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Tom Morello: “The Cold Embers Of Rage Against The Machine Are Now The Burning Fire Of Prophets Of Rage”


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Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello stopped in to talk with the The Wall Street Journal about his new supergroup “elite task force of revolutionary musicians” Prophets Of Rage, the status of Rage Against The Machine and why Rage Against The Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha is not involved.

When asked directly about the latter, he replied:

“Well, because this is a new band. You know, Flava Flav is not part of it either [laughs]. Nor is Sen Dog from Cypress Hill. This is basically… At this crucial historic moment [referencing the U.S. election cycle,] you know Martin Luther King famously said: ‘There’s no hotter place in hell than for people who remain neutral during times of moral conflict.’

This is a time of great moral conflict and we just basically said, ‘Hey, we have to do this now. We have to play these songs, they speak to this moment in this time, we have to cause a ruckus, during our North American campaign this year. Raise your hand if you’re in.” The people that raised their hands were myself, Timmy C., Brad Wilk from Rage Against The Machine, Chuck D. and B-Real, so that’s our band—and DJ Lord from Public Enemy as well, who’s a DJ and a fantastic turntablist.”

On performing the Rage Against The Machine, etc. material again:

“The important thing is while a lot of the talk surrounding a group like Prophets Of Rage during an election year focuses on the politics, I always like to keep in mind that the most, the most paramount thing is the music. The music is in some way the spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine that goes down. But these songs, these Rage Against The Machine songs that have remained dormant for too long.

Are now going to be played by 3 of the four guys that wrote them, and they’re going to be rapped by two of the greatest mc’s of all time. For me it’s kind of a playlist dream matchup. And its a real honor to be sharing the stage with these guys. And so far—you really don’t know what it is until you start playing live—but in the three shows that we’ve played so far in the small club the Whisky in L.A., The Palladium in Los Angeles and the Warsaw Ballroom in Brooklyn—it’s just been intense. And the connection that this band has with its audience is as intense as the connection that Rage had with our audience back in the day.”

On the current status of Rage Against The Machine:

“Right now… the cold embers of Rage Against The Machine are now the burning fire of Prophets Of Rage. Where Rage Against The Machine lives, is this summer in these songs that we are playing. And we have nothing but the greatest love and honor and respect for Zack de la Rocha, the brilliant lyricist of Rage Against The Machine, who is working on his own music, which I’m sure will be fantastic—he’s a great artist in his own right. But where you’re going to hear Rage Against The Machine is in Prophets Of Rage.

On original Prophets Of Rage material:

“We hope to do some recording and release music before we go out on tour. It definitely won’t be a full-length album, but we’ve got some… While the tour will be exploring, deeply, the catalogs of Rage, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill, we’ve got a new song or two that we want to record before we go out on the road.”

Prophets Of Rage of course unite 3/4th of Rage Against The Machine with Chuck D and DJ Lord of Public Enemy and B-Real of Cypress Hill and will be touring this summer.

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