Tom Morello Was An Exotic Dancer Before Becoming A Rockstar

Finding something new about a famous musician’s past life is always interesting. It makes one realize that most of them were not born into the middle of successful careers and were on different paths before they entered the music industry.

Many rock and metal stars worked in entirely different industries until they started gathering the attention of producers and large audiences. For example, the Prince of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne, had a job in a slaughterhouse at some point before fame, while Kurt Cobain was a janitor when he met Krist Novoselic, with whom he established Nirvana.

In addition to these, there were also some stars who worked closely to show business, like Lemmy Kilmister, who was Jimi Hendrix‘s roadie years ago. However, Tom Morello probably had one of the most extraordinary occupations out of these musicians with his past as an exotic dancer.

Rage Against the Machine‘s guitarist joined the band in 1991 and has had many achievements with his bandmates despite some conflicts and years-long breaks they had in the past. Along with his musical career, he attracted fans’ attention through his personality and activism ever since he has been a public figure by raising his voice for the rights of the oppressed.

Morello showed his support for workers’ rights through many platforms by discussing his opinions and directly joining movements against the ill-treatment of people, such as the Taco Bell boycott or the LA janitor’s strike. One of his most recent deeds was his performance at Stripper Protest in Los Angeles in 2022, which aimed to raise awareness and improve the strippers’ working conditions.

As always, the guitarist was proud to be a part of the protests and conveyed his feelings through a Twitter post shortly after. He retweeted video footage of his performance among the crowd and mentioned how he would join a similar strike in Hollywood if there happened to be any.

His statement in the tweet was as follows:

“When strippers go on strike in N. Hollywood, I’m likely to show up and play songs.”

He was willing to join them in every part of the way because, apart from being empathetic toward their feelings, Morello was familiar with the situation that prompted them to have these protests. He was an exotic dancer before he joined Rage Against the Machine and knew how some things had to change for the better.

According to his explanation in a guest column of NME written in 2009, the guitarist worked many jobs after his Harvard graduation to survive. One of his occupations included exotic dance shows in bachelorette parties, which provided a decent amount for him to live.

In the text that was published at the time, he stated:

“When I graduated from Harvard and moved to Hollywood, I was unemployable. I was literally starving, so I had to work menial labor, and, at one point, I even worked as an exotic dancer. ‘Brick House’ (by the Commodores) was my jam! I did bachelorette parties, and I’d go down to my boxer shorts. Would I go further? All I can say is thank God it was in the time before YouTube! You could make decent money doing that job – people do what they have to do.”

In a more recent interview with The Howard Stern Show in 2021, Tom Morello elaborated on the matter by providing more details about his pre-fame life. He stated that he and his then-roommate wanted to improve their dating lives by purchasing a hot tub that they could not afford. Morello explained that they turned to exotic dancing to earn the required amount for an alternative, referring to the job as an ‘extracurricular activity.’

He recalled the memory as follows:

“My roommate and I at the time had a one-room apartment in Hollywood, and, to enhance our dating lives, we thought the thing that would help would be if [we] had a hot tub in our living room. We, of course, couldn’t afford a hot tub, so we figured out how much money it was going to take to buy this indoor kiddie pool and a water heater, and this and that, and the other, just to simulate a hot tub. And then we worked towards that with this extracurricular activity.”

No matter the reason, Tom Morello worked as an exotic dancer in the past and knew why he wanted to support the protests made by the strippers. The musician advocates for equity for all and works tirelessly to improve the working conditions of all workers to achieve his goal, which has endeared him to his fans.