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Tag: The Nightwatchman

Tom Morello and Ben Harper in Chinatown call for an end to the “Walmartization” of Los Angeles (video)

by on Jul.02, 2012, under ROCK NEWS, VIDEO

Tom Morello and Ben Harper in Chinatown call for an end to the “Walmartization” of Los Angeles (video)

In the largest-ever protest against Walmart, thousands of Southland residents marched through L.A.'s Chinatown on Saturday (June 30) to call for an end to the "Walmartization" of L.A.

Chinatown residents, community organizations, faith and labor leaders, musicians Tom Morello and Ben Harper, civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, U.S. congresswoman Judy Chu, L.A. labor leader Maria Elena Durazo and union workers stood with Walmart associates and warehouse workers to call on the retailer to change the way it treats workers and communities.

"Our demands are clear. Walmart must provide a living wage, quality health care, demonstrate respect for local communities, and uphold workers' rights here and around the world," said Joe Hansen, president of the United Food And Commercial Workers international union.

Marchers passed through the streets of Chinatown as they made their way from Los Angeles State Historic Park (the Cornfield) to the intersection of Broadway and Cesar Chavez Blvd. — the proposed site of a controversial new Walmart store. Speakers called on Walmart to stop its cycle of impoverishing communities and on city officials to reject Walmart's proposal for a store in Chinatown.

"We don't want Walmart to destroy Chinatown and unique neighborhoods across L.A. and the United States just to make a few executives in the Walton family richer," said Tom Morello, guitarist with RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE. Morello, performing under his folk rock moniker THE NIGHTWATCHMAN, sang his popular "Union Song" and what he called the "uncensored version" of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land".

Fellow Grammy winner and singer-songwriter Ben Harper showed up between touring gigs to play "We Can't End this Way". Harper, a downtown Los Angeles resident, spoke powerfully about how Walmart would negatively affect his community.

In the run-up to the massive rally, local and national momentum continued to build as thousands united to call on Walmart to improve its treatment of workers and communities. Grammy winner Steve Earle released a song urging Angelenos to come to today's rally and all three major Los Angeles mayoral candidates — City Controller Wendy Greuel, City Councilmember Eric Garcetti and City Councilmember Jan Perry — pledged their support for the rally and promised not to take money from Walmart.

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"For far too long corporations like Walmart have been getting special treatment, while middle-class families have been struggling in this tough economy and bearing the brunt of the tax burden. Let's send a message that our city needs responsible development that builds our middle class and encourages the growth of a thriving small business sector," said Greuel.

New energy has been building for months as Walmart associates, warehouse workers and community supporters have denounced the retailer's alleged Mexican bribery scandal and cover-up, labor violations at warehouses that move Walmart goods in Southern California and the company's aggressive efforts to open a Chinatown store against the wishes of local residents.

Controversy continues to swirl in Los Angeles around the proposed Chinatown Walmart and questions are growing about how the company may have manipulated the building approval process. Permits were approved with little oversight and public input in the dead of night — before the L.A. City Council could vote on an ordinance that would have potentially impacted the chain's ability to build a store in Chinatown.

Chinatown residents decried Walmart's attempts to locate a store there. "We don't want to see a Walmart in our historic community," said King Cheung, a Chinatown resident and member of the Chinatown Community For Equitable Development. "When Walmart comes to town, mom-and-pops are forced to close, people lose their jobs and livelihoods, and the jobs Walmart creates keep people in poverty and force them to rely on public assistance for basic needs like health care. Chinatown is not the first community to fight to keep Walmart out — and unless the company changes, we won't be the last."

"Walmart's chief product is poverty. Walmart gets rich by keeping its employees poor; however, Walmart workers are organizing for decent wages and affordable benefits. They have the right to dignity and respect and Walmart can afford to do better. Until Walmart stops selling poverty, we don't want it in Los Angeles," said Maria Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the L.A. County Federation of Labor. This march marked the largest mobilization of rank-and-file union members in support of Walmart associates and warehouse workers, who are organizing to improve conditions.

