Rage Against the Machine

Rage Against the Machine is a Grammy Award-winning American rock band noted for their blend of hip hop, hard rock and funk as well as their vocal revolutionary socialist beliefs.

The band split up in 2000, with guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk forming part of the supergroup Audioslave, and vocalist Zack de la Rocha starting a low-key career as a solo artist. In January 2007, a reunion performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was announced.

Rage drew inspiration from early metallic instrumentation, as well as rap acts such as Public Enemy and Afrika Bambaataa. Their music was based primarily on de la Rocha's rhyming styles and vocals along with their sound, especially Morello's unusual extended guitar techniques.

In 1991, guitarist Tom Morello left his old band, Lock Up, looking to start another band. Morello was in a club in L.A where Zack de la Rocha was rapping. Morello was impressed by de la Rocha's lyric books, and asked him to be vocalist in a band. Morello called and drafted a drummer named Brad Wilk, who had previously auditioned for Lock Up. De la Rocha convinced his childhood friend Tim Commerford to join as bassist. This lineup would last until de la Rocha's departure nine years later.

Their name was derived from a phrase Ebullition Records founder Kent McLard coined in his zine No Answers. Originally, de la Rocha wanted to use the title Rage Against the Machine for an upcoming album by his then-current band, Inside Out. This album never saw fruition and instead he used the phrase after he, Morello, Wilk, and Commerford started a group.

Shortly after forming, they gave their first public performance in a living room in Orange County, California, where a friend of Tim's was holding a house party. The blueprint for the group's major-label debut album was laid on a twelve-song self-released cassette, the cover image of which was the stock-market with a single match taped to the inlay card. Not all 12 songs made it onto the final album—two were eventually included as B-sides, with the remaining three songs never seeing an official release.

Several record labels expressed interest, and the band eventually signed with Epic Records. Morello said, "Epic agreed to everything we asked—and they've followed through.... We never saw an ideological conflict as long as we maintained creative control."

The band's eponymous debut album, Rage Against the Machine, reached triple platinum status, driven by heavy radio play of the song "Killing in the Name", a heavy, driving track repeating six lines of lyrics. The uncensored version, which contains 17 iterations of the word fuck, was once notoriously played on the BBC Radio 1 Top 40 singles show. The album's cover pictured Thích Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, burning himself to death in Saigon in 1963; Thích was protesting the oppression of Buddhists led by Prime Minister Ngô Đình Diệm's administration. To promote the album and its core message of social justice and equality, the band went on tour, playing at Lollapalooza II and as support for Suicidal Tendencies in Europe.

After their debut album, the band appeared on the soundtrack for the film Higher Learning with the song "Year of tha Boomerang". An early version of "Tire Me" would also appear during the movie. Subsequently, they recorded an original song, "Darkness", for the soundtrack of The Crow.

Their second album, Evil Empire, entered Billboard's Top 200 chart at number one in 1996. The song "Bulls on Parade" was performed on Saturday Night Live in April 1996. Their planned two-song performance was cut to one song when the band attempted to hang inverted American flags from their amplifiers, a protest against having Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes as guest host on the program that night.

In 1997, on the Japan leg of their tour promoting Evil Empire, a bootleg album composed of the band's B-side recordings titled Live & Rare was released by Sony Records. A live video, also titled Rage Against the Machine, was released later the same year.

The following release, The Battle of Los Angeles also debuted at number one in 1999, selling 450,000 copies the first week and then going double-platinum. That same year the song " Wake Up" was featured on the soundtrack of the film The Matrix. In 2003, the song "Calm Like a Bomb" was featured in the film's sequel, The Matrix Reloaded.

On October 18, 2000, de la Rocha released the following statement:
“ I feel that it is now necessary to leave Rage because our decision-making process has completely failed. It is no longer meeting the aspirations of all four of us collectively as a band, and from my perspective, has undermined our artistic and political ideal. I am extremely proud of our work, both as activists and musicians, as well as indebted and grateful to every person who has expressed solidarity and shared this incredible experience with us. ”

Renegades, released shortly after the band's dissolution, was a collection of covers of bands as diverse as Devo, Cypress Hill, Minor Threat, MC5 and Bob Dylan. The following year saw the release of another live video, The Battle of Mexico City.

Musician Saul Williams has suggested that de la Rocha left the band because he did not want Renegades to be released, and the rest of the band wanted to put it out against his wishes.[citation needed] Those three members sought out separate management of their own and managed to secure the immediate release of the album.

Following the September 11th attacks, Clear Channel created a list of "songs with questionable lyrics" that included all RATM songs.

