Is former Rage Against the Machine Guitarist, Tom Morello, today’s version of Jimi Hendrix?
You’ll have to listen to Tom’s new album, ‘The Atlas Underground’, released tomorrow (October 12), to find out. It’s an ambitious statement regarding an ambitious solo album, but that’s what Morello’s aiming for – to be classified as “the Hendrix of now”. This what he told Metallica’s Lars Ulrich on a recent edition of Ulrich’s online Apple Music show, ‘It’s Electric!’ Why not check out Ulrich’s Tom Morello interview yourself, below.
Morello made his name with the Californian alternative rock quartet, Rage Against the Machine, who disbanded, would you believe, 18 years ago, at the turn of the century. They resurfaced, with the late Soundgarden singer, Chris Cornell, up front, as Audioslave.
Today, the old Rage Against the Machine trio of Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk perform as Prophets of Rage, featuring members of hip-hop groups, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill. Morello also spent a number of years with Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band where his impressive solo on a revamped ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’ became the centrepiece of Springsteen’s live show.
So, even if Tom Morello may not be a guitarist particularly well known to music fans over 40, the 54-year-old New Yorker is up there with the cream of the world’s electric lead guitar aces. When he describes his guitar work on his new album as, “the Henrix of Now,” he means it is music outside the norm which, like the music of Jimi Hendrix, he hopes, will communicate with a mass audience.
To do this Morello has teamed up with an unlikely roster of collaborators led by Marcus Mumford, front-man of the English folk-rock band Mumford & Sons, who features with rappers GZA and RZA from Staten Island hip-hoppers, Wu-Tang Clan. Blues guitar ace Gary Clarke Jr appears with Chicago alternative hip-hopper Kristine Flaherty better known as K.Flay; and Tim McIlrath of Chicago punk rock band, Rise Against, teams up with electro dance music icon, Steve Aoki.
Like all great guitarists, Tom Morello practised eight hours a day, 365 days a year (unlike myself as you may have read in my previous post). “It was an unhealthy madness,” he says. “But it did allow me to amass a technique that allowed me to be in the game.” Get a taste of the new album for yourself.