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Tools of the Trade: Tom Morello’s Guitars

“To me, it’s immaterial to the creative process what the sound. I’ve always been of the mind that you get a sound and then you make music with that sound.”

Tom Morello

                       

We receive a lot of questions about what guitars and equipment Tom Morello uses to produce his signature guitar sound. In this article we attempt to shed some light on this subject by chronicling each of Morello’s famous axes, where he got them, what projects he used them on and anything else of interest we were able to dig up.

This article is broken into two parts. The first part covers Tom’s down and dirty, crunchy chord and revolution riff making machines, or in other words, his electric guitars. The second half of the article discusses the lighter side of Tom’s six-string stylings and will give you an up close and personal look into Tom Morello’s acoustic guitar collection.

 

So without further delay, we bring you:

 

Tom Morello’s Electric Guitars

Tom has played and recorded with a wide assortment of electric axes.  It seems he has tried everything from low budget guitars that were little more than pieces of plywood with pick ups and volume knobs to priceless works of highly technical audio engineering.

Tom’s first Love: His Kay K-20T SG

This was Morello’s very first guitar. These guitars were manufactured in Japan and sold for a very affordable price in America. Tom picked one up on sale for fifty bucks at a local music store. As any musician knows, there is nothing quite like your first guitar. The rest is rock and roll history.

Morello’s Infamous 1980s Gibson Explorer II – E2

Tom decided to invest more in his second guitar. He used this beauty in his high school band The Electric Sheep. Morello continued to jam with this guitar through his time at Harvard and his eventual arrival in LA.

After moving to Los Angeles Tom replaced the original tailpiece with a Kahler tremolo bridge. Sources say that Tom said that this ended up more or less ruining this classic guitar’s sound. However, Morello continues to rock with this guitar even to this day and it has been used to some extent or another on every album he has made. It is assumed by most that thew guitar has undergone other upgrades and customizations to hone it to the near god-like tone machine it is today, but details and specifics remain unclear and are anyone’s guess. 

The original Gibson, before Tom’s alteration featured five piece maple/walnut laminate body, ebony fingerboard with dot inlays, two humbuckers pickups, black pickguard, gold plated hardware, and a Gibson TP-6 tailpiece.

The newest models of this guitar- 2017 Gibson Explorer Electric Guitars usually go for around $1300. Check it out by clicking here.

If you are looking for something more similar to the original version but with a more friendly price, check out the Epiphone 1984 Explorer Electric Guitar.

A Musical Revolution is Born: Tom’s Arm the Homeless Guitar

After moving to LA, Morello purchased this guitar, or rather, he created this guitar. At Performance Guitar in Hollywood, CA Morello picked out every part of this guitar himself. He continued to Image result for Tom's Arm the Homeless Guitarmodify it from its original custom build until the only original aspect remaining was the body.

Morello’s original creation of the guitar featured a Performance Corsair neck and a baby blue rear loaded Stratocaster-style body, two Seymour Duncan JB humbuckers, and the Floyd Rose chrome unit. Morello modified the neck to be a graphite Kramer-style, and the bridge with an Ibanez Edge double locking tremolo.

The guitar is complete with a few hippos that Tom drew himself, because that was the only thing he claimed to know how to draw. Since the guitar had no branding to accompany it, Morello carved “Arm the Homeless” into it.

This became Tom’s main guitar for Rage Against the Machine, but he did not use it for the Audioslave era. He used the guitar again for his “Out of Exile” album. Arm the Homeless has been Tom’s primary guitar to this day.

The Revolution Continues: Tom’s 1982 Fender Telecaster “Sendero Luminoso”

Sendero Luminoso, meaning Shining Light, is named after the Peruvian radical organization which is actually classified as a terrorist group by the good ol’ US of A. All of Morello’s songs that are played in dropped-D tuning are played with this guitar, including “Killing in the Name”. He acquired this guitar from his roommate, who gave Morello the guitar in exchange for an amp.

Made in the United States, this guitar features a maple neck and black finish, white pickups, a six saddle bridge, and two original single coil pickups.

Tom’s Mysterious 1960s St. George MP-2 aka “Creamy”

Made in Japan in the 60s for a short period of time, these guitars were sold in the United States alongside Teisco guitars. Overall, they remain somewhat of a mystery.

