Archive for Tom Morello

Video Du Jour: Tom Morello

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , on May 30, 2012 by 30daysout

We’re big fans of Tom Morello, best known as the guitarist for Rage Against The Machine. With Rage on indefinite hiatus, Morello has turned up in various incarnations: as part of Street Sweeper Social Club with rapper Boots Riley, and as the Nightwatchman. Today is Tom’s birthday – happy birthday, Tom!

During SXSW a few months ago we were lucky to catch a Morello/Nightwatchman show, up close and personal at Threadgill’s beer garden. Morello performed a sizzling version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Ghost of Tom Joad.” He went on to play it again, with the Boss later that night – but here is Tom’s solo version.

Bonus: At the end of the show, Morello invited everyone in the audience to join him onstage for the finale, a singalong version of “World Wide Rebel Songs.” We all jumped onstage with him – you can see us doing just that right at the beginning of this video – and sang like crazy people.

Thanks to 50174 for the videos!

Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman on Facebook

Jim Marshall, R.I.P.

Posted in News with tags , , on April 5, 2012 by 30daysout

Tom Morello's "Arm the Homeless" guitar and his Marshall amp.

The rock world is a little quieter today, with news of the death of Jim Marshall. Marshall, whose Marshall amplifiers have powered the guitar sounds of rockers from the Who to Hendrix to Clapton to Page and Morello, was 88 years old.

Jim Marshall obituary from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

SXSW Day Two: The Big Names Take Over

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on March 16, 2012 by 30daysout

Tom Morello rips it up as the Nightwatchman.

AUSTIN – First off, our apologies today for all the up-and-coming acts that we were supposed to spotlight – Thursday at the South by Southwest music conference, the big names took over.

Everywhere we looked, there seemed to be one superstar or another under foot. We couldn’t help but stumble into a show with a familiar voice or two.

We started the day in a parking lot: namely the front lot of the great independent record store Waterloo Records, celebrating its 3oth anniversary this year by hosting 30 acts for SXSW. First up was Blitzen Trapper, a Portland-based quintet led by the potent combination of frontman/songwriter Eric Earley and keyboardist/guitarist Marty Marquis. Touring behind their latest album American Goldwing, the Trappers offered a mellow Grateful Dead vibe that threatened to become the Dead’s “St. Stephen” on at least four of their songs.

At roughly the same time, Mississippi-born-and-bred Bass Drum of Death commanded one of the four stages at the Spider House, a coffeehouse/night spot near the University of Texas campus. This trio launches a blowtorch rock sound that blows the hair back; they had an awful lot of energy for a bleary-eyed SXSW morning.

Richard Julian and Norah Jones of the Little Willies.

And then, it just seemed the familiar and the famous took over. Back at Waterloo Records, the accomplished chamber country act The Little Willies tuned up their acoustics. In the land of the “Big Willie” (that’s Nelson to you non-Texans) the Little Willies are as adept and entertaining as they come – led by singer/guitarist Richard Julian and guitarist Jim Campilongo, these Willies kick it up a notch with their “chick singer”: Norah Jones.

Jones’ clear-as-tequila vocals, with a hint of Texas twang, poured honey all over country standards like Loretta Lynn’s “Fist City,” as well as Hank Williams’ “Lovesick Blues.” Then they infused “Jolene,” the Dolly Parton classic, with a ton of smoldering sensuality. Just sublime. In 2002 we saw a still unknown Jones perform in a Starbucks parking lot; a few years and a shelf-load of Grammys later she has traded up her SXSW venue to one with a little more car space. But seriously, Jones gives the Willies a rest Saturday as she previews her newest solo album Little Broken Hearts, a collaboration with Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton.

Then we traded up venues ourselves, this time to Threadgills’ restaurant which stands on the hallowed ground of the beloved Armadillo World Headquarters. The Armadillo was razed in 1980 but Threadgills offers a cozy little beer garden which hosted a private party for New West Records, the indie/Americana label based in L.A., Austin and Athens, Ga.

