At the conclusion of its ongoing European tour, rock quartet Audioslave plans to make a quick return to the studio and begin preparing for an extensive fall tour of North America. The group’s second Interscope/Epic album, “Out of Exile,” recently debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 and has already sold 525,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
“What we’d like to do is blur the lines between rehearsing, recording and touring,” guitarist Tom Morello tells Billboard.com by phone from Helsinki. “It’s healthy to constantly be writing and recording music. We want to keep fresh. Everybody has been playing great on this tour, and we want to take some of that momentum while it’s hot and write some songs, record and then go back on tour in the States.”
Although dates are still being ironed out, the fall outing is expected to begin Sept. 29 and run for two months. Fans will be treated to a number of tunes from band members’ past legacies in Rage Against The Machine (“Bulls on Parade,” “Sleep Now in the Fire”) and Soundgarden (“Spoonman,” “Outshined,” “Loud Love”). The group is even dusting off material from the grunge supergroup Temple Of The Dog, of which Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell was a primary contributor.
“We’ve been doing Temple’s ‘Say Hello to Heaven’ and ‘Call Me a Dog,'” Morello reveals. “Chris does a gorgeous acoustic version of [Soundgarden’s] ‘Black Hole Sun.’ We’ve married our past to our future and we feel comfortable drawing from all those records. We’ve been having a great time doing it, and people lose their ever-loving minds.”
This weekend, Audioslave will play at the Berlin edition of Live 8, which is aiming to influence world leaders to cancel the debt owed to G8 nations by developing and third world countries.
“The debt is a kind of economic violence that has devastating effects throughout the third world, and especially in Africa,” Morello says. “The debt ensures that countless millions will live their entire lives in wretched poverty. By erasing the debt, poor countries can use their own resources to improve the lives of their own people, rather than paying off interest on an insurmountable debt owed to the wealthiest nations.”
“It can be changed, but we cannot wait for the powers that be to wake up one morning and do the right thing,” he continues. “It’s up to the people of those countries to make demands and protest. This concert is a real extension of that.”
On May 6, Audioslave played a historic show in Cuba for more than 70,000 fans, getting a first-hand look at how a dictatorship shapes a country, as well as the positive steps being made toward improving the lives of the population.
“We visited a music university on the site of what used to be the elitist golf country club for the wealthy before the revolution,” Morello says. “Now, talented young kids are given a complete music education there. Those are things you just don’t hear about in the United States.”
The trip was filmed for a DVD, which is presently being edited. “We’ll release it when it’s done and great,” Morello offers. “We shot nonstop with many cameras in different locations for five total days, so it’s hundreds of hours of footage.” The hope is to present the concert, which at two-and-a-half hours was Audioslave’s longest to date, in its entirety.
“We haven’t listened back to the tapes. If there’s any musical disasters on there, we might have to edit those out,” he says with a laugh.