Morello Wields Politics On Anti-Bush Tour
Billed as the Nightwatchman, Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello is taking his acoustic guitar, three chords and the truth on the road this fall for more than half of the 20-date Rock Against Bush tour,Billed as the Nightwatchman, Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello is taking his acoustic guitar, three chords and the truth on the road this fall for more than half of the 20-date Rock Against Bush tour, which features Anti-Flag, Midtown, Mike Park, Strike Anywhere, the A.K.A.'s and the Epoxies, among others.
"I've been rocking against Bush for quite some time," Morello tells Billboard.com. "I'm good friends with Anti-Flag, as well as a fan of PunkVoter, which is the sponsor of the tour. I wanted to do my part during this very crucial juncture in American history to help fight the power and to make sure that in these very, very dangerous times that the truth gets out about this administration before the election and that we can galvanize our forces as much as possible, because Bush must go."
In addition, Morello is performing throughout the duration of the Republican National Convention in New York, including a show tomorrow (Aug. 31) at the Knitting Factory and a performance at a labor rally on Wednesday. This afternoon, he and Axis of Justice colleague Serj Tankian can also be heard on New York radio station WXRK, spinning politically charged music and talking about the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
Morello's dalliance in political activism dates back to his erstwhile band Rage Against The Machine. The guitarist says the thrust of the group's 1992 self-titled Epic debut was a response to the policies of the first President Bush, specifically citing album track "Bullet in the Head" as being inspired by "King George the First's propaganda barrage around the first Gulf War."
In 2000, Rage made headlines after creating havoc with a live show outside the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. Earlier this year, Morello showed his support for a grocers' strike in Los Angeles by performing as the Nightwatchman during union protests.
Morello says he has roughly 40 original songs at his disposal for his seven- or eight-song set as part of the Rock Against Bush tour. He characterizes the material as being in the spirit of Woody Guthrie, early Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. Two cuts, "House Gone up in Flames" and "Union Song," can be downloaded from the Nightwatchman Web site.
One thing fans shouldn't expect to hear, however, is any RATM or Audioslave material. "I think it will be one of the most spirited and committed and emphatic performances that you are ever going to see," says Morello. "It is music that cuts to the core of people's lives. There is a tremendous wealth of material available to you at any given second on the radio about songs of love, heartbreak, girls and cars, that are an important part of American life."
"[But] another important part of American life is dead teenage soldiers coming home who died for President Bush's lies," he continues. "And that's something that affects us all very much too. And that is something that we're going to be talking [and] singing about on the Rock Against Bush tour."
Morello expects to finish work on the second Audioslave disc within the next few weeks, with an eye on an early 2005 release.