Morello picked up his St. George for $30 at a pawn shop in Toronto. For a long time, he did not know the exact model of the guitar, since the badge was missing from the headstock. So he decided to name it “Creamy” after the off-white/yellow finish. He replaced one of the two pickups with a DiMarzio Super Distortion T to get the unforgettable sound in classic RATM tracks such as “Tire Me” from Rage’s second album.

Ibanez Artstar Custom

Featuring echo, wah, and distortion built in effects, this two tone red and black finished guitar was custom built for Tom. Morello used this song to play live during the Rage Against the Machine era, and for Cypress Hill’s song “Rise Up”.

Gibson EDS-1275

Another one of Morello’s guitars tuned to drop D, he used this song with Rage Against the Machine for playing “The Ghost of Tom Joad” live.

Ibanez Talman Custom

While guitar shopping in an Ibanez guitar shop, Morello picked up a guitar whose pickup made a faulty noise. So Ibanez custom built this guitar for Morello. It features a maple and rosewood fretboard complete with a Kenyan flag finish. Completed with three single coil “lipstick pickups, an Ibanez Lo-Pro tremolo, and an identical killswitch to the one used on the Aerodyne.

Morello used this for a “Revolver and “How I Could Just Kill a Man” with Rage Against the Machine, and “Exploder” with Audioslave.

Tom’s Very Own AudioSlave: His Fender Guitar Center F.S.R. aka “Soul Power”

Morello bought this guitar during his transition from Rage Against the Machine to Audioslave. Originally, it was a created as a factory run special for Guitar Center.

Soul Power has a black finish with a matching headstock with white accent binding along the top of the body and a mirrored pickguard. When it was purchased by Morello, it had three Fender Noiseless pickups, until he replaced the bridge pick up with a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails. Another modification he made to the original guitar was a locking-nut to go with the black Ibanez Edge  tremolo bridge. On the lower horn of the guitar, Tom added a kill-switch which creates a stuttering sound by turning the guitar on and off.

This became his main guitar used for all of the standard tuning songs in Audioslave.

Ovation Breadwinner

While Rage Against the Machine was working on The Battle of Los Angeles album, Tom used this guitar to record overdubs for the album.

Gibson Les Paul Standard

This guitar is typically used when Morello plays in drop-D tuning. Despite having several Les Paul Standards, the sunburst model used with Street Sweeper Social Club and Audio slave sees the most stage time.

Morello also uses a red Les Paul for overdubbing in the more recent era of the Nightwatchman. It is nicknamed the “Taco Bell” Les Paul.

Gibson Les Paul Custom Shop Budweiser

While recording Audioslave’s “Revelations” album in 2006, Morello got this guitar. It was made by a custom shop and only a few were produced. It’s decor included a Budweiser logo that Morello hated. He used a lighter to burn the logo until the white primer paint was exposed.

James Trussart Steelcaster

Based on the Fender Telecaster model, this guitar differs in that it features a hollow steel body. Morello has had two of these guitars. The first one featured a bare metal finish complete with two Hot Rails pickups. The second had a red star graphic finish and Hot Rails in the bridge and Alnico pro II in the neck.

 

Hopefully the above serves as a good overview of Tom Morrello’s electric guitars.  We don’t claim to fully understand all of the technical upgrades and custamizations, and being that we are only humans (mere mortals at that) we do from time to time get our facts wrong. That being said, feel free to leave any corrections, suggestions or contributions in the comments below.

 

Tom Morello’s Acoustic Guitars

 

Applause AA-31

Morello picked up this guitar during the early days of Rage Against the Machine. This acoustic is less expensive than an ovation and features steel strings.

 

Gibson J-45 “Black Spartacus”

This steel string acoustic is Morello’s primary guitar that he uses for The Nightwatchman. Featuring a black finish, the decor of this acoustic is Morello’s own design comprised of the American, Kenyan, and Italian flags. The design is complete with a hammer and sickle symbol. Morello wrote a song in honor of this guitar called “Black Spartacus Heart Attack Machine”.

 

Ibanez GA60SCE “Whatever it Takes”

When starting the Nightwatchman, the guitar Morello had was not loud enough to serve his purposes doing live gigs. So he asked Ibanez to create one for him. They gave him this model which is basically the same as the GA60SCE model which has the AEQ-45 pickup/preamp system.


