One of the biggest surprises of NAMM 2020 was Fender’s reveal of the Tom Morello Soul Power Stratocaster. Very few would have imagined that the guitarist who famously once told Gearheads that “Gear does not matter – at all, ever, in any circumstance” would one day not only have a signature instrument, but one made by the biggest name in the guitar industry. So what gives?
“I’ve never done a signature guitar before, I’ve never done any endorsement of any product, guitar… or candidate before! So why would I do this, and why would I do it now?” he tells us in the exclusive video interview above. “Well, the crucial part of this is that Fender agreed with me that a big component of this would be the charity aspect, and the social justice aspect.”
That aspect involves providing hundreds of guitars – including some Soul Power Stratocasters – to the Jail Guitar Doors programme, which helps inmates rehabilitate through guitar playing, while also providing instruments for public schools to offset drastic cuts to arts programmes.
“I know how important and how formative it was for me to pick up an electric guitar and find a means of being that was entirely different from the moment before I had it in my hands as a route to self-expression but also as a potential route to liberation,” Morello tells us. “Finding a way to express yourself, and to have fun, and to expand your mind and your creativity in a way that only the electric guitar can. So that was key for me.”
Watch the full interview with Tom above, and check out this extended interview and live performance from Fender to celebrate the launch of the Soul Power Stratocaster in the video below.