Black is the color of my true identity
July 10, 2020

Tom Morello: Racism is as American as apple pie and baseball

Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine has spoken of his experiences with racism and encounters with the KKK - “In Los Angeles, dozens of times, I was pulled over when driving, going on official band business but in my old Chevy Astro van when I was driving through Beverly Hills. ‘Why is there a thirty-something-year-old black man in this neighbourhood?’", Radio X reports. While he was growing up, in Libertyville in Illinois, he was "the only black person. Once, there was a noose in my family\s garage, there was the occasional burned cross on the lawn", and then, “I was in a popular band that had songs that were predominantly played on white, rock-oriented stations, the way I speak is not typically urban vernacular, and there’s a large part of my fan base that freaks the fuck out when I say that I’m black".

"The history of Black rockers is crazy. Little Richard and Chuck Berry were literally risking their lives. At any point, they could have been shot by cops at the side of the road" - music journalism veteran Scott Sterling told Los Angeleno in conversation with Tony Pierce about black guitar players. And they're one the most important ones; "Bad Brains was kind of like on some Miles Davis jazz thing. Those guys could really play"; "We can talk about [Thin Lizzy's] Phil Lynott all day and twice on Sunday"; "Lenny Kravitz is a guitar hero. A lot of his great solos are themes. It’s not about blowing everyone away, it’s creating a little melodic theme that people can latch onto"; "Eddie Hazel from Parliament-Funkadelic... is one of the main dudes"; "Tom Morello is literally a guitar hero. An educated Black man who can play with Bruce Springsteen just as easily as he can play with Zach"; "Isn’t it interesting that most people don’t consider Slash a Black guitarist?".

Tom Morello / Dan Reynolds

"When I was a kid, someone hung a noose in my family's garage... On June 6 of this year, there was a Black Lives Matter rally and march in that same town that drew over 1,000 people" - Tom Morello explained the inspiration behind his new song 'Stand Up', which he wrote after that rally, it features Imagine Dragons singer Dan Reynolds, Shea Diamond and the Bloody Beetroots; 'Into Strangeness' by Fear of Men is tense indie rock with a touch of sax; 'Time To Walk Away' is a lovely come-back song by the underappreciated Washed Out; Sasami made a psych-folk cover of System of a Down's 'Toxicity' - to say it's cool is an understatement; 'This is What You Did' by This is the Kit is a relaxed panic attack song; piano-heavy 'River Dreams' by Beverly Glenn-Copeland is atmospheric and rich.

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello surprised 10-year-old Nandi Bushell with his signature Fender Stratocaster guitar following her viral performance of 'Guerrilla Radio' - she performed guitar, bass and drums in the clip, supporting Black Lives Matter following the death of George Floyd. “I’d like you to have this guitar as a gift from me to you because you rock so great, and to see someone rocking so great who is so young, it really gives me hope for the future” - Morello told her. “Wow, from the actual Tom Morello!” she reacted. “Thank you so, so, so much for this beautiful guitar. I can’t wait to jam with you!”.

System Of A Down frontman Serj Tankian tweeted shortly “simply awesome” responding to a viral video of Nigerian wedding guests rocking out to the band’s 2001 hit ‘Toxicity’. The short clip features revellers headbanging and singing along to the track, to which Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello said "there's hope".

Rage Against the Machine have stopped approximately 85% of ticket scalping with the release of the not-quite-as-overpriced official charity tickets. A part of their plan to combat ticket scalpers is setting aside a tenth of the tickets at each venue of their upcoming tour to “resell” themselves at a higher price, but still less than what scalpers are charging. The band then gives that extra money to charity rather than lining the pockets of ticket resellers. According to Tom Morello's tweets, RATM raised over $3 million raised for charity in the first couple of days

Tom Morello threw a fan’s phone into the crowd at his Saturday (6/15) show at Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in Tinley Park, IL. He said about the incident - “Put a phone in my face onstage and I’ll throw it. #LiveInTheMoment”, and shared a video of it on Twitter. He also told the audience at the […]