Tom Morello has revealed in a new interview that he wanted to make Audioslave even more political than Rage Against the Machine.

Considering RATM released one of the greatest protest songs of all time, ‘Killing in the Name’, that would be some feat.

Morello discussed Audioslave during a conversation with Guitar World. “We were very fortunate with Audioslave,” he said. “It was our collective belief that for a band to find its greatness, it has to be authentic.

When Tim [Commerford, bass], Brad [Wilk, drums] and I originally formed Audioslave with Chris Cornell in 2001, it was my intention that it would be even more political than Rage. But it soon became clear that wasn’t the direction we wanted to go. The principal difference between Rage and Audioslave is not politics.

The music in Rage is very James Brown and hip-hop-based – it all comes back to the one. In the entire catalog of four Rage Against the Machine albums, there might be zero chord changes. It’s relentless. But with Audioslave, to provide Chris with the harmonic interplay that would allow him to weave great melodies, we had a very different sonic palette.

You know, songs like ‘I Am the Highway,’ ‘Like a Stone’ or ‘Be Yourself’ were chord-based. That pushed us and made for three exciting records.”

Morello also commented on his brushes with the law: “I’ve been arrested four times for civil disobedience.

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The feeling evokes what it might have been like to be in jail in Martin Luther King’s time, where you’re singing songs with your comrades, and you’re on a mission, and you knew that morning that you were gonna be in jail that night. Rage’s protest gig outside the Democratic National Convention in 2000 was really hairy. It felt like we could all die.

There were tens of thousands of people hemmed in and the police gave everyone a five-minute warning to disperse – then attacked the crowd after about 30 seconds. My girlfriend, who’s now my wife, got hit with a baton. We were trying to get out with our lives, you know?”

It’s been many years since either Audioslave or Rage Against the Machine released an album but Morello hasn’t stopped. RATM’s 2020 reunion tour was unfortunately cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic but he still released a solo five-track EP earlier this year, titled Comandante. It included an ultimate guitar battle with Slash (‘Interstate 80’) and a tribute to the late Eddie Van Halen (‘Secretariat’).

Check out ‘Killing in the Name’ by RATM:

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