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Tom Morello

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 Bitchin' 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 Walker. 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
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Stations Featuring
Tom Morello

Albums by
Tom Morello

Top Songs by
Tom Morello

  1.   Song
  2.   It Begins Tonight by The Nightwatchman
  3.   Black Spartacus Heart Attack Machine by The Nightwatchman
  4.   The Dogs of Tijuana by The Nightwatchman
  5.   Save the Hammer for the Man
  6.   Facing Mount Kenya by The Nightwatchman
  7.   World Wide Rebel Songs by The Nightwatchman
  8.   Night Falls
  9.   Gone Like Rain
  10.   The Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse by The Nightwatchman
  11.   The King of Hell
  12.   Midnight in the City of Destruction
  13.   Ease My Revolutionary Mind
  14.   Whatever It Takes
  15.   Blind Willie McTell
  16.   The Midas Touch
  17.   Stray Bullets by The Nightwatchman
  18.   Speak and Make Lightning by The Nightwatchman
  19.   God Help Us All by The Nightwatchman
  20.   The Lights Are on in Spidertown
  21.   The Fabled City
  22.   Saint Isabelle
  23.   Super Battle
  24.   Lazarus On Down
  25.   Rise to Power
  26.   House Gone Up in Flames by The Nightwatchman
  27.   The Iron Wheel
  28.   The Whirlwind by The Nightwatchman
  29.   5 Million Ways to Kill a Ceo by Boots Riley
  30.   Branding Iron
  31.   Save the Hammer For the Man by Ben Harper
  32.   California's Dark by The Nightwatchman
  33.   One Man Revolution by The Nightwatchman
  34.   The Road I Must Travel by The Nightwatchman
  35.   The Garden of Gethsemane by The Nightwatchman
  36.   Flesh Shapes the Day by The Nightwatchman
  37.   Battle Hymns by The Nightwatchman
  38.   Maximum Firepower by The Nightwatchman
  39.   Union Song by The Nightwatchman
  40.   No One Left by The Nightwatchman
  41.   The Dark Clouds Above by The Nightwatchman
  42.   We Are The 99% featuring Serj Tankian
  43.   Union Town

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