Rock fans got an extra special early Christmas present last December, when news arrived that The Boss would be bringing his Wrecking Ball tour to Australia this March, playing his first shows down under in a decade.

Fans responded with the appropriate fervour, leading to mass sell outs in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and extra special shows at Hanging Rock, with Jimmy Barnes and The Rubens playing support to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

But the 63-year-old musical hero and his legendary six-piece backing band will be heading to Australia with a key member of their ensemble missing. Guitarist Steven Van Zandt won’t be making the flight due to his commitments on a new TV show called Lillyhammerreports Rolling Stonebut rather than leave his legion of fans in the lurch, Springsteen’s pulled out his little black book to find a suitably high profile replacement.

Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello will be be playing axe with Springsteen, and the members of the E Street Band – featuring Max Weinberg, , Patti Scialfa, Garry Tallent, Roy Bittan, and Nils Lofgren – for their upcoming Australian Tour where they’re touted t0 play marathon sets of up to 3 1/2 hours.

Morello is a neat fit for the tour, not only has the guitarist guested on Wrecking Ball cuts like ‘Jack of All Trades’, and ‘This Depression’, but he’s got a history with Springsteen in the live setting, having joined him previously on multiple occasions – including last year’s SXSW and the 25th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame festivities in 2010.

Morello’s former band also regularly covered Springsteen’s ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’, including a recorded version for their 2000 album Renegades, and then there’s the fact that the pair share a healthy view towards political and social activism.Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello will be be playing axe with Springsteen, and the members of the E Street Band for their upcoming Australian Tour

Meanwhile, Steve Van Zandt’s absence is due to his commitments to the Norwegian-American television series, where the guitarist plays the starring role as  wiseguy Frank Tagliano, a New York gangster who tries to start his life anew in the titular town of Lillehammer in freezing Norway.

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Van Zandt plays a similar figure to that of his popular role as Silvio Dante on The Sopranos, and speaking of the legendary HBO drama, Van Zandt reunited with the show’s creator Brian Chase on his upcoming ‘music-driven, coming-of-age’ movie, Not Fade Away

Set in New Jersey in the 1960s, the film revolves around a teenage drummer who believes he’s got what it takes to tackle The Rolling Stones, with James ‘Tony Soprano’ Gandolfini playing the boy’s disapproving father.

Steven Van Zandt is acting producer and musical supervisor on the film, providing a rich soundtrack of garage rock as well as the direction of the fictional band in the film, crafting tunes to rival that of the Stones’ sixties output.

Van Zandt will return to The E Street Band fold and reunite with Springsteen on the Wrecking Ball tour, when they check in to play Oslo, Norway, where the E Street guitarist is currently filming Lilyhammer

In related news, Tom Morello may not be the only Rage Against The Machine alumni headed to Australia this March who’s playing fill-in to a legendary musician.

Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk could possibly be joining the British forefathers of heavy metal, Black Sabbath for their forthcoming headline tour.

British metal forefathers Black Sabbath are headed to Australia for their first tour with the classic reunion lineup in nearly 40 years – featuring Ozzy Osborne, guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, and possibly Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk.

It was recently revealed that Wilk was the studio drummer for the band’s newly-christened, Rick Rubin-produced studio album 13, filling in the gap left by the absence of original drummer Bill Ward, on the band’s first new studio album together in more than 33 years.

Though it’s not confirmed yet whether the Rage Against The Machine drummer will join the band on the road or not, including their Australian visit, it seems like a logical fit.

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