Morello has two of these models, one of them is on display at the Woody Guthrie Museum in Oklahoma.

 

From Rage to More Rage: Tom Morello’s Bands

Tom Morello’s Bands: an Overview

From the legendary Rage Against the Machine to the newly formed Prophet’s of Rage, Morello keeps finding finding new ways to rage against the injustices of the system one song at a time.  

Rage Against the Machine

Tom Morello kicked off what would become his extensive musical career in the early nineties with his first group- Rage Against the Machine. Rage was comprised of Morello on guitar, Zack de la Rocha as lead vocalist, Tim Commerford on bass guitar and backup vocals, and Brad Wilkes on percussion.

Well known for their leftist political views, Rage songs were all revolutionary critiques of domestic and foreign policies of the US government. Morello saw Rage as an opportunity to get his political message across in a way that had the potential to cross borders. The band became a platform for its members to spread their activism and views. During the days of Rage, members participated in protests in addition to making albums.

 

America touts itself as the land of the free, but the number one freedom that you and I have is the freedom to enter into a subservient role in the workplace. Once you exercise this freedom you’ve lost all control over what you do, what is produced, and how it is produced. And in the end, the product doesn’t belong to you. The only way you can avoid bosses and jobs is if you don’t care about making a living. Which leads to the second freedom: the freedom to starve.

— Tom Morello, Guitar World

 

Rage became a vehicle for these ideas, and it was the group’s main focus to open a dialogue with its listeners about important political critiques. The group used this vehicle to release four albums. Their first album self-titled Rage Against the Machine was released in 1992, followed by Evil Empire in 1996, The Battle of Los Angeles in 1999, and Renegades in 2000.

 

Rage came to an end in the year 2000, and much to their fans excitement reunited from 2007 to 2011. Rage Against the Machine is not likely to reunite again, but their musical legacy successfully laid a strong foundation for the Morello’s subsequent projects.

 

Check out this high energy, live performance of RATM’s song Testify  at Finsbury Park, London in 2010:

 

Audioslave

After Rage announced its end in 2000, 2001 marked the beginning of the group’s second band- Audioslave. Audioslave reigned for six years, during which the group released three albums- self-titled Audioslave in 2002, Out of Exile in 2005, and Revelations in 2006.

 

Cornell was the songwriter for Audioslave, who abandoned the political theme used in Rage. Morello describes Cornell’s lyrics as “haunted, existential poetry”. Cornell’s lyrics dealt mostly with themes of love, hedonism, existentialism, and spirituality.

 

Audioslave ended when Cornell permanently left the group due to “irresolvable personality conflicts as well as musical differences”. There are speculations that Cornell left the group because he wrote all the lyrics to the songs, yet the members shared profits equally.

 

 

Whatever the case may be, this marked another ending to an era in Morello’s musical career. But as we know now, there is always a new beginning to follow an ending for Morello.

 

The Nightwatchman

Enter- The Nightwatchman. Morello created this musical identity for himself during the years of Audioslave to maintain his activist pursuits. Morello’s Nightwatchman persona was heavily inspired by social and political activist/musician Billy Bragg. Overall, Morello states that “the Nightwatchman is my political folk alter ego”, which maintained reactions against war crimes, torture, secret prisons, spying on American citizens, and poverty and starvation among American people during war times.

 

The Nightwatchman released four albums, beginning with One Man Revolution in 2007, The Fabled City in 2008, Union Town in 2011, and concluding with World Wide Rebel Songs in 2011. While giving Morello the platform he needed to express his political alter ego, the Nightwatchman marked another chapter in Morello’s musical career.

 

Check out Save the Hammer for the Man with Ben Harper in the video below and enjoy!: 

 

Prophets of Rage

As for Morello’s next musical chapter, 2016 marked yet another beginning. Enter- Prophets of Rage. This rap rock supergroup is comprised of Morello on guitar, Tim Commerford on bass and back-up vocals, Brad Wilk on percussion- three of the four original Rage and Audioslave members. In addition to these musical comrades, Morello has also teamed up with DJ Lord and Chuck D  of Public Enemy, and Cypress Hill rapper B-Real. The group is named after Public Enemy’s song Prophets of Rage from thier 1988 album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.

