Tom Morello on the Original Rage Against The Machine Demo: "Like a Raw Wound"
We did try to re-record it and there was an argument over which version to use. The one that we had recorded with the studio was more polished and reflected some arrangement changes that were arguably better, but there was something in that initial demo take that felt so right, like a raw wound. In what was to be known as alternative bands, one of the things that was not always prized was musicianship. When we were able to harness that technique, that's where it's evident on that take of "Bullet In The Head." Guys can play their instruments, but it sounds as raw as the Sex Pistols.
Which song was the toughest to record?
"Take The Power Back" was one that always felt tough. The one that you hear on the record we actually may have sped up a tiny bit to goose it in the energy department. At the end of the day when we finished the record, we were all very satisfied that it was an accurate representation of what the band was.
What role did Garth Richardson play in shaping the songs?
Garth co-produced the record with us and in some ways we had to learn the recording process while working with him. I think some of the bands he worked with before, like Helmet and the Chili Peppers, those were bands that were more comfortable making records in a more traditional way where you spend a bunch of days getting the drums and build a bass track on top of that. We were not that band. I think that we wasted time in the studio trying to dial in on high-hat sounds and guitar tone, then recreate something that was spontaneously happening anyway. Like I said, we were at our best when we played the songs live in the studio, which after that is how we recorded every record.
What was it like watching footage from that first gig at Cal State Northridge?