The track appears on his latest album, The Atlas Underground Fire, seven years after the trio gathered to perform it live at a Springsteen concert. It can be heard below.
“When I was playing with the E Street Band in 2014, we were in Perth, Australia, the home of Bon Scott, and I wanted to pay my respects at his grave,” Morello told Guitar World in a recent interview. “So I’m wandering around this Perth-ian graveyard at, like, 11:30 at night, and I’m unable to find it. I’m out there for about an hour, and then out in the distance comes this motorbike, like this little light in the cemetery. And this dude rides up — a heavy-set dude with a German WWII motorcycle helmet on and a T-shirt that reads ‘I don’t give a shit, but if I did, you’re the one I’d give it to.’ I’m like, ‘This guy is going to know where Bon Scott’s grave is!”
He continued: “Sure enough, he did. So he shows me, I pay my respects, and I go back to the hotel. And when I get there I see Bruce in the bar. And I’m like, ‘Bruce, since we’re here in Australia, do you think there’s any way that the circle of the E Street Band and the circle of AC/DC might overlap?’ And he goes, ‘I never really thought about that before, but I’ll think about it now.’ And over the course of the next few days, we started rehearsing ‘Highway to Hell’ at soundcheck.”
The next piece fell into place because Vedder happened to be on a solo tour of Australia and agreed to take the stage alongside Springsteen and Morello to open the E Street Band’s show with “Highway to Hell.” “And if you think you’ve seen an audience go nuts, you haven’t – unless you were there on that night,” Morello said. “It was crazy.”
While the guitarist collaborated with younger musicians on his new album, he said he also wanted to include a song “with my rock brothers on it. And I reflected back to that night and the transcendent apex moment of rock power that that felt like.”
Tom Morello, Bruce Springsteen and Eddie Vedder – ‘Highway to Hell’
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