Tom Morello, as his alter ego the Nightwatchman, performed a new cut called “Marching on Ferguson” at the Jail Guitar Doors‘ Rock Out! benefit concert September 5th at Los Angeles’ Ford Theatre. As the title suggests, this bluesy track was inspired by the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer and its aftermath in the Missouri city. Morello debuted his protest song for the first time at the Rock Out! benefit. “Carving up that golden calf with a blowtorch and gas mask, I’m marching on Ferguson, I’m marching tonight,” Morello sings on the scorching two-minute track.
Following the Michael Brown shooting, Morello tweeted on August 11th, “Against death penalty but if instituted 4 killer cops, corporate criminals & presidents who go to war under false pretense might be deterrent?” While the protesting has subsided in the Missouri city and news media has moved on to other stories, Morello continues to have his eye on Ferguson, recently retweeting a news story about how St. Louis police are fingerprinting all of the children in Ferguson. Morello also recently contributed a song to a compilation of protest songs titled This Concerns Everyone.
Jackson Browne, Ben Harper, Tim Robbins, Jill Sobule, White Fence, Dana Gould and MC5’s Wayne Kramer were also on hand for the second annual Rock Out! event to support Jail Guitar Doors, which Kramer founded as a means to help rehabilitate prisoners with musical instruments. The non-profit organization’s name comes from the Clash song with the same title. Rocker Billy Bragg originally set up the initiative in the United Kingdom before Kramer brought Jail Guitar Doors to the United States.