Morello: Nightwatchman Takes Priority Over Rage

With two albums out, more than 50 songs that have not yet been recorded and a world gone awry, Tom Morello plans to stay busy as the Nightwatchman for the foreseeable future.

But one project he won't be working on is a new album from Rage Against The Machine, which reformed in 2007 after a seven-year break.

"There are no plans for that," Morello tells Billboard. "We've had a wonderful year and a half of playing shows, and I don't see any reason to not play more shows. The thing is there's only so many hours in the musical day, and mine are very occupied right now."

Indeed, Morello declares the Nightwatchman "my principal musical focus, as I see it, for the remainder of my life. From the earliest days of playing open mic nights at coffee houses, it was apparent to me that this music was as important to me as any music I've ever been involved in. It really encapsulates everything I want to do as an artist."

And with the second Nightwatchman album, "The Fabled City," incorporating full band arrangements and electric guitar effects, Morello feels that "I'm able to do everything I want as a musician under this tent."

The artist isn't sure when the next Nightwatchman album will come out, but he's considering using his touring band, which he's dubbed Freedom Fighter Orchestra. He's also planning a collaborative project with rapper Boots Riley, who's been accompanying him on the road for dates supporting "The Fabled City."

Morello insists the Nightwatchman will not let his guard down even during the reign of president-elect Barack Obama -- despite "eerie similarities" of "both having Kenyan fathers and white Midwestern mothers and having attended Harvard and ... being devastatingly handsome."

"On one hand I'm hopeful a new day has dawned," Morello says, "but on the other hand I really do believe that the system under which we live is fundamentally a one corporate party state with two right wings. We still have two unjust wars, a horrendous financial crisis, a gross disparity between rich and poor and the environment sliding into the abyss. All those things have yet to be confronted. It's important for us to address those issues and continue the struggle, which the Nightwatchman will certainly do."

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