A live album titled Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium, an edited recording of their last concerts on September 12 and 13, 2000 at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, was released in 2003. It was accompanied by an expanded DVD release of the September 13 show, and also included the previously unreleased music video for "Bombtrack".

After the group's breakup, Morello, Wilk, and Commerford briefly tried to replace de la Rocha in RATM. Rumoured vocalists at the time included Rey Oropeza of downset., Chuck D of Public Enemy, and B-Real of Cypress Hill. However, the band teamed up with former Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell to form a new band, Audioslave. The first Audioslave single, "Cochise", was released in early November 2002, and the debut album, Audioslave, followed to mainly positive reviews. Their second album Out of Exile debuted at the number one position on the Billboard charts in 2005. The band released a third album named Revelations on September 5th 2006. The band vowed to have a "one-album-per-year" schedule, but Audioslave's future has been cast into doubt following Cornell's leaving on February 15, 2007.

Meanwhile, de la Rocha worked on a collaboration with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Around 20 tracks were produced. Reznor thought the work was "excellent," but said the songs will likely never be released as de la Rocha was not "ready to make a record" at that time. In 2000, de la Rocha appeared on the song "Centre of the Storm", from the Roni Size/Reprazent album In The Mode,[8] while in 2002, he appeared in a minor role in the first part of the Blackalicious song "Release" on the album Blazing Arrow. A collaboration between de la Rocha and DJ Shadow, the song "March of Death" was released for free over the World Wide Web in 2003 in protest against the imminent invasion of Iraq. The 2004 soundtrack Songs and Artists that Inspired Fahrenheit 9/11 included one of the collaborations with Reznor, "We Want It All" On October 7, 2005, de la Rocha returned to the stage with new material, performing with Son Jarocho band Son de Madera. He later spoke as MC and again performed with Son de Madera at the November 22 Concert at the Farm, a benefit concert for the South Central Farmers. He sang and played the jarana with the band, and performed his own original material, including the song "Sea of Dead Hands".

Members of the band had been offered large sums of money to reunite for concerts and tours, and had turned the offers down. Rumors of bad blood between de la Rocha and the other former band members subsequently circulated, but Commerford said that he and de la Rocha see each other often and go surfing together, while Morello said he and de la Rocha communicate by phone, and had met up at a September 15, 2005 protest in support of the South Central Farm. Morello and de la Rocha were photographed together at the protest, the first photograph of the two since the band's breakup.

Rumors that Rage Against the Machine could reunite at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival were cirulating in mid-January, and were confirmed on January 22. The band is billed to headline the final day of Coachella 2007 on Sunday, April 29. Some sources suggest this will likely be a one-off, but Morello has not ruled out future RATM activities. Following Chris Cornell's exit from Audioslave, questions were raised regarding possible future RATM activities.

The reunion performance will primarily be a vehicle to voice the band's opposition to the "right-wing purgatory" the United States has "slid into" under the George W. Bush administration since RATM's dissolution.

Integral to their identity as a band, Rage Against the Machine voiced revolutionary left-wing viewpoints highly critical of the domestic and foreign policies of the U.S. Throughout its existence, RATM and its individual members participated in political protests and other activism to advocate these beliefs, including an infamous performance outside the 2000 Democratic National Convention and a performance on Wall Street earlier that same year. In the case of the latter, on January 26th, 2000, filming of their music video for "Sleep Now in the Fire" — directed by Michael Moore — shut down the New York Stock Exchange. The Stock Exchange locked its doors midday in response to fears of crowds gathering to watch the filming. Footage of enthusiastic Wall Street employees headbanging to Rage's music was later used in the video.

The band primarily saw its music as a vehicle for social activism. Tom Morello, in a February 1997 interview with Guitar World, said,
“ America touts itself as the land of the free, but the number one freedom that you and I have is the freedom to enter into a subservient role in the workplace. Once you exercise this freedom you've lost all control over what you do, what is produced, and how it is produced. And in the end, the product doesn't belong to you. The only way you can avoid bosses and jobs is if you don't care about making a living. Which leads to the second freedom: the freedom to starve. ”

Meanwhile, detractors pointed out the tension between voicing commitment to leftist causes while being signed to Epic Records, a subsidiary of media conglomerate Sony Records. Infectious Grooves released a song called "Do What I Tell Ya!" which mocks lyrics from "Killing in the Name", accusing the band of being hypocrites. In response to such critiques, Morello said:
“ When you live in a capitalistic society, the currency of the dissemination of information goes through capitalistic channels. Would Noam Chomsky object to his works being sold at Barnes & Noble? No, because that's where people buy their books. We're not interested in preaching to just the converted. It's great to play abandoned squats run by anarchists, but it's also great to be able to reach people with a revolutionary message, people from Granada Hills to Stuttgart. ”

