Tom Morello: "I wanted one foot planted on a Marshall stack and another in the world of 2019 sonics"

(Image credit: Eitan Miskevich)

The lights go out in Irving Plaza, a large ballroom in New York City. A spotlight splits the darkness and searches the audience until it abruptly stops. Suddenly, as if by magic, guitarist Tom Morello rises from the middle of the crowd on a small platform, peeling out lick after mega-lick on his wireless guitar. Meanwhile, on the stage, more than 75 feet away, a gigantic LED screen explodes with provocative images while a live rhythm section churns out the funky groove to Lead Poisoning, one of the heavier songs from Morello’s wildly eclectic new album, The Atlas Underground.

It’s a goosebump-inducing moment. The first of several in an evening filled with rousing social anthems, unhinged guitar solos, spectacular visuals and a moving tribute to the late Chris Cornell, Morello’s Audioslave bandmate. The guitarist eventually makes his way to the stage, but not before making a deep connection with the fans in the packed auditorium.

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Brad Tolinski

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away Brad was the editor of Guitar World from 1990 to 2015. Since his departure he has authored Eruption: Conversations with Eddie Van Halen, Light & Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page and Play it Loud: An Epic History of the Style, Sound & Revolution of the Electric Guitar, which was the inspiration for the Play It Loud exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2019.