Tom Morello
American guitarist and singer-songwriter
Tom Morello
Thomas Baptiste "Tom" Morello is a Grammy Award-winning American guitarist best known for his tenure with the bands Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, his acoustic solo act The Nightwatchman, and his newest group, Street Sweeper Social Club. Tom is also the co-founder of the non-profit political activist organization, Axis of Justice, which airs monthly on KPFK 90.7FM in Los Angeles.
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Tom Morello's personal information overview.
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News
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The World Mourns Leonard Cohen -- A Loss It Didn't Need Right Now
Huffington Post - 4 months
Prince, David Bowie, Gene Wilder ― 2016 has been full of tough losses.  And Thursday’s announcement of singer, songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen’s death came as yet another crushing blow, particularly for those still reeling from Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election. Following the news, beautiful tributes to Cohen began pouring in. Many, from Patton Oswalt to Johnny Knoxville, wondered when 2016 would give the world a break.   Leonard Cohen dying is so goddamned symbolic right now. You just don't let up, do you 2016? — Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) November 11, 2016 RIP Leonard Cohen. Ugh. It feels pointed, this death. It's making us remember songs like Come Healing which is a good one for these days — Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) November 11, 2016 R.I.P. the great Leonard Cohen.❤️❤️#canwebedonewith2016 pic.twitter.com/ALxIVcfP7n — Johnny Knoxville (@realjknoxville) November 11, 2016 As of the week could get ...
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Huffington Post article
Paul Simon, Tom Morello lead music drive against poverty
Yahoo News - 5 months
Pop-folk legend Paul Simon and hard-edged guitarist Tom Morello on Thursday led a drive by musicians to fight poverty, bringing promises of greater action to help the world's most vulnerable. The two headlined a first night of the Global Citizen Festival, which will culminate with a live-broadcast concert Saturday from New York's Central Park featuring Rihanna and Metallica. The five-year-old festival, which distributes tickets for free to fans who lobby leaders to support international development, held the more intimate first concert to highlight the causes at stake.
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Yahoo News article
Tom Morello on why activism in music matters: 'Dangerous times demand dangerous songs'
LATimes - 8 months
Tom Morello, who is perhaps best known as the guitarist for Rage Against the Machine, has long paired music with activism. The artist, who has worked with Bruce Springsteen and has a new project, Prophets of Rage, touring this summer, was asked by The Times to express why politics and pop live...
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LATimes article
Prophets of Rage targets RNC in Cleveland to 'cause a ruckus'
CNN - 9 months
Prophets of Rage, a newly formed rock and hip-hop group, plans to head to "the streets" outside the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer, according to group member and Rage Against the Machine member Tom Morello.
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CNN article
Bruce Springsteen Cancels North Carolina Concert Over Anti-LGBT Law
Huffington Post - 11 months
North Carolina's controversial new anti-LGBT law doesn't sit well with Bruce Springsteen.  The Boss, 66, has been thrilling audiences across the country on The River Tour with his E Street Band since the start of the year. Although he and his bandmates had been slated to perform at the Greensboro Coliseum on April 10, Springsteen announced Friday that he was canceling the show following North Carolina's passage of House Bill 2, or HB2, last month.  Springsteen blasted the new legislation, which Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law March 23, in a lengthy statement on his official website April 8.  "HB2 — known officially as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act — dictates which bathrooms transgender people are permitted to use," Springsteen wrote in the statement. "Just as important, the law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace. No other group of North Carolinians faces such a burden." Calling the law "a ...
