Morello joined Springsteen on stage at the Moody Theatre in Austin during the music festival, where he was also performing solo shows in his The Nightwatchman guise. When asked by KROQ Radio if he had to pinch himself when it came to playing with The Boss, he said:
When I moved to California back in 1986 with the ‘Nebraska’ tape in my Chevy Astro Van, there was no crystal ball I could have ever looked into that would have said ‘yo, one day you will be playing four songs on stage on stage with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band at South by Southwest’.
He added: “It has not really settled in. Like I don’t get the least bit nervous when the police pull the plug on a show in the middle of the street. I get terrified whenever I play with Bruce Springsteen.”
Referring to his Occupy SXSW show, which was closed down by police, Morello said: “We didn’t know the police would pull the plug. It was the official Occupy SXSW Tom Morello Showcase… The only people that could get into the actual indoor showcase… were badge holders; people that had these badges that cost $800 (£504). So I had already made plans with the local Austin Occupy group and we were going to have this show together and I realised none of them could actually get in so we schemed to actually have two stages.”
He continued: “There was the indoor stage and there was the outdoor stage… But at the end of the show, I played my role as the guitar shredding Pied Piper and held my guitar aloft and led the entire audience inside the club, outside the club to merge the two audiences. And then we played Woody Guthrie‘s ‘This Land Is Your Land’ and of course at this point, there’s thousands of people in the street… But the police found somehow this gathering of thousands of people too threatening.”