Tom Morello wears many hats, figuratively speaking: in addition to being the guitarist for Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, Bruce Springsteen and his ongoing solo project The Atlas Underground, he is an activist, agitator, comic book writer and an occasional actor. He also wears many hats, literally speaking, because, well, he owns a lot of hats. Either way, there will be plenty to talk about as he answers your questions. “I will respond to the best of my ability…or to the extent that I wish,” he warns us before we start cooking.
You have been on star trek and in Iron Man. What TV shows or movies would you like to be in?
Jason Charlton (email)
“Yeah, I missed my chances to be on the really big ones – The Lord of the Rings and star wars would really complete the nerd profile. JJ Abrams is a friendly acquaintance of mine, and I texted him and said, “I’d like to be one of the Knights of Ren” – that was before there was even a script! He told me that I didn’t even have to audition and that I should just call him when I got there. It kills me to say it, but I was never there at the time, so it didn’t happen.
What do you think of some fans telling you to stay away from politics when you’re raging on social media?
“I have several ideas. One is that you don’t trigger a free speech exemption when you pick up a guitar, that right remains intact. Second, people who are offended by my policy on Twitter or Instagram, please know that it’s because you weren’t smart enough to know what the music you’ve been listening to all these years was about. For music, you’re welcome, but if you’re a white supremacist or a proto-fascist, that music is not written for you, it is written against you.
Who is the most difficult person you have ever worked with in the studio?
Jeannette Simons (email)
“The producer of the first record I did, a nice guy, Matt Wallace. Very talented producer, but his vision of my playing was stifling. I had all these noises and rocking effects, and he was like, ‘It doesn’t doesn’t sound good in the songs” and I had to say, “Well, these are new songs”. I felt like it was a challenge, he wanted keyboards! I was 22 and it was an expert producer, I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to be my best.
What is the advice you gave to your son Roman to enter the world of music?
Iain Leef (email)
“No, ha ha! I gave her no advice on the music business industry, and just advice on having fun performing and shredding her ass. That’s all the advice I gave him.
What’s the weirdest compliment you’ve ever been given?
“At the start of the tours, in Germany, there was always a guy in the front row who was very enthusiastic and he was always shouting: ‘Kill me with your music, Tony!’ to me. I guess it’s kind of a compliment…and a request to be killed, which is pretty metal!”
Who do you see carrying the Torch of Rage forward? Who are the young rock activists we need to support?
Violetta Dunford (email)
“There’s a great artist called Grandson, who I recently collaborated with on
my recent record Atlas Underground. There is another artist called K. Flay, with whom I also worked; Nandi Bushell the prodigy drummer, who worked with my son Roman on the song The children will rise, I have to put the pair on this list as well. The under 12 age group is really flying the flag!
What is the greatest guitar solo of all time?
Paul Cullis (Facebook)
“There are several candidates! Number three is Jimi Hendrix All along the watchtower – it’s symphonically composed and amazing. Number two is Jimmy Page stairway to Heaven – you can go with the Led Zep IV version or the live version of The song remains the same. Number one A and number one B are the solos on Mr Crowley by Randy Rhoads. You could teach them a college-level musicology course or bang your head in a heavy metal parking lot! »
What an honor was it to play with Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band?
Tom Mears (Facebook)
“Some would call it a lifelong dream, but I’ve never dared to dream anything like it. I’m not a casual Bruce Springsteen fan – I’m one of those super weird, obsessed Bruce Springsteen fans , so to be part of the mix and be a voice in the room – I’m actually the only other lead singer on any Bruce Springsteen album – was unreal I gave myself 20 seconds every night on tour , usually during born to runto give me a moment and really enjoy it, like, ‘I’m playing born to run with Bruce Springsteen in a stadium in South Africa!’ That’s when I lapped him up.
Who is your favorite US presidential candidate in your life?
Tom Stephens (Facebook)
“Imprisoned Native American activist Leonard Peltier. He ran for president, he was a candidate I could support. There are plenty of presidents who deserve to be behind bars, but electing someone who is behind bars but doesn’t deserve to be there is the way to go.
Who was it more fun to shoot with: U2 or the Wu-Tang Clan?
Euan Manson (email)
“I enjoyed every minute with Wu-Tang, but I didn’t see them as much as I saw the guys from U2. They came and went, but I really enjoyed my time with them. , Above all [Wu-Tang linchpin] RZA, who is a lifelong friend. I’ll go with U2 on that one just because I spent more time with them. They were the nicest band I’ve toured with – one of my favorite bands of all time, but just the nicest people you could imagine.
From your perspective, how toxic was the atmosphere at Woodstock ’99?
Colin Bromley (Facebook)
“My point of view was that I was only there for 90 minutes, while I was playing the show. I was at the hotel when it burned down. My point of view was that the children, apart from the predators They had bad press, they were exploited and taken advantage of, they were made to pay $5 to $10 for a bottle of water, it was contrary to the original spirit of Woodstock.
It was an ocean of gasoline waiting for a match. It also exposed the worst of the Lollapalooza nation; it started as this diverse bunch of bands – Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against The Machine, Tool, Pearl Jam – and it coalesced into the worst hair metal and frat boy shit.
What is your favorite Chris Cornell memory?
Joseph Arnold (Facebook)
“When Rage broke up, Brad [Wilk, drums]Tim [Commerford, bass] and
I always wanted to play together, and we kept listening badmotorfinger. Chris had an amazing voice, but he had dark poetry, Edgar Allan Poe, we wondered what he really sounded like, so we decided to go talk to him. Rick Rubin came with us and he doesn’t leave the house for nothing unless it’s in a Rolls Royce inside another Rolls Royce, but he’s in my van.
Chris lived in Los Angeles on top of the last loneliest mountain it was dusk and the sunlight was going and this mansion he lived in was scary as hell the doors just opened like the style from the Addams Family, and we walked in and there’s Chris, 6’2 and a half, lanky in frame, dark in face, and he starts walking slowly towards us and Rick freaked out and said, ‘Let’s get the hell out of here from here!’ We stayed, he was the most loving and generous guy and we were in a band for six years together. It’s my first memory of him.
Do you think Trump will run in 2024?
Christy George (email)
“I would be surprised if he didn’t. And I’d be surprised if he didn’t lose again and claim he won. I think it’s possible the results will be even worse than they were this time around. He’s a sociopath; his father thought he was such a disappointing loser that he can never publicly admit he lost.
Who would be your dream guest for future Atlas underground projects?
Darren Hutchins (Facebook)
“I like the idea of my guitar ending up in other areas, so I’d say Post Malone. Do you know what his very first show was? His father took him to see Korn! I like the idea of Post Malone unleashing his inner Korn on my guitar sound.
The Atlas Underground Flood is now available via Mom + Pop Music