Tom Morello: The Thing I Never Liked About Metal. And I'm a Metal Fan

"I liked the music of metal, but the lyrical content I endured."

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Tom Morello: The Thing I Never Liked About Metal. And I'm a Metal Fan
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Tom Morello touched on his stance towards metal music while discussing his musical heroes, telling The Red Bulletin:

"Some of my heroes are musical, but many are not.

"I grew up in a political household. My great uncle was Jomo Kenyatta, who led the independence struggle in Kenya against Great Britain.

"Growing up, the Black Panther party, Che Guevara and Weather Underground were very important to me. These were people who unapologetically stood up to injustice with the most forceful means necessary.

"I didn't find that in music, until I discovered The Clash and then Public Enemy, artists that resonated with my worldview.

"I liked the music of metal, but the lyrical content I endured.

"And then finally there were artists who were making compelling music that also shared my worldview.

"I vividly remember hearing The Clash's 'London Calling' for the first time. I borrowed a friend's vinyl and made a cassette tape.

"I thought it was a heavy metal record, because of the guy on the cover smashing the guitar. I was like, 'This is going to be awesome.'

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"Then I was surprised to find that it wasn't metal, and yet it was great. It was one of the biggest surprises of my life.

"I remember just pouring over those songs and I couldn't believe that the lyrics were so smart and clever - and they were meaningful!

"The ideas in my head were reflected by a band from 9,500 km (5,900 miles) away, I couldn't believe that. It made me feel less alone in my fledgling convictions about justice and fighting the power."

