Killing in the Name
Signed to Geffen Records after their Second Show, the group was a phenomenon almost as soon as they were formed by former Lock Up Guitarist Tom Morello, vocalist Zach De La Rocha from Punk/Hardcore group Inside Out, Timmy C on bass and Brad Wllk from the grunge band Greta on drums the band took De La Rocha's fiery angst-ridden Public Enemy inspired Rap lyrics - the cultural isolation and anger of a young Chicano from East L.A. living amongst the vapid corporate Buffy's and Biff's crawling through Orange Co's Irvine -with the slashing Metallic Funk of Morello and a watertight rhythm section.
But it's not like they didn't face obstacles and bumps in the road, their first single "Killing in the Name" was banned by the BBC and their videos were initially banned by MTV for almost 2 years. But they eventually broke through.
"Know Your Enemy" - which essentially said everything in one song.
Equal parts Afrika Bambaataa and Urban Dance Squad, during the 90's Rage Against the Machine was like a Airborne antidote to the Weapons of Mass Delusion employed by the Corporate Fascists who attempt to manipulate the world from their glass and steel castles of power.
The one you can't say - is they didn't predict the 2000's perfectly, because they did.
Everything that Faux News is today, keeping the worker mases pacified while sucking them dry with Health Care and and Loan Schemes that trap them in a every tightening cycle of despair, dependence and anger - RATM documented and in their video for Guerilla Radio.
Or how about when they shut down the New York Stock Exchange for the Sleep Now in the Fire Video, looks pretty prophetic in the wake of the bailouts, eh?
Every Show by RATM - IS a Tax Tea Party.
Sadly the group disbanded in 2000, just when we probably needed a radical, but well informed and unflinching voice like theirs the most - but has now reformed and has begun playing festival shows like Coachella.
At one point in the Electric Purgatory Documentary, Angelo Moore of Fishbone speculates that RATM may have gotten as far as they have because "there's a white guy in the band". Well, technically there are two of them - Brad & Timmy - but if was referring to Zach he's wrong. Zach, as I said, is a Chicano and Damn Proud of it. What I think it probably more true, is that a lot of people frankly don't even realize that Tom Morello is BLACK, partly because his mom was White and his dad was African (like our current President) and after attending Princeton, he certainly doesn't sound Black - but he is. Tom was a member of the Black Rock Coalition right along with members of Fishbone in 1991. Even i didn't know it and I WAS THERE. So was he, and he's always been down with this cause and issue.
Many have argued that what needs to happen to help focus this issue, as I've tried to do over the last several weeks by pointing out the literally dozens of groups who've fought against and through the resistance of some people to the idea that non-White people CAN ROCK - (which sometimes comes most strongly from non-Whites themselves, or people who are just afraid to confront the resistance or don't wanna be bothered with it) that instead of having a set of summer festivals featuring some of these bands all drawn together in one place headlined by Prince or Lenny Kravitz - you need Rage Against the Machine in the house at the top of the bill, particularly since they're more likely to do festivals shows than the others are.
Just imagine a show with Sevendust, Killswitch Engage, Suffocation and God Forbid on one stage, while Robert Randolph, Kenna, Ben Harper and Relentless 7, Adrenaline Sky, Fishbone, Living Colour, Ra, King's X, 24-7 Zpyz are on another and new up and coming bands (which I'll eventually get to) like Year of the Dragon, Asphalt Messiah, Fear Nuttin Band, Blaxmyth, and TV21 are on a third all headlined by RATM! Who needs Ozzfest or Lottapoorlosers - that would be BAD-ASS.
I'm just saying...
And don't give me that "It's too racially biased crap" - it's really about having the freedom to make the music you wanna make no matter WHO you are. How many years did they have the "BLACK CHARTS" for just authentic "Black Artists" on "Black RADIO" in Billboard Magazine or Cashbox, but those stations wouldn't play ANY of these artists? They were functionally White Listed off the air. That's the way it was right into the late 80s (and frankly that's what it still means when it says "Dance/R&B/Hip Hop"), so don't pretend it isn't time for a little MUSICAL parity to that ongoing blockade, it's been a long time coming...
Glam Rock Artists were all marketed together and toured together, Grunge and Seattle Artists were all marketed together as a package - and that's what made them all as big as they got. It never made any damn sense to put King's X on tour with AC/DC or Scorpions, but that's what happened. It's always been true that strong bands like Nirvana made weaks bands they have a common bond (even if only geographical) like Mud Honey tolerable, that's what Hasn't happened in this case yet. All it would take is for someone - a promoter most likely - to put the pieces together and make it happen. This is exactly what the Black Rock Coalition was originally intended to create.
Until it does, most of these bands remain in Electric Purgatory.