Rage Against The Machine is making some noise again — but with its past rather than its present.
Despite bassist Tim Commerford’s recent tease that the group may be recording, guitarist Tom Morello tells Billboard RATM, which broke up in 2000 but has reunited for sporadic concerts and short tours since 2007, has “no plans beyond” the Nov. 27 release of “Rage Against The Machine — XX,” a two-CD/two-DVD set commemorating the 20th anniversary of the band’s landmark first album.
“We’re really psyched to be putting this out for the fans,” Morello says. “We are blessed with having perhaps the most passionate fans to ever listen to a bootlegged recording or mosh at a show, so I want to really give them a motherlode of Rage Against The Machine history, past and present.”
The “XX” set includes the original album with three live track B-sides, as well as RATM’s original demo tape that includes the unreleased songs “Darkness of Greed” and “Clear the Lane.” The DVDs include the group’s June 6, 2010 performance in London’s Finbury Park, music videos, live footage from 1992, 1993, 1996 and 1997, and a homemade video if RATM’s first public performance on Oct. 23, 1991 in North Ridge, Calif. Public Enemy’s Chuck D wrote liner notes for the set.
“It doesn’t feel like 20 years, but at the same time it’s sobering that it is,” Morello says. “There’s no crystal ball that we could’ve looked into when we were writing these songs in 1991 that would have told us we’d be talking about this record over two decades later. And I will say that 20 years later we’re able to take pride in the fact that in the history of rock music there has never been a more popular band with as radical politics as Rage Against The Machine, nor has there been a band with more radical politics than Rage Against The Machine that has been as popular. That is the lasting testament to the first shot fired by this album and how it continues to resonate with rebels around the world.”
RATM has been inactive as a band since staging its LA Rising festival during July of 2011 in Los Angeles. Frontman Zack de la Rocha had previously indicated the group would make another album, its first since “Renegades” in 2000, while Commerford told TMZ during October that the band was “maybe” working on a new album. Meanwhile, Morello, who released his most — who released his latest album as The Nightwatchman, “World Wide Rebel Songs,” in 2011 — wouldn’t say yet whether the group would consider similar anniversary treatments for its other three albums.
“One at a time, man!” he says with a laugh. “The good news is that we’ve got time to think about it. I think the next one (‘Evil Empire’) came out in ’96, so there’s four years to decide on that.” But, he adds, there’s a scarcity of possible bonus content. “There have been a lot of shows recorded professionally, but there are not unreleased songs,” he notes.