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Episode 302: Nerdist Podcast
Tom Morello
Nerdist PodcastNerdist Podcast

Nerdist Podcast: Tom Morello

Tom Morello invites Chris and Jonah into his home studio to talk about how he became the guitarist of Rage Against The Machine, baby music classes, and just how nerdy Tom really is!

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  1. Patty Marvel says:

    Please interview Tom Morello’s mom. She sounds like she has chutzpah to spare.

    Between their moms and their love of Star Trek, I have the feeling TM and President Obama would have a lot to talk about.

  2. Liviu says:

    This was hands down the best Nerdist podcast I’ve ever listened to. Have Tom on again soon and let’s take the power baaack! ta na na nana nana NAA NAAAAAAAA

  3. Jeff Winger's Hairgel says:

    Tom’s outside-of-the-box approach was a huge inspiration on me as a budding guitarist so this one was yet another special treat in a long line of Nerdist shows that I love. This is up there with Rob Zombie’s interview (#15!) Keep it up!

  4. Epic show – I don’t know how it’s taken me this long to find you guys.

    Every time I hear Tom Morello speak I feel inspired to go down to the studio and rock out.

    Sadly, most of those times I’m stuck at the office 🙁

  5. Shannon says:

    Great episode. I really didn’t know who Tom was and I’m not into Rage, but I’m a huge nerdist fan and always listen even if I don’t know who it is. 🙂 What an interesting and cool guy.

  6. Dom says:

    Great podcast. I’m not much of a music fan, but I was entertained throughout the hour.

    It was somewhat surreal listening to the whole thing while at work in Libertyville. I’m from about 100 miles North of Libertyville (and probably 20 years later), so Tom’s experiences were both surprising and sobering. I know it is a very conservative and well off community, but would not have expected such aggressive racism.

    Beyond that, I could relate to many of his experiences being isolated in a small town. Not knowing geeky things were geeky. Finding a second home at Bristol.

    Thanks for the podcast and opening me up to Tom’s wider body of work. It’s good to hear where his views come from and how honest they are.

  7. Micah says:

    It’s funny listening to Tom talk about opening for House of Pain. When I was a sophmore in high school I was literally the first person in my school to own the original Rage album. I had to sneak out to go see them at a club in downtown Dallas and promptly left before HoP took the stage. Everyone else was there to see HoP and were floored by Rage. Thanks for your work Tom and thank you Chris, Jonah and Matt (even though Matt wasn’t really on this one he was still there via nerd quemments) for your outstanding work.

  8. jason says:

    shout out to Libertyville IL! fantastic podcast guys! keep up the great work

  9. Chris Hardwick says:

    @Justin: ahhhhhhhh. WordPress gets suspicious of links in the comments and often times will yank them out. Sorry about that! Was it Moranis and Steve Martin’s head? I think you must have tweeted that at me. Cool stuff!

  10. Boot Mother Effing HILL!! I remember wasting away my teen years building up a Mexican bandido character. He was always well dressed because he would kill any other character with good clothing. I had a good run until one of my posse shot *me* before I shot him. Good times…

  11. @Chris No, no, it was a very spamy post about something totally unreleted (TheLittleShopOfHorrorsdeletedmaterialthatjustrecentlyreleasedonlineatVimeoAnyfanwilltellyouhowbigadealthisisHOLYFUCKINGASSBALLSMEEKSTILLEXISTSANDWECANWATCHIT). I shouldn’t have posted it in the first place.

  12. kconan says:

    Only guys named Tom for the last three interview podcasts

  13. Paul says:

    Every time I think of Rage Against the Machine, I think of the time the police pulled the plug on them outside of the RNC convention in 2008 and so they performed A’Capella.

    Good times.

  14. Chris Hardwick says:

    @Justin Hoske: I don’t know why your comment disappeared but I didn’t remove it! Fanboy all you like.

  15. Steve says:

    Great episode.

    I kept waiting for Chris to say “We had Jeri Ryan on the podcast and she mentioned how cool it was to meet you”. He never brought it up 🙁 Maybe it’s because I’m such a Star Trek nerd and Rage Against the Machine fan that I expected him to remember she said that.

  16. My previous comment was taken down.

    I agree and completly understand. #FanboyedALittleToHard

  17. lavagod says:

    Great Podcast, I am wondering when or if you will come to Detroit. I know you where at the Magicbag but please come again.

  18. Friðrik Bjarnason says:

    As an Icelander it’s hilarious to hear Toms memories from the show in Iceland.

  19. LJ says:

    Great start to 2013! I love Tom and RATM got me through my against-ridden teens. I have the same background as Tom. He’s always been a crush/roll model. He can be intense, so I’m glad people enjoyed this episode.

    I would love to have been a fly on the wall when little Matt Mira sat down to listen to this. Aww, buddy, indeed.

  20. LJ says:

    Great start to 2013! I love Tom and RATM got me through my against-ridden teens. Except for the half-white thing and the D&D stuff, I have the same background as Tom. He’s always been a crush/roll model. He can be intense, so I’m glad people enjoyed this episode.

    I would love to have been a fly on the wall when little Matt Mira sat down to listen to this. Aww, buddy, indeed.

  21. BrotherArson says:


  22. Jameson says:

    So this morning, I was listening to the part about Tom growing up in Libertyville and working at the Bristol Ren Faire (near Kenosha), meanwhile I was driving from my home in Kenosha, past the Bristol Ren Faire, on my way to work in Libertyville.


