Rage Against The Ma­chine’s tub thumper Brad Wilk has got a mean case of the blues.

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“I was the kId wIth the record player, mov­Ing the nee­dle back to square one ev­ery three mIn­utes to try and learn ev­ery bIll ward fIll that I could.”

brad wIlk

Brad Wilk has played for some of the great­est names in rock: Rage Against The Ma­chine, Au­dioslave – heck, that’s him play­ing drums on the lat­est Black Sabbath al­bum, 13. His new­est band is The Last In­ter­na­tionale, a clas­sic rock- in­flu­enced trio which car­ries on Rage’s sense of so­cial and po­lit­i­cal aware­ness. Vo­cal­ist/ bassist Delila Paz and gui­tarist Edgey Pires are very dif­fer­ent col­lab­o­ra­tors than Tom Morello, Chris Cor­nell, Zack de la Rocha or Tony Iommi, but as with ev­ery mu­si­cal sit­u­a­tion he finds him­self in, Wilk sounds right at home.

Edgey and Delila have been play­ing to­gether for a few years, but how did you come to join the fold? It doesn’t seem like you’ve had long to build up the kind of mu­si­cal rap­port you seem to have.

Edgey and Delila were play­ing to­gether for about four years be­fore I joined in De­cem­ber to make this de­but al­bum on Epic Records. I was just go­ing to play on a cou­ple of songs, but the chem­istry re­ally worked and we just kept go­ing, kept record­ing more songs and writ­ing more songs, and it just seemed to flow re­ally well.

This is prob­a­bly the most overtly blues- rock thing you’ve done.

Rage Against The Ma­chine and Au­dioslave were com­pletely steeped in the blues but we had a lot of other audio aes­thet­ics around it to sort of take your mind off the fact that we’re just rip­ping off the blues. But the mu­sic al­ways has been the blues. The ini­tial riffs them­selves are com­pletely based in blues.

You’ve re­leased a few videos on­line of the band play­ing in acous­tic mode too. Is that a side that we’ll be hear­ing more of?

I think we def­i­nitely would like to work on an acous­tic set and just break­ing it down in the mid­dle of the set to an acous­tic vibe. And I’m ex­cited to see what that’s go­ing to turn into be­cause I think we all have a lot of great ideas about that.

Are you us­ing a stripped- down drum setup for this?

It’s the same style four- piece kit that I’ve al­ways used. When we started out I ac­tu­ally used a three­piece kit and then added to it, and now I’ve stuck with this. Some­times I add an ex­tra tom but I try and keep it ba­sic. I’m in­ter­ested in work­ing with other sounds that aren’t nec­es­sar­ily drums but are things you can hit and make in­ter­est­ing noises with.

So we’ve gotta ask: what was it like to play on an al­bum by Black Sabbath?

That was an amaz­ing thing for me. Those guys were my he­roes grow­ing up. I was the kid with the record player, mov­ing the nee­dle back to square one ev­ery three min­utes to try and learn ev­ery Bill Ward fill that I could. So go­ing into that was a bit nervewrack­ing and su­per ex­cit­ing, and then after a week it calmed down and I was in the stu­dio mak­ing a record with them. It all hap­pened so fast that I didn’t re­ally have too much time to think about it, so after it was done I re­mem­ber re­ceiv­ing the record – after I’d just went through the whirl­wind of mak­ing this record with them, and they’re all great guys who were all there ev­ery day – but when I got the record back I didn’t re­mem­ber a lot of it and I re­mem­ber be­ing pleas­antly sur­prised!

What’s your Sabbath era of choice?

Prob­a­bly Para­noid. But there are so many! I love Vol. 4; It’s com­pletely un­der­rated. It sounds so dis­tinct and unique. It sticks out to me as al­ter­na­tive mu­sic be­fore al­ter­na­tive mu­sic was a thought in any­one’s head.

We Will Reign is out now on sony.

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