"My doctor said, 'He might as well be in pain on crutches at the Led Zeppelin show.'" Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello on his love of Jimmy Page, and the childhood injury that nearly robbed him of seeing Zeppelin live

Tom Morello and Led Zeppelin
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rage Against The Machine shredder Tom Morello might be a guitar icon in his own right, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have his own axe-wielding heroes. Speaking exclusively to Metal Hammer, Morello - who is in the UK to play Download Festival this weekend - reveals that legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page is one of his idols, and that he's been able to hang out with Page on multiple occasions over the years.

In fact, a young Morello even got to see Zeppelin live in their heyday - but only just, as he had to suffer through an injury and beg a doctor to give his approval to make sure he could attend the band's show in Chicago, not long before they split up.

"Led Zeppelin, one of my favourite bands of all time," he gushes. "I had the good fortune of seeing them in 1977 at the Chicago Stadium. At the time my leg was in a cast and I had Led Zeppelin tickets. My mom said I couldn't go, so we went to a neutral arbitrator, which was my doctor, and I said I pled my case. And my mom said, 'He's unsafe!' And the doctor said, 'Well he's probably going to be in pain. He's going to be on crutches. But he might as well be in pain on crutches at the Led Zeppelin show.' So I got to see them in their last Chicago performance.

"Cut to some years later, I got to actually work with Jimmy Page on a song for the Godzilla soundtrack," Morello continues. "Puff Daddy - the now notorious Puff Daddy - we did a song called Come With Me which was based on the Kashmir riff. I played guitar and bass on that track. And then, you know, years later I became friendly acquaintances with Jimmy and he came to the Finsbury Park show, the Rage Against the Machine victory party at Finsbury Park, and more recently I got to see him when Rage was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He played that night. We got to spend some time together and my son, who is a shredding guitar player, Jimmy Page is his favourite guitar player. I don't take any offence to that, but he got to meet him as well."

Rage Against The Machine were inducted into the 2023 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame alongside Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliot, George Michael , Willie Nelson and The Spinners. That seemed to bring an end to the band's activity following the cancellation of their European tour in 2022 following complications from an injury suffered by frontman Zack De La Rocha on the road. Earlier this year, Rage drummer Brad Wilk claimed that the band will never play shows together again


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Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.