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Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello Proclaims Zack de la Rocha To Be “The Greatest Frontman Of All-Time”, Shares Praise For “Magical” Chris Cornell


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While he may be a bit biased, Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello still has high praise to share for his bandmate, RATM vocalist Zack de la Rocha. Speaking with Revolver in the below ‘fan first’ video, Morello revealed that he considers the band’s aforementioned singer to be “the greatest frontman of all-time.”

When asked to share his thoughts about him, Morello responded:

“In my opinion, he’s the greatest frontman of all-time. He’s the punk rock James Brown. There’s no one in the history of Western music that has the sort of the totality of spiritual commitment on stage and in the studio as that guy. And it’s matched with a brilliant intellect, and he’s a tremendous musician as well, and it’s really an unbelievable combination just, feel fortunate to be in a band with him.”

During the course of the same interview Morello also spoke about working with the late great Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell during their time together in Audioslave. He said of Cornell:

“…And the thing that is one of his great gifts, on top of his startlingly good looks, and hair, and eyes, and all the stuff, you’re like, ‘Are you magical? You’re like a magical being!’ Blessed in so many ways, and a lovely dude.

Anyway, he had this ability to craft melody, beautiful and ferocious melody out of the ether. And I remember making that first record [“Audioslave“] with Rick Rubin. And Rick‘s like, ‘You don’t understand how lucky you got. I work with a ton of vocalists and it’s difficult to make a great melody. And this guy is just throwing them right and left!’

“‘Like A Stone,’ ‘I Am The Highway,’ no matter what we threw at him – the simplest chord progression, or the most complicated heavy riff, he’d just sit in a chair with a cigarette, and he’s like, ‘OK, that sounds like a great song right there. What’s next?'”

Earlier in the same discussion Morello also heaped praise on Soundgarden as well, offering:

“When I was on tour with my band Lock Up – before Rage Against The Machine – when you’re in the van, the rule is, when you’re driving, you get to pick the music. And I would always pick those early Soundgarden demos, EPs, and whatnot. Talking about the lyrical content – I credit Chris Cornell, maybe two or three bands…: Soundgarden, Jane’s Addiction, maybe Living Colour, they were bands that embraced all that was great about heavy metal in the musical sense – the unapologetic huge riffs!

But the lyrics were intelligent, and they were relatable, and they were artistic, and they were poetic, and they had a life of their own. They weren’t just singing about chicks and the devil on top of some kick-ass riffs. There was nuance and depth of it, you could get into them if you were a smart person.

But also, it provided a greater breadth. I love metal and I loved poetry, and Chris Cornell was one of the people that brought those things together, and in a way, it was commercially successful at the top of the chart. So we all owe him a grade of debt for I think saving metal, in a way. So when we were in a band together, his initial impetus was he had been the principal music writer in Soundgarden, as well as the lyricist.”

Rage Against The Machine ended their 8-year hiatus back in 2019 with intentions to embark on a reunion tour in 2020 until the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into their plans. They now plan to hit the road with Run The Jewels on that trek next year, here’s the dates:

03/31 El Paso, TX – Don Haskins Center
04/02 Las Cruces, NM – Pan American Center
04/04 Glendale, AZ – Gila River Arena
04/06 Glendale, AZ – Gila River Arena
04/15-17 Indio Valley, CA – Coachella
04/22-24 Indio Valley, Coachella
04/26 Oakland, CA – Oakland Arena
04/28 Oakland, CA – Oakland Arena
04/30 Tacoma, WA – Tacoma Dome
05/02 Portland, OR – Moda Center
05/05 Vancouver, BC – Pacific Coliseum at the PNE
05/07 Edmonton, AB – Rogers Place
05/09 Calgary, AB – Scotiabank Saddledome
05/11 Winnipeg, MB – Bell MTS Place
05/13 Sioux Falls, SD – Denny Sanford Premier Center
05/15 Minneapolis, MN – Target Center
05/16 Minneapolis, MN – Target Center
05/18 Kansas City, MO – T-Mobile Center
05/20 St. Louis, MO – Enterprise Center
05/22 Detroit, MI – Little Caesars Arena
05/23 Detroit, MI – Little Caesars Arena
06/09 East Troy, WI – Alpine Valley Music Theatre
07/11 Chicago, IL – United Center
07/12 Chicago, IL – United Center
07/15 Ottawa, ON – Ottawa Bluesfest
07/16 Quebec City, QC – Festival d’ete de Quebec (no Run The Jewels)
07/19 Hamilton, ON – FirstOntario Centre
07/21 Toronto, ON – Scotiabank Arena
07/23 Toronto, ON – Scotiabank Arena
07/25 Buffalo, NY – KeyBank Center
07/27 Cleveland, OH – Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
07/29 Pittsburgh, PA – PPG Paints Arena
07/31 Raleigh, NC – PNC Arena
08/02 Washington DC – Capital One Arena
08/03 Washington DC – Capital One Arena
08/08 New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
08/09 New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
08/11 New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
08/12 New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
08/14 New York, NY – Madison Square Garden

[via Ultimate Guitar]

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