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Tom Morello

40. Tom Morello

Tom Morello re-imagined rock guitar for the post-hip-hop world in the 1990s with Rage Against the Machine. Leaning heavily on his effects pedals, he created a new sonic vocabulary – the replicated turntable scratches on "Bulls on Parade," the funky laser blasts on "Killing in the Name" and the divebomber attack on "Fistful of Steel." Morello's blend of gizmos, pyrotechnic solos and thunderous chords is equal parts the Stooges and Public Enemy: "The Bomb Squad were hugely influential to me as a guitarist," Morello said, referring to the hip-hop crew's noiseloving production unit. "I was basically the DJ in Rage." After stepping back from guitar theatrics in the past five years with his lefty-folk alias, the Nightwatchman, Morello turned up the volume once again on his most recent album, World Wide Rebel Songs. "I figured I can play guitar like that," he told Rolling Stone earlier this year, "so I should."

Key Tracks: "Guerrilla Radio," "Killing in the Name"

Video: Tom Morello Rocks as the Night Watchman
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