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Tom Morello Creates A New Protest Label

Major labels aren't as willing to take chances on artists pushing such radical messages, like they did with bands like The Clash and Rage Against the Machine
Tom Morello Creates A New Protest Label
Image from: Phil Davis NY

Tom Morello, famous as the lead guitarist of Rage Against The Machine and now as guitarist with Bruce Springsteen, was active in the Wisconsin and Occupy protests. Now he wants to bring protest music back in a more visible way:

Few understand the value of musical protest better than Tom Morello. With his unorthodox guitar playing style, he added the sonic urgency to help propel Rage Against the Machine's anthems on political corruption and American imperialism to the forefront of those resistance movements. More recently, as the mastermind behind the political folk act The Nightwatchman, Morello has created real political disruption writing anthems for Ferguson and performing at Occupy Wall Street, union strikes in Los Angeles and numerous smaller protests. He understands the power music can have in pushing protest movements to new heights.

"There's something deep in the reptilian brain of humans that responds to a combination rhythm, rhyme and sonic power that really feels like the truth," Morello told Mic. "If you get those elements right, you can point out specific songs that have changed the world."

He's often asked why there aren't many artists using these principles to address the injustices that abound in the world today. "My response is always: 'There are many. They just don't happen to be at the top of the charts currently,'" he said.

Morello has taken this as a challenge, and he's now made it his mission to reinvigorate protest music, turning it back into the force it once was. In June he launched a label, Firebrand Records, which he hopes will become the "one-stop shop for all your rebel music needs." To this end, Morello has signed artists that don't just talk the talk — they've been on the front lines of some of today's most urgent political struggles.


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