Tom Morello’s Gibson Les Paul Custom Shop “Budweiser”

Tom got this guitar at the time of recording Audioslave’s Revelations album in 2006. The guitar itself was made in 2002 by Gibson Custom Shop in a very limited number and featured the Budweiser logo and crown on the body.

When Tom initially tried the guitar he fell in love with the sound, but hated the beer logo – so he decided to get rid of it. He went outside of his studio and used a lighter to literally burn the design of the body, exposing the white primer paint.

Our producer, Brendan O’Brien, brought a plethora of guitars to the studio. Usually, I try to find that one orphan guitar to use, because a lot of times, that’s the guitar you’re going to be able to get some music out of.

One day I found this Les Paul sitting in the corner─and I love Les Pauls, of course, absolutely adore them─but the weird and shocking thing was, somebody had painted this hideous, screaming orange beer logo on it. I mean, a beer logo on a Les Paul? It just isn’t done.

I felt sorry for it. I wanted to use it, but I just couldn’t bring myself to play it with that beer logo. I tried scraping it off─no dice. So I decided to get serious and a little inventive about the matter. I went into the parking lot with the guitar and a lighter, and I set the enamel of the guitar on fire.

I was surprised that it burnt very slowly. So there I am, having a fine time, watching this beer logo burn, and after a while it didn’t look so bad anymore. Then I took some steel wool to it, sanded it down, and it looked beautiful. And I’ll tell you something: The guitar played and sounded awesome! I wound up using it all over the album.

Tom Morello
Tom with the
Tom with the “Budweiser” Les Paul.

He returned to the guitar in 2021, when he used it on his solo album The Atlas Underground Fire.

I used my Audioslave-era Les Paul that I burned the Budweiser logo off of, the Soul Power [Stratocaster] guitar, the ‘Sendero Luminoso’ Telecaster, the Jimmy Page [Gibson EDS-1275] double-neck… There was a complete freedom in the recording of the ideas on whatever day.

Tom Morello, Guitar World


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