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Tom Morello says it's "cringey and embarrassing" that some fans completely miss the point of his music

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Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Audible

Last year, Tom Morello found himself confronting fans who somehow missed the fact that not only is most of his music explicitly political, but that he himself has a degree in political science and so is, in fact, qualified to speak out on political issues.  Morello discusses that disconnect between what his music means and what fans hear in the latest issue of Interview magazine.

In a conversation in which he and grandson interview each other, Morello says, “There’s a lot of Trump clowns out there who love to drunkenly mosh [to] Rage Against Machine. And it’s cringey and embarrassing, but when you look at those mosh pits, and you wonder what percentage of the people really understand what’s going on, I don’t know that it’s 50, or even 20. But 20 on a global scale is a significant number.”

However, Morello notes, “I believe it’s fine to ignore the message and just enjoy the music…but to be completely surprised at my ideological point of view in 2020, when you’re very familiar with elements of my 20-album catalog, it’s surprising to me.”

Morello and grandson also discuss their personal “Mount Rushmores” of lyricists, with grandson choosing Bob Marley, Bill Withers, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and “maybe” Kendrick Lamar and Zack de la Rocha.  Morello chooses de la Rocha, of course, but also Bob Dylan, Public Enemy‘s Chuck D and Bruce Springsteen.

When grandson asks Morello what he’s learned from Springsteen after touring with him, Morello notes, “He confirmed for me the idea that every night, every show you should play as if everyone’s soul in the room is at stake. Rock and roll is fun. Rock and roll is a celebration. It’s nice to sing our songs. It’s also deadly important.”

By Andrea Dresdale
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