Tom Morello: Gear Does Not Matter ‘At All – Ever – in Any Circumstance’
Rage Against the Machine and Prophets of Rage guitarist Tom Morello is lauded for his dynamic skills on the six strings, but his latest statement may turn the heads of some fans and fellow musicians alike. In an interview with Red Bull Music (video below), he made an incredibly bold declaration about gear.
"My take on gear is that it does not matter — at all — ever — in any circumstance. It doesn't." said Morello. "I've been using the same gear for 28 years." The axeman expanded on this statement, talking about how so many guitarists fret over gear and how he abandoned the idea years ago when he was "chasing this elusive tone and finally one day I gave up. I spent a couple hours at rehearsal, I marked the settings on my amp. I got it as good as I could, I finally stopped tinkering with the Frankenstein guitarist that I had."
Rather than spending more time fiddling with knobs, tone and other equipment, Morello decided, "This is the tone I have, so what are the songs that I'm going to make with this?" He went on to detail a story where Rage Against the Machine toured South America eight years ago and used rental gear to rehearse, resulting in a poor sound because the songs were not written for that set of gear.
This led to Morello asking himself, "‘Wow, are we really gear dependent?’" Answering his own question, the guitarist continued, "And it dawned on me: ‘No — if we had had this gear that we sound bad on today, we would have written different songs that sound great on this gear.’”
For those wondering about the signature 'Arm the Homeless' guitar with the baby blue body and smiling white hippos, Morello explains how he's reconstructed the instrument over the years. "It’s had about 10 necks on it," he said, adding, "The only thing remaining from that original piece of crap is the body of the guitar and the hippos. I settled on the final version of it sometime around 1990 and it’s stayed the same since.”
Morello will be on tour with Prophets of Rage starting Aug. 19. The trek will run through Oct. 16 with support coming from AWOLNATION. For a full list of tour stops, head to our 2016 Guide to Rock + Metal Tours.
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