Morello to Rolling Stone: “We’re not a supergroup. We are an elite task force of revolutionary musicians determined to confront this mountain of election year bullshit, and confront it head-on with Marshall stacks blazing.”

Supergroup or elite task force of revolutionary musicians, Prophets of Rage is going to Make America Rage Again in 2017 in a city near you. Click here for Prophets of Rage tickets and tour information.

 

Exclusive: Tom Morello Talks About “The Wheel Of History” In Clip From Documentary ‘Let Fury Have The Hour’

With everything from the Arab Spring, to Occupy Wall Street, to the protests that are still ongoing in Egypt, the topic of democracy, revolution and change has been at the forefront of many conversations. And there is perhaps no better time for the documentary “Let Fury Have The Hour,” an exploration of the artistic response that comes in the wake of oppressive political climates.

The feature directorial debut from acclaimed author, visual artist, and filmmaker Antonino D’Ambrosio chronicles how a generation of artists, thinkers and activists used their creativity — and their creations — as a response to the reactionary politics that came to define 1980s culture. To help tell the story, D’Ambrosio rounded up an array of folks including John Sayles, Chuck D, Shepard Fairey, Lewis Black, Ian MacKaye, Billy Bragg and many more to talk about how the heyday of Reagan and Thatcher informed their creative output. Also sharing his experiences is Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello, who in this exclusive clip explains how it’s the power of the people that invokes massive change, not politicians.Read the full article at IndieWire.

Nerdist Podcast

Tom Morello invites Chris and Jonah into his home studio to talk about how he became the guitarist of Rage Against The Machine, baby music classes, voice lessons and just how nerdy Tom really is! This is definitely one you will want to check out. Tom at his finest and most candid in his Los Angeles home and studio. 

Click here to listen to the podcast.

A Long Way From Zuccotti Park

Listening to “House Gone Up in Flames” with me before The Nightwatchman’s recent mostly acoustic concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center, my eight-year-old daughter remarked, “It’s this, it’s that. What is it?”

When you’re eight, you expect riddles to have answers, which is why an eight-year-old has no business in the blasted landscape that is The Nightwatchman’s home turf. He creates as vivid a sense of place as any songwriter I know, and it’s a lonely, God-forsaken wasteland, criss-crossed by lonely stretches of blacktop where junked cars serve in a pinch as confession booths.

“Are there any hopeful Nightwatchman songs?” Tom Morello, the Fifth Horseman’s alter ego, asked me after the February 16 show. “Sometimes you’re hopeful that you’ll take a lot of them along with you to Hell,” I offered.

But of course there is hope in The Nightwatchman’s world–there’s a faith in world-wide rebel songs, that one swallow flying away will make the other 99 fly too, that the lightning will in fact come. But what you base that faith on is the riddle that can’t be answered, can only be enacted. As The Nightwatchman sings: “There’s a sign along the highway–but it’s too dark now to read.” You find the road by driving it.

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room is an architectural and acoustical jewel with a 50-foot floor-to-ceiling window looking out over the urban splendor of Columbus Circle and Central Park South, with the towers that house billionaires on Fifth Avenue in the background.

Jazz at Lincoln Center is not, in fact, at Lincoln Center, but instead is up in the Time Warner Center, the most valuable building in the most expensive city in the richest country in the world. “Allen” is Allen & Company, a secretive investment bank that helps the likes of Rupert Murdoch gobble up more media outlets.

As The Nightwatchman remarked at the beginning of the show, it’s a long way from Zuccotti Park.

Can you really speak and make lightning when you’re singing about Union Town in what amounts to the Fabled City’s living room? One of the beauty things about The Nightwatchman is that he really is unco-optable.

The song “Stray Bullets”–which he played to devastating effect after explaining the circumstances under which it was written–is about a group of GIs in Iraq deciding to stop fighting the insurgents and hunt down their commanding general instead. They are never, ever going to use that as the soundtrack for an ad for SUVs.

Meanwhile, at the actual Lincoln Center, three blocks away, there’s a David H. Koch Theater, where the New York City Ballet performs. So when The Nightwatchman ad-libs, “And when we put the Koch brothers on trial, I’ll be in the front row”–I thought, well, these would be the right venues for that.

