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20 Questions with Tom Morello, 7/16/02




Rage Against The Machine Guitarist Tom Morello

Last week Tom emailed Donna Anderson and wrote,

"This is Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine and a friend of mine just turned me on to your most excellent Metal Sludge website. I just love it. Now as a long time fighter for free speech myself I love the open forum you have established on your website."

Donna then wrote back to Tom and used her feminine charm to get him to do 20 Questions! Props to Tom for his speedy reply and for having fun with our questions. Enjoy!


1. What are you currently up to? This is your only chance to promote your shit.

Along with Ozzfest headliners System of a Down, I have just established the Axis of Justice, a "freedom school" at each Ozzfest site where fans can go to find information about vital issues of the day. From first-hand help for victims of physical and sexual abuse to efforts to stop the international cycle of violence, heavy metal fans will at long last have the opportunity to save the planet while they’re banging their heads. If you are going to Ozzfest this summer, check out the Axis of Justice tent.

2. What’s your opinion on the Pledge of Allegiance debate?

Who cares? A bunch of 5 year old kids robotically chanting a prayer of indoctrination to a piece of cloth is so ridiculous to begin with, that any amendment of that propaganda poem one way or another doesn’t make any difference to me. Allegiance should be earned, not hypnotized into kids.

3. If you were elected president of the US, what are the first five things you would do?

1. Paint the White House black.

2. Change the National Anthem to "Who Let The Dogs Out".

3. Bring the Bush family up before a War Crimes Tribunal–except those daughters who like to party.

4. Make sure all the girls that wouldn’t date me in high school know I’m President.

5. End hunger and stuff.

4. What hard rock heavy metal band should give it up and call it a day?

What hard rock heavy metal band SHOULDN’T give it up and call it a day?

5. Rate the following guitarist from 1-10, with 1 being a hack, and 10 being a virtuoso.

Eddie Van Halen: that dude’s probably a 10

Yngwie Malmsteen: I’ll give him an 8. He would get higher if he hadn’t written those goofy lyrics to "I Am a Viking."

C.C. Deville: 1. Maybe 2 for that amazing accent. Where is that dude from?

Dimebag Darrell: Yipes. He gets a 5 for his hot strip club licks

Zack Wylde: He can "kwaa" with the best of them. He gets a 10 for his "kwaa’s", 6.5 for the rest.

Adam Jones: I have to give my old high school buddy a high score. He is quite an innovative player, 8.

Tom Schultz: Boston is a stinky band, but he plays some nice melodies. 4.

Joe Perry: I love that dude. I give him 9.

Kirk Hammet: He’s a real nice man, and Metallica certainly knows how to rock it. I’ll give him a 7.

Alex Lifeson: He has always been a terrible dresser, but a fine guitar player. 7.

Daron Malakian: He’s a very interesting player, and brings that Armenian metal style that the kids all bounce to these days. Join the 7 club.

6. There have been a lot of rumors about the status of Chris Cornell and you guys. Where does Chris currently stand in the band.

He stands in the middle, facing the microphone.

7. You were in a band called Electric Sheep. Electric Sheep? Dude, what exactly were you thinking at that time?

In a world of bands called Limp Bizkit and Hoobastank, Electric Sheep rolls off the tongue like a Shakespearean love sonnet. Leave me alone.

8. How do you feel about the songs you recorded with Chris Cornell being leaked out on the internet?

I’m mad. So mad. Some jackass intern at Bad Animal Studios in Seattle stole some demos and put them on the internet without the band’s permission. I’m so mad. They sound nothing like the record, and I can’t wait for people to hear the real thing.

9. Do you feel guilty for helping cause the whole rap-metal thing?

Yes. But what’s done is done.

10. Yes or no, has Tom Morello ever:

Gone to a Poison concert = Yes, though I didn’t pay for it.

Drove drunk = Not as far as the DMV knows.

Had the desire to crash the MTV video awards = Are you kidding?

Sung along to Warrant’s "Cherry Pie?" = who hasn’t?

Woke up in a puddle of your own urine = Sorry to disappoint you, no.

Bragged to a chick that you went to Harvard to get into her pants = Does that really work? I used to always play the "hey, I’m a big Star Trek fan" card, when I should’ve been playing the "hey, I’m a bookworm geek" card to get laid. You people know everything.

Stolen a hubcap = Not lately

Paid for sex = I once paid for dinner for two at a Red Lobster and got a lingering hug goodnight. Does this qualify?

Used a racial slur = Does "cracker-ass cracker" count?

Gone to the bathroom in front of a chick = That is what I’m doing right now as I am answering these questions.


11. RATM has strongly backed Mumia Abu-Jamal. However there were three witnesses saying he shot Daniel Faulkner, he admitted doing it at the hospital, the gun was registered to him, and the bullets that killed Faulkner came from Mumia’s gun. If Mumia Abu-Jamal didn’t kill Daniel Faulkner, who did?

Arnold Beverly. A man who in 1999 confessed to the murder in a sworn affidavit.

12. Do you think that OJ Simpson is also not guilty?

Why? Because he’s black? Are you trying race-bait me, you cracker-ass cracker!

13. What rock star deserves a smack in the mouth, and why?

The keyboard player from Rage Against the Machine deserves a smack in the mouth for missing rehearsals for the last 11 years.

14. Rage Against the Machine was supposed to be on Ozzfest, but when Cornell left, you guys got denied. How irritating was that?

That is incorrect. "Rage Against the Machine" was never going to be on Ozzfest. Our new band, with Chris Cornell, was to be on Ozzfest. We then pulled out of Ozzfest for a variety of reasons, and yes, it was tremendously irritating.

15. The last of Tom Morello:

The last movie you saw = Planet of the Apes

The last book you read = Seabiscuit

The last time you told someone "Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me" = I am screaming that at the top of my lungs as each new question comes up.

The last time you talked to Zack = the day he quit the band

The last time you watched wrestling = the day Zack quit the band

last concert you went to = David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar

Last rock star you met = David Lee Roth

Last CD you purchased = The Scorpions "Love Drive"

Last lie you told = that wrestling question

last porn you watched = "I Was a Cabin Boy on a Turkish Steamer: The Director’s Cut"

16. If you had a gun to your head and had to tour with one 80s hair band, which band would it be?

I’ll take my chances with the gun.

17. Do you deserve so much money for such simple work?

Wait a minute, was I supposed to be getting paid for this?

18. What are you so angry about?

I’m still fuming about that OJ question, you cracker-ass cracker!

19. Do you secretly wish that Zack De La Rosa’s CD fails miserably?

No, but I do secretly wish that you could spell Zack de la Rocha.

20. Time for Metal Sludge’s word association. We mention a name, you give us your thoughts.

Fred Durst= only in America

Britney Spears = I would like a Pepsi, please.

Creed = Can’t explain it

The Crocodile Hunter = a great man

Nikki Sixx= another great man

Lars Ulrich = a smaller, Danish great man

Carson Daly = I like that guy

Gene Simmons = Recently he seems to combine the killer instinct of Donald Trump with the horniness of a pubescent teenager from Porky’s 2 and that’s just how I like him best.

Anthrax = I really like that Scott Ian guy

Tommy Lee = the last time I saw Tommy Lee, he licked the whole side of my face. I later read that when he first met Pamela Anderson, he licked the whole side of her face. Does that mean we too soon will be wed? I nervously watch and wait.

Howard Stern = who gets up that early?

A well done 20 Questions! Tom obviously has a good sense of humor and is not afraid to speak his mind, and that’s all we ever ask.

For more info on Rage and Tom, you can visitwww.RATM.com.

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