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Tom Morello gives us some further insight into RATM and Tool’s history

cultiv8420 sent me an email today telling me to check out an interview with Tom Morello about Tool. At first I presuming it was the Nightwatchmen one he did the other day, but it turns out it’s another interview in which Tom discusses the early days of Rage Against The Machine, and the part in the scene with Tool. He also talks about Maynard appearing on Know Your Enemy:

It feels like the L.A. scene at the time was rock music’s last big revolution. It spawned Rage Against the Machine, Jane’s Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tool, and, later on, Korn.

Certainly, Tool and Rage Against The Machine were helpful in each other’s formations. First of all, we were good friends. Sometimes, we were roommates and whatnot. There was a healthy competitive edge in the first shows. We played a lot of club shows. Some of the footage on the DVD is us opening for Tool. We’d see the latest batch of songs they’d written, and they would see the latest batch of songs we’d written. Then, we’d play a show together where we’d want to be better than we were the last time. Sometimes, we’d get the better of them. Sometimes, they’d get the better of us. It really helped to sharpen our rock knives on the flint of each other’s bands [Laughs].

How did “Know Your Enemy” with Maynard James Keenan on vocals happen?

The funny thing about that is the reason why Maynard sings on that song is originally Perry Farrell was scheduled to sing on it, and we couldn’t find Perry on the day we were recording “Know Your Enemy”. We called him up like, “Hey Maynard, can you come down and rock this?” Of course, he did a spectacular job he did on that. He improvised what he did in the studio. It’s become a classic part of that song.

What was the creative atmosphere like in Los Angeles?

There wasn’t one scene. There were two competitive scenes. There was the Sunset Strip. It was the end of the hair band scene, but it was still going strong. There was this pay-to-play scene in those clubs. On the Eastern side of town—like Crescent Heights and east, there was the scene that Jane’s Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Fishbone had begun. There was a second wave of bands with Tool and Rage Against the Machine. We didn’t have to pay money to play. You could develop an audience and maybe make gas money to make it to rehearsal the next day. We used to go out every night and check out every band. Every band would come to our shows. It was a mutually supportive scene. I think Rage Against The Machine and Tool were the last couple of bands that made it out of there.

It’s an excellent interview, and worth reading if you are a Rage Against The Machine fan.

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11 years ago


11 years ago

Surprised there was no mention of the tool/RATM song (revolutionaries). not great by any means but interesting. I wonder if it was recorded around the time they were touring together.

Reply to  smithersSOCAL
11 years ago

There’s an episode of the Watchman Speaks where he talks about it. Apparently there was another song they did together that he hopes might see the light of day sometime.

11 years ago

Reminds me of interviews I read after Tool and Meshuggah toured together. I really can’t imagine Perry Farrell singing the part on Know Your Enemy, May Jay straight up KILLED his 30 seconds on it.

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