Guitarist Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, Prophets of Rage) has commented on people saying he should stay away from politics and “stick to playing music,” telling the Chicago Tribune during a recent interview:
“One: When you pick up a guitar, you don’t put down your First Amendment rights.
“Two: When people tell you to shut up and play guitar or complain that artists are speaking out – it’s only because they disagree with what you’re saying. That’s not complicated.
“There’s this cognitive dissonance where they’re like, ‘I like the rock ‘n’ roll, I like the solos, but I disagree with that, so shut up!’ But it highlights the conflicts of good art.
“This is a mission I’ve been on since I was a teenager. At 13 years old, there was a noose in my garage in Libertyville, IL, you know? I grew up and my political education began on the playground.
“There was a lot of bicycling and Little League-playing where it’s easy to have your head in the sand, where some of the bad stuff going on in the world has not visited your front door. If you live in some bubble of privilege, you don’t have to deal with it.
“My music is – there’s no litmus test, there’s no political litmus test for listening to it – but I am never going to compromise one iota to satisfy with someone who’s uncomfortable with the ideas I feel in my heart.”