On 23 March 2003, Tom Morello stood before a couple of hundred inside New York’s Waldorf-Astoria for what he calls “one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my whole life.” The guitarist had faced far larger crowds before – as a member of Rage Against The Machine, he was already a pro at rocking arenas and even stadiums – but his appearance at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame that night was a solo flight, and he was there to pay tribute to and induct his heroes, The Clash.
“I guarantee you that no one has rewritten a speech for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame more times than I did,” Morello says with a laugh. “There must have been about 80 drafts of that. I took it very seriously. And, of course, Joe had just passed a couple of months before, so there was that as well. I wanted to make sure that I got it right.”
As a teenager in Libertyville, Illinois, much of Morello’s musical sensibilities were informed by his love of heavy metal and, as he puts it, “surburban rock.” All of that changed the day a classmate turned him onto The Clash’s London Calling. The idea of merging unapologetic, politically charged lyrics with fabulously obstreperous rock – public service announcements with guitar – was planted in Morello’s mind. It was an combustible paradigm, one that he would ignite with explosive results in Rage Against The Machine.
On the eve of the 10-year anniversary of Joe Strummer’s untimely passing (he died on 22 December 2002), Morello sat down with MusicRadar to reflect on the influence The Clash had on him and to remember the late musician who helped to fuel his own musical consicousness.
Read the full article at Music Radar.