Chris Cornell -- the singer and mainman of Audioslave, which released their second album "Out Of Exile" in May -- has talked to Austin Scaggs from the RollingStone.com about his musical experience, favourites in music, terrible injuries he's seen from the stage and quiting smoking. Read some excerpts from the interview below:
Rolling Stone: What is your first musical memory?
CC: I have really early memories of life, so don't freak out. As a child I'd get caught up in how words didn't make any sense. I remember hearing the song "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain When She Comes," trying to figure out what the f--k the guy was talking about.
At Audioslave's recent gig in Cuba, you sang "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away." Who turned you on to the Beatles?
The Beatles were my first love. My friend John Zimmer's oldest brother was kicked out of his house, and his parents put all of his stuff in the basement, where it was getting destroyed by flood waters. He had about fifteen Beatles records. So I stole the whole stack -- lovingly put paper towels between each of them. For over a year I listened to nothing but the Beatles. It was my music school.
When was the first time you sang in front of a crowd?
At a talent show in sixth grade at Christ the King, my Catholic school in Seattle. I remember being incredibly nervous and also bringing the house down. Teachers were crying. I sang a song called "One Tin Soldier." A girl in my class knew it on piano and accompanied me.
You toured with Guns n' Roses in 1991. Got a good Axl story?
He was always hidden somewhere having a personal crisis -- always. One time I was in the room when he was talking to his manager, Doug Goldstein, about wanting the Goodyear blimp for the show. I said this as a joke -- even though it was true -- that the Fuji blimp was the largest blimp in the world. Axl was like, "That's it! It's gonna be the Fuji blimp!"
What recent song do you wish you'd written?
The last was maybe "Karma Police," from Radiohead. There's something so simple about it.
If you punched "Most Played" on your iPod, what would come up?
I don't know about most played song, but most played record would be Bob Dylan's first one. I'm not a huge Dylan fan -- he only wrote a couple of songs on that album -- but they're all Dust Bowl, Depression-era hobo songs that are really fresh. It's almost like punk rock. Incredible. And be careful with headphones: When he hits the harmonica, it rips your head off.
Has quitting smoking helped your voice?
It's definitely a different world. Smoking is bad for your voice, for sure, but you learn to function in that world of bad. Now I'm in better shape, and I'm much more physical onstage, but I have to watch getting winded. Once I'm winded, I don't sing right. I would have smoked three cigarettes already during this interview [laughs].
You recently moved to Paris. Has that affected your musical tastes or your songwriting?
Not at all. I did write some of the lyrics for the new Audioslave record when I was there, but I don't know if being there made a difference. Except for that song I wrote [sings]: "Rockin' Eiffel Tower/It towers over us and it's so cool/Right on!" And the second track, "I Ate A Snail."
Read the whole interview at this location.