Drum heroes week: Brad Wilk
21st Sep 2014 | 06:14
Walloping like Bonham, but laying back like Clyde – it's Rage Against The Machine's Brad Wilk
Photo: Paul R Giunta/Corbis
The jazz-schooled drummer returned triumphantly with influential LA rap-rockers Rage Against The Machine two years ago, after a Facebook campaign got them to the Christmas Number One in the UK. It had been a long time coming. After four albums, including their incredible self-titled debut featuring 'Killing In The Name', Rage had disbanded for a decade. Drummer Brad Wilk didn't stay idle though, forming Audioslave with Rage's Timmy C and Tom Morello plus Soundgarden's Chris Cornell.
In 2005, Brad spoke to Rhythm about the two bands he's bossed from the drum seat.
On joining Rage…
"Up to that point I never felt like I was in a band where I could play all the styles I knew I could play until Rage came along. I placed advertisements saying I was looking to form a band that would encompass many different styles to make a unique type of music and I was fortunate enough to find three other people who were equally into that. Tom responded to my ad in 1991 and it just grew from there. We played for three months in a warehouse, recorded and started playing shows and making our own tapes. The insane thing was that from the first show we had record company interest. It happened so incredibly fast."
On the differences between Rage and Audioslave…
"With RATM, I always had someone rapping over the stuff we came up with so it actually made sense to play these really percussive beats. However, with Chris I realised right away when I would play percussive stuff over his lush vocals I found myself yielding to the song, holding back a little, going underground and finding the intricacies of my playing in the ghost notes and grace notes. That was so challenging for me."
On his Bonham-like wallop and swing, and tendency to play a little behind the beat…
"To me, the backbeat is everything. I spent years listening to players who play on the backbeat. Bonham is absolutely one of my biggest influences. Even Bill Ward, when he played verse, he played on the back end of things. Same with Clyde Stubblefield and Dennis Chambers. They have the same fat approach to the backbeat. A lot of that whole backbeat thing has to do with where you put the grace note from the same drum that comes just before the 'one'. I really believe that that's something that is more felt than heard."
Check out:Rage Against The Machine: 'Killing In The Name', 'Bullet In The Head', 'Mic Check', 'Sleep Now In The Fire'; Audioslave 'Cochese'