The demonstrators announced specific demands, which they said Walmart must meet in order to restore trust among workers, communities and customers. "I work hard at Walmart's Crenshaw store, but even with a promotion, I still have to rely on public health care for my kids," said Girshriela Green, a Walmart associate and member of OUR Walmart, a growing organization of Walmart associates nationwide. "Working hard should mean getting ahead — but it doesn't at Walmart. If we don't put an end to the Walmart model of making a few people rich and keeping the rest of us struggling, we are going to live in a country with no middle class at all. For my kids and for my community, I'm speaking out for change at Walmart."

Walmart has had a recent string of setbacks in its efforts to build new stores in urban areas as communities push back against the company. Walmart recently abandoned plans to develop two stores in the Boston metro area after local residents voiced strong opposition to the planned stores. The company's New York efforts have been stalled as the New York City Comptroller filed a lawsuit in connection with the recent bribery scandal.

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The Nightwatchman aims to help recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker


The Nightwatchman aims to help recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Tom Morello has posted the 20th edition of his 'The Nightwatchman Speaks' video series and in it he reveals that he’s planning on returning to Wisconsin next month to once again rally support against Governor Scott Walker and his policies.

Back in February 2011, Morello traveled to Madison and staged a rally against Governor Walker, who was at the time attempting to pass a bill that would effectively eliminate the rights of state employees to collectively bargain and thus destroy all civil servant unions.

He the new video Morello proclaims, "I am returning to Wisconsin and I am bringing some musician friends, but it will not be Rage Against the Machine sadly. I asked Rage and they were unable to play. So the Nightwatchman will be returning to an event called the ‘Recall Ball,’ which is going to be happening again. Myself and my comrade-in-arms, Tim [McIlrath] from Rise Against, will be there. Brother Ali will be playing, Street Dogs will be there, and Jackson Browne will be lending his services as well as we will be playing June 1 at the ‘Recall Ball.’”

Walker is facing a recall vote against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett due to his legislation. Walker is also believed to be under investigation for bid-rigging when he served as Milwaukee County Executive.

Jackson Browne said: “Working people across America watched aghast as Gov. Scott Walker struck down the right to collectively bargain for Wisconsin State employees,” Browne said on his website. “It’s up to the people of Wisconsin to remove Walker from office, but the fight is an American fight, for a basic American right. I’m coming to Wisconsin to help get out the vote. Recall Scott Walker!”

Morello says in the video, "We’ll be gathering a lot of people just to raise money, but we’ll be gathering canvasers to go door-to-door. The election I believe will be decided by the turnout so we’re using our efforts to get as many people in favorable communities to turn out. But I promise, Scott Walker, look out cause the Nightwatchman is back in that ass.”

In his latest video session, Morello also recaps the Chicago National Nurses United Rally and expresses his views on extremist free speech.

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Morello was one of performers at the National Nurses United Rally in Chicago's Daley Plaza on May 18th. Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel attempted to revoke the event permit after hearing of Morello's involvement. According to, the musician told the crowd, “They couldn’t shut us down, because we stood up. It was a few politicians, skeevy lawyers, and some trembling NATO generals who caved in. If NATO, the defender of the free world, is afraid of a musician with an acoustic guitar and some nurses, we’re in a lot of trouble.”

Morello grew up in a Chicago household that supported unions. Morello is a member of the Los Angeles Musicians’ Union Local 147.

Morello recently sat down for a riveting interview with the great Bill Moyers:

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Tom Morello News: Nurses United concert back on, New video for ‘Save the Hammer for the Man,’ Virtual Tour of the Planet, Guitarmy for Occupy Wall Street March recap, rocking with The Boss in L.A. (video)

by on May.13, 2012, under LINKS, ROCK NEWS, ROCK TOUR DATES, VIDEO

Tom Morello News: Nurses United concert back on, New video for ‘Save the Hammer for the Man,’ Virtual Tour of the Planet, Guitarmy for Occupy Wall Street March recap, rocking with The Boss in L.A. (video) is reporting that Tom Morello says that his performance at the National Nurses United rally in Chicago will take place as originally planned, despite efforts by city officials to relocate the demonstration.

