HOME SOUNDcheck GOhear GOview GOread GOplaces DOmore


  » Contact Us
  » Advertise With Us

  » Classifieds
  » Newspaper Ads

Tom Morello at El Club, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2018

» See more SOUND CHECK

Tom Morello is more himself than ever these days.

We've known him as the boundary-pushing guitarist in Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, Street Sweeper Social Club and, now, Prophets of Rage. And when the Illinois-born musician, a Harvard University grad and political activist, has recorded on his own, it's been under the moniker of The Nightwatchman.

This year, however, Morello released "The Atlas Underground," his first album under his own name. It finds him working with a variety of collaborators from the rock, rap and EDM worlds, adding another arrow in a musical quiver already bulging with opportunities and ambitions...

Morello, 54, says by phone that "The Atlas Underground" "is a record I've been working on for some years now. I've been tolling in secret while playing with (Bruce) Springsteen, while touring the world with Prophets of Rage, and have been in the lab creating this vast sonic conspiracy of these diverse artists. And, yeah, it is a Tom Morello solo record because its' an electric guitar album. As my 19th album I've released in my career, I think it's about time."

Morello says the concept for the album "was to create a Trojan Horse for rock 'n' roll guitar. I was never a fan of EDM music but a friend turned me onto Knife Party and I was like, 'Wow, this sounds like great heavy metal. It has a great spirit and aggression and tension relief of my favorite Rage Against the Machine songs.' So I reached out to those guys and that got me really thinking about forging a new genre of rock that combines my Marshall (amplifier) stack, riff rock and crazy guitar noises with electronic wizardry and huge bass drops. That to me felt like it was a new sonic frontier and a great guitar playground and a way to make an electric guitar record to inflict my electric guitar vision on a new generation."

Morello is currently presenting a "The Atlas Underground Experience" show, which combines playing, talking and audience interaction. "It's not a straight-up concert; It's a lot of discussion and a sort of career retrospective...and then shredding my ass off. It's really kind of like an intimate evening of some storytelling and some rocking out in a very unapologetic, electric guitar way." Morello is planning a more conventional concert tour for 2019 "to bring these songs to actual life in a very exciting and challenging way."

Morello currently has "about half of what will be the next 'Atlas Underground'-style record done already. I really loved that process with the diverse collaborators and am very much looking forward to continuing in that vein, at least for one more record." He's also recording a new studio album with Prophets of Rage, which has plans to tour next year as well.

Rage Against the Machine is nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's class of 2019, and Morello says that "if there's ever a year where we need some raging against the machine, it would be 2018 -- but of that I have no control. I looked at the ballot and I think of the 15 or so on there I would happily vote for 13 of them." Morello adds that "there has not been discussion" among the Rage members about the nomination or what they might do if selected for induction in April.

Tom Morello brings his Atlas Underground Experience to Detroit's El Club, 4114 Vernor Ave., at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7. $49.50. elclubdetroit.com or theark.org.

Web Site: www.elclubdetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


GO & DO Michigan, an Entertainment Portal
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the written permission of the copyright holder.

© Copyright MediaNews Group, Inc. | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Arbitration