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Huffington Post article
On the Culture Front: Music from the Underground, Part Two
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Midwest Soul Xchange, photo by Michael Patrick Neary Midwest Soul Xchange have an alternative Americana vibe that's reminiscent of The Decemberists - big twangy folk that appears to have emerged from a time capsule. Their newly released album, New American Century, sounds like it was created by a band of musicians, but the Wisconsin-bred duo of Ryan Summers and Nate Cherrier are the sole members of this exciting new project that blends banjos, acoustic guitars and other rootsy instruments with an array of synth sounds. There are moments when the vocals creep to a James Hetfield roar, and this feels like a stylistic misstep, but the majority of the album benefits from a wide influence of genres. "Revolt of the Guards" is the most overtly political track, bringing to mind Tom Morello's Woody Guthrie odes. "The terror of poverty is now a crime," Summers and Cherrier croon blatantly on it. "Four Score and Seven to Go" is their most anthemic song on an impressive debut that skews toward ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
On the Culture Front: Music from the Underground, Part Two
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Midwest Soul Xchange, photo by Michael Patrick Neary Midwest Soul Xchange have an alternative Americana vibe that's reminiscent of The Decemberists - big twangy folk that appears to have emerged from a time capsule. Their newly released album, New American Century, sounds like it was created by a band of musicians, but the Wisconsin-bred duo of Ryan Summers and Nate Cherrier are the sole members of this exciting new project that blends banjos, acoustic guitars and other rootsy instruments with an array of synth sounds. There are moments when the vocals creep to a James Hetfield roar, and this feels like a stylistic misstep, but the majority of the album benefits from a wide influence of genres. "Revolt of the Guards" is the most overtly political track, bringing to mind Tom Morello's Woody Guthrie odes. "The terror of poverty is now a crime," Summers and Cherrier croon blatantly on it. "Four Score and Seven to Go" is their most anthemic song on an impressive debut that skews toward ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Joan Baez, Tom Morello, friends salute musician-activist Joe Hill
LATimes - over 1 year
Labor movement leader Joe Hill was saluted on the 100th anniversary of his death Tuesday at the Troubadour in West Hollywood with a gathering of musicians that spanned generations and genres for a salute to the tradition of social and political activism in popular music. Guitarist-singer-songwriter...
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LATimes article
What Labor Icon Joe Hill Can Still Teach the World 100 Years After His Death
Huffington Post - over 1 year
If legendary labor activist Joe Hill were alive today -- and some contend that he is -- he would have plenty to say about the state of the American worker. And the country, if it listened, would have plenty to learn. Hill, who was executed in Utah 100 years ago this month, was an unapologetically radical union organizer whose rough-hewn songs and poems matched the brutal working conditions endured by tens of millions of Americans in the early 20th century. While his lyrics might at first sound anachronistic to contemporary audiences, their underlying spirit speaks directly to the experiences of far too many in our often unforgiving 21st century economy. "Would you have freedom from wage slavery... Would you from mis'ry and hunger be free," from Hill's 1913 anthem "There Is Power in a Union," could easily have been inspired by the thousands of truck drivers who haul goods to and from the nation's largest port in Los Angeles. Misclassified as independent contractors, these port truc ...
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Huffington Post article
Tom Morello Remembers Pete Seeger: 'He Had a Backbone of Steel'
Rolling Stone - about 3 years
The E Street Band played "We Shall Overcome" in Cape Town South Africa last night and it was a tearjerker Pete Seeger was 94 years old and lived a remarkable life There's a temptation to go "Do not weep for Pete Seeger" But I did weep for him because we...
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Rolling Stone article
Twitter Gets It Wrong, Mixes Up Bob Seger With Pete Seeger
Huffington Post - about 3 years
Children, children, children. Honestly, please check your tweets for accuracy before hitting the Tweet button, OK? The Twittersphere got it wrong this week in spreading word of the passing of legendary folk-singer Pete Seeger. Seeger, who was 94, brought the world such classics as "If I Had A Hammer" and "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?". What he didn't do was bring us "Night Moves," a song that entered our lives years later by Bob Seger, who is 68 and still very much alive. But as the DailyDot duly noted, the two were pretty interchangeable for a spell yesterday on Twitter as the "tributes" poured in. Much of what was posted were tweets like this one: RIP Pete Seeger, I'll be playing Night Moves on a loop today in memory. — Mr. J Roboto (@MrJoebot) January 28, 2014 For the record, plenty of fans got it right, including dozens of musicians who used Twitter to pay tribute to the music icon. As we reported here, "tweets were posted by kd lang -- who thanked Seeger and wishe ...
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Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Tom Morello
    FORTIES
  • 2016
    Morello made a surprise appearance during Springsteen and the E Street Band's The River Tour 2016 show on August 25, 2016 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey where he joined them on "Death to My Hometown", "American Skin (41 Shots)", "The Ghost of Tom Joad" and "Badlands".
    More Details Hide Details Prophets of Rage formed in 2016. The supergroup consists of Morello, Rage Against the Machine's bassist and backing vocalist Tim Commerford, and drummer Brad Wilk, with Public Enemy's Chuck D and DJ Lord and Cypress Hill's B-Real. Morello declared to Rolling Stone: "We're 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." The band's name derives from the title of the Public Enemy song "Prophets of Rage" from their 1988 album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. To coincide with their protest performance at the Republican National Convention, the band released their debut single, entitled "Prophets of Rage". The group have released on EP, "The Party's Over". The band has been touring the United States during the summer of 2016 and tour dates will continue into the fall of 2016.
