Monday, May 21, 2012

Tom Morello - "my job is to steel the backbone of people on the front lines...."

From the time I went to college in the late 60s, protest songs, especially those with roots in folk music and rock, have always spoken to a part of my conscience and heart. Like many of my generation, I still have vinyl recordings of Woody Gutherie, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, CCR, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, and others.

Today, one of the most persistent and angry of those voices is Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and The Nightwatchman. A stellar guitarist, Morello lends his talents and voice to help galvanize grassroots rallies supporting unions and those in poverty from Madison, Wisconsin to May Day in New York City. His recent album, World Wide Rebel Songs was selected as one of the best of 2011.

Here, Morello puts his amazing skills on display along side Bruce Springsteen as they bring new life and energy to "Ghost of Tom Joad" at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert in 2009.

Harvard educated (political science) Morello could have gone a more traditional route, but he chose music, including pretty heavy rock and recently traditional folk music, to make a difference in causes for working people around the world. In this interview with Bill Moyers, Morello talks about his mission, message, and music... "my job is to steel the backbone of people on the front lines of social justice struggles and to put wind in the sails of those struggles...."

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