burning monk made from oreo cookies by artist phil hansen
after a seven year break, rage against the machine return to the stage, just in time to catch the bush administration in their last, and potentially most dangerous year. zack de la rocha, while playing a headlining spot at coachella music festival, called for the trial, hanging, and shooting of every member of the bush regime. scary stuff considering the number of people who have faced prosecution since the passing of the patriot act for saying much less in regards to the most evil corporation on the planet. still though, rage is under contract with EMI, through a series of conglomerations. EMI, besides producing a large portion of the music you and i hear on clear channel stations, also makes a few bombs on the side. hmmm. actually they are one of the largest producers of war materials. their product was the preferred weaponry used in the decimation of central american revolutionary armies in the late seventies and early eighties. see chomsky's "culture of terrorism".
so what is to be said about this? is rage a tool of the power structure, used to instill a sense of anger in youth that is poorly directed? to tell you the truth, i think zack, and tom morello, rage's guitarist, are well aware of their corporate parentage, but see also the benefit of selling 14 million albums world-wide. i was 13 when i first heard the band, and it changed the way i lived, forever. i was a growing up in a sheltered, whitewashed town of greenville, ohio. steelworker father, nurse mother, went to church, smoked a little pot, felt a little out of place. the year before i had read the autobiography of malcolm x, and soul on ice, by eldridge cleaver. i was a precocious little fuck, but reading these books only informed a sense of injustice, the music of rage validated it.
i began to research the books they talked about, learned about noam chomsky, and then howard zinn. saw zach wearing a los crudos shirt in the video and found their music. i was then introduced into a world of underground music and politics that literally covered my entire body. i began to think more critically. i was vegan, then straightedge. i did anything i could to become a more effective revolutionary. ironically, i even sore off corporate music, such as rage against the machine, and opted for the fringe. seeing 30 frat boys, on date rape detail, sing along at a party on the campus of the university of arizona, repeating "fuck you, i won't do what you tell me!" and then quickly directing their aggression to the suspect fag (yours truly) at the party, was enough for me to call it over. the revolution had been homogenized. you could see the seal in every hot topic across the nation. when a che guevara shirt is commonly mistaken as a rage against the machine logo, i question the effectiveness of their campaign strategy.
years later, i am living as a father of two, chainsmoking, meat eating, socialist, fat fuck, and i decide i want to hear some rage. i heard they got back together and starting looking up videos of recent performances. it is great stuff, really. after a decade of learning about humans and their ability to somehow always disappoint, especially when thinking is involved, i have learned to empathize with groups like rage against the machine. can they be blamed for the fucked up mental state of millions of their fans. they did their job, and did it well. who else, in the media at least, was telling millions of teenage americans about zapata, and subcomandante marcos? who else listed noam chomsky, howard zinn, and mumia abu jamal, as key literary influences, and still managed to go platinum. they are messengers, not leaders.
i was nothing more than a pissed of kid when rage taught me the center of my anger. showed me the proponents of greed and fascist thought. taught me how to focus my rage and who to focus it on. now, as i sit in my studio, sometimes at three in the morning, i reach over and turn up the music when i start to hear, fuck you, i won't do what you tell me. i sit back, light a smoke, and rejoice in the gospel of dissidence.
i recommend using isohunt or some other bittorrent search for rage's discografia, and stealing that shit today. i read an interview where tom morello speaks out against pirating, but hey i also read a book where abbie hoffman reminds us that even christ said in the kingdom of heaven, all things are provided and the kingdom of heaven is now. speaking of abbie hoffman, watch "steal this movie". it is fucking great and vincent d'onofrio plays hoffman.