20 Questions with Tom and Tim

transcribed by [email protected]

1. I recently had the opportunity to see the controversial F.W. DeKlerk speak here at Cornell University. I know that you've fovcusedon injustice in the Western Hemisphere. Habe you examined the state of things in South Africa, or have you been infulenced in any way by the activities of F.W. DeKlerk or Nelson Mandela? - Amar Gavhane

Tom: I wrote my senior thesis on student uprisings in South Africa, and participated in divestment demonstrations at Harvard [university]. Mandela is a hero. DeKlerk is a war criminal.

Timmy: No, I was playing the bass that day.

2. I would like to know what position you take on abortion laws. -Cristina Goncalves

Tom: We have participated in "Rock For Choice" benefit concerts.

Timmy: Pro Choice.

3. What can you tell us about the upcoming new album/tour? There was a recent quote from you that the tour "will incorporate everything which the rich and wealthy classes in america fear and despise." What form(s) will that take?

Tom: That was the tour with Wu-Tang in '97. The rich and weathy are still trembling in its wake last time I checked.

Timmy: Lots of piano and choir shit.

4. Why so long between albums?

Tom: I'd love to make an album a year. Some of us work more slowly.

Timmy: Refuelling takes time.

5. In a capitalist society, where buying a cup of coffee means exploting some bean picker on a hill in South America, or buying a pair of sneakers exploits some kid in a Singpore sweatshop, how do you consume anything without getting any blood on your hands?

Tom. You do your best to hold the most egregious offenders accountable, like Guess Jeans.

Timmy: Go vegan.

6. Will the new MP3 technology, as Chuck D predicts, revolutionize the music industry, and put the tools for worldwide distribution, and the profits from it, in the hands of the musicians themselves? Should it be free?

Tom: Chuck D knows alot more about computers than I do.

Timmy: Music format has always been changing the way we hear music.

7. U2 are currently lining up benefit concerts for this summer and next New Year's Eve, to lobby for the elimination of all Thrid World debt. REM and Lauryn hill have expressed interest so far. Will you be involved? What do you think of the idea?

Tom: Will Shell Oil be sponsoring this concert? Do World Bank members get preerential seating?

Timmy: Sounds fun.

8. What do you think will happen at midnight on december 31, 1999? Where are you going to be? Is the Y2K bug an invention of Microsoft, ensuring mass sales of their anti-Y2K softwear?

Tom: See Chuck D about that one as well.

Timmy: I will be locked and locked.

9. Who do you think really runs things- corporations or governments? Is there a difference?

Tom: Please.

Timmy: I believe you can break it down to one high- ranking military jackass.

10. Since politics in America seems to be based on horse trading, compromise, power-broker manipulation and lobbyist influence, isn't it impossible for anyone who believes in fundamental change to maintian their ideals beyond the local level? And how can fundamental change be effected at the level?

Tom: Important gains have been made in the areas of civil rights, workers' rights, women's right and the environment by common people taking action. Just do it.

Timmy: Michael Jordan for President

11.[Social-minded comedian] Bill Hicks maintained that "all politicians are liars and murderers," and he might have added "whores and thieves." How can that fundamentally change until you change peoples hearts and minds? How do you do that?

Tom: You elect more comedians like Bill Hicks to office.

Timmy: Micheal jordan for President.

12. How have you reconciled raging against the machine and yet being rich and famous? Similarly, how do you reconcile that rage with releasing your record though that machine - a major multinational corporation, Sony, which owns munition plants, for example? Similarly, how do you deal with all of the phony, insincere weasels that sometimes seem to dominate the record industry?

Tom: Activists never ask this question, only rock journalists.

Timmy: Ignore them and rock fools.

13. You licensed a track for the Godzilla movie, and Tom re-did "Another Brick In The Wall" For The Faculty. In these cases, aren't you allowing yourselves to be used to sell a hypocritical Hollywood product? Would you allow one of your songs to be used on Dawson's Creek?

Tom: Dawson's Creek needs a little more Rage Against The Machine, don't you think?

Timmy: Check the lyrics of "No Shelter".

14. Do you feel that the Abu-Mumia Jamal benefit concert accomplished the consciousness- raising it set out to do ? Weren't alot of the people There just to see the bands? Reports have indicated that most of the younger concertgoers didn't give a shit about the agenda (e.g., cries of "Hand him," pamphlets being tuned in to papre airplanes). How do you deal with the ignorance of indifference amoung your audience?

Tom: The Mumia Benefit was a huge success. Enough money was raised to fund the entire Federal Appeals process, and for a change the truth got out.

Timmy: If one pamphlet makes it home, out job is done.

15. Have you ever played Cuba? Are you interested in doing so? Are you aware that you can fly in via Canada?

Tom: I've spent several weeks in Cuba (don't tell the CIA). We plan on playing there when the album is finished.

Timmy: No. Yes. No.

16. What are you feelings on the America's gun laws?

Tom: American guns should be outlawed whenever they're shipped to some Third World juta.

Timmy: Right to bear arms; can't forget that.

17. If you weren't a member of Rage Against The Machine, what jungle would you be fighting in? How would you ensure that your voice was being heard?

Tom: What jungles have you got? I admire those that take a stand whereever they are: The schoolyard, the shop floor, the Capitol steps, the concert stage.

Timmy: Playing music is being heard.

18. Besides the Wu-Tang Clan, with whom you're supposed to tour, what hip-hop groups are you feelin'?

Tom: Loving DMX, Jermaine DuPree.

Timmy: Hip-hop and R&B is the only form of music where people are pushing the envelope.

19. With so much injustice in the world, how do you choose what causes to devote yourselves to ? Do you ever experience "cause fatigue"?

Tom: Interview fatigue, yes. Cause fatigue, no.

Timmy: Make music or play music.

20. With all due respect, doesn't your stance feel a bit humourless at times? Maybe there's nothing to laugh about, but don't you ever just want to - even for a minute - give up the agenda, kick back, indulge in the intoxicant of your choice, have some laughs and get laid?

Tom: How do you know I'm not drunk, laughing,and getting laid while I'm answering all these questions?

Timmy: We are real people; you'd be surprised.