Tom Morello: Some of my fanbase "freaks the f*** out" when I say I’m black"

11 July 2020, 08:30 | Updated: 11 July 2020, 08:36

Tom Morello photographed backstage before a live solo performance at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol, England on June 5, 2019
Tom Morello photographed backstage before a live solo performance at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol, England on June 5, 2019. Picture: Joby Sessions/Total Guitar Magazine

The Rage Against The Machine rocker has talked about racism in the United States and how some of his fanbase refuse to acknowledge his background.

Tom Morello has discussed racism in the United States of America and reflected on how some of his fans react to him owning his ethnicity.

The Rage Against The Machine guitarist was born to Kenyan diplomat Ngethe Njoroge and American activist Mary Morello, but he revealed many of those in his fanbase hate it when he refers to his roots or stands for the Black Lives Matter cause.

Speaking during a live conversation with Imagine Dragons Dan Reynolds, the Bloody Beetroots and Shea Diamond, Morello said: “racism in this country is as American as apple pie and baseball”.

Talking about he's viewed by some of his fans, he mused: “A curious part of my history is that I’ve 'changed colour’ through the years. This is what I mean. In the town where I grew up, I was the only black person. Once, there was a noose in my family's garage, there was the occasional burned cross on the lawn, and my mom, who was a public high school teacher, had some of the most horrific racist stuff pinned to her chalkboard.

"Then, I was in a popular band that had songs that were predominantly played on white, rock-oriented stations, the way I speak is not typically urban vernacular, and there’s a large part of my fan base that freaks the fuck out when I say that I’m black."

The Killing In The Name rocker added: "Like, they don’t want to hear it, they doubt it and it surfaces once a month whether it’s Twitter or Instagram where I say something about being black. They’re like, ‘You’re not black!’ I assure you that the Northern Illinois Ku Klux Klan thinks that I am.”

READ MORE: Twitter reacts to fan just realising Rage Against The Machine are political

After speaking about some of his run-ins with the KKK, Morello also talked about being racially profiled when the band were at the peak of their success.

"In the height of Rage Against the Machine’s fame and fortune, I was pulled over and handcuffed on the side of IL-176, which runs through town, just coming home from the local bar because I was walking while black in Libertyville," Morello said.

"In Los Angeles, dozens of times, I was pulled over when driving, going on official band business but in my old Chevy Astro van when I was driving through Beverly Hills. ‘Why is there a thirty-something-year-old black man in this neighbourhood?’

"It’s a constant background noise for those of us who have experienced it and something you can’t really reach or understand if you haven’t experienced it.

READ MORE: What inspired Rage Against The Machine's Killing In The Name?

Last month saw Tom Morello hit back at a fan who slammed him for being too political.

The Take The Power Back artist showcased a tweet from a fan who wrote: "I use to be a fan until your political opinions come out. Music is my sanctuary and the last thing I want to hear is political bs when i’m listening to music. As far as i’m concerned you and Pink are completely done. Keep running your mouth and ruining your fan base."

Morello retweeted the message and replied: "Scott!! What music of mine were you a fan of that DIDN’T contain “political BS”? I need to know so I can delete it from the catalog."

Fans of the band were quick to mock the post, with many questioning how you could listen to any of Rage Against The Machine's music without realising the band's strong political message.

One fan asked: "What were you HEARING".

Another mused: "Back in the day that dude was screaming “F—k you I won’t do what you tell me” thinking the song was about a rebellious teen with stern parents".

Others showed their sense of humour by adapting some of the band's name and most famous lyrics.

READ MORE: Rage Against The Machine reschedule 2020 reunion gigs