Rage Against the Machine guitarist/activist Tom Morello is usually a man of many words but in a response to a Twitter user who accused him of “white man privilege” on Wednesday, he gave a simple answer to the accusation.
His reply? “I’m not white.”
The guitarist sent the message to Twitter user @TheRealNubian2, who had criticized him for defending his friendship with Ted Nugent, the guitarist who espouses strong right-wing views. His accuser identifies on Twitter as: “She/Her. Feminist SJW. Not an American but will talk shit anyway.”
Morello, the son of an American mother of Italian and Irish descent and a father, Kikuyu Kenyan, who is from Kenya, told the story of his friendship with the Motor City Madman to Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show earlier this week. Discussing the nomination process for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Stern asked Morello: Can you separate the artist from his politics? Stern then brought up the outspoken conservative Nugent.
Morello’s reply? “You might be surprised to hear that Ted Nugent and I are good friends, someone I think that you could make an argument f0r [re Nugent’s nomination and induction]. For his 60th birthday, someone reached out to me and said, ‘We’re making a video, and we’re asking guitar players [to say a few kind words]. At the time, the Ted Nugent known in the world, in general, was this right-wing caricature.
“People were not thinking of him first and foremost as the guy who shredded on “Cat Scratch Fever,’” Morello continued.
The video he decided to make: “It’s going to be things that Tom Morello and Ted Nugent have in common. I went down this long list: free speech advocates, love of rock & roll, respect for black artists who’ve created rock and roll. And the second, was things Ted Nugent taught an adolescent Tom Morello about sex.”
“These strange words, like the lyrics to the song “Wang Dang, Sweet Poontang” words that were utterly foreign to me. Ted called me up after that, and while we certainly have differences, I consider him a friend,” Morello said.
Nugent concurs, telling Guitar World in 2019, “You know who my genuine American blood brother is? Tom Morello.”