Tuesday, June 15, 2010

#44 Rage Against the Machine

I remember picking up the first album, the self titled 'Rage Against The Machine' when I was about 14. Believe it or not, I first checked it out on my mom's music shelf. She had actually seen them the previous year at the 1993 Lollapalooza which still blows my mind that my mom went to a concert that had Alice in Chains, Tool, and Rage when they were all in their prime. That first album was one of the finest d├ębut albums ever to be recorded and is still one of the angriest records I have ever heard.

This wicked band formed back in 1991 in Los Angeles, California. Vocalist Zack de la Rocha was rapping in a club when guitarist Tom Morello caught his act and was incredibly impressed. He persuaded Zack to form a band with him and they added Zack's childhood buddy, Tim Commerford on bass and Tom's friend Brad Wilk on the drums. Rage Against the Machine has since become known for their fiercely rebellious music, which brewed sloganeering leftist rants against corporate America, cultural imperialism, and government oppression into a Molotov cocktail of thrash punk, hip-hop, and metal styled alt rock. Rage Against the Machine drew inspiration from early heavy metal instrumentation, as well as rap acts and poets like Bob Dylan. When Rage Against the Machine released that infamous debut album in 1992 it became a huge commercial success, leading to the headliner slot in the 1993 Lollapalooza festival that my lucky mother got to be a part of. Strangely, the band did not release a follow-up record until 1996, when they released Evil Empire which was harder and more acidic and outspoken then the first album. The band's third album 'The Battle of Los Angeles' was released in 1999 and saw them exploring more of a metal sound and even adding elements of funk to their repertoire. During their initial nine year run, they became one of the most popular and sharply influential bands in modern music.

In 2000, much to the sadness of the fans, Rage announced they would be breaking up.here were numerous creative differences amongst the band members but mostly it was decided that Zack thought it was all becoming too commercial and was no longer enjoying being in the group. Shortly after the split however, they released their fourth studio album Renegades, which is comprised entirely of cover songs. Renegades, while an album of covers, is still one of my all time fave records (see the covers of MC5 and Bob Dylan). After the split was final, Zack de la Rocha started a low-key solo career while the rest of the band decided to stick together, eventually forming the rock supergroup Audioslave with former Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell. Audioslave went on to gather fairly modest success until 2007 when they suddenly disbanded which lead to massive rumours about Rage reuniting now that Chris Cornell was out of the picture.
In April 2007, Rage Against the Machine performed together for the first time in seven years. Sam Jennings covered for guitarist Tom Morello at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The band continued to perform at multiple live venues around the world in 2008, and in 2009. As of today, the band are still playing live shows and rumours are continuing to spread about the possibility of a new album in the works. I sure hope that they do because music in this day and age desperately needs more Rage Against the Machine.

Here are some of my fave tracks,

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