It was reported earlier this week that the city had decided to pull the permit for the event and force it to move to a less centrally-located venue after Morello's performance was added to the schedule. In a letter to the event's organizers, city officials had said the move was necessary to accommodate changes to the event, including a far greater number of attendees.

"Chicago is my hometown and the mayor is making me feel mighty unwelcome," the guitarist told Rolling Stone on Tuesday. "If Rahm Emanuel is so afraid of my popularity in Chicago maybe I should run against him in the next election."

Having reached an agreement with the city yesterday, the nurses union will now be allowed to hold the rally, as planned, on May 18th at Chicago's Daley Plaza, during the NATO summit.

"The Mayor's office and NATO backed down because we stood up,” Morello said in a statement. “This is a great victory for the nurses union, the people of Chicago, free speech and rock n' roll. Of course we're not a security threat to downtown Chicago, but we proudly remain a threat to the monied interests who failed to stifle us."

Rage Against The Machine guitarist and The Nightwatchman Tom Morello has posted a video for his track 'Save the Hammer for the Man' with Ben Harper (from his album 'World Wide Rebel Songs'), as well as video of a virtual tour of the planet. On his  website you can customize the video to fit the country of your choice. There's 42 countries and 30 languages in the different video versions, directed by Bobby Roth. Check out the United States version and the 'Save the Hammer for the Man' video below:

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Tom Morello recently assembled a Guitarmy, an army of guitarists, for the May Day Occupy Wall Street march in New York (May 1), and he joined Bruce Springsteen onstage at The Boss' Los Angeles Sports Arena concert on April 26th to perform 'Jack of All Trades', and 'The Ghost of Tom Joad'

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Rock & Roll Baseball fanatics pitch their favorite baseball movies

by on Apr.24, 2012, under ROCK NEWS

Rock & Roll Baseball fanatics pitch their favorite baseball movies

A new feature at by Dan Epstien has let big-time rockers and baseball fans Alice Cooper, George Thorogood, Tom Morello, Scott Ian of Anthrax and more sound off on our national pastime:

Thirty-six years ago this April, The Bad News Bears opened in theaters across the country, shocking and amusing audiences with its unbridled vulgarity, as well as its unflinching depiction of the ugly competitiveness at the heart of little league baseball. In the film, obnoxious kids swear a blue streak, politically incorrect insults fly like beanballs, and the local Harley-riding adolescent troublemaker (played by Jackie Earle Haley) proudly informs 11 year-old Tatum O’Neal that he hangs out at the ball field because of the abundance of "nice ass" there. The adults, of course, behave even worse.

As I was a foul-mouthed ten-year-old with major league aspirations, the movie was right in my wheelhouse at the time – the nerds, outcasts and booger-eating morons that made up the Bears’ roster could have easily been my friends and me. It was only later that I came to appreciate the film’s snappily written script, its refreshing lack of sentimentality, or the beautifully nuanced performance of Walter Matthau as the alcoholic former minor leaguer who finds redemption as the coach of the titular team. The DVD reissue of BNB is subtitled "a classic comedy about growing up," but Matthau is the only character in the film who actually matures – the kids themselves all remain gloriously, unrepentantly juvenile, even when they’re guzzling adult beverages in the final scene.

Is Bad News Bears the greatest baseball flick of all time? It is for me – but unlike with players and teams, you can’t use stats to mount an argument for your favorite baseball film; it’s a personal thing, often depending on when you first saw it as what you saw in it. And since baseball has been a popular motion picture subject dating back to 1898 (Thomas Edison’s The Ball Game), there’s no shortage of titles to choose from. So this week, we ask our esteemed panel of rock & roll baseball freaks: What’s your favorite baseball movie?

