Sunday, October 19, 2014

Rage Against the DM

It is amazing what the Google machines can turn up at random.  In a series of random clicks I found some neat images of old year book pictures of D&D clubs from the early 80's. I happened to click on one yearbook image from Libertyville, Illinois and started reading the names...

Man one of those kids looks wicked familiar...

 Holy crap could it really be?

One of the best, most innovative and influential guitarists of all time is a "Dungeons and Dragons person?"

So first need to prove the Tom and Libertyville, IL connection:

Born in Harlem, New York, and raised in Libertyville, Illinois, Morello became interested in music and politics while in high school. He attended Harvard University and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Studies. After his previous band Lock Up disbanded, Morello met Zack de la Rocha and the two founded Rage Against the Machine together. The group went on to become one of the most popular and influential rock acts of the 1990s.

He is best known for his unique and creative guitar playing style, which incorporates feedback noise, unconventional picking and tapping as well as heavy use of guitar effects. Morello is also noted for his leftist political views and activism; his creation of his side project The Nightwatchman offered an outlet for his views while playing apolitical music with Audioslave. He was ranked number 40 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".

Then I did a quick google-fu snap kick and found this interview related to his comic book ORCHID:

One of the things that I thought was missing from my favorite fantasy epics like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Dune, or The Stand was a sense of class consciousness. It's always about "Get the King back on the throne" or "Get the Princess back." In the back of my mind, it occurred to me that the Orc slaves of Mordor had more in common with the vassals of Minas Tirith than they'd like to admit. That element is front and center — at Harvard, I also studied folk literature, African-American literature, and literature of the oppressed, so there's that informing the story.

What kind of mutants can we anticipate in Orchid?
I loved coming up with these creatures, things like "the jaguar-wildebeest with parakeet talons." And then illustrator Scott Hepburn draws that thing! It's pretty fantastic, it taps into my old Dungeons and Dragons history.

Wait, you played D&D?
Yeah, I was the Dungeon Master. I'd spend hours coming up with these campaigns and then applied that OCD to my guitar playing. Now I'm sort of tapping back into that.

What sort of campaigns did you run?
My campaigns had a class consciousness to them. The king was always the bad guy! The heroes were either the rebels on the outskirts who ousted the king or I killed their ass!

 That's a natural 20 connection true believer, Rage Against the DM!