“At that point in time, the only band I was in was Rage Against the Machine. I took it from the bedroom pretty much to Rage Against the Machine, so I have gotten comfortable with playing with Tom, Brad and Zack.
And when things sort of went away for a minute and the Audioslave thing became a reality… We met at Rick Rubin’s house and he was like, ‘You guys should hook up with Chris Cornell.’
And we were all huge fans at that time. Just to fire up, we listened to ‘Slaves and Bulldozers’ that day.”
“And I just remember being really nervous about, ‘Oh no! I’m not going to be good enough to impress Chris Cornell. I’m worried!’ Those insecurities started to get in the way, and those can get in the way of the creative process.
“I overcame that, and we overcame that. We ended up turning that into the band. You probably got those early demos because they got out, they leaked out.
“And there was a lot of people who didn’t like it, and who were against it. A lot of Rage fans didn’t like it!
“We spoke to a different audience than Rage did. And I’m really proud of that we were not Rage, and we didn’t try to do Rage again, and we did something completely different and outside of the box for us.
“And that built our confidence as musicians and ultimately made us better musicians. And it helped create The Prophets of Rage.
“To be confident enough to step into the room with Chuck D and B-Real and make music. When we were in the studio I was very honest with them and with myself about everything. I was there for every step of the process.
“There were more than a few things where I was like, ‘You know what Chuck? I’m not crazy about that lyric.’ To be able to just say that, and for Chuck to accept that, and for B-Real to accept that, and for us to be able to build on that, that all I attribute to Audioslave.
“Being confident enough to walk into the room with Chris Cornell, someone who you idolize, who I looked up to, and make music with that guy and listen to his vocal melodies and go, ‘You know what, I can actually change this note right here.’
“And it would go with the vocal melody instead of the guitar. Audioslave made me a better musician and it ultimately made me who I am today, musically.”