156 comments sorted by best / new / date

    lepermessiah22
    I usually find myself avoiding most bands that have political lyrics or are outspoken about their political views. Politics seem to be inescapable these day and I'm pretty fuckin sick of it to be honest. Write a good tune, I don't give a fuck what your politics are. 
    phili666
    politics inspire many artists. As people who live in this world, they have a right to talk politics and discuss politics in their music just like we have a right to talk about it. I like when a band has the balls to be political honestly. 
    banerjee.ushnish
    politically motivated songs do not always take sides, they compel you to think beyond what is fed to you. There is nothing wrong with espousing political views through music, if you dont agree with the views dont listen to it, plain and simple.
    lepermessiah22
    I literally started off by saying "I usually find myself avoiding most bands that have political lyrics"
    Kornholic
     "I liked the music of metal, but the lyrical content I endured." 
    That sums up my experiences with Rage Against the Machine.
    clr14
    I'm thinking Tom Morello could talk about milkshakes and lawncare and somehow start a political debate.
    Second Rate
    Any flavor other than vanilla is decadent, degenerate capitalist oppression, comrade. 
    HarryParatestes
    vanilla is a symbol of white oppression and white privilege and therefore it is racist
    clr14
    Kind ironic that if he were an outspoken political dissident in a communist country he would kill for a vanilla shake and a little capitalism. Also perhaps his millions in personal wealth.
    Kharon1
    "Blablabla I'm a communist blablabla.." - Tom Morello
    Cazman
    "Wahwahwah I'm Kirk Hammett wahwahwah.."
    cITIzens_EraZed
    Wicky Wicky Wah, Wicky Wah I'm Will Smith Wicky Wicky Wah Wild West
    Ghostmaker
    Rrr rat bat dot grrr boo bop I'm Jonathan Davis grr rap dat bat do bee bop
    unjo88
    Taco Taco. Taco Taco takka takka takka Taco Taco. Taco Taco. Takka Takka Takka
    cullenmartin60
    "bawwitdaba i'm Kid Rock bawwitdaba..."
    sleopold11
    OOOOO WA AH AH AH I'M DAVID DRAMAIN!!! OOOOO WA AH AH AH!!!!
    ziggy821
    Bidi bidi bom bom Bidi bidi bom bom Selena Bidi bidi bidi bidi bidi bom bom Bidi bidi bidi bidi bidi bom bom
    Kharon1
    Hahahahaha. Edit* we all know that it's Lars who forces him to use that Crybaby
    SteveDoninger
    Wasn’t Che Guevara a scumbag? Genuinely asking.
    *Stranger*
    Commies appreciate a lot of scumbags (Stalin, Che, Castro) just because they "helped" the poor. Murders apparently don't count.  Disclaimer: I am in no was right wing, just pointing out general hypocrisy 
    unjo88
    Both sides tend to have very weird people they seem to look up to. The left idolizes Che Guevera, who killed people with pretty much no questions asked as you mentioned. The right tends to idolize the confederate army/flag with similar appreciation. People are weird, man.
    lkendikian
    Che and stalin have nothig in common
    *Stranger*
    They don't have to have anything in common to both be scumbags. I mean read up on che's views on homosexuals and the like. It's all fun thinking of a biker adventurer turned revolutionary for the poor, but the real person is different. That's the part of Che no one talks about
    BiggusDickus
    Sort of reminds me of how these spoiled pussified North American leftists (not liberals, there's a difference) vehemently defend Muslims worldwide (who would just as soon incinerate all homosexuals), while trashing, mocking and acting violently towards Christian businesses that refuse to bake cakes for gay weddings.  
    BigB0ss
    There's really not much to see when it comes to Che and homosexuals. He was already fighting in Bolivia when Cuba started up their camps. Not saying he's a good person, but do you have anything to back up your comments? I'm genuinely curious. 
    Kharon1
    Yea, he killed people for being homosexual and shit..
    blackone666
    But look up what was done to homosexuals in England at the time. Spoiler, pick a fucking book sometime. 
    Atrloc
    Apparently, its cool to bomb middle east, but its uncool to kill people in a revolution
    pepisick
    I recommend you all to pick up a not rightwing book or to watch a news show other than CNN, maybe then you can tell why "commies" appreciate those scumbags...
    sheehanje
    If you want the news - Watch CNN, then watch Fox News - the truth is in the middle somewhere.
    blackone666
    You have to be immensely stupid to believe that the corporate news will tell you any truth. I've watched American news, and let me tell you, you're nothing but lambs laughing on the way to the slaughter. Well, deserved though. 
    sheehanje
    I'm sorry you can't comprehend what I'm actually saying with my post.  I guess it must be all the American schooling I've done that has led to your confusion.
    Northernmight
    I think the mainstream news have to die, or atleast be severely affected by the their blatant disregard for .. well. journalism.  If people only watch properly researched and generally unbiased news, then they'll have to adapt to that or die. That's how you change an industry. Supply/demand and all that jizzle.
    imjackcarver
    almost no one watches the news anyway. so, like, 3 people in the whole country are "on the way to the slaughter" as you so impotently put it.
    Panasonic3
    You are wrong it's called mass media for a reason. CNN has a monopoly on "facts" in this country
    pepisick
    I've never put them under comparison because I'm not from USA, but they've always seemed to me like two faces of the same coin.
    tomaxandxamot
    Not for the USA?  Probably should keep your opinion a bit muted then.  I'll  tell you why those people liked those skumbags.....because they had a gun to their head or threatened to steal their land.  That's why.  
    stagedamassacre
    Are you defending Stalin? cuz he is one of the top 3 biggest scum bags of all time. he was ruthless, brutal, and also not very smart or courageous, dictator
    Burgery
    stalin did nothing wrong
    The_Crank3
    Idk why this got upvoted. Isn't Stalin directly respobsible for over 20 million deaths? More than hitler even. Just because stalin was on the western allies side during ww2, everyone automatically assumes he was a good leader. Guy was a psychopath if you ask me. He use to even brag about taking out his own family members. Read a book or two on stalin and then tell me he did nothing wrong.
