2001 – Chris joins forces with three other musical pioneers from Rage Against The Machine to create Audioslave. It consists of Chris Cornell and the former instrumentalists of Rage Against the Machine; Tom Morello (lead guitar), Tim Commerford (bass and backing vocals) and Brad Wilk (drums).
2002 – The self-titled debut album, Audioslave, is released on November 19, 2002 and enters the Billboard 200 chart at number seven after selling 162,000 copies in its first week. Certified gold by the RIAA within a month of release, by 2006 it has achieved triple platinum status. It is the most successful Audioslave album, having sold more than three million copies in the United States alone.
Audioslave’s live debut is on November 25, 2002, performing on the roof of the Ed Sullivan Theater on Broadway in New York City, for the Late Show with David Letterman. It’s the first time any band has appeared on Letterman’s marquee.
2003 – Like a Stone, the second single from Audioslave, is released in early 2003, peaking at number one on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks and Modern Rock Tracks charts. It is certified gold by the RIAA and becomes Audioslave’s most successful single. The music video for the third single, Show Me How to Live, incorporates footage from 1971 cult movie Vanishing Point. The band’s first DVD, Audioslave, is released on July 29, 2003. The band spends eight months of the year touring worldwide.
2004 – Audioslave is among the nominees for the 46th Grammy Awards where Like a Stone is nominated for Best Hard Rock Performance and Audioslave for Best Rock Album. They spend part of 2004 working on a second album and in March, Chris marries Vicky Karayiannis. Their first child, Toni Cornell (named after Vicky’s mom, Antonia) arrives September 18, 2004. Their son, Christopher Nicholas Cornell, is born 15 months later on December 5th, 2005.
2005 – Audioslave’s second album Out of Exile is released internationally in May 2005 on May 23, 2005, then a day later in the U.S. It debuts at the top of the Billboard 200 chart, the only Audioslave album to reach this position, and the band tour in support of it from April until November. On May 6, 2005, Audioslave becomes the first American rock group to play a free show in Havana, Cuba, in front of an estimated 50,000 people at the La Tribuna Antiimperialista José Martí. Audioslave also performs at the Live 8 benefit concert in Berlin on July 2, 2005, and tours North American arenas from late September to November.
Audioslave’s second DVD, Live in Cuba, featuring the concert in Havana, is released on October 11, 2005, and is certified platinum in less than two months.
In December, Audioslave receives its third Grammy nomination in the Best Hard Rock Performance category for Doesn’t Remind Me.
2006 – Audioslave spend the early part of the year in the studio. Revelations, Audioslave’s third album, is released in September 2006. A special marketing campaign places the album’s art concept on Google Earth as a fictional island, Audioslave Nation, in the South Pacific. The album enters the Billboard 200 at #2 and sells 142,000 copies during its first week of release.