When Bruce Springsteen first heard the rap metal band Rage Against the Machine, he didn’t imagine he would one day include their lead guitarist in eight tracks of one of his albums. Yet that is exactly what happened with Springsteen’s newest offering, High Hopes, released today. “My cousin Lenny [Sullivan] was a huge Rage Against the Machine fan,” Springsteen told Rolling Stone. Tom Morello came to a few Springsteen shows, and the two musicians hit it off. Eventually Springsteen suggested Morello come up on the stage and play on a song. In 2008, Morello joined the E Street Band on “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” “The place exploded in probably one of the loudest crowd responses I’ve heard in all the years we’ve been playing,” Springsteen said. “It was just like something explosive happened.” It got his attention.
The mix of styles worked, despite the two artists coming from such different musical traditions. Yet getting to the point of making an album together took five more years. How do two people with such different styles collaborate on a creative project together?