Youíve been on a press tour at the moment?
For about the past week and a half or so. Weíve been over in Japan and Australia and now New Zealand.
Do they get what youíre all about in Japan?
So youíve been talking your head off lately?
Yeah, quite a bit, but itís kind of exciting, cuz Iíve finally got
something to be talking my head off about.
Whatís the question youíre absolutely sick of hearing?
"the question Iím absolutely sick of hearing"? uh, you know I can be honest with you, thereís no one question that sticks out in mind that makes me ill as of yet. Well, you know what, the one question that comes up so much is ďWhy does it take so long. Why does it take four years in between recordsĒ But you know, I can understand why people ask that.
So what is the reason?
Oh my god youíre kidding me!
Were you pressured at all when Evil Empire came out? A lot of people I know were kinda disappointed with the album and got the feeling that it had been kinda forced.
Well it was about four years in between those records too so I donít know why people would get that impression. I just think it was a very dark record, and I donít know if people necessarily wanted to hear Rage Against the Machine making a completely dark record. And maybe they were expecting to hear Killing in the Name over again.† We just werenít at that spot. We were in a very dark spot, and it sounds like it. I canít say that any of us were necessarily disappointed with the record, but I think weíve kinda come full circle with this record and made it for all the right reasons. And I can hear it, itís just so much broader than Evil Empire
I suppose Evil Empire just didnít have enough songs with the word ďfuckĒ in them.
Thatís what I was actually thinking, listening to the 5 songs Iíve heard† off the new album, they sound quite upbeat. I mean theyíre still angry, but something about them sounded more uplifting.
Yeah, I just think Evil Empire was so dark I think that this record is definitely more upbeat and it has anger, but thereís emotions of hope as well and I think we felt a lot better about doing this, and more confident going into it, and all of us were in real good place with each other. So I think it really exudes that.
Does it aggravate you that youíll have this album finished, but itíll be months until itís released and people can get to hear it.
Umm, no itís not necessarily aggravating. Itís all part of the process. And it actually makes it that much more exciting, like the horse waiting for the game to open you know? We canít wait to go on tour and do a world tour and do some proper shows.
I saw your performance at Woodstock í99 and it sounds like a lot of people are blaming Rage Against The Machine for all the terrible things that happened.
Itís unbelievable that that kinda happened. That makes me kinda sick.
What actually did happen?
Well the band that went on right before us pretty much incited a riot. After every song was just telling the crowd to start breaking shit. So they did. I donít think it had anything to do with us, and I think if there was one show that I regret playing, it would be Woodstock.
Which is kinda sad because it seems like itíd be one show youíd really want to play.
When it turned out they were charging four dollars for a bottle of water, and not letting kids bring in their own water in and counts of rape and people starting riots and whatnot, it just didnít feel so great to play that show at all.
It was just putting the name Woodstock on a festival to sell tickets.. Totally! After all was said and done it unfortunately felt like that. Definitely one of the more regrettable shows.
The band before you was Limp Bizkit right?
Do you feel it was because of them, or because so many people were pushed together in one place, it was bound to explode?
I think it was a combination of both. IT was almost 100 degrees and a lot of people didnít have any water and people were getting really irritable and I think he (Fred Durst) push the right buttons.
Or the wrong ones...
Whatís your take on your bands like Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock who are pretty much on the rap-metal bandwagon? Itís interesting to me that back in í92 we were doing it and now thereís just the surgance of this music in mainstream, but I think a lot of it is missing musically and the message arenít really hitting like we are. On one hand it builds our confidence that weíre still a viable band that was around in í92, and it makes us feel that stronger about putting out this record and accomplishing what we wanna accomplish† with it.
Is there a title for the new album yet?
Itís called The Battle of Los Angeles
Whatís that come out of?
Los Angeles is sort of a microcosm of the rest of the world or the United States in general. Itís a cultural mixing pot and everyoneís sort of fighting for it. I just think that thereís so many different problems and issues going on within Los Angeles itself. It does feel like a battle living in LA period.
Are you guys all friends outside of the band?
Well, you know, weíre in this band so much that I think that when we have time off we like to separate so when we go back to being in the band we actually wanna see each and other and wanna hang out with each other.
So you all get on ok? No fist fights?
Ahh, thereís no fist fights, but we have our fair share of arguments. There was a point in time when we werenít sure we wanted to continue the band. I think that now weíve kinda come full circle, and have matured a bit and have a better understanding of each other.
For a band with such strong political views, do all your own personal views correspond?
If anything, on the political side our views align, so thatís the least of our problems.
Do you all go to the protests?
Weíre all involved in different things. When weíre not collectively together as a band on something, Tomís involved with Unite, and Zacks involved with the Zapitisa movement in Mexico, and Iím involved with the Los Angeles Free Clinic which is right down the street from my house, which basically gives medical and psychological attention to homeless people who wouldnít normally be able to receive this sort of attention in America.
Whatís your view of the death penalty?
Iím pretty much opposed to capital punishment. I donít think that itís an answer. Itís definitely not a solution to a problem. Itís just the opposite. Attention needs to be put on the root of the problem rather than the end of the problem.
Do you think the racial issues in America still as bad as they have been in the past?
I think they tend to bubble up and seem that way. But I think youíll find there are areas where it seems to have gotten better. I think the better understanding people have of others cultures the less the tension is. On the otherhand the more people isolate themselves and get involved in computers the less of an understanding they have of one another. Itís going both ways and itís hard to tell.
Whatíre you going to be doing at New Years Eve?
Thatís a good question. Hopefully playing a show.
Anywhere in particular?
I would have said Mexico city, but† I think weíre going to playing there on the 27th. Hopefully, New York City. That wouldnít be too bad.
Most of the interviewees Iíve talked to donít really listen to the genre of music their band is in. How about you?
Iíve always, from an age of 8 or 9 years old, kept my musical interests as wide open and possible. From, Jazz† John Coltrane, Never Mind the Bollocks, Red Snapper, to the Chemical Brothers, to Rolling Stones or Led Zepplin or the Who or the Pretenders. I listen to all types of music.
What was the last album you bought?
The new Flaming Lips record. Itís an amazing record.
Whatís the one album in your collection youíre most ashamed of.
Iím gonna have to think about that for a minuteÖÖ.
Iím not a big Britney Spears fan. I donítí have any Spice Girls records. I
donít have any New Kids on the Block.
Youíre a disappointment. And you call yourself a musician!
Whatís your favourite RATM song?
Ooh, my favourite would have to be from the new record called Ashes on the Fall. I think itís the most challenging song to play and it takes many twists and turns. I think itís our most interesting song. Either that or No Shelter.
What about a least favourite?
Hmmm... itíd have to† be Settle for Nothing. I just never really liked it from the get go. I like the quiet parts better than the hard parts.
Do you ever get tired of playing the older song like Killing in the Name?
I donít man, as weird as that seems, I feel priviledged or lucky to be playing them. On stage the four of us have a chemistry thatís been undeniable since day one.
Have you ever had any bad mishaps on stage?
Yeah, at Woodstock Timmy (RATMís bassist) wound up fumigating me. He poured gasoline all over his amp. During the show I had a fan blowing in my face the whole show, and by the second song I was completely fumigated. I thought Metallica were sabotaging us. I was completely dizzy the whole time.
Has the band ever been threatened before?
Oh yeah. Weíve actually been tear-gassed before at a show in Denmark by the police. That was probably one of the most intense experiences weíve had. We were on a bus at the time.
Are you going to be playing the Big Day Our next year?
I donít know if weíll be here for the big day out, but weíll definitely be here on our own tour some time.