    In March 2016, Morello appeared with Knife Party and Pendulum as a guest at Ultra Music Festival Miami 2016.
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    As of 2016, Morello is a member the supergroup Prophets of Rage.
    More Details Hide Details Morello was also a touring musician with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. He is also known for his acoustic solo act called The Nightwatchman, and Street Sweeper Social Club. Morello is also the co-founder (along with Serj Tankian) of the non-profit political activist organization Axis of Justice, which airs a monthly program on Pacifica Radio station KPFK (90.7 FM) in Los Angeles. Born in Harlem, New York, and raised in Libertyville, Illinois, Morello became interested in music and politics while in high school. He attended Harvard University and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Studies. After his previous band Lock Up disbanded, Morello met Zack de la Rocha, and the two founded Rage Against the Machine together. The group went on to become one of the most popular and influential rock acts of the 1990s.
  • 2015
    Springsteen announced on December 4, 2015 that his upcoming The River Tour 2016 would be downsizing the touring lineup and would not include Morello.
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    Morello plays the guitar solo of the song "Without End" on Anti-Flag's studio album American Spring released on May 26, 2015.
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  • 2014
    On September 26, 2014, Morello played a benefit concert for 15 Now, the group launched by Socialist Alternative and Kshama Sawant to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour.
    More Details Hide Details The concert is aimed at expanding the organization nationally. Morello and Serj Tankian of System of a Down are the co-founders of Axis of Justice, a political group whose declared purpose is "to bring together musicians, fans of music, and grassroots political organizations to fight for social justice together." They "aim to build a bridge between fans of music around the world and local political organizations to effectively organize around issues of peace, human rights, and economic justice." The group has worked for such causes as immigrant rights and death-penalty abolition. Its recommended book list includes such authors as Karl Marx, Che Guevara, George Orwell, Noam Chomsky, Mumia Abu-Jamal and Grant Morrison. Morello and Tankian, together with a handful of other artists, including Maynard James Keenan, Wayne Kramer of the MC5, the hip hop group Jurassic 5, and Michael "Flea" Balzary of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, released a live recording of covers and original songs, titled The Axis of Justice Concert Series Volume 1.
    Morello is featured on Linkin Park's album The Hunting Party on the song "Drawbar," released on June 17, 2014.
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    Morello subsequently appeared alongside Springsteen and the E Street Band during a January 2014 appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and then on the ensuing High Hopes Tour which came to an end in May 2014.
    More Details Hide Details With Springsteen taking the remainder of the year off from touring, it is unknown if Morello will be involved in the touring lineup when Springsteen decides to tour again.
    The material Morello recorded with Springsteen appeared on Springsteen's 18th studio album, High Hopes, which was released in January 2014.
    More Details Hide Details Morello appears on eight of the album's 11 tracks and shares lead vocals with Springsteen on a re-recording of "The Ghost of Tom Joad". It was Morello who originally suggested that Springsteen perform the title track during a concert for the first time in March 2013. Springsteen had previously recorded the song in 1995, and the 2013 performance to its re-recording, which subsequently developed into the album of the same name. Springsteen heavily credits Morello as being a major inspiration for the album by saying he was "my muse" and "he pushed the rest of this project to another level".
  • 2013
    In June 2013, Morello and numerous other celebrities appeared in a video showing support for Chelsea Manning.
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    Morello was featured in the song "Opinion" in the eponymous debut album by Device, which was released in April 2013.
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  • 2012
    Republican nominee for Vice President in the 2012 election Paul Ryan likes Beethoven, Rage Against the Machine and Led Zeppelin.
    More Details Hide Details Morello wrote an op-ed in Rolling Stone stating that "Paul Ryan's love for Rage Against The Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades."
  • 2011
    The first issue was published in October 2011, and Morello is releasing an exclusive new song to accompany each issue.
    More Details Hide Details Orchid is illustrated by Canadian artist Scott Hepburn. The release party sponsored by Dark Horse was held at Jetpack Comics in Rochester, New Hampshire on October 12, 2011. Morello is famed for his guitar style, which consists of heavy metal/punk hybrid riffs and hip hop-inspired sounds. A 1993 Melody Maker live review of a Rage Against The Machine gig, said Guitarist Tom Morello wears his guitar high up to wring every sound out of it. Falling bombs, police sirens, scratching - he can do them all. To produce his alien guitar sounds, Morello chooses various effects pedals. During his tenure in RATM, he used a Dunlop Cry Baby, a DigiTech WH-1 Whammy, a Boss DD-2 Digital Delay, a DOD EQ pedal (set flat and just used to boost the volume during guitar solos or particular rocking moments), and an Ibanez DFL Flanger. Around the time of The Battle of Los Angeles he added a Boss TR-2 Tremolo pedal (which can be heard on "Guerrilla Radio"). For Audioslave, Morello replaced the Ibanez Flanger with a MXR Phase 90. His amplifier of choice has always been a 50-watt Marshall JCM 800 2205 and a Peavey 4x12 cabinet. While the Marshall amplifier has two channels, he only uses the overdrive channel, and simply turns down the volume on his guitar to get cleaner sounds.
    In 2011 it was announced that Morello would write a new 12-issue comic book series for Dark Horse Comics, entitled Orchid.
    More Details Hide Details The series is a post-apocalyptic story in which the title character is "a teenage prostitute who learns that she is more than the role society has imposed upon her."
    On February 21, 2011 Morello organized and performed an acoustic concert in support of the protests over collective bargaining rights in Madison, WI.
    More Details Hide Details The concert also featured The MC5's Wayne Kramer and Boston punk band Street Dogs. He wrote an article in Rolling Stone about his experience. Recently, Morello has played at many Occupy movements, including Occupy Wall Street as well as Occupy Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Vancouver, British Columbia, Nottingham and Newcastle, England protests.
  • 2010
    On November 2, 2010 Travis Barker & Tom Morello released a song alongside RZA & Raekwon called "Carry It".
    More Details Hide Details It would later appear on Travis's debut solo album Give the Drummer Some. Like "Rise Up", it is very similar in style to Morello's previous band Rage Against the Machine. He is collaborating with David Rovics' latest album. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1176637205/unindicted-co-conspirator-a-recording-project/posts/291153
    On February 23, 2010 Cypress Hill released the second single, "Rise Up", from their album Rise Up featuring Tom Morello on guitar.
    More Details Hide Details He is also featured on the track "Shut 'Em Down" from the same album, unlike "Rise Up", which is very similar in style to Morello's rap metal band Rage Against the Machine, it contains strong Latin and punk influences.
  • THIRTIES
  • 2008
    Morello is a member of the labor union the Industrial Workers of the World. On August 27, 2008 Morello performed in Denver, Colorado at the Open The Debates rally in opposition to the Commission on Presidential Debates exclusion of third party candidates from the nationally televised debates.
    More Details Hide Details He performed "This Land is Your Land" as The Nightwatchman and endorsed independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Sean Penn, Jello Biafra, Brooke Smith and Cindy Sheehan were also part of the rally. In October 2009, Morello, among a number of musicians, sued the U.S. government for the declassification of all documents relating to the use of music in interrogations at Guantanamo Bay. He stated, "Guantanamo is known around the world as one of the places where human beings have been tortured -- from waterboarding to stripping, hooding and forcing detainees into humiliating sexual acts -- playing music for 72 hours in a row at volumes just below that to shatter the eardrums. Guantanamo may be Dick Cheney's idea of America, but it's not mine. The fact that music I helped create was used in crimes against humanity sickens me."
    He was credited as "Additional Electric Guitar" in the 2008 superhero movie Iron Man and played a terrorist.
    More Details Hide Details He also appears in the movie Berkeley (2005). He also collaborated with John Debney for the score of Iron Man 2. Additionally, Morello has appeared as himself in an array of documentary films; such as Sounds Like a Revolution, Iron Maiden: Flight 666, about heavy metal band Iron Maiden's Somewhere Back in Time World Tour, and in Chevolution, an exposé about the famous Guerrillero Heroico photo of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara. Morello was also featured in the 2012 documentary film Let Fury Have the Hour by writer and director Antonino D'Ambrosio, where Morello talks about world citizenship, creative activism and his support for workers' rights.
  • 2007
    In 2007, Morello was a featured guitarist in the Mortal Kombat: Armageddon official soundtrack, playing guitar for the Armory stage's battle music.
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    Following Audioslave's breakup in 2007, Morello met up with Boots Riley of The Coup, suggesting that they start a band which Morello had named Street Sweeper.
    More Details Hide Details After giving Riley a tape of various songs to write to, the two created the duo Street Sweeper Social Club. Street Sweeper Social Club opened for Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction in May 2009. In April 2008, Morello made two guest appearances with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at the Honda Center in Anaheim. They performed an extended electric version, featuring guitar solos, of "The Ghost of Tom Joad" (which had been previously been covered by Rage Against the Machine on Renegades). One of these performance was included on Springsteen's Magic Tour Highlights EP as an audio track or video download. On October 29, 2009, Morello performed at the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concert at Madison Square Garden. He performed "The Ghost of Tom Joad", "London Calling", "Badlands", and "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" with Springsteen and the E Street Band.
    The last night of this Morello/DMB arrangement was May 30, 2007 at Wembley Arena in London, on Tom's birthday.
    More Details Hide Details The Nightwatchman is currently supporting Ben Harper on tour. During this tour, Morello has been joining Harper onstage for a cover of Bob Dylan's "Masters of War", on which he plays the electric guitar in the style for which he's best known. Morello has presided over a Hotel Café residency in L.A. since November 2007, which has featured many of his musical cohorts, including Serj Tankian, Perry Farrell, Jon Foreman of Switchfoot, Shooter Jennings, Nuno Bettencourt, Sen Dog of Cypress Hill, Jill Sobule, Boots Riley, Alexi Murdoch, Wayne Kramer of MC5 and others. On October 10, 2008, The Nightwatchman appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson as a musical guest, promoting his new album The Fabled City. On December 17, 2011, Morello performed a live set for "Guitar Center Sessions" on DirecTV. The episode included an interview with program host, Nic Harcourt.
    Morello, as The Nightwatchman, released his debut solo album, One Man Revolution, on April 24, 2007.
    More Details Hide Details The Nightwatchman joined the Dave Matthews Band for its short European tour in May 2007. As well as opening for the Dave Matthews Band, he was invited to guest on a couple of songs each night.
  • 2006
    In July 2006, it was reported that Morello and Riley were to collaborate on a project called Street Sweepers (see section above).
    More Details Hide Details Morello appears in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock as a "guitar boss" (the first of 3 in the career mode of the game) in a night club. Beating him in a one-on-one battle (playing an original composition he recorded for the game) will unlock him as a playable character and will result in the player and Morello playing the master track of "Bulls on Parade" as an encore immediately following the battle. Morello's original composition features many of his trademark guitar effects like those heard in songs such as Audioslave's "Cochise" and "Doesn't Remind Me" and Rage Against the Machine's "Bulls on Parade" and "Sleep Now in the Fire".
    As The Nightwatchman, Morello has often performed alongside Boots Riley, frontman of The Coup; also, he produced and performed on a track for The Coup's 2006 release Pick a Bigger Weapon.
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    In April 2006, Morello produced two tracks for the group Outernational; on the band's website, it states that Morello will be producing their debut album.
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  • 2003
    Morello was the executive producer of Anti-Flag's 2003 studio album "The Terror State."
    More Details Hide Details Morello played a short solo on the Benny Mason band song "Exodus IV".
  • 2002
    The band released their eponymous debut album on November 19, 2002.
    More Details Hide Details It was a critical and commercial success, attaining triple-platinum status. The band released their second album, Out of Exile, on May 24, 2005. It debuted at number 1 on the Billboard charts and attained platinum status. In the same year, they released a DVD documenting their trip as the first American rock band to play a free show in Cuba. The band's third album, Revelations, was released in the fall of 2006. As of February 15, 2007, Audioslave have broken up as a result of frontman Cornell's departure due to "irresolvable personality conflicts". The band reunited with Zack de la Rocha and resumed their previous band, Rage Against the Machine. Morello is less known for his folk music, which he plays under the alias The Nightwatchman. He has explained: In November 2003 The Nightwatchman joined artists Billy Bragg, Lester Chambers of The Chambers Brothers, Steve Earle, Jill Sobule, Boots Riley of The Coup and Mike Mills of R.E.M. on the Tell Us the Truth Tour. The thirteen-city tour was supported by unions, environmental and media reform groups including Common Cause, Free Press and A.F.L.-C.I.O. with the ultimate goal of "informing music fans, and exposing and challenging the failures of the major media outlets in the United States." Tom Morello explained:
  • TWENTIES
  • 1999
    Morello played lead guitar and produced on three tracks of Primus' 1999 studio album Antipop.
    More Details Hide Details Morello played the guitar on The Faculty soundtrack, featured with Class of '99 for their cover of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall (pt. 2)". Morello recorded guitars along with country legend Johnny Cash during his late career with American Recordings, which was released on Unearthed.
  • 1994
    Morello and RATM bandmate Brad Wilk joined with Maynard James Keenan of Tool and Billy Gould of Faith No More to record the song "Calling Dr. Love" for the 1994 Kiss tribute album Kiss My Ass.
    More Details Hide Details The lineup was billed as Shandi's Addiction.
  • 1991
    In 1991 Morello was looking to form a new band after Lock Up disbanded.
    More Details Hide Details Morello was impressed by Zack de la Rocha's freestyle rapping and asked him to join his band. He also drafted drummer Brad Wilk, who he knew from his band Lock Up, where Wilk unsuccessfully auditioned for a drumming spot. The band's lineup was completed when Zack convinced his childhood friend Tim Commerford to play bass. After frequenting the L.A. club circuit, Rage Against the Machine signed a record deal with Epic Records in 1992. That same year, the band released their self titled debut. They achieved a considerable amount of mainstream success and released three more studio albums. In August 2000 in Los Angeles during the Democratic National Convention, Rage Against the Machine performed outside the Staples Center to a large crowd numbering in the thousands while the Convention took place inside. After several audience members began to throw rocks, the Los Angeles Police Department turned off the power and ordered the audience to disperse, firing rubber bullets and pepper spray into the crowd.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1987
    From 1987 to 1988, Morello worked in the office of California Democratic Senator Alan Cranston; however, this proved to be a negative experience for Morello, who decided never to pursue a career in politics.
    More Details Hide Details "I never had any real desire to work in politics but if there was any ember burning in me, it was extinguished working in that job because of two things: one of them was the fact that 80 per cent of the time I spent with the Senator, he was on the phone asking rich people for money. It just made me understand that the whole business was dirty. He had to compromise his entire being every day. The other was the time a woman phoned up to the office and wanted to complain that there were Mexicans moving into her neighborhood. I said to her, 'Ma'am, you're a damn racist,' and she was indignant. I thought I was representing our cause well, but I got yelled at for a week by everyone for saying that! I thought to myself that if I'm in a job where I can't call a damn racist a damn racist, then it's not for me."
  • 1986
    Morello graduated in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Studies.
    More Details Hide Details He moved to Los Angeles, where he supported himself, first by working as an exotic male stripper. He went by the moniker of Tom "Meat Swinger" Morello. "When I graduated from Harvard and moved to Hollywood, I was unemployable. I was literally starving, so I had to work menial labor and, at one point, I even worked as an exotic dancer. 'Brick House' (by The Commodores) was my jam! I did bachelorette parties and I'd go down to my boxer shorts. Would I go further? All I can say is thank God it was in the time before YouTube! You could make decent money doing that job – people do what they have to do." Adam Jones, his high school classmate, moved to Los Angeles as well; Morello introduced Jones and Maynard James Keenan to Danny Carey, who would come to form the band Tool.
  • 1982
    Morello graduated from high school with honors in June 1982, and enrolled at Harvard University as a political science student that autumn.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1980
    Morello developed leftist political leanings early, and has described himself as having been "the only anarchist in a conservative high school", and has since identified as a nonsectarian socialist. In the 1980 mock elections at Libertyville, he campaigned for a fictitious anarchist "candidate" named Hubie Maxwell, who came in fourth place in the election.
    More Details Hide Details He also wrote a piece headlined "South Africa: Racist Fascism That We Support" for the school alternative newspaper The Student Pulse.
  • 1977
    His mother was a schoolteacher from Marseilles, Illinois, who earned a Master of Arts at Loyola University, Chicago and travelled to Germany, Spain, Japan, and Kenya as an English language teacher between 1977 and 1983.
    More Details Hide Details His father was a Kenyan participant in the Mau Mau Uprising, and served as Kenya's first ambassador to the United Nations. Morello's paternal great-uncle, Jomo Kenyatta, was the first elected president in Kenyan history. His parents met in August 1963 while attending a pro-democracy protest in Nairobi, Kenya. After discovering her pregnancy, Mary returned to the United States with Njoroge in November, and married in New York City. When Morello was 16 months old, Njoroge returned to his native Kenya, and denied his paternity of his son. Morello was raised by his mother in Libertyville, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. There he attended Libertyville High School, where his mother was a U.S. history teacher. She was the homeroom teacher for Tom's classmate and fellow guitarist Adam Jones, of the band Tool, while teaching at Libertyville. Morello sang in the school choir and was active in speech and drama club; a prominent role was Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • OTHER
  • 1964
    Tom Morello was born on May 30, 1964, in Harlem, New York, to Ngethe Njoroge and Mary Morello.
    More Details Hide Details Morello is of Italian and Irish descent on his maternal side, and Kikuyu Kenyan descent on his paternal side.
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