With the release of his second solo album, Chris Cornell has decided he's an audio slave to no band anymore.
The Seattle-born singer, who's fronted a pair of platinum rock bands -- Soundgarden and Audioslave -- since 1984, is now comfortably, and happily, on his own again. His new "Carry On," which debuted at No. 17 on the Billboard 200 chart in June, marks his re-entry into the solo world, and at this juncture Cornell says he has no desire to do anything else.
"I think I've spent enough time in band situations and put all I had into those situations when I was in them -- my entire life, really," Cornell, 42, explains. "But recently I knew in my heart that isn't where my passion lies.
"As someone who could just as easily be doing it alone, I haven't spent much time doing that. That time for me is now. I'm ready to go make my own records and just have this period in my life where I'm a solo artist and that's what I do."
According to Cornell -- whose first solo album, "Euphoria Morning," came out in 1999, after Soundgarden's split --- the feeling was kindled by a couple of events during the making of Audioslave's third and final album, 2006's "Revelations."
The first was having one of his songs, "Finding Forever," knocked off the group album. "I really loved (the song)," Cornell says, "and (producer) Rick Rubin really loved it. That kinda made me feel like, 'OK, I'm gonna be making another solo record at some point soon' -- not taking into consideration whether Audioslave would be around or not."
Cornell, in fact, "saw the potential" of Audioslave breaking up during the making of "Revelations."
"We had about three or four meetings where we were trying to come to some sort of terms about how we were going to conduct business in the future moving forward as Audioslave," he recalls. "Everybody tried pretty hard to somehow connect, but it became almost like a political negotiation. It just didn't feel good to me.
"So I just decided, 'Y'know what? I'm going to go make a record now, and I love music too much to be spending time arguing over points about a future that may or may not exist."
There was, he says, the thought of taking the tact that "we don't break up, we just kind of put (the band) on the back burner." But Cornell says "that didn't sit well with me in my stomach. It didn't seem honest. I don't really want anything holding me back, and I don't want anything distracting me.
"I know where my passion lies."
Cornell feels confident that fervor is evident on "Carry On" -- which includes "You Know My Name," his contribution to the latest James Bond film, "Casino Royale," and a languid version of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" that he experimented with during his solo acoustic sets at Audioslave shows. His philosophy throughout the recording was "to make a record that I think other people will be inspired by by making sure I'm inspired by it first," and Cornell, who has three children from two marriages, says it was easier doing it this time than when he made his first solo album eight years ago.
"It's more relaxed, less self-conscious in a sense," he explains. "I really love ('Euphoria Morning'). I'm really proud of it, and I learned a lot about music making it. But it was my first solo album, and it was nerve-wracking just doing that.
"The beauty of it is once that was released was I never had to have a debut solo album again. So I think making ('Carry On') was probably the most relax I've ever been writing for a record or recording it. There wasn't one thing that went wrong, and all the surprises were pleasant ones.
"It was a great way to start down the road I want to stay on for a long time."
Chris Cornell and Juliette & the Licks perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday (July 22nd) at the Fillmore Detroit (formerly the State Theatre), 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $45 adn $32.50. Call (313) 961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.
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