Earle, Bragg, Morello Demand 'Truth'

Political singer/songwriters Steve Earle and Billy Bragg will join ex-Rage Against The Machine/current Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello next month for the Tell Us the Truth tour.

Political singer/songwriters Steve Earle and Billy Bragg will join ex-Rage Against The Machine/current Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello next month for the Tell Us the Truth tour. Timed to coincide with the start of the 2004 presidential race, the three-week tour of U.S. clubs is slated to kick off in early November. Due to scheduling conflicts, Earle won't join the others until Nov. 11.

Before extending to the Northeast, the tour -- which will also feature Lester Chambers of the Chambers Brothers -- will dip into Florida in time for the forthcoming World Trade Organization meetings in Miami, Earle tells Billboard.com. According to Earle, Morello, famed for his innovations and often unusual technique on the electric guitar, will be playing acoustic sets.

Earle says the tour is looking, quite simply, for more honesty and accountability from the mass media in their coverage of elections and the wars in Afghanistan and, especially, Iraq.

"What it's about is," he says, before stopping himself and starting over. "The difference between this war and the Vietnam war, was in the Vietnam war, you'd give a bottle of whiskey to a helicopter pilot and get out and see what's going on for yourself. This war, you have to, like, suck Republican d**** for access. Most of the people who are reporting [this war] are men, and if you trained a man with a military unit, and he has to go through training with them, he becomes part of the unit, and that's what embedded journalists do.

"It's just like the Florida elections," he continues. "Everyone can tell you all about hanging chads, but that's not what happened in Florida. That's not the important story. The important story in Florida is that hundreds of thousands of people had their names deleted from the voting roles because they had the same name as someone else who committed a felony, because in Florida felons, can't vote.

"The point is, the media is aware that that's what happened, but they haven't touched it. I mean, it's there. It's been on page six, but it never became front-page news, and it's not an accident that it didn't become front-page news. They were advised, I believe, that 'Hey, you wanna keep having access? You want to be out of the loop? Report it if you have to, but that's not front-page news if you want to stay in the loop.' And I think the news outlets are succumbing to that."

As the tour nears, Artemis, is readying the release of "Just an American Boy," an Earle documentary that touches on his controversial song "John Walker's Blues" (inspired by the American-born Taliban fighter) and opposition to the death penalty and U.S. military actions in the Middle East. On Tuesday, (Sept. 23), Artemis issues a two-disc live set of performances from the film, dubbed "Just an American Boy, The Audio Documentary."