Adding to the growing list of celebrities that have either appeared or performed at the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City recently, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello arrived at Zuccotti Park this morning to speak to the mass of protesters and perform a four-song set as his musical alter-ego The Nightwatchman. Morello earlier performed at the Occupy Wall Street protest in L.A.
“My name is Tom Morello, but my friends call me Nightwatchman,” said Morello as the crowd gathered around him. “You can call me The Nightwatchman. It”s an honor to be with you today.”
Though the rhetoric expressed by the guitar player, who also performed for several years as part of the now-defunct rock band Audioslave along with former Soundgarden front man Chris Cornell, was fiery and aggressive (at one point he referred to throwing the “Wall Street criminals” in “animal cages” at Guantanamo Bay), his relatively subdued acoustic set was a far cry from the searing guitar histrionics of Rage Against the Machine.
The four songs performed by the politically-active musician, who was once named by Rolling Stone Magazine as the 26th greatest guitarist of all time, consisted of three tracks from his acoustic side project The Nightwatchman (“The Fabled City”, “Save the Hammer for the Man” and “World Wide Rebel Songs”) as well as a rendition of the Woody Guthrie folk staple “This Land Is Your Land”. At one point he led the crowd in a chant of “All hell can’t stop us now”, a lyric from Rage Against the Machine’s Grammy-winning 1999 hit “Guerrilla Radio”.
Other celebrities who have recently appeared at the ongoing protest include Alec Baldwin, Radiohead, Salman Rushdie, Russell Simmons and, of course, Kanye West. Yesterday, Amanda Palmer from “punk cabaret” duo The Dresden Dolls also performed an animated set for the crowd, including a cover version of John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero”.
You can watch video clips from both Morello and Palmer’s performances below. (Note: there is some cursing involved, so I’m flagging these videos as “NSFW”.)
Tom Morello (courtesy of Rolling Stone):