We caught part of a set by The Mastersons, the Texas duo that’s been backing Steve Earle, and a spacey set by Ponderosa, whose music reminds me of a cowboy riding his horse off a precipice and floating off into space. Then came the headliner, Tom Morello in his guise as the Nightwatchman, who packed an electrifying jolt of jagged rock and militant populism.

Bruce Springsteen and Eric Burdon.

Fists pumped along to his aggressive anthems “Whatever It Takes” and “Union Town,” then Morello unleashed his guitar pyrotechnics on a fiery version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Ghost of Tom Joad.” Citing the 100th birth year of folk pioneer Woody Guthrie, Morello invited a shy Shooter Jennings onstage to romp through an acoustic singalong of “This Land Is Your Land.”

Caught for a few minutes before his set, Morello explained how “This Land Is Your Land” is more relevant than ever as the Occupy movement has given people in this country a new voice. “I got in last night, checked in to my hotel and was actually in bed when I got a phone call,” he said. “They were going to have a flash mob for Occupy Austin and they wanted me to be a part of it.” So Morello jumped out of bed and within minutes was out on the street.

“Put your cameras and phones away,” he shouted from Threadgills’ stage, “and live in the moment!” He then invited everyone to join him onstage and so we did – for a rousing singalong of “World Wide Rebel Songs.” Leaving the crowd rocked and sated, he hopped into a car for his next gig about a mile away.

That would be the big Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band show at brand-new ACL Live at the Moody Theater. Earlier in the day, Springsteen gave a classroom lecture on the history and the inspiration of rock and roll; last night he gave a demonstration that was so epic that the lucky few who witnessed it in person are still in disbelief.

Thundering into “We Take Care Of Our Own,’ Springsteen leaned heavily on tunes from his new album Wrecking Ball before wheeling out a dazzling list of guest performers: Morello for “Death To My Hometown” and “Jack Of All Trades,” as well as yet another awesome version of “Ghost Of Tom Joad.” Reggae great Jimmy Cliff joined Bruce for “Many Rivers To Cross” and two more, other guests who crossed the stage included Texas music legends Joe Ely and Alejandro Escovedo, New York boy Garland Jeffreys and three members of Arcade Fire.

But the greatest guest spot, and a towering highlight among many, was a guest appearance by the Animals’ Eric Burdon. Where Springsteen only talked about the Animals’ “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” at his keynote, Burdon tore into the song with a ferocity that belied his age (70 years old).

Meanwhile, out in the streets, the young and the hopeful were lugging their instruments from gig to gig, one band even played on a school bus while it tooled around in the traffic. Inside the ACL Live theater, Bruce Springsteen gave life to a brilliant past while just steps away many others were breathing life and fire into a new future.

We’re editing our photos as fast as we can, and posting them to our special SXSW Flickr account. Go there and take a look!

Interstellar Transmissions, playing on the move.

With Tom Morello, onstage for "World Wide Rebel Songs."

Video Du Jour: Street Sweeper Social Club

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , on January 22, 2012 by 30daysout

While we begin the big buildup to this year’s South by Southwest conference/festival/brain fry in Austin, we want to fondly recall a few of our past experiences. This one took place in 2010, with Tom Morello, Boots Riley and the Street Sweeper Social Club. They’re doing “The Oath,” a standout from the band’s first album.

SXSW music conference official website

Video Du Jour: Rage Against The Machine

Posted in News with tags , , on August 3, 2011 by 30daysout

Rage Against The Machine, America’s great rock champions against injustice, reunited this past weekend to headline the L.A. Rising festival, their first major hometown concert in a decade.

They played a roaring, raging set that left no one dissatisfied. After the show, bassist Tim Commerford said the group has been trying out new material, and vocalist Zach de la Rocha has promised a new album sometime soon. Guitarist Tom Morello, however, has said there is nothing new on the horizon for RATM – so we’ll see.

In the meantime, dig this video from L.A. Rising, with the band doing “Freedom” and “Killing In the Name.”

Review: More Wily Veterans!

