“If you’ve got a boss, join a union. If you’re an anarchist, throw a brick. If you’re a soldier or a cop, follow your conscience not your orders": watch Tom Morello's speech as Rage Against The Machine are inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

Tom Morello
(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Rage Against The Machine were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Friday night (November 3), with guitarist Tom Morello the only member of the band attending the ceremony.

“My name is Tom Morello, and I'm one quarter of Rage Against The Machine,” Morello told the audience at the beginning of his acceptance speech. “I am deeply grateful for the musical chemistry I’ve had the good fortune to share with Brad Wilk, Tim Commerford and Zach de la Rocha,  Like most bands, we have differing perspectives on a lot of things, including about being inducted into the Rock Hall. My perspective is that tonight is a great opportunity to celebrate the music and the mission of the band, to celebrate with the fifth member of the band, and that is Rage Against The Machine's incredible fans. You're the reason we are here and the best way to celebrate this music is for you to carry on that mission and that message.”

“The lesson I’ve learned from Rage fans is that music can change the world,” Morello continued. “Daily I hear from fans who have been affected by our music, and in turn have affected the world in significant ways: organisers, activists, public defenders, teachers, the Presidents of Chile and Finland have all spent time in our mosh pit.”

“When protest music is done right you can hear a new world emerging in the songs, skewering the oppressors of the day and hinting that there might be more to life than what was handed to us. Can music change the world? The whole fucking aim is to change the world.”

After thanking his wife, children, Michael Goldstone, the A&R man who signed the band to Epic Records, and his guitar tech, Morello continued, “What I hear in the music is this: that the world is not going to change itself but throughout history those who have changed the world in progressive, radical or even revolutionary ways did not have any more money, power, courage, intelligence or creativity than anyone watching tonight. The world's changed by average, everyday, ordinary people who have had enough are willing to stand up for a country and a planet that is more humane peaceful and just. And that is what I'm here to celebrate tonight.”

“Fans often ask but what can I do? Well let's start with these three things: 1. Dream big and don't settle. 2. Aim for the world you really want, without compromise or apology and 3. Don't wait for us. Rage is not here, but you are: the job we set out to do is not over, now you're the ones that must testify. If you've got a boss, join a union. If you're a student, start an underground paper. If you're an anarchist, throw a brick. If you're a soldier or a cop, follow your conscience, not your orders.”

In conclusion, Morello said, ”It's time to change the world, brothers and sisters, or as a bare minimum, to stir up a shitload of trouble.”

Other artists inducted on the night included Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, George Michael, Willie Nelson, The Spinners and Kate Bush.

Watch Morello's speech below:


Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.