I remember this story very well actually. I was completely taken aback by the news of this story. On the heels of Sammy Hagar and Van Halen parting ways, it was announced that the band had a new singer, Gary Cherone formerly of Extreme. You remember them, they had that really annoying power ballad “More Than Words.” This move certainly sparked many questions and debates about the state of Van Halen, the band. By the time the band released Van Halen III, it marked a real departure of the band’s sound and focused more on ballad type songs than rock. Not only did the fans not like the album, critics panned the album as well.
There are some theories on why this album is so bad and the decision to hire Gary. It’s thought that this album was a sort of Eddie Van Halen solo album. It was disclosed that Eddie had played a majority of bass and drums on the album, as well as taking a couple songs himself to sing lead vocals on. It should also be noted that around this time is when Eddie was dealing with a serious addiction problem. So we know he wasn’t thinking straight. I really want to know whose idea it was to bring Gary Cherone into the band. Not to completely rip Gary to shreds, as he does have a good rock voice, he shouldn’t have even been thought of for this role. This was a bad idea all around and it leaves a bit of a stain on the band’s discography.
This new feature is another fun one. I get to show you all things that just were really bad ideas. There are so many bad ideas in music, and I feel compelled to share them with you all and get your opinions.
For the first bad idea let us start with Audioslave deciding to play Rage Against The Machine songs as well as Soundgarden songs (but those aren’t as bad as the RAGE part). This was a bad idea. The idea of Audioslave is a good idea, but this was atrocious. First off different vocalist with a completely different range and personality. Chris Cornell for all the great vocal performances, really doesn’t do this song or any of the Rage songs they played justice. It seems forced and uninspired. Audioslave played “Killin In The Name Of,” “Sleep Now In The Fire,” and “Bulls on Parade.” each one was worse than the other. I sadly witnessed this live when Audioslave started touring on their second album, the very underwhelming Out Of Exile. Note that when they first came out the didn’t play any of their previous bands songs. The Soundgarden songs fall short as well. You could tell that Chris, was over those songs and wanted to move on from that part of his life. Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk are great at their instruments but the way they played the Soundgarden songs, it just didn’t feel right. Their unique styles just don’t convey the songs the way the original players did.
I really want to know who suggested the band play their old bands songs. Was this a management or record label decision? Who ever thought of this is an idiot. The only ever time an idea like this worked, and I mean the ONLY TIME, is when Joe Walsh became a member of the Eagles, and they would perform Rocky Mountain Way.
Anyways, here are Audioslave’s performances of them performing Rage Against The Machine and Soundgarden songs. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!