Personalities | Tom Morello | A Musician with a Message | Guitar Heroes

Driven by a fierce intelligence, a relentless pursuit of social justice and a wide-ranging taste in sounds and songs, Tom Morello (b. 1964) was the driving force behind the bands Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave.

Morello has won Grammys and performed around the world inspiring and uniting people with music. Known for innovative guitar solos and varied, effects-laden tones, he was ranked number 40 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

Morello was born to a Kenyan father and Irish-Italian mother. His mother exposed him to politics and the classics from an early age, and Morello became the first person from his Illinois town to enroll at Harvard, after graduating with honours from high school. After college, he moved to Los Angeles. Morello had studied guitar throughout high school, initially influenced by Kiss, Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper, later by The Clash, The Sex Pistols and Devo. In LA, he formed a band with vocalist Zack de la Rocha, drummer Brad Wilk and childhood friend Tim Commerford on bass. After frequenting the LA club circuit, Rage Against The Machine signed to Epic Records in 1992. That same year, the band released their self-titled debut, and eventually three more studio albums.

In 2000, de la Rocha quit the band, and Morello, Wilk and Commerford formed Audioslave with ex-Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, releasing three albums and a DVD of the band’s landmark free concert in Cuba. In 2007, Rage Against The Machine reunited at the Coachella Music Festival. Though they have played for big events, RATM do not play together regularly.

In recent years, Morello has performed and recorded folk music under the alias The Nightwatchman and has toured in support of activist causes, joining like-minded musicians, including Bruce Springsteen, for a slew of projects and performances. With Boots Riley in the duo Street Sweeper Social Club, Morello released two albums in the late 2000s. He has contributed to albums by artists including Primus, Johnny Cash and The Crystal Method. Morello has appeared in movies, such as Iron Man (2008) in which he played a terrorist, as well as contributing to soundtracks.

Essential Recordings

Rage Against The Machine: Rage Against The Machine

Rage Against The Machine: Evil Empire

Audioslave: Audioslave

The Nightwatchman: One Man Revolution

Personalities | Steve Morse | Dixie Dregs to Deep Purple | Guitar Heroes


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