MTV: How would you describe "The Battle Of Los Angeles?"
Tom Morello: This record is definitely the heaviest Rage record so far. It is hard rockin', like crazy, raw, jagged-edge, saw-tooth, nasty-rock-spirited power rock and roll. It's also the funkiest record that I think we've done as well. I think that Timmy and Brad on this really, clearly set themselves apart as the best rhythm section in rock. And the way that they're able to play these deep, hip-hop, funky grooves and then seamlessly go into some thrashing, nasty-core business is really amazing. Those extremes are polished pretty brightly in this record.
Brad Wilk: I'm really happy with the way this record came out. More than our last two records, actually, because I just think that we really captured more of the essence of our live shows.... It's a much broader record, yet I think it's more intense, yet it also has a lot more subtle parts.
Y Tim K: It's been a process, a long road of just trying to get the way we make music down [on record]. We wrote our songs the same way we have always written them, except it was a lot easier this time, the third time around. The sophomore jinx was out of the way, and we're on to the third record, so we just did it our way, and we knew what our way was, so it made it a lot easier to do. At the end of the day, we went into the studio and had a lot of fun instead of having red-light fever....
We've always been on the same page, musically. There's always been a lot of diversity in what we're into, musically. Where Tom is, like, into something more metal, and Zack is more into the punk rock or hip-hop, you know, [and] me and Brad kind of on two different sides, like, trying to stay together... there's a lot going on. So right now, finally, I listened to the record and I'm like, yeah. This is a good blend of what we're all about.
MTV: How did you come up with the title?
Tom: I think the title speaks to a couple of different things. One is that it speaks to the underlying, not-so-subtle, under-the-surface tension that exists in our fair city. Secondly, I think that Rage Against The Machine is a unique product of the city.
This band couldn't have happened anywhere else. And in the tradition of groups like The Doors and X and Jane's Addiction, it's a band that you can hear the city in every note. You can hear the desperation, the hope, the smog, the heat, the hip-hop, the rock, the glory, and the pain of Los Angeles. There's a front that Hollywood puts out to the rest of the world as to what Los Angeles is, and that's only a very small slice of the real pie. "The Battle Of Los Angeles" is our version of [the] events.
MTV: Tell us about the song "Born Of A Broken Man."
Tim: It's the song that is obviously the emotional side of Rage Against The Machine and Zack De La Rocha. It really is. It's just amazing how it just comes together from a very melodic kind of guitar part to this, just, huge monster of sound and back, and lyrically it's tear-jerking. It's deep. It really is. I love it.
Tom: That song, it really has the most extreme dynamics that we've ever played. It's got probably the mellowest Rage Against The Machine butted up against the heaviest riff ever recorded. All in the same song.
Brad: Wow, I love that song. That song is one of the most intense songs I think we've ever, ever done. It's, like, intensely beautiful... but on the other side, there's just this unholy other side.
MTV: How about "Calm Like A Bomb?"
Tom: I actually played the instrumental version of that song for Les Claypool [of Primus] a few months before the record was done, and he was just like, "What are you guys doing? Like, what the hell is going on?" If Les Claypool is scratching his head, then you know you're on the right track. That's just a really heavy song. I used a $60 [Canadian] guitar I found in a pawnshop in Toronto, and it's tuned super-low, and it just has a real heavy, deep funk groove and a frightening kind of [Black] Sabbath-esque riff, and I think that song has some of Zack's best lyrics that he's ever written.
Tim: It's definitely one of my favorite songs, and it is heavy as hell. The name kind of sums it up.
MTV: Is there more of a sense of band unity or growth on this album?
Brad: I think that we're forever growing on a musical level, and it seems like for this record, all of us just kind of really came to the table. When we go out and play live, I think the energy has always transcended, transcended since day one. So I think, now, we have nine years of growth along with this energy that we've always, always had, and I think it's just getting that much better.
Tom: It's only getting tighter and stronger as it goes on. We felt from the very first rehearsals of this record that we were just onto something pretty great, and the tracks were just terrifying in their inception, and they're even scarier now. And then playing them live is pretty exciting.