Monday, May 19, 2008

F*CK YOU!! I Wont Do What You Tell Me!!!

It was what every Rage fan waited for. The much awaited reunion. Yes, it happened at the 2007 Coachella festival after 7 years. An year has passed since and we are yet to see an album coming out, but according to Tom Morello the band’s lead guitarist, getting involved in a studio album is “a whole different thing than getting back on the bike”.

Though we may not see a positive feedback about a new rage album, their much-awaited reunion has pumped new pints of blood into the U.S music arena, which will make a change for the good.

In case if you are still wondering what hell, the title is about, I thank you for reading this far without much interest. Though every Rage fan (who the f**k is rage?) is sure to be familiar with it, I will pen down what I came here to do. (And this post should have actually started from here).

The title is from a song called “killing in the Name of” by a band called “Rage Against the Machine” in their self titled debut album, which gained triple platinum status. I merely put it there to gain attention and show what kind of lyricism this band holds. (that should justify my intentions)

The band is famous for the experimental guitar riffs from Tom Morello along with acid-like lyrics from the front man Zack de la Rocha which when combined form a grizzly attack on the injustice and corruption in United States politics.

The band is headed by Zack de la Rocha (the son of Chicano political artist Beto), guitarist Tom Morello (the nephew of Jomo Kenyatta, the first Kenyan president), drummer Brad Wilk (played with future Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder), and bassist Tim Bob (aka Tim C., born Tim Commerford), a childhood friend of de la Rocha.

Rage Against the Machine, which was formed in early 90’s, is probably the best ever politically driven music group in the world. Unlike many other bands, who would shed their underground skin when they made a deal with a major record company or start making money, Rage kept their identity. I think that’s what propelled this underground rap metal band from Los Angeles to world fame among hard-core metal fans and politically motivated youth.

The band falls into rap metal/hip hop rock genres though its about their political motivations and lyrics, which matter more than what genre they are. Yes of course it matters what they are playing and whether you like their music or not, but for me it was their attitude and response towards social issues that made me become more curious and exploratory about rage.

For instance if I was told to draw a comparison between Rage Against the Machine and Asian Dub Foundation (a British electronica band), I may not have seen much apart from their “totally different” approach to making music. Yes, for most of my music that’s the way I look at it, if they serve the same purpose I would probably listen to it.

Since the end of the cold war, there was an ease in media tension in the United States, and a burst of free media movements, which challenged the State’s “hardcore” capitalistic ideology started to appear. With many of rage’s band members being involved in different projects since late 80s, it is unquestioned that once it was formed, Rage’s pure aggression and uncanny ability to stand up for justice inspired many more artists hidden under the coverlets.

Yes, the band clearly holds pro leftist ideology and even though I do not agree 100% with some of their choices, the band has proven to be genuine at what they do. Their political activism and actions have to be clearly commended and appreciated and most of which happened in my teen years, when I was scavenging for good music on Sri Lankan FM stations (which of course were dominated by boy bands and “bling bling” hip hop artists) with my National Panasonic cassette recorder.

This pen down was to give you a general idea about who “Rage Against the Machine” was, yes; it would take ages to go through their music, lyrics and political activism, so I wont(for now). I see Rage, as a band that we can adopt to our own frame of mind, yes you may not be 100% aligned with their political agendas and actions (neither am I) but their lyrics and actions have shown that to make a difference you will only need a few good friends and a lot of determination.

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