Tom Morello – I Get Terrified Whenever I Play With Bruce Springsteen

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It’s not a show till the police pull the plug on the PA, says KROQ’s Bean as he introduced one of the most vocal men in rock. Tom Morello, otherwise known as The Nightwatchman (when he’s not playing with Rage Against The Machine) spoke about his exciting week in Austin at the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival.

“You were a pinball man. You were all over that town. You were everywhere,” exclaimed Bean as he welcomed Tom back to the airwaves. “The battle of South By Southwest had money fronts and the Nightwatchman had to be  present at all of them,” joked Tom.

Tom shed some light on the police activity, which effectually shut down his Nightwatchman street performance.

[pullquote quote="I've always had to find a way to weave my convictions into my music. And in moments like that, it really feels like I'm doing what I was born to do."]We didn’t know the police would pull the plug… It was the official Occupy SXSW Tom Morello Showcase. But the one thing that I misunderstood was that the only people that could get into the actual indoor showcase, at a place called the Swan Dive, were badge holders; people that had these badges that cost $800. So I had already made plans with the local Austin Occupy group and we were going to have this show together and I realized none of them could actually get in so we “schemed” to actually have two stages. There was the indoor stage and there was the outdoor stage…But at the end of the show, I played my role as the guitar shredding Pied Piper and held my guitar aloft and led the entire audience inside the club, outside the club to merge the two audiences. And then we played Wood Guthrie’s ‘This Land Is Your Land’ and of course at this point, there’s a thousands of people in the street…But the police found somehow this gathering of thousands of people too threatening and of course [this] is my dream come true.”


Bean remarked about how socially active Tom has always been.

“I didn’t really choose to be a guitar player. That chose me. And so I’m kinda stuck doing that (Tom laughs). I’ve always had to find a way to weave my convictions into my music. And in moments like that, it really feels like I’m doing what I was born to do,” said Tom.

Bean turned the topic to his performance with The Boss, Bruce Springsteen. “Are you still pinching yourself that that’s real and you’re musical buddies?”

“You gotta be kidding me man! Like when I moved to California back in 1986 with the Nebraska tape in my Chevy Astro Van, there was no crystal ball I could have ever looked into that would have said ‘yo, one day you will be playing four songs on stage on stage with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band at South by Southwest.'” “

“No, it has not really settled in,” said Morello with an excited stammer. “Like I don’t get the least bit nervous when the police pull the plug on a show in the middle of the street. I get terrified whenever I play with Bruce Springsteen.”

Earlier in the week, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Morello, Eric Burdon, Joe Ely, Alejandro Escovedo and Arcade Fire performed a giant sing-along of “This Land Is Your Land.”


Listen to the entire interview with Tom Morello.


Tom Morello occupying the crowd as they occupied Los Angeles.


For all things Tom Morello, see nightwatchmanmusic.com.

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