Tom Morello, the co-founder and guitarist of Rage Against the Machine, has opened up about the early days of his band and admitted that he didn’t expect Rage Against the Machine to become so commercially successful only in a few years.

During his latest conversation on Canada’s CBC Radio One, the multi-talented musician and political activist, Tom Morello, has recalled the forming period of the Los Angeles-based band, Rage Against the Machine.

Morello confessed that he was surprised that they were ever even able to book a club gig at the beginning. He remembered that, in 1991, there were no neo-Marxist, multi-ethnic rap-punk-metal bands, and zero commercial ambition.

Having had a record deal before, with a band that had more commercial leanings, Morello said that he knew that a record deal didn’t mean anything. Even his life got worse during that time, he said.

The iconic guitarist also reminisced about the first time anyone outside the four of them ever heard a note of their music. He said they were rehearsing at an industrial complex, and a worker guy would pass by every once in a while, asking what they were doing to the band members.

After they invited him to the rehearsal room and played him a few songs, Tom said that the worker stood up and said that the band’s music makes him want to fight immediately.

Here’s what Tom Morello said about the early years of Rage Against the Machine:

“I was surprised that we were ever even able to book a club gig. It’s hard to paint a picture — in 1991, there were no neo-Marxist, multi-ethnic rap-punk-metal bands. There was zero commercial ambition.

We wrote those songs, and the only goal was to make a cassette demo. I had had a record deal before, with a band that had more commercial leanings, and I knew that a record deal didn’t mean — my life got worse, not better, when I had a record deal.

So that didn’t matter. So we just made music as a means of self-expression, with Zack De La Rocha’s tremendous lyrics and the band’s musical chemistry, and that was it.”

Morello continued:

“I remember the first time anyone outside the four of us ever heard a note of our music. We were rehearsing at this industrial complex, and this worker guy would pass by every once in a while, and he said, ‘What are you guys doing?’

I said, ‘We’re a band.’ And he said, ‘Can I listen?’ I was, like, ‘I suppose so.’ At the time, we only had a few songs together. So he sat down in our rehearsal room. He was the first guy to ever hear Rage Against the Machine.

We didn’t have a name or anything. And we played him a few songs, and the cymbals die away at the end of the last song. I was, like, ‘What do you think?’ And he stood up and he said, ‘Your music makes me wanna fight.'”

You can check out the rest of the conversation below.