Rage Against The Machine icon Tom Morello had a recent talk with Guitar World’s BackStory and revealed his guitar heroes when he was 17.


“Do you think that guitar players have “gotten lazy” these days?”

Tom Morello:

“I don’t think guitar players got lazy. There tends to be – like, when you pick up a guitar, the reason you pick it up is because you love other guitar players, right, and you consider good guitar playing to sound like the guitar players you like and love.

There’s nothing wrong in that, there’s an inherent conservatism in that. I started playing when I was 17 years old, so I started playing rather late, and I tried to play like my heroes – Randy Rhoads, Steve Vai, players like that.

An epiphany was a moment in the early ’90s, in the very beginning days of Rage Against the Machine. We were opening up for two cover bands at a college somewhere in the San Fernando Valley and each of the cover bands that we were opening up for had a shredding guitar player, like, a really talented technician in the band.

I thought, ‘If this early, in this crappy gig, like, on a Wednesday night in the Valley, there are two guitar players with this incredible technique...’, I thought, ‘There doesn’t need to be three.’

I really began practicing my eccentricities in my playing and trying to find my own lane and my own voice, which opened up a world of sonic possibilities.”

You can watch the video below:

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