Tom Morello loves Public Enemy, so much so that he would have set aside eligibility requirements and enshrined them in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame much earlier than their induction last night. “Public Enemy is certainly a first-ballot inductee,” Morello said backstage at the induction ceremony. “I would say skip all 25 years for them. They go straight in the chute.”
Morello cites Public Enemy as one of his biggest musical influences. “[Their work] was both revolutionary sounds and revolutionary lyrics,” Morello said. “One thing I’ve always taken to heart is there’s a Chuck D lyric, ‘The rhythm, the rebel,'” he continued. “I always took that to mean that the music you’re playing can be as revolutionary as any words that you sing on top of it.” Morello even said he tried to “overtly copy” the Bomb Squad’s production and Terminator X’s turntablism in his own guitar playing.
The Rage Against the Machine guitarist also sang the praises of new inductees Rush. “They eschewed some of the cornier trappings of metal,” Morello said. “I was always drawn to metal, but the devil stuff and the groupie stuff never really spoke to me. But they were great musicians. Three of the greatest musicians on their particular instrument somehow all managed to be in one band.”
Morello closed with some thoughts on touring with Bruce Springsteen in Australia this year. “To be able to stand onstage with the band that played ‘Born to Run’ and the guy who wrote it on a nightly basis is pretty amazing,” he said. “People have asked – they know I’m a Bruce fan – ‘Was it a dream come true?’ No, because it was something I never dared to dream.
Interview by Matt Diehl and Patrick Doyle; text by RJ Cubarrubia.