Tom Morello Gives Fans Tips on Playing Guitar, Political Activism, and more in Reddit AMA

October 16, 2019
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Tom Morello is known for being a guitar virtuoso and political activist in bands like Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave and Prophets of Rage, as well as a successful solo artist with his latest project, The Atlas Underground. He recently took time to interact with fans in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) where he answered questions ranging from tips on becoming a better guitar player, his thoughts on newer artists, performing with Bruce Springsteen, and more.

When asked how he has been able to become as skilled as he has at playing the guitar, Morello responded with the classic saying of why 'practice makes perfect'. "I've put in between ten to twenty-thousand hours of practice on the guitar through the years. I started playing late when I was seventeen. The only other guitarists I had ever heard of that made albums that began playing that late was Robert Johnson who began at eighteen, and he had to sell his soul to the devil to get good. I concentrated on intensive practice regiment instead."

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When asked what it was like to perform onstage with Bruce Springsteen, "It was super fun digging into deep tracks like the one you mentioned but sharing the mic and trading solos with Bruce on The Ghost Of Tom Joad was always a highlight for me."

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Or the time he gave speeches while inducting both The Clash and KISS into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, "I've had the honor of inducting two of favorite bands into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame; The Clash and KISS. I take that kind of stuff very seriously and do countless drafts of my speeches to make sure that they both ring true to my experience and do justice to the artists I admire."

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When a fan asked about effective practice methods when jamming out with a band, "Two of the best ways to improve as a musician are to play with other musicians and to play live."

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When asked if it's ever too late to start learning an instrument or any other skill, "There's an old but accurate quote about the guitar:'"It takes a day to learn, a lifetime to master.' So get going! Start with a G and C chord."

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How he would encourage people to be more politically active in their communities, "The first step is realizing that each of you reading this now is potential an agent of historical change. Whenever progressive, radical, or even revolutionary change has occurred, the impetus has come from people just like yourselves."

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When asked who he believes is the greatest punk band ever, "That's probably a coin flip between The Clash and The Sex Pistols."

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What it was like to have a cameo on Star Trek, " I save my best acting for the world of Star Trek."

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When asked if the guitar was Tom's first instrument, "I played the french horn when I was nine years old and I was very bad. I hated practicing and told my mom quite definitively 'Music is not for me.'"

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When asked if he has a favorite guitar, "My favorite six string co-workers include: Arm The Homeless, Whatever It Takes, and Black Spartacus Heart Attack Machine."

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What caused him to become poltiically active? "I started becoming politically active at four years old because I was the only black kid in an all white town. I didn't have any choice."

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What it was like to lose ito gamers n his guitar battle in Guitar Hero 3, "I wish I had a candy bar for every time someone has told me that. It's a VIDEO GAME damnit! Get outside more!"

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When asked if there were any up-and-coming artists fans should keep an eye out for, "I love Nova Twins and Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes from the UK."

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Despite being politically active, what turned him off from ever holding any public office? "I was the scheduling secretary for a United States Senator for two years and that cured me of any desire to ever enter electoral politics."

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How he was able to create that famous tone on his guitar in Audioslave's "Like A Stone", "That's just my tone man! I employed my delay pedal and the Whammy pedal set to one octave up and just let it rip."

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