Sounds: Street Sweeper Social Club

Ghetto Blasters. PHOTO: Jon Hill

Ghetto Blasters. PHOTO: Jon Hill

“We’re more than a band. We’re a motherf—king Social Club.”
~ Boots Riley ~

Revolutionary Party Jams. Street Sweeper Social Club, featuring the prodigious guitar chops of Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine), and the mutinous lyrics of Boots Riley (The Coup), are here on a mission. The first rap/rock group since Rage that doesn’t suck, SSSC has struck the chord: Boots brutally educates the crowd about social issues and class battles, while Tom and the band straight-up rock the f—k out. Energetic and raw, the live show brings more than enough thrash to viciously swing your fists at, and plenty of genius lyrical twists to keep your mind wandering.

We caught up with Tom and Boots during a rare break from their summer tour, having spent the past few months headlining both the Warped Tour and Rock The Bells festivals. Intelligent, outspoken, and passionate about their music and beliefs, the guys had a lot to say. Here’s a quick taste of the widespread conversation.

That guitar will kill your momma. PHOTO: Scott Garrison

That guitar will kill your momma. PHOTO: Scott Garrison

… On Music Rankings [Tom was #26 on RS’ “100 Best Guitarists Of All-Time”]:
Tom: There were guitarists behind me that I was embarrassed to in front of, and … well, a couple in front of me that I would cut back to the fat meat in a shred-off.
Boots: It’s a stupid way to categorize us. There’s no real music journalism anymore. They want to treat music like it’s a sport. It’s not.

… On Skating/Snowboarding:
Tom: I did… yeah, no. But since the earliest days of Rage, skate and snowboard culture has been a huge part of the band.
Boots: I used to do… like, somewhat BMX stuff? But on a really f—ked up Schwinn. It was more like us building really dangerous-ass ramps in the middle of the street …

… On Bob Dylan:
Tom: I think, “That was the worst show I’ve ever seen…” In that instance, he does not have a competitive spirit.
Boots: You think it was competitive spirit that made him actually be good? Or—
Tom: —Or was it Joan Baez? Yes.

… On Combining Riffs With Revolution:
Tom: It’s not “here’s the spoonful of sugar to help the medicine …” We rock out in a way that’s performance and entertaining. It’s how we naturally play and behave.
Boots: We want both. If people are excited the first time, they’ll listen many more times. If you don’t catch them at first, they won’t come back to check it out.

… On Google:
Boots: You know … I generally prefer for someone else to Google me. I like to get Googled. Tom doesn’t Google. He Chat Roulette’s.
Tom: No, I like to not watch myself suck train, I think…


Street Sweeper Social Club
Ghetto Blaster EP

F—kin’ is the new, “hey, how do ya do?” and revolution is the new “F—k you!” SSSC’s new EP speaks heady, rocks heavy, and will immediately crank any ride up to 11. Social moves lace each track, but rebel thoughts aside: when Boot’s drops, “Don’t call it a comeback!” to open their hardcore cover of LL Cool J’s “Momma Said Knock You Out”, you’ll just wanna get in the pit and start swinging. ~ AH

Track Listing:
Ghetto Blaster
Paper Planes
The New Fuck You
Scars (Hold That Pose)
Momma Said Knock You Out
Promenade (Guitar Fury Remix)