Name: Alice Cooper
Position: Vocals

I think it has to be Fear Strikes Out (1957), the story of Jimmy Piersall starring Anthony Perkins. Jimmy was bipolar and went absolutely crazy. He would fight, he would climb the fences and would have all kinds of psychotic episodes on the field, which I really admire in a ball player.

Name: Joe Pernice
Band: Pernice Brothers
Position: Vocals, Guitar

Without a doubt, it would have to be The Bad News Bears. It's just a great story that masterfully and barely stays on the positive side of the gossamer line that separates tragedy and comedy. In my opinion it's the most interesting of the "baseball as vehicle to redemption" films. And it ends in a hockey brawl. What's not to like? The script, casting and direction are amazing.

Name: George Thorogood
Band: George Thorogood and the Destroyers
Position: Vocals, Guitar

It Happens Every Spring (1949). It was the first baseball movie I ever saw, and I saw it at a time when I was just starting my love affair with baseball. It stars Ray Milland, Ed Begley, and one of my favorite actresses of all time, Jean Peters; Paul Douglas does a great job, too. And, in the end, the National League team wins the World Series. Perfect!

Name: Daniel Zott
Band: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
Position: Vocals, Guitar

Hands down, it’s The Sandlot (1993). Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez, Ham Porter, the Beast, Squints, and Wendy Peffercorn. I think everyone dreams of blasting a homer through a firework lit sky as Ray Charles’ "America the Beautiful" plays in the background. It's really hard to beat that. I suppose if you want some history over entertainment then you should watch Baseball: A Film By Ken Burns (1994). Everything Ken Burns does is legit.

Name: Ken Casey
Band: Dropkick Murphys
Position: Bass guitar, Vocals

The Sandlot. I watch it with my kids all the time, it reminds me of my childhood – pick-up games against the neighbors. Now, you couldn't even find 18 kids at a park to play baseball with, because they are all home playing video games. Man...I sound too old and cranky!

Name: Steve Wynn
Band: The Baseball Project
Position: Vocals, Guitar

Without a doubt, it would have to be Bang The Drum Slowly (1973), even though the ending – one of the best last final lines of dialogue in any movie ever made – busts me up every time. And I challenge you all to a game of TEGWAR the next time we meet.

Name: Ben Gibbard
Band: Death Cab for Cutie
Position: Vocals, Guitar

The Natural (1984), due in large part to Randy Newman’s score and and Caleb Deschanel's photography. Seriously, is there a scene in any other baseball movie more epic than Robert Redford rounding the bases in slow motion as the lights EXPLODE behind him??? Doubtful. I don't think anyone has gotten close to capturing the beauty and pageantry of the game since.

Name: Steve Earle
Position: Vocals, Guitar

The Natural – because you couldn’t make a film like that about any other sport.

Name: Scott Ian
Band: Anthrax
Position: Guitar

Moneyball (2011). In this film, they strip away all the fantasy, all the magic of the game, and yet at the same time it's that magic and love of the game itself that is driving Billy Beane. It's a real no-bullshit look at the game without having to create the fantasy – it's already there.

Name: Tom Morello
Band: The Nightwatchman, Street Sweeper Social Club, Rage Against the Machine
Position: Guitar, Vocals

My all time favorite baseball film is Reverse Of The Curse Of The Bambino (2004), a documentary made about the Boston Red Sox first World Series Championship. As a long-suffering Cubs fan, it was nice to be able to live vicariously through another cursed franchise’s redemption. It helps me to continue to dream my little dream.