This is music, indeed, that saves the hammer for The Man–and hammers hard and true. But The Nightwatchman is not the proverbial guy who’s only got a hammer–or a branding iron. His opening number, “Saint Isabelle,” is a tribute to Tom’s late aunt and a promise to all fallen comrades; it had me in tears by the second chorus. “The Garden of Gethsemane,” as The Nightwatchman noted, is a song that acknowledges that for every moment of certainty we get a thousand moments of doubt.

Any Australians in the audience got a sneak preview of Bruce Springsteen’s upcoming tour of Down Under, with Morello backing him on guitar. The Nightwatchman’s cover of “Ghost of Tom Joad”–featuring I believe the only electric guitaring of the evening–didn’t sound like anything you would have heard the E Street Band play, or Rage Against The Machine for that matter. It struck me in its spacey beauty like something Steve Miller would be proud to play.

Of course, no Nightwatchman concert would be complete without the performance of what he calls the alternative national anthem, “This Land Is Your Land.” If there were members of the 1 Percent in attendance at the show, they maintained their cover, since as far as I could tell there was 100 percent compliance with the Nightwatchman’s injunction to jump the f*** around.

The singing of the censored verses isn’t much of a revelation to me at this point–my daughter goes to a New York City public school where they sing those lines proudly–but I was struck for the first time that I live on the New York Island, one of the parts of the country specifically singled out by Woody Guthrie as having been made for you and me.

Take that, Allen Room.

By Jim Naureckas

EDDIE VEDDER AND TOM MORELLO TO PERFORM AT 2013 MUSICARES EVENT HONORING BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder and Rage Against the Machine / Nightwatchman guitarist Tom Morello are both scheduled to perform at the 2013 MusiCares benefit gala. The show will be held on Feb. 8 in Los Angeles to honor Bruce Springsteen, who has been named the 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year.

The event is held during Grammy Week, and along with Eddie Vedder and Tom Morello, the show will feature Elton John, Patti Smith, Neil Young and many more. The 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute show will be hosted by Comedy Central television personality Jon Stewart.

In its 23rd year, the MusiCares Person of the Year gala has celebrated musical icons such as Paul McCartney, Bono and Paul Simon, among others, in the past.

According to the official Grammy’s website, “The 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year gala, which will celebrate Springsteen’s exceptional artistic achievements and philanthropic work, will begin with a cocktail reception and silent auction … that will offer an exclusive and unparalleled selection of luxury items, VIP experiences and one-of-a-kind celebrity memorabilia for bidding guests.”

The MusiCares event will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center two days before the 55th annual Grammy Awards, which features Anthrax, Halestorm, Iron Maiden, Lamb of God, Marilyn Manson and Megadeth as nominees in the Best Hard Rock / Metal Performance category.

Read the full article at Loudwire.

TOM MORELLO ON “ORCHID’S” FINALE, POLITICS & POSSIBLE FUTURE

Millions of music fans know the signature sound of Tom Morello’s guitar from his time with “Rage Against the Machine” and “Audioslave,” but its his words that take center stage in the Dark Horse Comics published “Orchid,” which wraps its twelve issue run this week.

An epic look at a sunken, ransacked Earth where most of the population lives in fear, “Orchid” allowed the politically expressive Morello to blend monsters and messages with a tale of heroism and sacrifice. And while the focus was certainly on Morello’s writing, the book also tied to his music career thanks to free, downloadable original compositions that served to score each issue.

In speaking with CBR News, Morello describes his experience creating the world of “Orchid” with artist Scott Hepburn, the chances of him returning to comics and if he ever worried about being perceived as preachy.

BUY Orchid #12 TODAY!

Read the full article at Comic Book Resources.

