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Tom Morello defends unlikely friendship with Ted Nugent: "I reserve the right to be friends with anybody"

Tom Morello and Ted Nugent
(Image credit: Joby Sessions/Total Guitar Magazine, Scott Legato/Getty Images)

Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello has spoken out about his unlikely friendship with Ted Nugent.

The pair of musicians, who are typically regarded as being on opposing ends of the political spectrum, were outed as pals in an interview on The Howard Stern show back in March. Morello, while speaking of Nugent (who has received frequent backlash over his controversial right-wing views), declared that while they "certainly have differences", he in fact considers him to be a "friend".

In a new interview with NME, the Rage guitarist – whose music and values are openly vocal about left-wing politics, activism and social justice – has defended his decision to befriend Nugent, stating that he “reserves the right to be friends with anybody”.

He continues: “I reserve the right to confront opinions I disagree with, with open heartedness and love, or by throwing a brick. That’s up to me.

“In the case of Ted, I know he’s become this right-wing caricature but there have been several times where I have reached him on issues that you might be surprised about. But he is still crazy uncle Ted who says all sorts of shit.

“It can be important to keep an open dialogue with people you disagree with, especially in this global community of disagreements. Sometimes it’s just as important to block them, though.”

Recently, Tom Morello shared his thoughts on who he believes deserves the title of the "greatest frontman of all time". Speaking in a new interview with Revolver on the Fan First podcast, the RATM guitarist stated that he believes bandmate Zack de la Rocha deserves the title due to his "spiritual commitment" to the stage and studio. Describing de la Rocha as a "punk rock James Brown", Morello continued, "And it’s matched with a brilliant intellect, and he’s a tremendous musician as well, and it’s really an unbelievable combination just, feel fortunate to be in a band with him.”

Tom Morello's new album Atlas Underground Fire is out now.

Elizabeth Scarlett

Elizabeth (Lizzie) works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. When not writing, she enjoys music design and reading about rock’n’roll history, art and magic.