"I wanted to be able to do that because if he doesn't know who I am now, he will know who I am in the future" – While She Sleeps' Sean Long tells us about gifting Tom Morello his signature Charvel guitar

While She Sleeps guitarist Sean Long and Mat Welsh
Sean Long (left) and Mat Welsh at Oslo's Tons Of Rock Festival on 26 June 2024 (Image credit: Future)

Moments of appreciation – we love seeing them in the guitar world. There's so much division everywhere and when there are touching stories of musicians showing each other admiration, well we're going to shout about them. And While She Sleeps guitarist Sean Long's instinctive decision to gift his influence Tom Morello one of his Charvel signature models when they crossed paths unexpectedly at the UK's Download festival recently is definitely something that made us smile.  

"He was right next to our dressing room," Sean tells us as we catch up to talk guitars with him and fellow WSS guitarist Mat Welsh at Oslo's four-day Tons Of Rock festival in Norway. "He played before us which is fucking crazy!" adds Mat.

"He's been a massive inspiration my entire life," continues Sean, who with Mat has formed one of contemporary metal's most creative partnerships in the British five-piece. "But believe it or not he's been a subconscious inspiration. Obviously I draw on my guitars and I play Whammy and everyone thinks that I'm copying Tom Morello but he's always been in the background of my inspirations. He's never been in the forefront of my mind but when I go back to when I started playing guitar one of the first tab books I ever owned was the first Rage Against The Machine album." 

Charvel Sean Long Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1

Sean onstage with his black signature Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1  (Image credit: Daniel Barnes)

That moment will last forever

"So when I saw him next to us, I had a spare guitar and I was like, if my younger self saw this situation manifesting…," adds Sean. It was a real moment, and a great gesture that was captured on video below by the WSS team. For the Sheffield musician, it was about more than the Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas model he handed Morello that day. 

"He's probably not going to play it – it's just a guitar, but the symbolistic nature of it, I wanted to be able to do that because if he doesn't know who I am now, he will know who I am in the future," explains Sean. "Then that moment will last forever."

It was a positive moment that surely anyone who has ever looked up to a musician can relate to. 

Without him knowing he's inspired me, he's inspired our band forever

"And honestly it's a thank you because these things have such a massive ripple effect," notes Sean. "All of our inspirations, we wouldn't be here if we didn't look at someone and [think], 'That's cool' and then you try and do it yourself and you imitate it. So without him knowing he's inspired me, he's inspired our band forever.

"So I gave him the guitar, he took it. I don't know where it is – it's probably in the bin, to be honest," Sean laughs. "I gave him it and they were like, 'Where am I gonna put this?'/ They'd already loaded [the gear] and they were going to the hotel and then flying so they probably gave it to the hotel staff. Hopefully he plays it but we'll see."

We hope so too.  While She Sleeps released their sixth album Self Hell earlier this year and will tour Australia, Japan, mainland Europe and the UK in 2024. Find out more at whileshesleeps.com and for more about Sean Long's Charvel San Dimas Style 1 signature model visit Thomann, Andertons and Sweetwater

For more info on Oslo's Tons Of Rock festival visit tonsofrock.no

Watch On
Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.