A TRIBUTE TO TOMAS YOUNG” FEATURING TOM MORELLO: THE NIGHTWATCHMAN AND PHIL DONAHUE

 An evening celebrating the life of Tomas Young featuring Tom Morello and Phil Donahue has been announced for May 19th at the Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet in Kansas City, Missouri (Young’s hometown).  The evening will feature a concert by Tom Morello as well as a screening of Body of War, which will be introduced in person by co-director and executive producer Phil Donahue.  Tomas Young is also expected to be in attendance.   Of Tom Morello’s solo alter ego, Tomas Young stated “The Nightwatchman is an amazing folk musician in the tradition of Bob Dylan with the same energy and master of the guitar he first showed in Rage Against The Machine.  The Nightwatchman is a must see.”  Of Young, Morello stated “Paralyzed veteran and anti-war crusader Tomas Young is an inspiration – a war hero turned peace hero.  From his wheelchair his voice thunders louder for peace and justice than 1,000 exploding drones.”

Tomas Young is a 33-year-old Iraq War veteran who was shot above the collarbone and paralyzed from the chest down less than a week into his deployment in 2004.  He is the subject of the award-winning 2007 documentary, Body Of War, from executive producer and directors Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro.   The film documents Young’s years following Iraq and is a story about coming home as he evolves into a new person coming to terms with his disability and finding his own unique and passionate voice against the war.  It is an intimate and transformative documentary about the true face of war today.

Read the full article at Drafthouse.

TOM MORELLO OFFERS SELECTIONS FROM HIS UNION TOWN EP FOR FREE TODAY VIA TEAMSTER.ORG IN CELEBRATION OF MAY DAY/INTERNATONAL WORKER’S DAY

May 1st, 2013 – New York, New York – Tom Morello is offering selections from his Union Town EP as a free download via Teamster.org TODAY in celebration of May Day/International Worker’s Day.   The Union Town EP was originally released via New West Records in 2011.  The songs “Union Town,” “A Wall Against The Wind,” “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night,” and “Union Song – Live In Madison, WI” will be available for free starting now.  Morello and the Teamsters have been fighting the same fight across the country for many years and he has previously performed at their 2011 convention and their Stop The War On Workers rally in Los Angeles in 2012.

A lifelong advocate for Unions, Union Town was initially released after Morello performed at the Capital Square in Madison, WI in February of 2011 in protest to an anti-union bill put forward by Governor Scott Walker.   Morello stated at the time “I’ve been a proud union man for 22 years and my mom was a union public high school teacher.  Unions are a crucial counterweight to the raw corporate greed that torpedoed our economy, threatens our environment and wants to strip away decades of social progress.  Here’s a soundtrack to our fight.”

 

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.  Visit www.teamster.org for more information.  Follow them on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.

 

Tom Morello is an original member of the rock bands Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave, two artists responsible for multiple Grammy Awards and a combined 30 million albums sold worldwide. In 2007, he released his first solo album, One Man Revolution, as The Nightwatchman.  His most recent solo album, 2011’s World Wide Rebel Songs was met with critical acclaim with Rolling Stone naming it one of the 50 Albums of the Year.  Morello has also been recognized by the magazine as one of the “100 Greatest Guitar Players of All-Time (#26).”

Morello graduated from Harvard University with honors as a Political Science major and has been a widely recognized political activist throughout his career.  In 2006, he was the recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award.  In 2011 he was named The Nation Magazine’s “Musician of the Year,” received the 2011 Worker’s Voice Award, a 2011 Reed Award, and an MTV “O” Award for “Best Occupy Wall Street Performance.”  Morello was also the recipient of the Hillman Prize Officers’ Award for his advocacy for and support of working people across the world.  Previous Officers’ Awards have been awarded to such figures as Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr., Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Harry Belafonte, and others.

Extremely active in the Occupy Movement, Morello performed at Occupy Wall Street and also made appearances at Occupy sites in London, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco, distributing free tickets to his live performances.  He is also featured on Wrecking Ball, the 2012 studio album from Bruce Springsteen and during early spring of this year toured Australia with Springsteen as a member of the E-Street Band.

Morello’s family has been a constant source of political and social inspiration as his great-uncle, Jomo Kenyatta, was the first President of Kenya, and his mother, Mary Morello, founded Parents for Rock and Rap, an anti-censorship counterweight to Tipper Gore’s PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center).  With System of A Down’s Serj Tankian, Morello formed Axis of Justice, an organization whose purpose is to bring together musicians, music fans, and grassroots political organizations to fight for social justice.

