Results for Rage Against the Machine

interviews

Tom Morello

Many fans know Tom Morello through his electric guitar innovations in Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave. So it was a surprise to hear he had unplugged and donned a new guise as The Nightwatchman. The Chicago native has a new solo album out called One Man Revolution, and during a visit home he stopped by the Sound Opinions studio to show off his new incarnation. During his discussion with Jim and Greg it starts to make more sense why the famed electric guitarist would go acoustic. Tom has always been a fan of folk rockers like Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. And, the one man + guitar formula lends itself to the political content Tom has always been known for.

Tom explains that he was seeking a political and musical outlet that would fulfill that side of his personality. The hard rocking side gets fulfilled by the arena rock group Audioslave. However, Tom reveals that the band might be no more. He and Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell were both in Chicago at the same time, but haven't communicated in a while. Luckily friend and producer Rick Rubin encouraged Tom to branch out on his own with this record. And of course, Jim notes that the guitarist always has a political career to fall back on. Like his mother Mary Morello, Tom has always been a social activist. He also worked for Senator Alan Cranston for a number of years.

One person Tom Morello did hook up with while he was in town is fellow Rage Against the Machine member Zack de la Rocha. The Rage frontman joined Morello in a couple of protest rallies in support of low-wage immigrant farmworkers. And of course, as fans have been anticipating, the two will appear with Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk for Rage Against the Machine's first performance in seven years at this weekend's Coachella Music Festival. For a sneak preview, check out Morello's rendition of the band's song "Guerrilla Radio," as well as an exclusive bonus track.

Go to episode 74

Wayne Kramer of the MC5

wayne

It's been 50 years this month since the Detroit rock band the MC5 recorded their debut album live, Kick Out the Jams! This week, our guest is MC5 guitarist and solo artist Wayne Kramer, author of the new autobiography The Hard Stuff. The MC5 were known for its political lyrics, energetic onstage charisma and punk attitude. The band influenced artists like The Clash, The Ramones and Rage Against the Machine. Since the breakup of the MC5 in 1972, Wayne has put out some great solo records and found success as a film and television composer. Kramer talks with Jim and Greg about the political music he was making in the MC5, the Detroit rock scene and about the thrill of performing live. He also discusses how he overcame his drug and alcohol addictions and what he learned from his two year stint in prison.

Go to episode 671
reviews
RevelationsRevelations available on iTunes

Audioslave Revelations

Audioslave, the best-selling rock act of the decade, released its third album this week. The band is composed of remnants of successful '90s bands: Lead singer Chris Cornell, formerly of Soundgarden, is joined by Rage Against the Machine's Tim Commerford, Brad Wilk, and super-guitarist/activist Tom Morello. Jim and Greg are both big fans of Morello as a person and a musician, but they can't find much redeeming about Audioslave. At least on this album, Revelations, there appears to be an effort to politicize the music's content. However, it still lacks substance, and the music itself is formulaic. Both hosts give Revelations a Trash It. In fact, Jim says if he had four copies, he‘d trash all of them. Greg adds that there’s only one revelation here—"that this band is really bad."

JimGreg
Go to episode 39
One Day As a Lion - EPOne Day as a Lion available on iTunes

Zack de la Rocha One Day as a Lion

Ever since Zack de la Rocha quit Rage Against the Machine he has been talking about his upcoming solo album. It's been eight years, but an EP has finally been delivered called One Day as a Lion. De la Rocha brought Mars Volta drummer John Theodore onto the record for percussion, and de la Rocha plays keyboard under his vocals. The lyrics are as politically charged as ever, but Jim is sick of the bombastic silliness of de la Rocha's“revolutionary nonsense rhetoric”and says that the lyrics warrant a Trash It rating. But he gives the music a Try It for the drums alone. Greg gives the album a Try It, saying that it's nothing that hasn't been done before. He likes the sound of the album, but thinks that a similar artist like Saul Williams does the style much better.

JimGreg
Go to episode 141
Sorry to Bother YouSorry to Bother You available on iTunes

The Coup Sorry to Bother You

Jim and Greg have their fingers crossed that Sorry to Bother You, the sixth album from Oakland-based hip-hop group The Coup, isn't a turkey. This band has been making consistently good agit-rap records since 1991, Greg says, but they remain best known for an unfortunate incident involving their cover art. Does the band deliver on Sorry to Bother You? Jim says yes. He wouldn't blame you for mistaking "The Magic Clap" for a new OutKast party anthem. The Coup has verged dangerously close to Rage Against the Machine self-righteousness in the past, he says, but on Sorry to Bother You, the band's got the“party to politics”ratio just right. Greg agrees and calls it the best Coup album yet. Sorry to Bother You gets a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 364
lists

