Tom Morello & Serj Tankian – “Natural’s Not In It” (Gang Of Four Cover)
Early last summer, when Black Lives Matter protests were in full force across America, Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello and System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian discovered that somehow, some of their fans hadn’t realized their music was political after all these years. (Maybe those particularly dense listeners aren’t lyrics people, but the band names should have at least tipped them off.) One influence on the pair’s radical politics — as well as their approach to music — was Gang Of Four, the revolutionary British post-punk band, whose founding guitarist Andy Gill died last February.
Now Morello and Tankian, who previously teamed up to cover Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” for a Randy Rhoads tribute album, have joined forces once more to help launch an album honoring Gill. A Gang Of Four tribute album called The Problem With Leisure: A Celebration Of Andy Gill And Gang Of Four was in the works before Gill’s death. It was pushed back for a bit but is now scheduled for release in May. Morello and Tankian’s cover of “Natural’s Not In It” (from Gang Of Four’s stone cold classic 1979 debut Entertainment!) is out today as the project’s lead single.
In a press release, Morello writes:
Andy Gill was one of a handful of artists in history who changed the way guitars are played. His band Gang of Four were just incendiary and completely groundbreaking with Andy’s confrontational, unnerving and sublime playing at the forefront. His jagged plague-disco raptor-attack industrial-funk deconstructed guitar anti-hero sonics and fierce poetic radical intellect were hugely influential to me.
There’s also a quote from artist Damien Hirst, who did the cover art, selected by Gill himself before his death:
Everybody who grew up with Gang of Four in their lives can remember how mind-blowing and forward-thinking and filled with creative energy it was at the time and guess what? It still is now. It’s art. Art that’s reaching out of this world yet somehow still down to earth. It’s so great to be involved with this release and to see and hear a new generation of musicians paying tribute to Andy Gill’s incredible music. My artwork ‘Dog with Bone,’ which Andy picked for the cover from a few ideas I had, is from a new series of giant pipe cleaner animals based on little ones made in my studio by kids. I think he wanted this work for the cover because it’s new and unexpected and in your face and hard not to like, they make adults feel like children and Andy always wanted to celebrate that.
The full list of contributors to The Problem With Leisure has not yet been revealed. In the meantime, check out Morello and Tankian’s “Natural’s Not In It” cover below via Spin.
The Problem With Leisure is out in May. Pre-order it here.