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The band that Tom Morello said was the best one he saw live


The band that Tom Morello said was the best one he saw live

The guitarist Tom Morello was born in New York City in 1964 and started his musical career in 1979, when a lot of different things were happening in Rock and Roll music. He always had a broad musical taste and was influenced by many different bands.


He famously played the guitar on Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave, besides being part of other projects like Prophets of Rage and even touring with Bruce Springsteen for a while.

Over the decades he had the chance to see many incredible bands performing live. But there is only one group that in his opinion, was the best one he ever saw performing.

The band that Tom Morello said was the best one he saw live

Many music fans probably wouldn’t expect this answer, but the Punk Rock band The Clash is the group that Morello said was the best one he saw live. The musician is a huge fan of the late Joe Strummer and The Clash. He was lucky enough to have seen them playing live back in the 70s and that show really changed his life.

Alongside U2s guitarist The Edge, he inducted the Punk group into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. During his speech explained why they were the best band he ever saw.

“(Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) I had the good fortune to see The Clash play at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago when I was a teenager. It was an experience that changed my life. Even before the first note was played, the transformation began.”

“I bought a t-Shirt in the lobby. I was used to buying Heavy Metal t-shirts that had pictures of wizards and dragons on them. But this Clash shirt was very different. It just had a few small words written. It said ‘The Future is unwritten’ and when I saw The Clash play, I knew exactly what that phrase meant.”

He continued:

“The Clash performed with passion, commitment, purpose, righteousness and an unflinching political fire. There was a sense of community in the room that seemed like absolutely anything was possible. I was energized, politicized and changed by The Clash that night. I knew that the future was unwritten and maybe we fans of that band were going to write it together.”

“Joe Strummer was even playing for the same little amp that I had. They proved to me that you didn’t need a big wall of Marshall stacks and castle (in Scotland) to make great Rock and Roll music. All you had to do was tell the truth and really, really, really mean it. I never seen a better band before that night and I’ve not seen a better band since. That’s very true. The Clash was one of those rare bands that were greater than the sum of their parts and yet the parts were awesome,” Tom Morello said.

The Clash was active from 1976 to 1986 and is one of the most influential Punk Rock bands of all time. They released six studio albums and some of their biggest hits are “Should I Stay or Should I Go”, “London Calling”, “Rock The Casbah” and “Train In Vain”.

Morello said that The Clash gave him the courage to become a guitarist

We all need inspiration in our lives to keep going during hard times, to overcome insecurity and to pursue our dreams. Many of us find that strength in music and that’s what happened with Morello when he heard The Clash.

As he recalled in another part of his speech, the musician said that it was them who inspired him to pick up a guitar and play. He also praised every classic Clash member, explained the importance of each one.

“Mick (Jones) was the brilliant arranger, always looking forward musically. (He was) pushing the boundaries of what was possible for a Punk band, of what was possible for any band. Paul (Simonon) was just so damn cool looking and as you can see, still is so damn cool looking tonight. He is running it like a pimp (laughs).”

“The image of him smashing the bass on the cover of London Calling sums up the fury and beautiful force of the band. He also wove on the reggae influence that completed The Clash chemistry of three chords, a funky groove and the truth. Terry Chimes provided the beats that propelled some of their early anthems. But it was Topper (Headon) who made it all possible with his drumming.”

He continued:

“He effortlessly and with great originality, skill, steered the band through genres undreamt of by their peers. But really they had no peers because of the center of The Clash hurricane stood one of the greatest hearts and deepest souls of the 20th century music. At the center of The Clash stood Joe Strummer. (He) died on December, 2002 but when Joe Strummer played, he played as if the world could be changed by a three-minute song and he was right.”

“Those songs changed a lot of people’s worlds forever, mine at the top of the list. He was a brilliant lyricist, who with anger and wit always stood up for the underdog. His idealism and conviction instilled in me the courage to pick up a guitar. (Also) the courage to try to make a difference with him. In the great Clash anthem ‘White Riot’ Joe sang: ‘Are you taking over or taking orders? Are you going backwards or are you going forwards?'”

“When I heard that, I wrote those four lines down. I put them up on my refrigerator and I answered those four questions for myself every single day. To this day, I still do.” Tom Morello said.

By the time Rage Against The Machine achieved fame in 1992 with their debut album, The Clash no longer existed for six years. But the American band showed their influence, becoming one of the most important political bands from the 90s.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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