HOLLYWOOD — What do the Clash, Latin-American revolutionary Che Guevara and Shaquille O'Neal have in common?
Well, for one, the seemingly unrelated trio appear in Audioslave's new video for "Original Fire." The reason? All are considered influential rebels by the band.
"The video, in some ways, is about the thread of music and cultural figures with integrity that were important parts of our history — how all those streams flow together to where we are today," guitarist Tom Morello explained.
Graphic designer/video director P.R. Brown, whose résumé includes videos for Matisyahu and Death Cab for Cutie, directed the clip last week in Los Angeles. Brown used miles of stock tape to create classic band-flier imagery that he then projected onto walls as well as onto Audioslave themselves.
"From the Clash to Malcolm X, from Evel Knievel to Shaq to Che Guevara to James Brown — all are going to be in this video where we're rocking furiously," Morello added.
The guitarist, who described "Original Fire" as hard-rocking, but with a '70s funk and soul influence, has been talking up the song since March (see "New Audioslave LP: 'Led Zeppelin Meets Earth, Wind & Fire' ").
"It's a jam," he said last week. "It's one of those songs where the genesis was a riff that I had for a very, very long time and imagined it happening in a certain way. When we started jamming in the room, the song morphed into something completely different, completely unexpected and a lot better than I ever imagined it being."
"Original Fire" is the first single from the band's third LP, Revelations, which is due in September. Brendan O'Brien, who mixed Audioslave's Out of Exile and Soundgarden's Superunknown, and produced Rage Against the Machine's Evil Empire and The Battle of Los Angeles, helmed the sessions.
"We came off tour and wrote the songs very quickly," Morello said. "It's a band that's only five years old making our third record, which is very exciting to us. It's a band that's very prolific and we felt we were hot off the road, so we got in the studio, wrote songs that we love, cranked them out and are excited to have it coming out."
Since recording Revelations, Morello has returned to the studio as a producer, overseeing two tracks for his old friend Miles Solay's band, Outernational (see "Tom Morello Thinks Outernational Could Be The Next Rage Against The Machine").
"In some ways they're like a world-music Rage Against the Machine," Morello said. "Outernational uncompromisingly tells the truth, and they paint a picture of the world the way they see it and a way that we don't hear on the radio and television as much as people need to. They're very political, but super exciting."