Tom Morello looks back on his nights playing as part of the E Street Band as an all-time high. Morello first jammed with Bruce Springsteen back in in 2008 at a California gig, where he joined the band for “The Ghost Of Tom Joad.” He eventually became a touring guitarist for the E Street Band in early 2013 for an Australian trip that Steve Van Zandt was unable to make, and went on to perform on eight tunes on Springsteen's 2014 set, High Hopes.
While appearing on the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast, he spoke honestly about what's it's like to back “The Boss”: “Really, Bruce is probably the only person where I would be a sideman in their band. I don’t feel like I’m kind of built that way. I love Bruce Springsteen. He’s the only friend I have that I subscribe to a fanzine about. That’s kind of rarefied air there. The last tour that we did in North America, it was 34 shows and 182 different songs. And I never had the jukebox gene, which a lot of musicians have, who played thousands of cover band club dates. I never had that. So, for me, it was work. I learned about 250 songs before the first show, because I wanted to be ready! I didn’t want to be the problem.”
He touched upon what it's like to be such a stylized player immersing yourself into such a well-defined machine: “Y'know, the E Street Band had been great for over 40 years without me in it. So that is first of all, don’t cause no harm. Y'know, and then secondly, when Bruce gives the nod, y'know, try to blow the roof off the place with some crazy solo that E Street fans would not be expecting . . . I know that some of the non-traditional elements of my guitar playing may have divided some of the faithful, but Bruce asked me to play like me.”