Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello and System of a Down vocalist Serj Tankian have joined forces on a rendition of Gang of Four’s classic tune, “Natural’s Not in it.”
The duo’s cover is the first single off a forthcoming tribute album, The Problem of Leisure: A Celebration of Andy Gill and Gang of Four, which is set to be released in May. The cover retains the vigorous energy of the English post-punks’ original, opening with its familiar splintering guitar riffs. The track is also anchored by Tankian’s clean and potent vocals which complement Gang of Four’s recalcitrant lyrics.
The release of this collaboration comes almost a year after Gang of Four’s guitarist Andy Gill passed away from pneumonia at the age of 64. Gill had been involved with The Problem of Leisure before his death, and “loved what Tom and Serj did with this song,” his widow Catherine Mayer said in a press release, specifically citing “the fierceness of their attack and the jet-engine scream of feedback.”
“This was a track Andy always enjoyed performing,” Mayer said, per Pitchfork. “He said their version brilliantly captured all the explosive, danceable energy ‘Natural’s Not In it’ can create in live performance.”
In November, Morello released his latest EP, Comandante, on which he pays homage to other iconic guitarists like the late Eddie Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix. That same month, Tankian reunited with SOAD for their first new music in 15 years: two songs released to raise awareness of the ongoing political conflict in Armenia.
The full tracklist for The Problem of Leisure: A Celebration of Andy Gill and Gang of Four is set to be announced on January 14. While you wait, listen to Morello and Tankian’s cover below: