He is very talented, he redefined the sounds of the guitar and he himself is a living "multi-effect"...
He is Tom Morello, so Let's learn a little about the "Rage" Guitarist !!
(Photo: Paul R.Giunta)
1. He was born in Harlem, New York on May 30, 1964. His full name is Thomas Baptiste Morello.
2. He is the only son of a mother of Irish/Italian descent and a father of Kenyan descent, from the Kikuyu tribe. Why is this important? Because his father took part in the Mau Mau uprising that took place in the 1950s between Kenya’s Freedom Army against British rule, after which he became Kenya’s first ambassador to the UN.
3. Not only was his father part of Kenya's leadership, but his cousin Jomo Kenyatta was also Kenya's first president, his cousin Jemimah Gecaga was the first woman to serve in Kenya's legislature and another cousin - Njoroge Mungai was part of Kenya's parliament and security cabinet. Conclusion: Tom has political, revolutionary, and militant roots !!
4. When he was in high school he sang in the school choir and was very prominent in a drama class, but he saw himself as a lone anarchist in a conservative school. He wrote for a school newspaper an article about South Africa called "South Africa: Racist Fascism That We Support"
5. After graduating from high school he began studying at Harvard University specializing in Political Science. After graduating he moved to Los Angeles to seek his future without a penny in his pocket. In one interview he said he worked on anything that made him money, even as a stripper at bachelor parties.
6. As we have already seen, politics is no stranger to Tom, he has a lot of involvement in the field so it will not surprise you that in 1987 he worked in the office of Senator Alan Cranston, an experience that made him realize that he should not engage in politics as a career.
(Photo: Travis Shinn)
7. At the age of 13, he joined his first band, "Nebula", a cover band that performed songs by "Led Zeppelin", "Steve Miller Band", and "Bachman–Turner Overdrive", among others.
8. That same year Morello bought his first guitar and started playing seriously.
9. In 1982 he formed his first band "Electric Sheep" together with a friend from Adam Jones School on Bass (who later joined Tool). He wrote original material that consisted mainly of political messages and was heavily influenced at the time by "Run DMC", "Public Enemy" and "Jam Master Jay".
10. Morello was also influenced by "Kiss", "Iron Maiden", Alice Copper, "Led Zeppelin" and said that the guitarist who influenced him the most was Tony Iommi from "Black Sabbath".
11. Anyone who knows Morello knows that he has developed a unique sound, he is very diverse, he has amazing abilities with a guitar and his talent is phenomenal when it comes to creating sounds, riffs, rhythms, and solos with the guitar.
12. In 1989 Morello formed the band "Lock Up" with guitarist Mike Livingston, bassist Kevin Wood, singer Brian Grillo, and drummer Vince Ostertag. Although they were signed to the big record company Geffen but the only album they released called "Something Bitchin 'This Way Comes" was not very successful and the band disbanded.
13. In 1991 Morello decided to form a new band, he added Zack De La Rocha from whom he was impressed in one of the clubs where he saw him perform as a singer, and added the drummer Brad Wilk whom he knew from the auditions he attended for Morello's previous band. They were looking for a bassist and Zack suggested his childhood friend Tim Commerford. The quartet gave itself the name "Rage Against The Machine".
(Photo: Gie Knaeps)
14. The band known to us as the "Rage Quartet", recorded 12 songs on a tape bearing the band's name, and tried to get themselves a contract with a big record company. By the way, not all the songs from the tape will be released on the band's debut album.
15. After the tape went from one record company to the other and the band has performed many times at various clubs in Los Angeles for a year, the quartet signed a record deal with "Epic Records" which was the only one that agreed to all of the band's terms.
16. In 1992, "Rage" has released its debut album "Rage Against The Machine". The album was widely played on radio stations when the first single from the album "Killing in the Name" was a big hit. The album reached number one on the Billboard charts and number 45 on the Billboard 200. Just as in the photo on the cover of the album, so "Rage" rocked the world of music and shook the world.
17. Despite many rumors about the breakup of the band, the quartet released their second album "Evil Empire". The album was a huge success and won first place on Billboard 200. The band appeared with the song "Bulls on Parade" - the album's second single, on the SNL show and caused a great provocation and as a result, was a band from the show because of the "SNL Flags Incident".
18. In 1998 the band released their first live album "Live & Rare". A year later the band participated in the famous Woodstock '99 festival.
19. In 1999, the band released their third album, "The Battle of Los Angeles". Here too the album made it to the first place in the Billboard 200, but in addition, it also gave the band a Grammy nomination in the "Best Rock Album" category. The album also entered Rolling Stone's all-time top 500 albums, at 426th place. This is the band's latest album.