Selections from Union Town available for free download May 1st:

  1. Union Town
  2. A Wall Against The Wind
  3. I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night
  4. Union Song – Live In Madison, WI

The Nightwatchman Speaks #54

See below for the transcription for The Night Watchman

 

Hello, this is Tom Morello and this is the Night watchman speaks. I’m the Night watchman and here on this video blog I answer questions that you have submitted, let’s get right down to it.

Question: In the previous night watchman speaks you talked about your role in Jon Favreau’s Iron Man and the fact that you did your own stunts, are you a stuntman?

Answer: No I’m not a stunt man but I did do my own stunt in “Iron Man” and it was brutal. Frankly, I did not go to a stunt man school and the stunt that I do in it, how they do it is that I’m wearing my terrorist outfit and they cut a hole in the back of the jacket and the shirt and everything and I’m wearing this very tight harness that is a harness that would be bet let just put it may be better for a Eunuch  than for a full man to wear. It is very uncomfortable to wear and it’s kind of exoskeleton and so when the Iron Man slugs me there’s five guys pulling this rope that launch me through the air backwards, now there’s a lot of

tips that they tell you as a neophyte stuntman as you’re about to be thrown around a camera you like yet to keep your teeth clenched so you don’t bite your tongue, you have to keep your finger off  the trigger of the gun so that you don’t snap your finger. So all these things were going through my head as I was doing my best to my method acting as the terrorist number five you know iron man, keep that in mind when it comes on Netflix.

 

Tom, how did Breckin Meyer end up playing drums for the night watchman?

Breckin Meyer is you know actor on many TV shows and movies and he’s a good friend mine and he is a damn fine drummer too. I think it began we would have jams at my house and he would always sit behind the kit  and really rock the kit so we started hosting benefit shows at the Hotel Café here in in Hollywood. Breckin was always the host drummer. He was the drummer, the freedom fighter orchestra as we dubbed the backup man. So when it was time for the free and final original to go on tour to good deeds around the lands Breckin came along us and that began his tenure as the drummer for the night watchman. Eric the claw Gartner is the guy who plays on the recordings and is sort of my principle touring mate but Brecking is a fine drummer and is welcome any time to sit on the kit. One time though he did take off his shirt in the middle of the performance and we made fun of him for like 2 year after that,  like okay px90 just hit the drum.

 

Next, you Tom you have played a lot of gigs in countries formally governed by totalitarian so-called socialist those whose political powers were not grass rooted but more imposed on people in World War 2 and time briefly after the war.  Reality during the period of officials socials practice was very orelean .My question is whether you have ever felt hostility towards your political views when talking to Eastern Europeans? Keep on rocking.

Well that really incredible when Rage chose to play in Eastern Europe and like East what was former Soviet bloc soon after was cut like in the early nineties that was very interesting talking with those kids in there is at that time there is a tremendous sense of you know optimism throwing off the bureaucratic Stalinist shackles and it was not so much like them criticizing our politics we came from very different places. It was a lot of listening to what they had to say about their hopes and

Aspirations for to the post their post on this world they were living, it was very curious and when we

returned  years later and sort of  the new model had emerged and the dissolution with the love and the kids felt that you know it’s the safety net, they didn’t really know existed was gone and for the first time they were having homelessness, they were having unemployment, they were having real like destitute poverty and while other people drive around in Bentley’s and  Rolls-Royces and that was that Mafioso capitalism which run like a wildfire through to those countries and so it was interesting to listen to their take as, as you know the stuff Radio Free Europe have been telling them all these years was is not entirely the case how it began manifesting the reality.

 

Next up, dear the Night watchman I love the new ice cube track everything’s corrupt that you guest on, would you ever consider or propose doing a whole album of collaborations, are there any more in the pipeline you can tell us about?

 

Everyone in a while has proposed to me to do an album of collaborations and well you know I Had the opportunity to work with many of my favorite you know musicians and vocalists  through the year. There is not that itch in that regard and I like to see my own songs to you know you never says never but that’s not something that certainly something high on the list of priorities is assembling an all-star cast of vocalists. I mean look I’m a vocalist and so I know vocalists are very troublesome characters. Get 12 of them on 1 record that is a lot of lead singer disease right there. Thank you very much for listening, this is Tom Morello, you’ve been watching the Night watchman speaks. You can go to night watchman music. Com to submit your questions for future episodes thank you for your thoughtful questions, see you next time. Adios people.