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