One Note Wonders

Rock and roll is an art form that traditionally values change and transformation. But, there are a number of terrific artists and bands who have sustained careers by doing one thing really well. The best examples of these one trick ponies are The Ramones, AC/DC and Motörhead. Fans of these bands know that their sounds don‘t change from album to album… but they don’t care! Jim and Greg celebrate these and other One Note Wonders. Here are their nominations:

Go to episode 126
news

Music News

First up in the news is the official announcement of The Police reunion, which will kick off at this month's Grammy Awards. Jim and Greg asked Police guitarist Andy Summers about a potential reunion when he was on the show last year, but he wouldn‘t give up any secrets. What isn’t a secret is the potential for big bucks — something our hosts suspect to be the prime reason for Sting, Summers and Stewart Copeland joining forces again. Also cashing in on a reunion is Van Halen. The band has announced it will perform at the 2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, with a possible tour to follow. And, with pending reunions by Rage Against the Machine and Smashing Pumpkins, 2007 is poised to be the year of the reunion. Jim and Greg are still keeping their fingers crossed for reunions by The Smiths, Hüsker Dü and The Replacements.

Also making news is rocker Tom Waits. He sued car manufacturer Opel for using his vocal likeness in a recent Scandanavian ad campaign. Waits refused to lend his own voice to the commercial, so he believed Opel went out and found the next best thing. A judge agreed, and Opel was forced to pay an undisclosed settlement which Waits plans to give to charity. This isn't the first time the singer has had to tangle with an auto company. Last year he won a case against Volkswagen-Audi, which also impersonated his voice and changed his song without permission.

Next up Jim and Greg discuss YouTube's new plan to share revenue with some of its content providers. The website's co-founder Chad Hurley made the announcement at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and explained that revenues will only be shared with users who own the full copyright of their material. Guess this means that Lasse Gjertsen should be expecting a check sometime soon.

Go to episode 62

Music News

First up Jim and Greg do an update on a story discussed a few weeks ago. Despite pleas from a broad spectrum of internet radio broadcasters including National Public Radio and Yahoo, as well as some small scale mom and pop stations, the Copyright Royalty Board threw out requests to reconsider a ruling that hiked the royalties they must pay to record companies and artists. In addition, the judges declined to postpone a May 15 deadline by which the new royalties will have to be collected. While there is still one more chance to open the case with the court of appeals, it's likely that many webcasters are going to be put out of business by these new rulings. One thing that is for certain is that rulings like these and those to come down the line are certain to change the entire landscape of digital broadcasting.

Next up Jim and Greg talk to Doug Brod, Editor-in-Chief of Spin Magazine, about the upcoming season of“destination festivals.”While previously music fans would be treated to traveling music festivals like Lollapalooza coming to their neck of the woods, now there are large-scale, multi-day outdoor concerts dotted in different areas across the country. Often, these festivals have to compete for your attention by getting the biggest coup. This year it's the Rage Against the Machine reunion at Coachella, the Pearl Jam and Daft Punk performances at Lollapalooza, and a Police reunion at Bonnaroo.

Jim and Greg ask Doug to choose his favorite out of the many destination festivals this summer, and he goes with Coachella because of the line-up and the location. Greg agrees that the Coachella Valley is a spectacular place to experience a rock show, but he also urges music fans to travel two hours outside of Seattle, Washington to attend the Sasquatch Festival in the Gorge Amphitheater. It's another meeting of spectacular natural surroundings and an impressive bill of bands. Jim thinks that people will get the most bang for their buck at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, which features a number of indie bands, plus groups like Sonic Youth performing entire albums for a very reasonable price. But, being the sand and sun hater that he is, Jim won‘t pick his favorite summer festival. He’s actually ready for the entire phenomenon to die out and for rock to return to smoky clubs where it belongs.

Jim and Greg talk to Chicago Tribune Television Critic Maureen Ryan about the recent "Sanjaya phenomenon" on American Idol. Our hosts have long avoided talking about this popular TV show because, frankly, it has little to do with music. But, they were intrigued by the curious forces at work to keep the apparently talentless contestant Sanjaya Malakar on the show, and wanted to turn to Mo Ryan to find out why he became so popular, and why he couldn‘t survive. The only sense these critics can make out of Sanjaya’s reign is that for one brief moment the pop forces (pre-teens who love Sanjaya's androgynous, harmless sex appeal) and the punk forces (Vote for the Worst.com, Howard Stern, etc.) came together with one common goal: to save Sanjaya (and possibly take down the show). The convergence of these two sets was a rare occurence in popular culture, and it seems they weren‘t strong enough to prevent Sanjaya’s elimination. American Idol proved itself to be a more powerful“death star”than anyone expected.

For more information on music festivals, check out the footnotes below.

Go to episode 73