As if putting out his first album under his own name wasn’t a big enough deal this year, Tom Morello has some even bigger plans for next year — on his own and with his band Prophets of Rage.
Morello has been promoting his guest-filled album The Atlas Underground with what he calls The Atlas Underground Experience, which he describes as “an intimate evening of some storytelling and some rocking out in a very unapologetic, electric guitar way, just shredding my ass off.” But during 2019 he intends to hit the road with a “proper tour…to bring these songs to actual life in a very exciting and challenging way.” Morello is working with Roger Waters’ artistic director Shawn Evans on the show, which will present the music Morello created with a guest list that ranges from Marcus Mumford and Gary Clark Jr. to Portugal. The Man, Knife Party, Bassnector, Steve Aoki and many more.
“You can’t expect Mumford and Sons and Rise Against and Wu-Tang Clan and Killer Mike to be there at every show,” Morello notes. “We want to create a show where, when guests arrive, it will be fantastic but you will not miss (the guests) if they’re not there.”
Morello is also working on a new Prophets of Rage album and plans to tour with the group during 2019 as well. He’s also moving “full speed ahead” on his next Tom Morello album, with about half done already. “I really loved that process and working with the diverse collaborators, and I very much look forward to continuing in that vein, at least for one more record.” Morello had previously recorded as The Nightwatchman, playing mostly acoustic-based protest songs, but The Atlas Underground “is a Tom Morello solo record because it’s an electric guitar album. It’s a record I’ve been working on for some years now, toiling in secret while playing with (Bruce) Springsteen, while touring the world with Prophets of Rage. As my nineteenth album I’ve released in my career, I think it’s about time.”
Morello’s other endeavor for 2019 may involve Rage Against the Machine, which is again nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2019. Voting wraps on Dec. 10, with an announcement of the inductees expected later in the week. “If there’s ever a year where we need some raging against the machine, it would be 2018 — but of that I have no control,” Morello says. “I looked at the ballot and I think of the 15 or so on there I would happily vote for 13 of them.” Morello adds that “there has not been discussion” among the Rage members about the nomination or what they might do if selected for induction in April.