Tom Morello Reveals If Zack de la Rocha Or Chris Cornell Is Best Singer


Tom Morello has played with two legendary rock singers with Zack de la Rocha in Rage Against The Machine and Chris Cornell in Audioslave, and when asked in a new Forbes interview who the greatest rock singer ever is, Morello’s answer was Zack de la Rocha.

“I’m gonna say that my favorite front person of all time, and there are some great front people, is Zack De La Rocha. He is the punk rock James Brown and he allows a song to inhabit him in a way where he completely loses himself in a way that is so electrifying and so riveting and so honest in the emotion and the pain and the anger and the truth. He was like that in the first rehearsals, before we ever played in front of a person. It’s so authentic and so vital and real and great. And it’s a distilled punk rock ethos that is just uncaged and fantastic.”

Tom Morello discussed his love of guitar in a new Music Radar interview.

“I didn’t choose to be a guitar player. The guitar chose me. It was very much a calling – like the heavens opened for me.

“I started playing at the age of 17 and I’d say by the age of 19, it really felt like I had no choice in the matter. Whether it was a blessing or a curse, I was being told this would be my vocation whether I liked it or not.

“I then had to find a way to weave my convictions into my vocation. Groups like The Clash and Public Enemy certainly led the way in that regard. The goal was to be unapologetic, unwavering and uncompromising in both the music and the message.”

He later said, “I’m continually striving to do that [break socio-political boundaries], even on my latest record ‘The Atlas Underground.’ Pretty much every record I’ve made – all 15 or 16 of them – has used the guitar as a divining rod of change.

“That can happen in two ways – you can write a song on the electric guitar with lyrical content that has political ramifications. But the guitar itself, independent of any lyrics, can be politically revolutionary.

“If you think, for example, about Hendrix’s version of ‘Star Spangled Banner’ at Woodstock… or even going back outside of the guitar, John Coltrane’s saxophone solos or the disjointed collages and rhythms of Public Enemy.

“My point is that the music itself can be the rebellion. If you are able to challenge the conventions of your genre simply with music, it makes others feel like they can challenge conventions in other realms of life.

“I certainly felt that way when I heard Public Enemy – their music didn’t sound right. It didn’t fit the way music was supposed to, and yet I knew it was awesome.

“So it made me think perhaps there are ways we can rearrange our lives in a society that may not fit the accepted boundaries and still be awesome!”