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Famous Like Me > Composer > M > Tom Morello

Profile of Tom Morello on Famous Like Me

Name: Tom Morello  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 30th May 1964
Place of Birth: New York City, New York, USA
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Tom Morello

Thomas Baptist Morello (born May 30, 1964) is the guitarist of the band Audioslave, and formerly of Rage Against The Machine.

He was born in Harlem, New York and grew up in Libertyville, Illinois. His mother, Mary Morello, is a founder of Parents For Rock And Rap, an anti-censorship group. His father was a Mau Mau guerilla, a Kenyan revolutionary who later was the first Kenyan delegate to the United Nations. Morello's uncle, Jomo Kenyatta, was the first elected president in Kenya.

In 1986 Morello graduated with honours from Harvard University with a degree in political science. He moved to L.A. with the intention of joining or starting a band. Already during his high school years, he had played in a band called Electric Sheep with Adam Jones, soon-to-be-guitarist for the experimental band, Tool. Morello introduced Jones to some of his future band-mates and was responsible for the emergence of Tool in its first formation.

In 1988 he joined Lock Up, who released one album through Geffen Records before splitting up. Afterward, Morello approached Brad Wilk, who had auditioned for Lock Up, about forming a band. After meeting with Zack de la Rocha at an LA club where Zack was rapping, Zack introduced him to his friend Tim Commerford and their new band, Rage Against The Machine, was formed.

In 2000, Zack de la Rocha left Rage Against the Machine. The remaining three members formed the band Audioslave with former Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell. Audioslave have since achieved commercial success with their eponymously titled debut album.

Tom Morello and Serj Tankian of System of a Down are the co-founders of Axis of Justice, which helps people, teens especially, find ways to be activists in their communities. One of his favorite movies is Babe and he is also a vegetarian.

Morello is famed for his guitar style, which consists of punk/funk hybrid riffs and hip hop inspired sounds. His guitar playing is also characterized by heavy use of guitar effects, such as delay, modulation, harmonizers, distortion, feedback, and others in unique ways and combinations. Morello's innovative use of effects has gained him significant critical acclaim. His reliance on effects has also attracted criticism, but he is a very accomplished traditional metal guitarist as heard on some of his earlier recordings such as "Know Your Enemy" and "Take the Power Back".

Despite his otherworldly guitar sounds, Morello has a very limited supply of effects to choose from. During his days in Rage, he used a Dunlop Crybaby, a Digitech Whammy, a Boss Digital Delay, a DOD EQ pedal (used to boost the volume during guitar solos), and an Ibanez Flanger. For his work with Audioslave, Morello added a Boss Tremolo pedal (which can be heard on "Like a Stone") and replaced the flanger with an MXR Phase 90 (heard on "Getaway Car"). His amplifier of choice has always been a 50-watt Marshall JCM800 into a beat-up Peavey 4x12 cabinet.

He is also less known for his folk music, where he goes by the alias "The Nightwatchman." To quote Tom:

"The Nightwatchman is my political folk alter ego. I've been writing these songs and playing them at open mic nights with friends for some time. This is the first time I've toured with it. When I play open mic nights, it's announced as the Nightwatchman. There will be kids there who are fans of my electric guitar playing, and you see them there scratching their heads.
But it's something that I enjoy doing. I look at it more as an extension of my politics. Then again, some of the songs are not explicitly political. It really helped me grow as an artist and songwriter. Once you prick the vein you never know what is going to come out. You could aim for all union songs and you find yourself in other territory."

One of his folk songs, "No One Left", appears on the album Songs and Artists That Inspired Fahrenheit 9/11.

During his time with Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave, Tom has also become known for his many baseball caps which sport mainly (though not exclusively) political messages. Namely, a cap he wore which read "commie" and another reading "UNITE!" (a reference to the textile union) became unofficial trademarks of his stage performance.

Tom is also a fan of Star Trek, having appeared twice in its various forms (he played Crewman Mitchell in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, and a Son'a warrior in the ninth feature film Star Trek: Insurrection).

See Also

  • Rolling Stone's List of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Tom Morello