Tom Morello life and biography

Tom Morello picture, image, poster

Tom Morello biography

Date of birth : 1964-05-30
Date of death : -
Birthplace : New York City, New York
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-05-10
Credited as : Rock/Heavy metal Guitarist, Rage against the machine, The Nightwatchman

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Thomas Baptiste "Tom" Morello (born May 30, 1964) is a Grammy Award-winning American guitarist best known for his tenure with the bands Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, his acoustic solo act The Nightwatchman, and his newest group, Street Sweeper Social Club. He is best-known for his use of guitar effects, his innovative guitar solos, his use of the tapping and his heavy-riffs. He was featured as one of the guitarists in Rolling Stone's "The Top 20 New Guitarists" article and was ranked #26 on Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".

At age 13, Morello joined his first band; a Led Zeppelin cover band as the lead singer. At this same age, Morello purchased his first guitar. Around 1984, Morello first started studying the guitar seriously. He had formed a band in the same year called the Electric Sheep which featured future Tool guitarist Adam Jones on bass. The band wrote original material that included politically charged lyrics. None of the songs composed by the Sheep contained solos; soloing was a skill that Morello began learning in college.

At the time, Morello's musical tastes lay in the direction of heavy metal, particularly Kiss, Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath. Morello developed his own unique sound through the electric guitar. Later, his music and musical politics were greatly influenced by punk rock bands like The Clash, The Sex Pistols, and Devo.

Rage Against the Machine (1991-2000; 2007-present)


In 1991 Tom was looking to form a new band after Lock Up disbanded. Tom was impressed by Zack de la Rocha's freestyle rapping and asked him to join his band. He also drafted drummer Brad Wilk, who he knew from his band Lock Up, where Wilk unsuccessfully auditioned for a drumming spot. The band's lineup was completed when Zack convinced his childhood friend Tim Commerford to play bass. After frequenting the L.A. club circuit, Rage Against the Machine signed a record deal with Epic Records in 1992. That same year, the band released their self titled debut. They achieved a considerable amount of mainstream success and released three more studio albums.

In August 2000 in Los Angeles at the Democratic National Convention, Rage Against the Machine performed outside the Staples Center to a large crowd numbering in the many thousands while the Convention took place inside. After several audience members began to throw rocks, the Los Angeles Police Department turned off the power and ordered the audience to disperse, firing rubber bullets and pepper spray into the crowd.

In late 2000, after Commerford's stunt at the VMA's, the disgruntled de la Rocha quit the band. On September 13, 2000, Rage Against the Machine performed their last concert at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. After the band disbanded, their fourth studio album, Renegades, became a collection of cover songs from artists such as Bob Dylan, MC5, Bruce Springsteen and Cypress Hill. 2003 saw the release of their last album, titled Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium, an edited recording of the band's final two concerts on September 12 and 13, 2000 at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. It was accompanied by an expanded DVD release of the last show and included a previously unreleased music video for "Bombtrack".

After disbanding, Morello, Wilk and Commerford went on to form Audioslave with former Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, and released three albums as well as a DVD from the band's concert in Cuba. De la Rocha started working on a solo album collaboration with DJ Shadow, Company Flow, and The Roots' Questlove, but the project was dropped in favor of working with Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor. Recording was completed, but the album will probably never be released. So far, only one track has been released: "We Want It All" was featured on "Songs and Artists that Inspired Fahrenheit 9/11".

On April 29, 2007, Rage Against the Machine reunited at the Coachella Music Festival. The band played in front of an EZLN backdrop to the largest crowds of the festival. The performance was initially thought to be a one-off, this turned out not to be the case. The band played 7 more shows in the United States in 2007 (including their first non-festival concert in 7 years at the Alpine Valley Music Theater in East Troy, Wisconsin), and in January 2008, they played their first shows outside the US since re-forming as part of the Big Day Out Festival in Australia and New Zealand. In August 2008 they headlined nights at the Reading and Leeds festivals.

