7D7D, the rock trio featuring Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim Commerford, veteran musician Jonny Polonsky and drummer Mathias Wakrat, has unveiled its third single, “Written on a Napkin.” It follows the one-off tracks “Capitalism” and “MisInformed,” which arrived last November and December, respectively. Commerford has been hard at work with the group even in the midst of Rage’s 2022 reunion tour and his own battle with prostate cancer, which he exclusively revealed to SPIN nearly a year ago.
“It can be scary and painful to watch life as you knew it disintegrate, whether it’s the world in general or just whatever’s happening to you personally,” Commerford says of “Written on a Napkin,” adding, “music is the best medicine there is.” Wakrat adds that the song came together after Commerford suggested he “play an Elvin Jones-inspired beat for the chorus,” while Polonsky helped turned the song in a different direction afterwards.
Polonsky says the new song, which is out on Ben Harper’s Mad Bunny label, is “about change, transformation and metamorphosis. And it’s all a little easier with your trusted friends and loved ones by your side. Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”
“I just go in [to record] with nothing and get inspired by Mathias’ weird-ass drumming and build on the spot,” Commerford told SPIN last year of 7D7D’s writing process. “Like, we should be leaving here with a song that’s done. Tom Morello is the king of that. When we got together with Rage to write our demo tape [in 1992], we were like, ‘Fuck that. We’re making a record.’
When asked how music has helped him through his cancer treatments, he revealed, “the glass is half-full. That’s the beauty of songwriting and bass playing. When my mom was sick, that’s when I learned how to play bass. When I was on stage with Rage, there were times that I wasn’t thinking about cancer for moments. When I play in 7D7D with Mathias in the studio, I don’t care what we’re doing. I go into a trance, and I just completely forget about it. And it’s so beautiful. When I wake up in the morning, it’s like, ‘Oh, it’s a new day. Dope!’ Then it’s like, ‘Oh fuck, I have cancer’ and you can’t stop it. It puts a dark cloud on the day. When I go jam with Mathias, I just tune out and it feels so good. Music has always been there in the toughest of times.”
Rage Against the Machine were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, but only Morello showed up to accept the award and the band did not perform at the ceremony.