Tom Morello: “I'm disgusted by the fact that a lot of young people these days aren't willing to sit down and practice the electric guitar for eight hours a day"

Tom Morello
(Image credit: Future/Joby Sessions)

Tom Morello didn't get where he is now by chance, last year he told us (opens in new tab) how he'd spend  "four, six, eight hours a day 365 days a year" while he was a student at university. He put the time in, and he became a trailblazing player, but now he's told Metal Hammer (opens in new tab) that he doesn't think enough young players are doing the same nowadays. 

"They are all looking for an easier route to becoming famous"

“I'm disgusted by the fact that a lot of young people these days aren't willing to sit down and practice the electric guitar (opens in new tab) for eight hours a day," he told Metal Hammer in a new interview (opens in new tab) on the topic of how the guitar solo is in decline. 

"They are all looking for an easier route to becoming famous. Look at the Top 50 songs on the radio in the US - there are no guitar solos in them. 

"I see [my latest solo album, 2018's] The Atlas Underground as a Trojan horse. I want it to turn a new generation of kids on to cranking up the guitar." 

Yes, eight hours is a lot and it's easy to dismiss Morello's argument as a 55-year-old man shouting at a cloud, but we think his key point holds up; becoming a musician takes investment, and that means time spent learning and playing. 

That's why you'll find so many guitar lessons from us here (opens in new tab).

But over on (opens in new tab), Michael Astley-Brown makes some sage points about the different pressures on musicians now compared to when Morello was honing his chops in a dorm room late at night. 

The music industry has changed massively since the 1980s, and musicians can't live in a vacuum away from that. 

Tom Morello

(Image credit: Future/Joby Sessions)

But Morello isn't all doom and gloom on the current chart scene – he's an artist who has always championed others. And of course, he's a great example of a crossover artist himself with Rage Against The Machine, his solo work and Prophets Of Rage. He doesn't think you can ever ever keep rock 'n' roll down for long. 

Essential Morello

(Image credit: Bradmart Inc)

5 songs guitarists need to hear by… Tom Morello (opens in new tab)

“It’s true that hip hop, pop and R&B are more popular than rock music these days," he told Metal Hammer.. "There will always be great rock’n’roll, but it’s no longer the dominant genre. But times change and trends ebb and flow. 

"The thing is, metal will be here long after other genres have come and gone. Sure, it’s level of popularity isn’t at a peak right now, but that’s all the more reason for those of us who believe in it to keep making the music we love.”

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. I've currently set aside any pipe dreams of getting anywhere with my own songs and I am enjoying playing covers in function bands.