Music: A Look Back On Rage Against The Machine

We don’t hear much from the California based band Rage Against The Machine these days. The website bio has not been updated since 09/11/2015. Granted, they started in 1991 playing in some dude’s living room, so they are getting up there in age. But does the band have anything left to offer besides hopes of reuniting?

The short answer is no. After their breakup on October 18, 2000 when de la Rocha left the band, he left with its political heart. Morello and the others cared more about the music industry and making money as just another cool band with edgy marketing, then talking politics later. That’s why they replaced de la Rocha after he left and moved on quick. Their new band, Audioslave, was apolitical. De la rocha, meanwhile, released “March of Death” free online in 2003 in protest against the imminent invasion of Iraq.

Even with their reunion tours the spark never came back fully. You could tell that the band had lost its adhesiveness by their inability to commit to making a new album together. Some cool political stuff happened, but nothing like when they shut down the NY stock exchange. Instead of that we got Tom Morello’s superband “Prophets of Rage”, which is anything but Rage without de la Rocha, but Tom hates to admit it. The two have always been what made the band, and they were always at odds. Tom respects the real world and plays along with the music industry’s game to fame, while de la Rocha is too much of a free spirited visionary to be tied down and is never happy in the cage that is capitalism. Just listen to the two respond to claims of the band being hypocrites:

Morello stated:

“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.”

De la Rocha stated:

“Yeah, to get as many people as possible to join the political debate, to get the dialogue going. I was wondering today, why would anyone climb to the roof of the American Embassy with a banner that says “Free Mumia Abu-Jamal”, why do you do that? That’s to get the international press’ attention. The international network that Sony has available, is to me the perfect tool you know, it can get even more people to join a revolutionary awareness and fight.”

You can tell that Tom is the realist that probably owns that Barnes & Noble, and Zach is the revolutionary climbing the embassy. It’s obvious why the two never got along for extended periods, despite being somewhat similar on the surface. In my opinion, if you want more from RATM, then just follow Zach’s solo career. He hasn’t done much in the past couple years but is due for something.

Photo By Robert Anasch

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