20. In 2000, the band filmed the famous clip for the song "Sleep Now in the Fire" shot on the sidewalk at the entrance to the New York Stock Exchange. The clip is directed by famed director Michael Moore who gave them one instruction: "No matter what happens don't stop playing". The quartet and Moore were arrested during the filming of the clip after they also tried to break into the stock exchange, they managed to stop the stock exchange from operating for several hours, a rare event!
21. Although the band officially announced its dissolution in October 2000 after Zack decided to leave the band, they released their cover album "Renegades" two months later. On the album, they pay tribute to: Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, "Minor Threat", Eric B. & Rakim, EPMD, "MC5", "The Rolling Stones", and "Cypress Hill" and "Devo".
22. After breaking up the remaining trio decided to try to form a new band and find a replacement singer for Zack. Tim called him a "crossroads angel" - Rick Rubin recognized that the trio had huge potential (not hard to spot), supported them, and pushed them to go for group therapy. Robin is also the one who invited Chris Cornell to his studio with the trio because he was sure it would be a heavenly match, and indeed it was !!
23. In 2002, the new supergroup, which went by the name "Audioslave" released their debut album "Audioslave". The combination of Chris and "Rage" was huge, a deadly combination of talented and rough musicians with a singer with a tremendous, exciting, and rough voice. The singles "Cochise", "Show Me How to Live", "What You Are", "Like a Stone" and "I Am the Highway" were released from the album.
24. In 2003, Morello created the solo project "The Nightwatchman", in which he expresses his political views in combination with folk music. Since in Audioslave he felt he could not do so, he used the character of "The Nightwatchman" as the black Robin Hood of the 21st century.
25. Together with "The Nightwatchman", Morello released 4 albums: One Man Revolution (2007), The Fabled City (2008), Union Town, and World Wide Rebel Songs (2011). In each album, he addresses social, political, and historical issues.
26. In 2005 the supergroup "Audioslave" released their second album "Out of Exile". This is the band's only album to reach number one on the Billboard 200 and also earned the band its second Grammy nomination. The singles "Be Yourself", "Your Time Has Come", "Doesn't Remind Me" and "Out of Exile" were released from the album.
27. On May 6, 2005, the band held their historic performance in Cuba, the supergroup became the first American rock band in history to receive approval to perform live in Cuba. The event was filmed and released on DVD in October 2005 and later on the album "Live In Cuba".
28. In 2006 the supergroup's third and final album called "Revelations" was released, and the album reached # 2 on the Billboard 200. The supergroup officially disbanded as a result of artistic disagreements.
29. That same year Morello with rapper Boots Riley formed the band "Street Sweeper Social Club". The two released their first album bearing the band's name in 2009 and released an EP called "The Ghetto Blaster EP" in 2010.
30. In 2007 the Rage Quartet (which included Zack) returned for a “one-off” performance at the "Coachella Music Festival". Luckily in the end the show was not a "one-off" and the band has continued their performances at major festivals over the years to this day !!
31. In 2008 a wonderful partnership began between Morello and Bruce Springsteen. Morello hosted several Bruce shows with his band "E Street Band" in 2013 and 2014.
32. Morello was also involved in two songs from the boss's 17th album - "Wrecking Ball", and in nine songs from Bruce's 18th album "High Hopes", which was released in 2014.
33. In 2016 the "Rage" trio joined another "Rage" trio, rapper B-Real from Cypress Hill, rapper Chuck D from Public Enemy and DJ Lord and they became "Prophets of Rage". "The prophets" were defined by Morello:
"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."
34. That same year "the Prophets" released the EP "The Party's Over" and in 2017 they released their debut and only album bearing the band's name.
35. In October 2018 Morello released his first solo album (under his full name) called "The Atlas Underground". On the album, Morello album hosts various and diverse artists, rappers, DJs, electronic music creators, and various producers, an eclectic album containing 12 diverse songs.
36. Since then Morello released two more solo albums "Comandante" (2000) and "The Atlas Underground Flood" (2021).
37. Morello's list of collaborations with other artists is endless. Here are some of the most prominent of these at the tip of the fork.
38. He participated in the song "Big Willie" from Run-DMC's album "Down with the King" in 1993.
39. Guitar and bass production and playing on Puff Daddy and Jimmy Page's "Come with Me" from 1998.
40. Production and playing guitar in two songs from Primus' 1999 album "Antipop".
41. Playing the theme song from Perry Farrell's "Rev" album from that year.
43. Morello is ranked 40th on Rolling Stone's list of 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
44. In 2019, Morello became the first musician in history to receive the title of "Ambassador of the American Civil Liberties Union".