Name: Handsome Dick Manitoba
Band: Manitoba
Position: Vocals

The Pride Of The Yankees (1942). It harkens back to another era, when baseball and movies ruled the earth. People listened to baseball games on the radio at home, went to movies (one movie, one theatre) and baseball games, and could afford to! There’s a lovable corniness to this movie. The scene where the roadside motorcycle cop and his pals give a "speeding Lou Gehrig" an escort to the Stadium is priceless. Gary Cooper heads an all-star cast as Lou Gehrig, with Teresa Wright, Walter Brennan, and real Yankees Babe Ruth, Bob Meusel and Bill Dickey (Mr. Dickey was the other #8 on the Yankees) as themselves. The fable-like way the whole story is told blows me away. Lou’s relationship with his parents, his love interest, the Yankees when they were the best team in the history of the universe, and finally, the tear-jerker aspect of Lou the "Iron Man" getting ALS, and THE SPEECH. Add it all up, and it melts this cynical son of a bitch, into a bowl of baseball loving, movie loving, era-gone-by Jell-O!

Name: Scott McCaughey
Band: The Baseball Project, The Minus 5, Young Fresh Fellows
Position: Guitar, Vocals

Let's face it, most baseball movies drag one towards the triumphant-against-all-odds – or over-sentimental, heart-rending – finales. Not that that can't work, and diamond blockbusters like The Natural, Field Of Dreams and Bull Durham all have something to offer, if still pandering to the general populace and low-balling the more artistically-minded movie-goer and baseball fan. As classic Hollywood fare goes, I am a complete sucker for Gary Cooper’s trademark unassuming performance as Lou Gehrig in The Pride Of The Yankees, and Dan Dailey's spot-on Dizzy Dean in the similarly titled The Pride Of St. Louis (which actually surprised me with its relative historical accuracies). But more so, I love John Sayles’ dark and moody treatment of Eliot Asinof's classic Eight Men Out (1988), with its intricate story and superb casting, covering one of baseball history’s most tragic and fascinating chapters (the Black Sox scandal of 1919). But my current favorite baseball film has to be Sugar (2008), the moving, almost documentary-like portrayal of a young Dominican's trip from one of his native country's baseball camps to his dream-come-true visit to the U.S. and a chance for major league glory and money. If this had been a major Hollywood production, it'd no doubt climax with the kid pitching Game Seven of the World Series – and you might have actually heard of the film. But how often is that what happens to aspiring ballplayers?

Name: Pete Yorn
Position: Vocals, Guitar

To me, the one that has the most impact is Eight Men Out. It always strikes a chord with me when a group of men, in this case baseball players who happen to be the best in the world, get caught up in corruption. Sure they were underpaid, and even though ultimately found not guilty of throwing the World Series, the commissioner of baseball still decided to ban eight of the Chicago "Black Sox" from baseball forever. "Shoeless" Joe Jackson denied any wrongdoing, and his part in the scandal remains controversial. His Series-leading .375 batting average has me believing in his innocence.

Name: Greg Dulli
Band: The Twilight Singers, Afghan Whigs
Position: Vocals, Guitar

The Bad News Bears. I read once where someone called it the Casablanca of kids movies, and I agree. It's quotable and the character interaction is memorable because it's so well written. One of Walter Matthau's finest moments as an actor and Tatum O'Neal and Jackie Earle Haley are wise beyond their years. Vic Morrow is fantastic as the antagonistic asshole Yankees coach, and the kids who play Tanner, Lupus, Engleberg and Ogilvie are unaffected and believable in their roles. One of the great movies of any genre, really.

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The Nightwatchman Tom Morello makes a stop at Occupy Wall Street (video)

by on Oct.14, 2011, under ROCK NEWS, VIDEO

The Nightwatchman Tom Morello makes a stop at Occupy Wall Street (video)

After making a stop and performing last week at Occupy Los Angeles, Tom Morello made the trek to New York yesterday.
"I'm a supporter of Occupy Wall Street and the other 1300 Occupy movements," Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello told Rolling Stone during his visit to the protest site in Manhattan. "This is a place where, in your home town, tomorrow you could start Occupy Libertyville, Illinois. It's a place where people can gather to express their grievances and express their solidarity with one another, like – shit ain't right, and we're gonna do something about it."

Here's footage from last week at Occupy L.A.:

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