The band has since continued to tour around the world, headlining many large festivals in Europe and the United States, including Lollapalooza in Chicago. In 2008 the band also played shows in Denver, Colorado and Minneapolis, Minnesota to coincide with the Democratic National Convention and Republican National Convention, respectively. Though they played together for these events, they do not play together regularly.

Audioslave (2001-2007)

After de la Rocha left Rage Against the Machine, the remaining band mates began collaborating with former Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell at the suggestion of producer Rick Rubin. The new group was first rumored to be called The Civilian Project, but the name Audioslave was confirmed before their first album was released.

The band released their eponymous debut album on November 19, 2002. It was a critical and commercial success, attaining triple-platinum status.

The band released their second album, Out of Exile, on May 24, 2005. It debuted at number 1 on the Billboard charts and attained platinum status. In the same year, they released a DVD documenting their trip as the first American rock band to play a free show in Cuba. The band's third album, Revelations, was released in the fall of 2006. As of February 15, 2007, Audioslave have broken up as a result of frontman Cornell's departure due to "irresolvable personality conflicts". The band reunited with Zack de la Rocha and resumed their previous band, Rage Against the Machine.

The Nightwatchman (2003-present)

Morello is less known for his folk music, which he plays under the alias The Nightwatchman.In November 2003 The Nightwatchman joined artists Billy Bragg, Lester Chambers of The Chambers Brothers, Steve Earle, Jill Sobule, Boots Riley of The Coup and Mike Mills of R.E.M. on the Tell Us the Truth Tour. The thirteen-city tour was supported by unions, environmental and media reform groups including Common Cause, Free Press and A.F.L.-C.I.O. with the ultimate goal of "informing music fans, and exposing and challenging the failures of the major media outlets in the United States."

One of his many songs, "No One Left", which compares the aftermath of September 11 to that of a U.S. attack on Iraq, appears on the album Songs and Artists that Inspired Fahrenheit 9/11.

The Nightwatchman also appeared on the album/DVD Axis Of Justice: Concert Series Volume 1, contributing the songs "Until the End", "The Road I Must Travel", and "Union Song".

Morello, as The Nightwatchman, released his debut solo album, One Man Revolution, on April 24, 2007.

The Nightwatchman joined the Dave Matthews Band for its short European tour in May 2007. As well as opening for the Dave Matthews Band, he was invited to guest on a couple of songs each night. The last night of this Morello/DMB arrangement was May 30, 2007 at Wembley Arena in London, on Tom's birthday.

The Nightwatchman is currently supporting Ben Harper on tour. During this tour, Morello has been joining Harper onstage for a cover of Bob Dylan's "Masters of War", on which he plays the electric guitar in the style for which he's best known.

Morello has presided over a Hotel Cafe residency in L.A. since November 2007, which has featured many of his musical cohorts, including Serj Tankian, Perry Farrell, Jon Foreman from Switchfoot, Shooter Jennings, Nuno Bettencourt, Queen V, Sen Dog from Cypress Hill, Jill Sobule, Boots Riley, Alexi Murdoch, Wayne Kramer from MC5, and others.

Morello played on a number of soundtracks, including Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, and Spider-Man. He was an "Additional Electric Guitar" in the 2008 superhero movie Iron Man and played a terrorist. He also stars in the movie Berkeley (2005) and in "Star Trek: Insurrection".

Selected discography

Lock Up
* Something Bitchin' This Way Comes (1989)

Rage Against the Machine
* Rage Against the Machine (1992) US 3x Platinum
* Evil Empire (1996) US 3x Platinum
* Live & Rare (1998)
* The Battle of Los Angeles, (1999) US 2x Platinum
* Renegades (2000) US Platinum
* Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium (2003)

Audioslave
* Audioslave (2002) US 3x Platinum
* Out of Exile (2005) US Platinum
* Revelations (2006) US Gold

The Nightwatchman
* One Man Revolution (2007)
* The Fabled City (2008)

Street Sweeper Social Club
* Street Sweeper Social Club (2009)

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