Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello: The Guitar Is Still Important to Music
Tom Morello — the Rage Against the Machine icon, Audioslave guitarist and solo artist — has spoken out on the guitar's importance amid the instrument's shifting role in music outside of hard rock and heavy metal.
The rocker made a case for the six-string's continued significance in a recent interview to promote his new Audible release, Tom Morello at Minetta Lane Theatre: Speaking Truth To Power Through Stories and Song. The live recording finds the guitarist both orating and rocking out on his axe.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for those familiar with the musician's work, the Rage mainstay who's contributed numerous new sounds to the guitar's vocabulary has high regard for the instrument.
"The guitar really matters to me," Morello told Guitar World. "It's such an important instrument on the face of the planet but to me personally [as well]. While guitar music may not be choking the top of the charts as it once did, it is no less great or important than it's ever been."
The evolving thread of the guitar's value is no better displayed than in recent rock cover songs by the 10-year-old viral musician Nandi Bushell. Speaking to Guitar World, Morello acknowledged Bushell's contribution at a time when young performers often lean away from solely guitar-based creativity. Indeed, the Rage Against the Machine member even gifted her one of his signature Strats after Bushell covered RATM's "Guerrilla Radio."
"Those who play guitar look at it as part of their compositional arsenal, as opposed to the eight hours a day shredding," Morello observed. "But then there are those, like Nandi and others, who recognize the purity and authenticity of holding a guitar in your hands, stepping on the distortion pedal and just rocking the fuck out. There's nothing like it in the world."
The guitarist continued, "I think there's a very different emphasis on guitar playing nowadays compared to when I was coming up. A lot of young people's first inclination is to be a producer before a musician — you can make [the Beatles'] the White Album on your phone now. "
Listen to Morello's Speaking Truth to Power here.
See Tom Morello in the Top 66 Hard Rock + Metal Guitarists of All Time