In the music business, having the same people around you all the time can start to get pretty boring. For as much as you might be friendly with everyone around you, it’s hard to have the same creative partners to bounce off of every time you come through with a song. You might not always see eye to eye, so it’s no surprise why these guys branch out to do their own thing.
For most of these side projects, every one of these musicians has a unique opportunity here. You don’t have all of the pressure that comes with your main gig, so you can try for a few more ideas that wouldn’t have fit in your previous band, like going for different genres or trying different instruments that you would have never even thought of beforehand. And it’s even crazier when the side project actually works.
For all the reasons why these should have just been a vanity project, every one of the records put out by these bands have been great from cover to cover, even managing to overshadow some of the mainline acts in the process. The names might be a bit different this time around, but that doesn’t mean the music has to suffer for it. If anything, we’re just scratching the surface of what they can do.
Having Rage Against the Machine break up at the turn of the ‘00s feels like one of the biggest missed opportunities in modern rock. Here was one of the most militant rock bands on Earth that decided to call it quits right when the Bush administration was about to spread their own reign of terror across the country. They weren’t planning on just laying low though.
Even with Zack de la Rocha gone, the rest of Rage got in touch with their inner arena rock band with Audioslave. After thinking through different singers, Rick Rubin suggested that they hook up with Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, which made for some of the most enduring rock music of the ‘00s. Amid the rest of the nu metal genre happening at the time, Tom Morello was able to blend his signature weird style with the sounds of the ‘70s, now that he had a seasoned rock veteran behind the mic this time around. In between some of the traditional rock songs though, songs like Cochise and Like a Stone are a bit more adventurous than what you might expect, like Chris showing off his taste for gospel music on the latter song.
Then again, maybe this was the kind of music that Rage had intended making all along, just without the militant lyrics of Zack being brought in. If you look back on what was happening, the world was on fire, and Audioslave was just looking to just kick out the jams and have a good time.