TOM MORELLO On January 6 Attack On U.S. Capitol: 'We Came Within A Baby's Breath Of A Fascist Coup In This Country'

October 9, 2021

In a new interview with The Guardian, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE guitarist Tom Morello was asked how he felt about the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. He responded: "We came within a baby's breath of a fascist coup in this country. Interestingly, one of my dreams has always been to storm the Capitol, but not with a bunch of all-white, rightwing terrorists, you know? The ugliest part about it is how they have co-opted the idea of standing against the Man, at least in the U.S. There can be no nuanced thinking, like: 'Yes, Big Pharma is horrible, but getting a vaccine to save your grandma is good.' It's a dumbed-down version of resistance. But I grew up in Trump country [in suburban Illinois], I know people from there. They're decent people. It's not their fault for being fucked over by the oligarchy for decades. Now what do we do to find a way to really resist the stuff that is destroying the planet, that's causing working people's lives to be worse than their parents' were? Poverty and hunger kill more people than anything else on the planet and they are human-made problems. Those are the things that we need to be digging into, rather than being sidetracked by this carnival barker bullshit."

Morello, who is a member one of the most militant left-wing rap/rock/metal bands of all time, also mocked a pair of pro-Trump "Stop The Count" protesters — draped in pro-cop Blue Lives Matter flags and MAGA hats and waving a Trump flag — who were videotaped last November dancing to the group's "Killing In The Name" song in Philadelphia.

"First of all, there's no accounting for stupidity," Tom said. "There's a long list of radical left anthems that are misunderstood by bozos who sing them at events like that, from Woody Guthrie's 'This Land Is Your Land' to Bruce Springsteen's 'Born In The USA' to John Lennon's 'Imagine' — those people have really no idea what the hell they're singing about. The one thing that I speak to in all of those instances is that there's a power to the music that casts a wide net, and that's a good thing, not a bad thing. In that net, there will be the far-right bozos, but there will also be people that have never considered the ideas put forward in those songs and are forced to consider those ideas because the rock 'n' roll is great. You can either put a beat to a Noam Chomsky lecture — no one wants that, but there's going to be no mistaking what the content is — or you can make music that’s compelling."

Morello has made no secret of his distaste for Donald Trump, taping the message "Fuck Trump" to the back of his guitar for live shows and calling him an "orange-faced demagogue" in an interview with NME.

In the past, Morello had called out other Republicans for listening to RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE's music, most notably in 2012 when Paul Ryan, a former vice presidential candidate and leading Republican, said he was a fan. Morello responded with an op-ed in Rolling Stone which read in part: "Paul Ryan's love for RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades."