Modern-day guitar legend Tom Morello has never shied away from politics. Back in the ’80s, the Rage Against The Machine guitarist worked as a scheduling secretary for California Democratic Sen. Alan Cranston for two years. Now, Morello is better known as Rage’s ever-respected king of strings, making his voice heard time and time again. Even his well-deserved political clapbacks on social media remind fans that he is, indeed, more than qualified to talk politics.
“One does not have to be an honors grad in political science from Harvard University to recognize the unethical and inhumane nature of this administration but well, I happen to be an honors grad in Political Science from Harvard University so I can confirm that for you,” Morello wrote in 2017 and shared again in June after a fan questioned his qualifications.
The guitar virtuoso has had a lot to say about the current election cycle, too, even posting a photo of his 97-year-old mother Mary with her mail-in ballot in mid-October.
With Election Day officially here, take a look back at APTV’s June 2019 chat with Morello, where he discusses his favorite Clash records, his analysis of the Democratic Party and who he considered voting for a year ago. Spoiler: It’s Alternative Press correspondent One on Gunz.
Do you ever hate yourself for being not “so smart” but overthinking some of the music? Are you ever like, “Why…”?
I overthink a lot of stuff. One of the things I really don’t is music, though. I’ve always felt like a lot of what music is is the craftsmanship stuff. You have to practice it, and you have to show up at rehearsal and have to get on a bus or a plane and go on tour. But the thing that you live for is the inspiration stuff. It’s like, where there’s a blank world, and then all of a sudden, there’s sound on it that was never there before. Whether it’s a guitar solo or a riff or a song coming together, that’s the thing that you really live for. And so I’ve never overthought that. And the best stuff comes when you allow yourself to be in the moment. Then you have to go back and do the other stuff. But it’s all good.
Two quick questions: One band who you could see play three albums in their entirety that you would want to see?
Well, they don’t exist anymore, but it would be the Clash. That’s my all-time favorite band. And I would love for them to be able to do that. But they can’t… I would go [with the] first album, London Calling and Combat Rock. Those would be my three.
And of course, we’re just over a year away, but it seems every single day there’s another candidate out there.
Jeez, I’m voting for you right now. I like your spirits. I think you have an audience.
You don’t have to pick anybody or endorse anybody. If you want, you could. But what do you want to say to the Democrat Party out there?
Stop sucking. You know, like seriously. I worked for two years as a scheduling aide for a Democratic U.S. Senator, Alan Cranston. And just the fact that both parties are beholden to Wall Street and money. There is a movement afoot for candidates that are not completely bought by the wealthiest, ruling-class folks. And that’s something that’s encouraging. But I’ve always put my support behind people who work in the grassroots, people who try to change things from the bottom up, not from the top down.
You have anybody in mind yet?
No. I’m feeling you, though. I think that you’ve got a shot.
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