    Burgery
    hbu read a book. the number of people sentenced to death under stalins 30 year rule was under a million and it's a pretty hard stretch to say he was "directly" responsible for all of them. revolutions are violent. stalin did not kill his family lmao gimme a break
    The_Crank3
    Actually i have read a lot of books on stalin and WW2. Under a million? Lmao, way more. That number was way higher in just ww2 alone.
    Burgery
    cite ur sources. people killed by western aggression dont count lol
    The_Crank3
    It wasn't the west who put innocent russians in concetration camps. How about you site your sources?
    Burgery
    gulags werent concentration camps, they were prisons you retard. everyone has them
    The_Crank3
    Russia had them too. And go fuck yourself for calling me a retard. You are the one talking out of your ass. Never become a hisrory teacher!
    kevah94
    ...And Justice for All? Would say there are some really great lyrics on there regarding politics and what not. 
    HarryParatestes
    i wish america was socialist so we could take all of toms money and give it to everybody else
    Hexagram88
    Wow, surprise, surprise--Morello had some of the worst people imaginable influencing his childhood. 
    Northernmight
    He is just such a horrible person. urgh. You want music to agree with you? fuck right off, self-righteous cunt, i swear. while giving props to racial supremacists and violent terrorists, FUCKING ACE.  Y'know, there's people like, say, Ted Nugent, who says silly things and is kind of a douche, and then there's chaps like this guy. This guy isn't silly or whack or anything, he's just plain horrible, the kind of fucker that has wet dreams about putting people in camps.
    Eifler121
    This doesn't have to do with politics. Lyrics in metal tend to be awful across the board.
    skyturnedred
    One of my favourite songs is about cumming while chopping up a child, storing some of it in the freezer and burying the rest in the backyard. I don't see what the fuss is about.
    beggar__
    Fuck fucking politics, don't mix it with music. Music is beauty. Politics is poison.
    ziggy821
    There's plenty of non political music you can enjoy. stop advocating censorship on music that plenty of other people enjoy.
    pepisick
    You should listen to almost all music with lyrics since history became a thing. You'll be surprised how much politics and politic thoughts are in an artistic way of expression.
    HimitsuUK
    I know exactly what he means about London Calling. It has so many different sounds, and yet it works as a fantastic complete piece.
    scotty688
    i thought we were gonna get a good message from Tom, but nope it was literally just him talking about when he was younger and the bands that meant a lot to him lol
    tomaxandxamot
    Id like to present an argument.....Tom Morelleo and Ted Nugent are the same dude now. Both are amazing guitar players, moderate to big success, both were spoiled growing up (Nugent dodged draft and Morello got in and dropped out of Harvard) - now each hold the ends of the spectrum for their political views.....opposite ends.   The irony is, Ted releases "Great White Buffalo" in like 76' - if you are familiar with the song, Nugent is Pro-Native American here.....most of you youngsters just think Unlce Ted is a white supremacist (he's not) this song could change your opinion - RATM on the other hand, was all about Native Americans etc etc  What are we all fighting about?  If you take each end of any spectrum.....take both ends and make a circle....you arrrive at the same spot.....see what I am putting down here?
    HarryParatestes
    yes i see what yer getting at however uncle ted is an american capitalist and thats it tom is also clearly an american capitalist but hes a wannabe communist poser for some reason that i will never understand
    bizmarkie
    know what i hate about metal? how fucking elitist it's become. when i was younger the metal scene was like a awesome block party. everyone was happy, drunk, stoned, no one cared who you were as long as you were there to party. now its turned into some frat boy party with special costumes and shit, where everyone compares their meaningless matching tattoos and talk about the best places to by skinny black jeans and how awesome it is to be a vegan in a a leather jacket. 
    stagedamassacre
    metal snobs is what i call them. the ones that believe that their particular style of metal is the greatest and all other metal is inferior 
    toateridax2010
    I almost died by the end. Holy shit is he ever dumb, no wonder his music sucks ass
    The_Crank3
    Yeah he's so dumb that he even got accepted into Harvard! Yes he may say dumb things at times just like everyobe else, but to call him dumb in general is quite the stretch.
    Zirk208
    The Che shirt was made in China, and sold to you on a capitalist open market!  Enjoy the revolution for $19.95!
    seven.johnson
    I love the Dead Kennedy's and couldn't give a damn about The Clash...  politics is important to me, but so is escapism. My mates older brother got me into Maiden and DK when I was 13.  I love both, but for totally different reasons - sometimes I want to escape the real world.
    JimmySupaFlii
    Say what you want about communisim, but when I saw $50 for bottled water in Texas during hurricane Harvey...a little bit of me was like "fuck capitalism".
    stagedamassacre
    that kind of is capitalism, supply and demand, but it is a special case. Communism is so inefficient though, that there is a good chance they would have expensive water on good day.  
    blackone666
     Ugh, we need a bit of ye olde Uncle Iosif over here, just to clear up the ranks a bit. Metal is a cesspool, it's always been. A breeding ground for outcast to embrace fascism. I know because I've been there. 
    Zirk208
    so we should clear out the undesirables, and all think alike, and somehow that will help us be rid of "fascism"???  Did I get that right?
    olivierbxl
    He's right. Just listen to "Legalize me" on the new Prophets of Rage album to know what kind of smart, political and profound lyrics Tom Morello is talking about.
    1mmoralthang
    Grant Hart of Husker Du fame has died. http://www.nme.com/news/music/grant-hart-dead-...
    RedLabelRecords
    Let's give them something to talk about... Seriously though, that band kicks so much ass. Can't believe I just discovered them a year ago.
    1mmoralthang
    Same here man! I listened to New Day Rising a few weeks ago. It's amazing how influential they were