Tom Morello isn’t ready to become a full-fledged member of the E Street Band — just yet. Though he has a heavy presence on Bruce Springsteen’s new album, High Hopes, and has spent much of the last year globetrotting the world as the Springsteen’s guest guitarist, Morello says his next project will be of the solo variety.
Speaking with Billboard, Morello revealed that he’s “in the midst of making my first solo big rock record.” Having previously released three folk albums as The Nightwatchman, Morello explained that it wasn’t until touring with Springsteen that he realized he could combine the worlds of folk and electric. “The first time I ever sang with an electric guitar in my hands was ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’ (with Springsteen)… Until then I’d kept my folk singing career and my electric guitar shredding career completely separate.”
Morello added, “I want to make the craziest guitar record that anyone’s ever heard. The idea is that this is the Hendrix of now,” and he plans to begin recording once his commitments to Springsteen’s tour end in early March.
As for Morello’s role in the E Street Band and whether he’ll ever become a full-time member, Springsteen addressed the question in a recent interview with Rolling Stone:
“I think right now we are just playing together when the opportunity arrises. We have a surfeit of great guitarists. Steve Van Zandt, the poor guy, doesn’t get to play enough as it is with me hogging a lot of the solos. Steve has always been a fabulous guitarist. Back from the day when we were both teenagers together, he led his band and played lead and was always a hot guitar player. Of course, Nils is a guy with a world of his own at his fingertips. Tom, once again, does something else kind of on the instrument and something in his mind and who he is, he’s a great addition and we’re enjoying it as it stands. I’m excited that he’s going to be out with us on our next stretch of the road.”