Rage Guitarist's Metal Roots

That would be Morello, at the right, rockin' hard in Rage Against The Machine. Photo by Jay Blakesberg.

Everybody has to start somewhere, right? So, just like arty

mullet-head Paul Hewson wasn't always supercool Bono, cheesy metal guitar

slinger Tom Morello wasn't... well, he was always Tom Morello, but somewhere

between the break-up of his early band Lock Up and the formation of Rage

Against the Machine, he threw out his leopard skin Living Colour songbook and

got in touch with his serious chops.

On May 20, Manifesto Records will

re-issue the only album by Lock Up, Morello's pre-Rage band. The album is ,

called Something Bitchin' This Way Comes and, judging from the Van

Halen-inspired MTV metal riffage and extra muenster lyrics, crooned by future

Extra Fancy singer Brian Grillo, Morello's come a long way since his early

days.

Lock Up formed in 1987 and worked the L. A. club scene; their lone

album was released by Geffen in 1990. With by-the-numbers tunes like "Half Man,

Half Beast," it's no wonder the group's cookie-cutter metal funk got them a few

spins on MTV during that video channel's painfully-long flirtation with all

things fluffy and metallic.

Harboring next to none of the groundbreaking

guitar pyrotechnics that have branded him as one of most inventive, exciting

guitarists of his era, Morello's noodly fret-dancer playing on Bitchin'

is loaded with brief glimpses of a player figuring out his true sound. The

same, however, can't be said for Grillo, who sings lyrics like "Punch, you like

to get fucked up on it/ Punch, you know, it's what you put in it/ Tell me why I

gotta hold your hand/ One more time, I gotta drag ya home again/ You're punch,

you're punch drunk."

While nobody seems to know what happened to bassist

Chris Beebe and drummer Vince Stertag, it's unlikely they're flying as high as

Morello is now. How high? Although it might disillusion some of their more

stridently lefty fans, a source at RATM's label, Epic, let it slip that Rage

are getting along so well with their new pals in U2 that the Irish rockers have

invited their proteges to board the U2 corporate jet when bouncing from gig to

gig on the PopMart dates. Let's see...hobnobbing with supermodels and

high-flying rock stars or ripping off that wanky solo in "Everywhere I Go It

Looks Like Rain?"