While Morello had already been deeply in love with rock 'n' roll since he was young, it was the introduction of punk that had a lasting impact on him as he explained in a new interview with Pitchfork.
“From the time I was 16 years old, I self-identified as a radical and a political activist. But the subject matter of music that I was a fan of revolved mostly around the devil and groupies,” he said. “There was a real disconnect. So when the Clash came along, it was like a cultural meteor.”
He recalls that the show “was absolutely life-changing” and that was mostly due to Joe Strummer's stage setup. He explained that the amp Strummer used was a driving point for him to realize he could also one day be up on stage playing music for fans around the world.
“Previously, all of my rock heroes had owned $10,000 Les Pauls… and all I had was a little Music Man amp on a chair in my mom’s basement,” he said. “But when I saw the Clash, Joe Strummer had the same Music Man amp that I had. I couldn’t believe it. The wall came down. It wasn’t like, 'Oh, one day, if I practice a lot, and if things fall the right way, and if I have the right haircut…' It’s like, 'He’s doing it, I’m doing it, we’re just both doing it. We’re all in bands. No experience required.'”
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