Getting along as people is one thing. Getting along as a group of people that can work together in a band situation...We weren't particularly getting along well, no. Bands work in a way where everyone at some point has to have a similar idea of how you do things. A band that makes records and tours is also a business. That's usually where a lot of disagreements come. It's four guys who are musicians and don't really know much about business, but are very passionate and have very specific ideas. In this case it was a collaboration that was very satisfying and we all had a great time. When I started I was already in the midst of a solo career. It didn't feel to me like this was ever a band I wanted to be in if there were going to be problems being in it. But we ran into this issue right away, even before the first record came out. Three albums into it, it started to seem like our interests weren't as conjoined anymore.
Are you surprised by the Rage reunion?
A little bit. In the time I had been in Audioslave I'm pretty sure that none of them had even talked to Zack, which is a long time (laughs). It was a bit surprising, but I think it's a cool thing. Audioslave, for my part, existed because of my memory of seeing them play shows in 1996. I thought they were one of the best live bands I'd ever seen. When I got a call from Tom and Rick Rubin about maybe making a record with them I was really curious. What they bring live is different than anything anyone has ever done. If they can actually be a band, it will be great.
Any chance of a Soundgarden reunion?
I seriously doubt it. If that were ever going to happen, someone would have to rally behind it. We ended on a great note. There is no unfinished business and no record to make and no more tours to play. I think that's a great thing. At the end of the day it's the fans who make you who you are. We can all be proud that a Soundgarden fan can always put on a Soundgarden record and not have to try and get some uncomfortable memory of a bad show or a new record in their mind. (laughs)
If they did call you and asked, might you you be interested?
I don't know. It wouldn't make sense to me, even to record a new song. I don't see what that would accomplish. Going to a barbecue would make sense to me. We can talk about the whole history of the band and how much fun we had and see what everyone is doing now. To go in and make music together again, it can't help but effect what came before that. We went out on such a great note. It would be really expensive to mess with that.