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on August 9, 2010 by 30daysout

Got some great albums coming out to rock the rest of the summer … let’s jump right in and take a listen:

Street Sweeper Social Club is a rap-rock outfit led by guitarist Tom Morello and vocalist Boots Riley, created in the mold of Morello’s angry Rage Against The Machine.  SSSC blew us away with a live set at SXSW this spring, and now they have The Ghetto Blaster EP, their second album which is really an EP (but you knew that already).  Only seven tracks long, the EP features three covers – including an incendiary version of L.L. Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” as well as M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” and “Everythang,” a song from Riley’s other band The Coup.  But the best things here are the title track and the riotous “The New Fuck You,” as well as a lengthened version of “Promenade,” which happens to be the best track from the band’s debut.  This EP is a great way to get introduced to a terrific new band – but if you get the chance to see them live, do it.  They’ll knock you out.

Video: “Mama Said Knock You Out” from SXSW 2010

Vodpod videos no longer available.

With a lineup that has been pretty much intact for an astounding 36 years, Los Lobos still manage to put out music that sounds as fresh as their major-label debut in 1983 (which was also an EP).  Tin Can Trust opens with the stomping “Burn It Down,” and takes you on a journey with the 10 songs that follow.  Long-time fans will notice the album seems like it was put together from the Los Lobos template: a couple Spanish songs (“Yo Canto” and “Mujer Ingrata”), some tasty blues rock (“Do The Murray,” a cover of the Dead’s “West L.A. Getaway”) and some experimentation (“Jupiter Or The Moon,” which reminded me of Steve Winwood).  Most ambitious is “27 Spanishes,” which is a history lesson set to music, and the simmering “All My Bridges Burning,” which also resembles the Grateful Dead (it was co-written by the Lobos’ Cesar Rosas and Robert Hunter, the Grateful Dead’s lyricist).  The musicianship is top-notch, and the atmospherics are just right.  Tin Can Trust is a very satisfying album.

MP3: “Jupiter Or The Moon”

Marc Cohn is the honey-voiced singer who gave us the hit “Walking In Memphis” and he has recorded an album of covers called Listening Booth 1970.  I was ready to give this thing 50 lashes with a wet noodle for being so, well, wimpy: Cohn smooths down songs like “The Letter” and “Maybe I’m Amazed” then manages even to torque down already slow tunes like “Into The Mystic” or “Make It With You.”  Don’t listen to this while operating heavy machinery!  But the more I listened, the more I got into Cohn’s relaxed groove, and his choice of material: John Lennon’s “Look At Me,” Paul Simon’s “The Only Living Boy In New York”  and the Grateful Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie” work best because the songs are not so familiar that they instantly evoke the original artist.  “After Midnight” is too close to ultra-mellow Clapton, and covers of Badfinger and Smokey Robinson are just wrong.  Still, Listening Booth 1970 will work for just about anyone who wants a mellow good time, especially if you pass up the caffeine when you purchase this album at Starbucks.

MP3: “The Letter”

Morello, Outernational protest Arizona law with free song

Posted in News with tags , , on June 10, 2010 by 30daysout


Former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello joins the politically charged New York rock group Outernational on a new recording of Woody Guthrie’s immigration ballad “Deportees” in response to Arizona’s recent law targeting illegal immigrants.

“We recorded ‘Deportees’ with Tom Morello … to stand with all the people courageously fighting back against these unjust and immoral laws,” Outernational’s Miles Solay said. “Outernational is about a whole new world, a world without borders and nations. Todos somos illegales. We are all illegals.”

Morello, long known for his own politically provocative music with

Tom Morello

Rage, the Nightwatchman and Street Sweeper Social Club, said “Prejudice and ignorance are at the core of Arizona’s recent immigration legislation and Woody Guthrie’s ‘Deportees’ was written to combat just that sort of prejudice.”

A 1948 plane crash near Los Gatos Canyon in Central California that killed 28 Mexican migrant workers and four Americans inspired Guthrie to write the song.  The report of the crash in the New York Times listed the names of the three flight crew members and a security guard, but referred to the Mexican workers only as “deportees.”  The song was originally popularized by Guthrie’s friend Pete Seeger and subsequently covered by numerous artists including Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, Guthrie’s son Arlo, Bruce Springsteen, the Kingston Trio, Los Super Seven, Dolly Parton and the Byrds.

