Tom Morello Details Rage Against The Machine Breakup


Tom Morello revealed the first major conversation members of Rage Against The Machine had when the band broke up on The Howard Stern Show. Ultimate-Guitar transcribed his remarks.

“What we did when Rage broke up was – we went over to [producer] Rick Rubin’s house, and Tim [Commerford, bass] and Brad [Wilk, drums] and I were like, ‘What are we gonna do?’

“And we listened to [1991’s] ‘Badmotorfinger’ by Soundgarden a lot, and we said, ‘Maybe we should talk to that dude.’ It was an interesting beginning, particularly the song ‘Slaves and Bulldozers.’

“‘Badmotorfinger’ was hugely influential on me, and I think that Soundgarden, Chris Cornell in particular, helped redeem hard rock music in that fans like me who, I love big riffs, I love heavy-riff rock music, but a lot of times I could not relate to the lyrics, which were either about the devil or groupies, neither of which were significant to me.

“But Soundgarden, along with a couple of other bands – Chris was smart and you could tell, and he was poetic, he had this kind of dark poetry that connected on a level that felt, but he also unapologetically embraced the big-riff rock.

“Rick and I decided we’re gonna go talk to Chris and see what he thinks. Chris lives on the last loneliest castle in Ojai [California] – it’s an hour and a half outside of L.A.

“At the time, being in punk-rock, I’m driving my 1985 Chevrolet Astro van, and Rick doesn’t leave the house unless he’s in a Rolls-Royce that’s in another Rolls-Royce, he must be serious about this because he gets in my van.

“The one thing about Chris’ vocals and his lyrics, there’s a spookiness to them, and there’s a sort of a darker side to them, so I don’t really know what he’s going to be like.

“So we drive up there, it’s dusk, we’re in these tree-lined Transylvanian-like streets, and we get up to the top, and there’s Chris’ kind of spooky mansion, there are some motorcycles up-front, and there’s the long traipsing staircase.

“Rick and I pull up, and the doors open straight-up ‘Adams Family’ style, with nobody opening the doors, and here comes Chris, 6’2”, and he comes kind of slowly loping down the steps, and Rick turns to me and goes, ‘Let’s get the fuck out of here!’

“Like, ‘Our souls are in peril.’ Fortunately, we did not. It was weird. It wasn’t like, ‘Hey guys, come on in!’ But fortunately, we did persevere.