Some controversial stands taken by the group include tireless advocacy for the releases of former Black Panther Death Row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal and life-sentenced political activist and convicted murderer Leonard Peltier. In the music video for the song "Bombtrack" they expressed support for the Peruvian guerilla organization Shining Path and their incarcerated leader Abimael Guzmán. The band were also vocal supporters of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), especially de la Rocha, who has taken several trips to the Mexican state of Chiapas to aid their efforts, and whose travels were soon documented, in part, in one of the band's concert videos. The flag of the Zapatistas also featured largely in the band's visual art.

At a Lollapalooza appearance in 1993 in Philadelphia, the band stood onstage naked for 15 minutes with duct-tape on their mouths and the letters PMRC painted on their chests in protest against censorship by the Parents Music Resource Center. The only sound emitted was audio feedback from Morello and Commerford's guitars. Regarding this event, Wilk said "The first ten minutes they were going nuts, but after ten minutes they were getting pissed." The band later played a free show for disappointed fans.
“ Want me to be perfectly frank? The size of my penis — that's what was going through my mind in Philadelphia. It looked like I'd just stepped out of the ocean. I swear to God, it's bigger than that. So I was thinking: I wish I'd worn boxer shorts before instead of briefs, because briefs kinda like constrict me. I took them off and it was this ... half-roll of nickels. ”

— Tim Commerford
“ I was thinking about how the wind felt underneath my scrotum, what the people in the front were thinking, and all the cameras flashing and what they were going to be thinking as they developed their film. Actually, doing that was no big deal. It didn't freak me out. That's how we all came into the world. It's a liberating thing. ”

— Brad Wilk, Modern Drummer

Grammy Awards:

* Best Metal Performance (1997) - "Tire Me" (Grammy Winner)
* Best Hard Rock Performance (1997) - "Bulls on Parade" (Grammy Nominee)
* Best Hard Rock Performance (1998) - "People of the Sun" (Grammy Nominee)
* Best Metal Performance (1999) - "No Shelter" (Grammy Nominee)
* Best Hard Rock Performance (2001) - "Guerrilla Radio" (Grammy Winner)
* Best Hard Rock Performance (2002) - "Renegades of Funk" (Grammy Nominee)

MTV Video Music Awards:

* Best Rock Video (1996) - Bulls on Parade (Nominee) (lost to Metallica's Until it Sleeps)
* Best Rock Video (1997) - People of the Sun (Nominee) (lost to Aerosmith's Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees))
* Best Rock Video (2000) - Sleep Now in the Fire (Nominee) (lost To Limp Bizkit's Break Stuff)

On May 4th, 2006 "Bulls on Parade" from Evil Empire entered VH1's "40 Greatest Metal Songs" at #15.

The phrase rage against the machine, used as a verb or noun phrase indicating rebellion, has become prevalent in popular culture with the band's success. On a Ricky Gervais podcast, Stephen Merchant joked that Gervais was "raging against the machine" when he wore a t-shirt with 'Bullshit' written on it as a teenager. In another example, a conversation with one of the NPCs in the game Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines contains the dialogue option, "So how long have you guys raged against the machine?"

The Simpsons has passed references to both the band and the phrase; In the episode titled "Fat Man and Little Boy", Bart says that his t-shirt expresses his "rage at the machine", and in the later episode "The Heartbroke Kid", Bart says that he "raged against the machine and money poured out" after destroying school vending machines.

The phrase has also seen some popularity in politics: when Raj Pannu led the Alberta New Democrats, the social democratic political party in Alberta, Canada, "Raj Against the Machine" was a popular campaign slogan, especially on t-shirts.

The band have also been popular enough to be referenced in musical parody and tribute albums. The band's name is parodied in that of the comedy band, Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine. That group's album Lounge Against the Machine contains a lounge version of the song "Guerrilla Radio". The "Weird Al" Yankovic album Straight Outta Lynwood contains the song "I'll Sue Ya", which he states is a parody of Rage Against the Machine's musical style; he also parodied "Renegades of Funk" in his song "Angry White Boy Polka", from the album Poodle Hat. Two various artists tribute albums were released, Freedom: A Tribute to Rage Against the Machine in 2001 and the Spanish language album Tributo a Rage Against the Machine En Español in 2005. Additionally, A Tribute to Rage Against the Machine, a knock-off labelled a "tribute" recorded by anonymous session musicians, was released in 2003.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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