MP3: “Deportee” by Outernational w/Tom Morello

Outernational official website

Bonus Song of the Day: “Ghost of Tom Joad”

Posted in Bruce Springsteen with tags , on April 7, 2010 by 30daysout

Because we saw Tom Morello a few weeks ago and he blew us away, and because we recently posted the awesome Rage Against The Machine version of this song … and that other guy singing with Morello ain’t too shabby either.

SXSW: The Young and the Old

Posted in SXSW with tags , , , , , on March 20, 2010 by 30daysout

Boots Riley, left, and Tom Morello in the Street Sweeper Social Club

The death of Alex Chilton may have put a bit of a chill on the SXSW festival in Austin this weekend, but many of the younger people who don’t know the work of this genuine original couldn’t care less.  They are here to see the thousands of new faces visiting Texas in the springtime of their careers, and to hear some fine music.  When the occasional big name drops in that’s just icing on the cake but they do tend to steal the spotlight away from the showcases of up-and-coming talent.

Friday night the line to get into the not-so-secret Muse show at Stubb’s snaked all the way down Red River, an even more impressive queue than Metallica mustered last year.  Those without those cool badges or VIP designations were out of luck, and many lined the roof of a nearby parking garage to get a glimpse of the light show and hear a snatch of music.

The Jim Jones Revue

Badgeless and wristband-less, we plunged headlong into the music on a sunny Friday, sampling the tasty sounds of Music By The Slice at Home Style Pizza, which is part of the South Congress scene quickly growing to rival the antics of better-known Sixth Street.  We caught electro-poppers the Woodhands, from Toronto, who had a fine set of melodic emo.  Lead singer Dan Werb plays a Roland “key-tar” while drummer Paul Banwatt keeps a steady beat.  Local faves A Giant Dog kept the between-set energy going with some really nice garage band rock.

We hoofed it to a grassy field on the Sixth Street on the other side of the freeway for the Mess With Texas festival, wishing to see the Jim Jones Revue from England.  We reviewed these guys a while back and were eager to see how their high-energy rock and roll translated live.  No disappointments here, even though lead vocalist/guitarist Jim Jones was a bit rough-voiced from playing the night before, and there were some audio problems.  But they played it in the red – and guitarist Rupert Orton kept dipping back into his bag of truly nasty lead work, while piano player Elliott Mortimer became the crazed offspring of the Faces’ Ian McLagan.  Man, these guys are great!

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Review: “Magic Tour Highlights,” Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Posted in Bruce Springsteen with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2008 by 30daysout

Bruce Springsteen released a similar four-song live package in the 1980s called Chimes of Freedom to benefit Amnesty International. This time around he is helping out his fallen brother, Danny Federici, who lost his battle with melanoma in April. All the proceeds from the sale of Magic Tour Highlights go to the Danny Federici Melanoma Fund.

This quick peek into the Magic tour is great. Alejandro Escovedo joined the band on stage in Houston for “Always A Friend,” the first track off his new album Real Animal. I was at the show, and I remember Alejandro being way off on the first verse, so needless to say, he is pretty far down in the mix on this version, but it rocks from start to finish.

“The Ghost of Tom Joad” is a blistering version with Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine. His solo is something you have never heard on a Springsteen record, and on the accompanying video, Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt look in awe of this guy’s talent.

Roger McGuinn from The Byrds hops on stage for “Turn, Turn, Turn.” McGuinn’s voice sounds very thin against the freight train that is the E Street Band, but Springsteen does a great job on the backing vocals and when he takes his turn on lead, and it more than makes up for McGuinn’s shortcomings.

The collection wraps up with “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” featuring Danny Federici’s last performance with the band in Indianapolis.  It’s a touching audio and video performance because you can tell that everyone knows that this will be the last time they will be playing together.

The collection sells for $7.99. It includes all four songs and videos. We are not going to offer any freebies today. Go buy it and help out the Danny Federici Melanoma Fund.

Backstreets Magazine

Bruce Springsteen Official Website