Tom Morello and Boots Riley were in the midst of mixing the first album by their new band, Street Sweeper Social Club, when nine inch nails’ Trent Reznor called with an invitation.
“He said, ‘Hey, do you want to do the NINJA (nine inch nails and Jane’s Addiction) tour?,’ ” Morello recalls. “Both bands are friends from back in the day, so there’s a very good, family kind of vibe. So we said yes.
“So all of a sudden the leisurely mixing process became, ‘We gotta get this out right now! We’ve got to start rehearsing for the tour tomorrow!’ But it was worth it.”
Street Sweeper Social Club, whose self-titled album comes out June 15, is the latest musical endeavor for Morello, the founding guitarist of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave who also performs under the moniker The Nightwatchman. He and Riley, the leader of rap collective The Coup, have collaborated on numerous occasions and share a penchant for political activism, so forming a band at some point seemed inevitable.
“When Audioslave broke up,” Morello, 44, says, “we had dinner and I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. I told him, ‘We’re in a band. It’s called Street Sweeper Social Club. It’s revolutionary party jams.’ Then I handed him a cassette tape of 24 song ideas and said, ‘Write to this.’
“He was given no choice in the matter — and to date, he hasn’t said ‘yes.’ But it’s been going very well.”
Street Sweeper Social Club performs with Jane’s Addiction and nine inch nails at 6:30 p.m. Sunday (May 31) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $65 and $45 pavilion, $25 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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