Cornell Splits Audioslave, Covers Michael Jackson

Chris Cornell has split Audioslave, the band he formed with three former members of Rage Against The Machine, due to unspecified "irresolvable personality conflicts as well as musical differences," ac

Chris Cornell has split Audioslave, the band he formed with three former members of Rage Against The Machine, due to unspecified "irresolvable personality conflicts as well as musical differences," according to a statement.

"This is something I don't want to do anymore," Cornell tells Billboard.com of Audioslave. "There were problems from the very beginning and we dealt with them in a great way. We made three great records. We were a band that got along great, but we've also had our differences. My focus is definitely on doing my own music now.

Indeed, Cornell is quickly moving on to his second solo album, "Carry On," due June 5 via Suretone/Interscope. The 14-track set was produced by Steve Lillywhite and includes a cover of Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean" (which Cornell has been known to play live) as well as "You Know My Name," the theme to the recent James Bond film "Casino Royale."

The album is Cornell's first solo affair since 1999's "Euphoria Morning." Among the other songs set to appear are the country-leaning "Finally Forever" and the harder-edged "Poison Eye" and "No Such Thing."

"Lately, when I'm writing a song, I've gotten used to the idea that no judgments should happen until a song is done and recorded," he says. "Thinking about it that way, I've become pretty prolific and really enjoyed some of the directions my songs have gone in. For this record, I've written a lot of songs that are unlike anything I've ever done."

Cornell is already assembling a band and plans to tour "extensively" in support of "Carry On," and says Audioslave's 2005 trip to Cuba made him realize "there are a lot of people who would enjoy seeing me play 20 years of recorded music in any context."

Last month, guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk announced they were reuniting with Rage vocalist Zack de la Rocha for what they are claiming to be a one-off performance at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in late April in Indio, Calif.

Cornell admits he was surprised by the decision, noting that it was De La Rocha who quit Rage initially. "I never really got into it with them in terms of what happened or what the problems were," he says of Rage's split. "I only know that I was coming from a band that a few years before that had split up, and I knew what that experience was like. It's not something I'd want to do, but with them, it's a different can of worms. It's four completely different people."

That said, Cornell is taking a "never say never" approach to any potential work with his ex-Soundgarden bandmates, with whom he has not played in a decade. "If we got together to play one show, sure," he says. "A tour wouldn't make sense to me. To make another record? I think it's possible, but I don't know what it would take to make me feel that."

Plus, he adds with a chuckle, "I like the idea that Soundgarden fans will always be able to listen to their Soundgarden records without having to think about a show or a [new] record that's going to bum them out."