March 17, 2012 3:49pm PT by Colin Stutz
SXSW 2012: Tom Morello Leads 'Occupy' Protest With Impromptu Sidewalk Sing-Along (Video)
Amidst the chaos and litter-covered South By Southwest streets of downtown Austin on Friday night, activist and Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave guitar slinger Tom Morello took a stand with the Occupy movement and spoke out for the cause via a curbside gig for the people.
The impromptu performance followed an official badge-only show at nearby venue Swan Dive, which he had projected against the front of the building outside for anyone to watch. Morello told his audience, "I'm the pied piper of folk rock," and asked them to follow him outside. There, a "people's stage" had been setup and a crowd amassed for what was called an Occupy SXSW event.
"Now we're all one!" Morello said and then launched into Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land," along with MC5 co-founder Wayne Kramer (who had also played with Morello inside) on guitar and several others who read lyrics off a sheet. As the crowd swelled, Morello encouraged all in attendance to sway and jump in place. Some even crowd-surfed.
Eventually, the police shutdown the assembly's PA system but Morello carried on. Employing the people's microphone, Morello told the story of his song "World Wide Rebel Songs" and then played it acoustically with the audience chanting back with mic-check echoes as police watched on.
"Take it easy," Morello told the crowd of several hundred before leaving the makeshift stage, "but take it."
Watch a video of Morello leading the crowd in "This Land is Your Land" below: