May 1, 2012


Exclusive Interview: Tom Morello On His Occupy Wall Street Guitar Army

On May 1 in New York City, the Occupy Wall Street movement returned to the streets with Tom Morello's grassroots Guitar Army to give voice, music and attention to people's anger over the recent economic crash. Fuse's Dan Brown spoke with Rage Against the Machine guitarist Morello—who goes by The Nightwatchman when he's in protest mode—about why Occupy Wall Street still matters and what exactly a "Guitarmy" does.

"It's a celebration about being really pissed off—we're going to have a great time," Morello says. "The 'Guitarmy' is the Guitar Army of Occupy Wall Street. If you have a guitar, you're welcome to join us. If you don't have a guitar, bring a drum or bring a kazoo. If you don't have a kazoo, come and sing out of tune. The 99 percent sings with many voices."

By Morello's reckoning, one of the biggest achievements of OWS was bringing attention to the vast disparity between America's working class and the wealthiest one percent they say runs the country. 

"The key thing the Occupy movement has done is to put into the national consciousness… that dirty, unspoken five-letter word: Class. This gross economic inequality is a problem that needs to be rectified," Morello says. "The corporate criminals who torpedoed the economy still walk the streets as free men—they need to be held accountable." 

As for punishing what he calls "corporate malfeasance," Morello has an interesting suggestion politicians might want to take note of: "If Barack Obama is not going to close Guantanamo Bay, he should at least put some of those sons of a b*tches in there. I suggest orange jumpsuits, black hoods on their heads and crank Rage Against the Machine 24 hours a day." (Presumably, Wall Street suits aren't into rap-metal.)

The protest rocker even had hopes for Fuse's own Dan Brown to join the march: "My hope is that you won't be working by the end of the day and that you'll join us at the march."

Also: Check out our on-the-scene coverage of Morello's Guitar Army while they rehearsed rewritten versions of vintage protest songs prior to the main event. 

What do you think of the return of the Occupy Wall Street movement? Are you glad to see rockers like Morello lending their fame to help the cause? Let us know in the comments below.