Rage Against The Machine has recorded "radically different" versions of songs by Cypress Hill, Devo, Bob Dylan, and Minor Threat for a project due in November or December, according to guitarist Tom Morello.
"I hate to call them covers, but we take the lyrics from other songs and write brand new Rage Against The Machine tracks underneath," Morello said. "Dylan's 'Maggie's Farm' sounds maybe more like a Black Sabbath song than a Bob Dylan song, and Devo's 'Beautiful World' sounds more like a Woody Guthrie campfire ballad than new wave."
The tracks, produced by Rick Rubin, will be released along with recently recorded live material. Morello said the band has not decided whether the project will turn out to be one album or a double album featuring one live CD and one studio disc. Rage is working with about 30 songs for the project; about 12 are studio covers and the rest are live.
The covers also include Cypress Hill's "How I Could Just Kill A Man," Minor Threat's "In My Eyes," and the Rolling Stones' "Street Fighting Man."
"It's really one of the most liberating and exciting creative experiences that I've ever been involved in," Morello said. "Even with Rage Against The Machine, there are precious few rules, but with this, we've completely thrown out any conventions."
The band also will release a DVD called "The Battle Of Mexico City" from a show it played there last year.
The members of Rage Against The Machine -- Morello, vocalist Zack De La Rocha, bassist Timmy C. and drummer Brad Wilk -- are freed up to concentrate on new projects since their planned "Rhyme & Reason" tour with the Beastie Boys has been canceled.
"I'd do it today," Morello said. "We just don't have a consensus among all seven bandmembers to make it happen right now.... The Beastie Boys are ready to go, and Timmy, Brad, and I are ready to go. We're just not all ready to go."
The tour was originally delayed when Beastie Boy Mike D injured his shoulder in a bicycle accident. A statement from the Beastie Boys' publicists released Wednesday cited the rapper's continuing recovery as well as scheduling problems as reasons for the cancellations.
Rage Against The Machine has not made any alternative tour plans.