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TOM MORELLO: How I Found Out About CHRIS CORNELL’s Suicide

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Monday, 07 January 2019
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RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE and PROPHETS OF RAGE guitarist Tom Morello was recently interviewed by Matt Everitt of the BBC 6 Music series “The First Time”. You can now listen to the chat at this location.

Asked how he first found out about the May 2017 suicide of his onetime AUDIOSLAVE bandmate Chris Cornell, Morello said: “I was at home. It was, like, about one in the morning. My wife had the phone, and she had that look on her face — that awful look when you know that something really bad happened. And I just kept saying to her… I was, like, ‘Who? Who? Who?’ And then she finally said, ‘Chris Cornell.’ [And I said], ‘No! Come on. That can’t possibly be true.’ And yet it was. The last time I saw him, he was shining — he was shining.”

Morello also talked about his first encounter with Cornell nearly three decades ago.

“I met Chris, I think, maybe backstage at Lollapalooza in ’92,” he said. “And maybe at a barbecue at my house. And he was just a lovely dude.

“Meeting him when our timeline began with AUDIOSLAVE, my first impression was he was a very mysterious and shadowy person,” he continued. “He had a haunting thing that was absolutely real. You read those lyrics, and when it goes dark, all that’s real.

Chris was lovely. He did have that mysterious side, but he was a lovely person who cared a great deal about doing good in the world. And his effusive talent is unmatched, certainly during that era, and he’s one of the greatest rock singers of all time.”

Tom added that he was a “huge fan” of Chris‘s work with SOUNDGARDEN. “‘Badmotorfinger’ was a cornerstone album for RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE,” he said. “The intelligence of the lyrics, the poetic indirection and the huge, uncompromising metal riffs of it, that was a brand new thing. Chris sings great, and they’re one of the great grunge bands. And they predated PEARL JAM, they predated NIRVANA. They redeemed metal — and JANE’S ADDICTION — but SOUNDGARDEN redeemed metal in that it made intelligent content a possibility with super-heavy music.”

In 2017, Morello revealed the existence of unreleased AUDIOSLAVE music from the sessions for the three studio albums the band released. But he told The Pulse Of Radio that at this point he doesn’t know what will happen with it. “You know, we recorded music for AUDIOSLAVE records, and then we recorded more songs than made those records, and I’m certain at some point it will come out but there’s no plans for it,” he said. “We had talked about it when, you know, Chris was alive and we thought at some point there will be the right time to put it out. Now I don’t know that there’s ever a right time to put it out, but there’s no reason that it shouldn’t come out at some point.”

Morello, AUDIOSLAVE bassist Tim Commerford and AUDIOSLAVE drummer Brad Wilk — who were also bandmates in RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE — are now in PROPHETS OF RAGE, which released its debut LP in September 2017.

Cornell recorded three studio efforts and one live album with AUDIOSLAVE from 2002 to 2007 before leaving the group.

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