Tom Morello

Once again, all the Rage 
TOM MORELLO_edited.png

By Kreig Marks, July 2022

KM:  Hi Tom.  Welcome to Tru Rock Revival Magazine.  

TM:  Hey Kreig.  Thanks for the invite.

KM:  Obviously you've done tons of interviews over the years.  So, in honor of that, we're going to take this in a different direction.  Is that alright with you? 

TM:  Uh, yeah, I guess?  LOL

 

KM:  Cool.  Let's get started.  You're a Harvard Graduate who became a Rock star.  Was that the plan all along?

 

TM:  Hah!  I'm not sure about that but I've always loved music and playing music.  It was a good time at Harvard and I definitely got a great education there.  I studied Political Science.  When I graduated I moved to LA but didn't get into a band for a while. 

 

KM:  When you moved to LA, I've heard you really didn't have a plan at the time, and worked all kinds of jobs to make ends meet.  Is that correct?

 

TM:  Uh, yeah?  LOL  I think I know where this is going but go ahead, I signed up for this.

 

KM:  Ha, thank you.  I will.  So, you graduate from one of the top Ivy League colleges in the country, and head out to LA with no real plan.  So, you do some odds and end jobs to make ends meet, and then you even became a stripper.  Let's hear about that.  Your fans wanna know about that.

 

TM:  Um, yeah.  But we called it Exotic Dancing.

 

KM:  Yeah, cool.  So, you were a stripper.

 

TM:  LMAO.  Man, you're harsh!  Ok, a stripper.  Now you happy?

 

KM:  Yeah, I'm happy, but that has nothing to do with you being a stripper.

 

TM:  LMAO.  Man, you are too much!  

KM:  LOL. So, you're what, doing carpentry work, or cleaning or stuff like that during the day, and at night letting it all hang out?

TM: LOL.  Yeah, I suppose.  But you know, it was work and it paid the bills, and put food on the table.  

 

KM:  Dude, I don't judge anyone.  So, did you have a cool stage name like Milky Way?

 

TM:  LMAO.  Dude!  How did you guess?!  You were at one of the shows, weren't you?  LOL.

 

KM:  Ha, nooope.  Next question.  

 

TM:  LOL.  I worked a lot of bachelorette parties, went down to my boxers.  But, sometimes to get paid a bit more......  Well, you get the picture.  

 

KM:  Actually, I'm trying not to.  Next question.  

 

TM:  LOL

 

KM:  While In LA, your High School buddy that you had a band with, Adam Jones, moved closer, so you introduced him to Maynard James Keenan and Danny Carey - who then formed Tool.  Why didn't you join them?  

 

TM:  I guess at the time I was still thinking about getting into politics.  I worked with Senator Alan Cranston for a bit, but it was really eye- opening for me.  He was all about the money, and not helping the people who elected him. He was always on the phone trying to get money from people. Not what I signed up for and not what I was about. That ended the thought of going in that direction. 

 

KM:  Interesting twist! In the late 80's, you were in a band called Lock Up.  That was short- lived, but I assume it gave you the experience in the music profession, and the momentum moving forward to form Rage?

TM:  Yeah, Lock Up was pretty short- lived, but really gave me that first taste of being in a real band, and getting signed to a label.  We were with Geffen. After Lock Up disbanded, I went on to form Rage Against the Machine with Zack de la Rocha, and we ended up signing with Epic.  

 

KM:  Did you know how successful Rage would become, and how that band would become such a huge influence on other bands like Linkin Park?  

 

TM:  I was never into it to become this huge Rock star or anything like that.  I was in it for the love of the music.  Anything else after that is just frosting on the cake, so to speak.  If we've influenced other musicians or bands along the way, that's cool.  I've had my own influences, like Tony Lommi of Black Sabbath, the Sex Pistols, and the Clash.  So, yeah, if we've become the influence of others, that's a big deal and I'm proud of that.  

KM:  Tell me about your mom.  She shares the mic with you on occasion, on Tom Morello's One - Man Revolution.

TM:  My mom, Mary, is awesome!  She's now 98 and still kicking it!  She's been a leader in the Civil Rights movements and NAACP.  She's always been my biggest fan and biggest supporter.  She introduced Rage in 1994 at the Pink Pop Festival as the "Best Band in the Fucking Universe!"  How many can say that about their mom!  

KM:  LOL. That's one supportive mother you've got there.

TM:  Oh yeah. She's really amazing.  

 

KM:  For a few years, you and Chris Cornell shared the stage with Audioslave.  Great band.  How much do you miss Chris?

 

TM:  Not a day goes by where I don't think about him.  He wasn't just an extremely talented musician, singer, songwriter, producer...he was one of the best human beings I've been privileged to call my friend.  I miss him terribly.  His death, that was one of the hardest things I've ever had to deal with, the loss of such a great friend and great person.  I remember the first time really meeting him and talking to him. It was at his big house in LA at the top of this mountain.  The house was creepy!  It was big and dark. I'm there with Rick Rubin to meet with Chris.  We get to the door, the door opens, and here comes this really tall, skinny guy walking toward us out of the dark. It' was like watching Lurch on the Addam's Family!  Scared the hell out of Rick!  LOL.  But, Chris was one of the coolest, nicest, most gentle souls I've ever met.  One day we'll reconnect.

 

KM:  Wow, great story. He was a huge loss on every level. Rage is now back together and touring.  How excited are you about that?

TM:  It's going to be great. It's been a long time coming. We had planned a tour a few years back, and then the pandemic put an end to that, so we're finally 

getting the chance to do it. The Public Service Announcement Tour.  Should be a lot of fun. It's a long tour, running through April of '23.  

KM:  Excellent! Can't wait to hear you guys. Anything you'd like to say to some of your fans out there?

TM:  I'd love to thank everyone of them face -to -face if I had the ability.  They've been there a long time and have been so patient with us. We're going to make sure they come out and have a great time, hear some great music, and have a great memory of this tour.  Thank you all!  

KM:  Tom, this has been pretty cool.  Who knows, maybe once this tour ends you can maybe go back and revisit your Milky Way days!

TM:  Hey Kreig, never say never, right?  

KM:  Good luck with the tour and say hello to your mom.  

TM:  Will do.  Thanks, Kreig, this has been cool.  And thank you Tru Rock Revival Magazine!  Keep doing what you're doing.  It's awesome!  

For further information about Tom Morello, visit https://tommorello.com/ or https://tour.ratm.com/

Kreig Marks, Publisher / Founder TRR
AirBrush_20211117164110_edited_edited.jpg

Kreig Marks is the Founder/Publisher of Tru Rock Revival Magazine.

Rock music has always been his passion, and promoting musicians. In is spare time he is an internationally recognized neuro-fitness trainer/ kinesiologist. 

"Not a day goes by where I don't think about him [Chris Cornell].  He wasn't just an extremely talented musician, singer, songwriter, producer...he was one of the best human beings I've been privileged to call my friend.  I miss him terribly.  His death, that was one of the hardest things I've ever had to deal with, the loss of such a great friend and great person. 

~Tom Morello