Tom Morello’s stage presence can be defined by a few things such as his strap height and slogan-painted Fender guitars, but the most consistent is the wobbling nest of untrimmed strings that surrounds his guitar’s headstock. Now, Morello has revealed why he doesn’t just trim the excess after stringing up.
Speaking on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM show, Stern asked Morello: “Why do you not cut your strings? Why do you always have your strings sticking out? I feel like it’s an accident.”
Morello was quick to clarify that the look is “no accident” and that he “didn’t cut the strings because I thought it looked cool.”
Early on in his guitar-playing career, however, other musicians didn’t quite agree: “I was shamed by a musician friend. He said, ‘Who do you think you are? Do you think you’re in the baddest band in town?’ I thought, ‘I’m definitely not,’ so I cut my strings.”
But, perhaps unsurprisingly given Rage Against The Machine’s ethos, it wasn’t long before Morello went back to his old approach: “Years later, when I was in Rage Against The Machine, I was in the baddest band in town and so I let my strings go,” he explained.
Rage Against The Machine are up for inclusion in the 2021 inductees to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, alongside Tina Turner, Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Iron Maiden, Kate Bush, The Go-Go’s, Mary J. Blige, New York Dolls, Fela Kuti, Chaka Khan, Todd Rundgren, Carole King, Devo, Dionne Warwick and Foo Fighters.
Hear Morello’s full interview with Stern here.
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