Tom Morello Defends Rage Against The Machine Getting Rich

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Tom Morello defended Rage Against The Machine signing a big money corporate record deal and Colin Kaepernick signing a deal with Nike despite their socialist leanings in a new Shortlist interview.

With a long history of activism against social injustices and certain multinationals, how does the Nike/Kaepernick campaign sit with you?

“I’ve gone to jail for protesting Nike’s sweatshop abuses. Does social justice require capitalist advertising? Rage Against the Machine were signed to Sony. We hoped the music would play a role in abolishing the system through which it was distributed.

“I don’t know what Kaepernick’s opinions are about Nike’s labor abuses, but it has reignited the debate about the issues that he took a knee for.”

Has your activism cooled down since becoming a father?

“When you’re 22, it’s easier to go to jail. If you’re going to be a present parent, you have less capacity to be at the barricades. But while there’s less tear gas in my life now, there’s an even greater commitment – the fate of the planet is literally at stake.

“Women’s rights, civil rights, fighting racism – these are very important. But the planet is being destroyed because of our short-sighted foolishness. And that’s something that my kids and their kids will have to deal with unless we act.”

Morello discussed electronic music in a new LA Weekly interview.

“I also produced a Crystal Method album back in the day, Tweekend, so those were forerunners of it,” Morello says. “I remember talking with Crystal Method and I loved that the combination felt like it was a brand-new thing on the planet. It was heavy and funky, and contained all the tension and release that I loved in rock & roll music, but it was very forward-looking. I told the guys in Crystal Method at the time, ‘If you guys didn’t work so slow, I’d join your band.’ But it took so long with all the computer stuff.

“Here we are some years later, and that idea’s always stuck in my mind. I more recently discovered Knife Party, Bassnectar and Skrillex, all of whom are big Rage Against the Machine fans. I heard similarities in arrangement and power in their music, and I thought, ‘What if we replace their synthesizers with my Marshall stack and go for it?’?”