Rage Against The Machine

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Fifteen months ago, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello officially debuted a new persona, the Nightwatchman, an acoustic-guitar-and-harmonica-wielding protest singer with a deep baritone. This fall, the Nightwatchman returns with The Fabled City, 11 songs of politically charged folk recorded in eight days with producer Brendan O'Brien.

Unlike on 2007's stripped-down One Man Revolution, Morello and O'Brien created bigger, more eclectic arrangements for the new album — which also features vocal spots from Serj Tankian and country rocker Shooter Jennings. "It definitely rocks harder than the first one," Morello says.

Writing the songs for The Fabled City was a cathartic experience for Morello, who channeled his grief about the recent deaths of his aunt and uncle into the lyrics. "This album is a search for hope through music," Morello says. The song "Saint Isabelle," which eulogizes his aunt, draws heavily from Celtic music. "Irish rebel music makes for great fighting songs," he says.

Political-protest tunes remain the core of the Nightwatchman material. "Night Falls" documents a union uprising in the guitarist's childhood home of Marseilles, Illinois, while "Midnight in the City of Destruction" is a first-person account of surviving Hurricane Katrina. "I lost my grandfather, two neighbors and my friend," Morello sings. "I pray that God himself will come and drown the president if the levees break again."

Morello — currently playing festivals with Rage — is psyched to bring some of that energy to his solo tour this fall. "I feel comfortable now playing not only the creepy, dark acoustic songs but also cranking it up on the electric," he says. "That'll definitely be part of the tour."

[From Issue 1058 — August 7, 2008]

Austin Scaggs


Emak47 said...

Hey tom hows it goin man? I was readin that blog and ya say that Irish Rebel songs make for good fightin music hell ya! jus wanted to know what Irish rebel songs ya like? Im Irish by the way from Derry city seen rage at oxegen you guys are the best band fuckin ever!! music and what you stand for! Tíocfáidh Ár Lá!!!

Hope to hear back from ya man!
your Chára
Emmet Morrison

treeDepine said...

Hi tom. my parents named me Luke Scott, i've been reading up on your tour and it sounds like a great event to take part in. I can't get the dream "Battle of Wisconsin Rapids" (my hometown) outta my head. I also think that your Nightwatchman persona is excellent dude. very johnny cash. And honestly Wisconsin Rapids is on some serious decline. The paper mills have been purchased by foreign companies, but paper business isn't good business now adays anyway. Why can't this town create a source of a place to make a livable income!! We want an industry that's not cheaper to do somewhere else! Tom please arm the homeless(me!) "Whatever it takes" and maybe you could kick out the jams real punk hard!!