Tom Morello: ‘Don’t Wait Around’ for Rage Against the Machine
Tom Morello has urged rock fans to form their own band instead of waiting for Rage Against the Machine to return to their activism-centered rap-rock. Speaking to hardDrive Radio host Lou Brutus, the current Prophets of Rage guitarist and solo artist said as much last weekend at the Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival, the Ohio event where Morello performed a stirring Chris Cornell tribute alongside System of a Down's Serj Tankian during his solo set.
Watch the video down toward the bottom of this post.
"There's no news on the Rage Against the Machine front," Morello said when asked about the act's possible return amongst today's political climate. "You're absolutely right that the times demand people standing up. And that's what I'm doing with my stuff, what Prophets is doing, what hopefully all your viewers and listeners are doing with their own time. Don't wait around for Rage Against the Machine, form your own band and get it done."
Further looking back on his time in Rage, Morello also described his songwriting beginnings in the group. In fact, before landing on the band of the musicians that would make up the influential outfit, the guitarist was work-shopping would-be Rage tunes with a wealth of musicians around the Southern California area.
"With Rage Against the Machine, I had had some of those riffs that eventually ended up on the first Rage record, like, on a cassette player," the guitarist recalled. "And I was jamming with every musician in Hollywood with some of the riffs that would become 'Bombtrack,' 'Freedom,' 'Township Rebellion,' 'Know Your Enemy.' And they didn't sound like that until I played with Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford and Zack de la Rocha."
After hooking up with the magic combination of Rage Against the Machine members, of course, the band's iconic sound was born. But not without the contributions of the aforementioned members, the guitarist stressed.
"The second that we were in a room together—it's something that I try not to over-intellectualize, it's just something that happens," Morello explained. "If you really pay attention to it, it's because I play those huge riffs with a single-coil [guitar] pickup, so my guitar has sort of a springiness to it that's not very metal. Timmy C. plays with a bass sound that sounds like three Black Sabbaths playing at once, so he fills up that mid-range. Brad tends to play behind the beat, I play in front of it, Tim plays right on it. So those riffs become these huge slabs of rhythm that is only because of the natural way we play together, from the first rehearsal to the last gig."
The musician was recently appointed as the ACLU's "Smart Justice" ambassador.
Tom Morello Talks to hardDrive Radio's Lou Brutus (May 17, 2019)
See Tom Morello in the Top 66 Hard Rock + Metal Guitarists of All Time