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Tom Morello, The Nightwatchman

Few rock guitarists in the 1990s were as groundbreaking as Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello, who incorporated a myriad of different styles into his own playing. Born in New York City on May 30, 1964, Morello was raised by his mother (who, decades later, would help create the anti-censorship organization Parents for Rock & Rap) in Libertyville, Illinois. As a teenager, Morello became infatuated with both rock music and politics, as he was almost entirely self-taught on guitar (in fact, he learned the most about the instrument while practicing up to eight hours a day during a stint at Harvard University, where Morello majored in political science). Upon graduation, Morello relocated to the Los Angeles area, where he decided to try and make a career out of music (making ends meet by working for a spell as a California senator's secretary). By the late '80s, Morello was a member of L.A. rockers Lock Up, who inked a deal with Geffen and issued a lone album, 1989's Something B**chin' This Way Comes. When the album sank without a trace upon release, the group broke up.

But Morello already had plans for his next project, which would be more thought-provoking and politically minded (taking a cue from such respected artists as the Clash and Public Enemy) and harder-edged musically. With Morello joined by vocalist/rapper Zack de la Rocha, bassist Tim Commerford, and drummer Brad Wilk, Rage Against the Machine were born in 1991. Over the course of a four-album career -- 1992's self-titled release (an album which many point to as the trailblazer for the heavy metal/rap style, inspiring countless other bands in its wake), 1996's Evil Empire, 1999's The Battle of Los Angeles, and 2000's all-covers Renegades -- Rage Against the Machine became one of rock's leading (and most confrontational) bands. But rumors of friction between de la Rocha and the rest of the members continued to persist (stemming from the fact that the frontman wanted to issue a solo album), and shortly before the release of the fourth album, de la Rocha left the band. Undeterred, Morello and the rest of the Rage members enlisted the services of former Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, forming the group Civilian, which would later be redubbed Audioslave.

In addition to his work with Rage and Audioslave, Morello has lent his playing (and in some cases, production) talents to recordings by a variety of other artists, including Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, the Crystal Method, Perry Farrell, Primus, Puff Daddy/Jimmy Page, and Run-D.M.C., as well as collaborating with enigmatic Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley on a cover version of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2" for the soundtrack of the 1998 film The Faculty. Morello also performs solo material sporadically under his political folk alter ego, the Nightwatchman. The artist also performed -- as the Nightwatchman -- during the demonstrations in Wisconsin supporting the rights of state workers to collectively bargain, protesting a historic union-busting bill spearheaded by governor Scott Brown. He was inspired by the demonstrations there, and by the protests in Cairo, Egypt demanding democracy that eventually toppled the regime of Hosni Mubarek, to record an eight-song EP of pro-union anthems entitled Union Town under the Nightwatchman moniker. It was released early in the summer of 2011 -- with all profits going to the America Votes Labor Unity Fund. The set included three Morello originals and five standards, including the full-length version of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" with the -- usually -- censored verse intact. Morello, once again as the Nightwatchman, followed the disc with the full-length World Wide Rebel Songs, released later in 2011 on New West. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Sup bronies and/or furries. Just wanted to say if love listening to TDG, RATM, SOAD, The Man In Black, Fozzy, AWOLNATION, or Papa Roach, feel free to check out my Bio and follow me. I will follow back.
Such an amazing guitarist. Cannot believe it has been 20 years of Rage. Stoked to check out the release off XX this week.
paxman8
A thousand thanks to Tom Morello who came here to madison wi to support us in our protest against Scott Walker (not Brown). His music is still inspiring us many months later. Morello for President!!
Be$t Gu!tar Pl@y
This guy is a f'kin piece of sh!t
Scott Walker not Scott Brown is the piece of s**t governor in Wisco
Not to many people can play a guitar as this man definitely there or much better then Jimi Hendrix
Psh, the politics are what's at the meat of it. For most of old school folk, the politics/mes s a g e was the point.
Love the music but can't take the politics.
best guitarist evr! he has a cinderella story
Well that's the Bible, and the Conservative Christians use that as their rallying cry as they conduct their war on science.
Maybe because those who were deemed "intelligent " were Roman imperialists .
I can't top the comment below me.
tsee
So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the gospels in praise of intelligence . – Bertrand Russell

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