  23. Phil says:

    Dude, it’s MAZES & MONSTERS, not MONSTERS & MAZES. I’m just brainfuckin’ ya. I’m not for-real irate about it. That said it would’ve been an interesting conversation to have because the book the movie was based on was written out of a lack of responsible research and as such the movie was made as a cautionary tale for young adults who live out fantasy lives. Imagine that. People who live in alternate realities. It’s okay if it’s the Internet, but schizophrenia if you’re DC Collins.

  24. Drakeo says:

    Didn’t Tom wrote a comic? I forgot the title

  25. Drakeo says:

    “Please get Dave Grohl on the podcast” – Spencer


  26. Andy Sowards says:

    That was awesome. I wasn’t sure what to expect from it either (as others mentioned in the comments) but I was amazed at just how nerdy Tom was – awesome dude! I was never a huge fan of Rage against the Machine in the past, I liked their music but I wasn’t all like “OMG RATM!!” like some others were lol but their philosophy (and Toms) is truly great and I hope more people start to think like that. So yeah, win all around, wins were had by everyone!

    Also I really related to the “only child” portion, I grew up as an only child as well and yeah I totally felt the whole “Everyone cheers you on and praises you” scenario that is so true – I was so into the conversation that I literally wanted to jump in and be like “YES!! BEEN THERE!” lol

    Keep up the good work guys, keep blowing my mind and making me laugh like a maniacal hermit as I work in the dark at home listening to you guys haha

  27. Pedak says:


    Yep. Sisko is the only true GOD of Trek.

  28. Jake says:

    Goodness I have been starved for a new nerdist podcast!

  29. Wendy says:

    I knew nothing of Tom Morello before hand and now I wish to track down everything he’s ever done. That’s the mark of a good interview. Good work gentlemen!

  30. Sheldon J says:

    I don’t know why I was skeptical about this episode (maybe because I’m not a music nerd) but it was a win. Tom’s a pretty decent dood. I also identified with him about growing up nerdy and a minority in a white middle-class town. Pretty good stuff.

  31. diemrbond says:

    Freaking sweet! Can’t wait to listen to this one!

  32. JetpackBlues says:

    @Curtis: I love stories like that.

  33. heather says:

    Wow. Great podcast…and hey from Kenosha! Lol…Ren Faire. And the cheese castle is mighty awesome. Anyway, keep the great casts coming!

  34. Curtis says:

    Man, Morello is such a cool dude that I really hope to meet someday.

    STORY TIME (feel free to skip):
    When I was younger my dad met him when we went to an Audioslave concert. I was underage so my friend and I hung at the seats and watched the opening band (The Burning Brides) while my dad hit the bar. He apparently grabbed a drink and went and stood next to this guy by the wall, bs’d a bit and the guy bought my dad another drink. When he got back he told about this awesome Audioslave cap the dude had but wasn’t in the merch store for some reason. Lo and behold, when Morello walks out on stage my dad points and says “That’s the guy I was talking to in the bar.” Needless to say my 15 year-old brain couldn’t handle it and I freaked the hell out for my dad not knowing who he was.

    Great episode, wonderful way to start ’13.

  35. Kevin says:

    I agree; Grohl would be an awesome get. His movie is set to debut in about a month, too

    Vedder never looks like he wants to talk, ever.

  36. Brian says:

    Can we book Mike McCready or Eddie Vedder?

  37. Spencer says:

    Please get Dave Grohl on the podcast.

  38. amysrevenge says:

    Damn you, Hardwick! I looked up Black Rattle and there’s no album, just 3 tracks on a MySpace page. I WANT MOAR!

  39. jgarfink says:

    No one ever chooses Sisko. Sisko is obviously the best captain. Come on, guys.

  40. Rich says:

    Tom (On the off chance you read this) –

    I was an intern at the Kennedy Center when you came through for the Woody Guthrie Centennial Concert. Despite the monitor board crashing an hour before the doors opened, you kept your cool and delivered a great performance. I think it’s a huge testament to your character that you didn’t flip out on the sound guys for something that was out of their control – like some of the other musicians there that night.

    As a musician you’ve influenced, It was great to see that you are still a decent human being along with all your success and celebrity.

  41. misi says:

    I would SO LOVE to hear Tom’s Mom on an episode. That may be weird, but THINK about it. THEE creator of THAT mind. We MUST hear what she has to say.

  42. JetpackBlues says:

    ♫Welcome back, welcome back, welcome baaaaack♫

    Dug this interview w/Tom as much as the one he did with Aisha (another Harvard alum).

    I was almost ready to say “Pass the popcorn” over the quick political tangent, and the lengthy comments yet to come, but this was just so fun overall that saying that would be baiting a non-issue.

    I love intelligent talk, even if I’m too dumb to play along.

  43. Misi says:

    Incredible episode. thanks so much missed you over the holiday week. Glad to see you all back and to be introduced to a ‘new to me’ side of someone I liked in another arena. y’all are great for that kind of thing.

  44. Evan says:

    back to the grind… but at least I have a new Nerdist episode to listen to!

  45. Curtis says:

    Man, what a way to start off the new year. Now off to listen!

  46. Bopper says:

    First? Is that how this works? What do I Win?