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Rage Against The Machine Vs. Tool: A History Lesson By Tom Morello

Kevin Winter, Getty Images

In the days leading up to Rage Against the Machine’s L.A. Rising show, the band has been posting a series of ‘Guerilla Videos’ to promote the event. The latest video features Rage guitarist Tom Morello talking about the band’s origins and their competition in those early days: a band named Tool.

Much like their early 90′s counterpart Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine will be celebrating their 20th anniversary in a grandiose fashion as well. On July 30th the band will be headlining L.A. Rising at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum; other notables taking the stage that night are English alt-rockers Muse, Rise Against, and Lauryn Hill. To get people fired up for the gig (as if the lineup hasn’t already done so) the band has post a series of homemade behind the scenes videos on their website; which they affectionately call ‘Guerrilla Videos’.

In the most recent installment, guitarist Tom Morello reminisced about the early days of the rap-rock innovators. In high school Tom played guitar in a band named Electric Sheep with Tool’s guitarist Adam Jones on bass; so it was kind of surprising to hear him talk about the competition the two bands shared early on:

“We started playing gigs opening for Tool, who was a local band at the time who had been the subject of a bidding war, and they were good friends of ours, and so we played some very competitive gigs early on with Tool, which were pretty exciting. I think it sharpened both bands’ edges.”

Morello also talked about the band’s aspirations for the sound of the first album:

“I remember the jams that were coming out of Zack’s truck at the time and my band at the time were Nirvana’s first record, Soundgarden ‘Badmotorfinger’, the first Cypress Hill record, and then I remember very clearly having the conversation and we were talking about what we wanted the first Rage record to sound like sonically…in terms of other bands, and we were looking for somewhere between Nirvana’s Bleach and Ice Cube’s most murderous tracks… I think we got pretty close to that.”

Tom recently shot down fans hopes that a new RATM album was in the works, a long standing rumor that was propagated by a poorly translated interview with vocalist Zack de la Rocha.  He later said that new stuff from the band wasn’t out of the question by any means, it just wasn’t happening currently. He clarified the situation further when he told Spinner:

“We’ll let you know if and when there’s new music, you will hear it. If and when there’s a tour, those things will not be kept secret.”

So you’re telling me there’s a chance?

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