Rage Against The Machine

  • Metal rock band formed in 1991 from Los Angeles California. Members are Zack de la Rocha (lead vocals), Tim Commerford (bass guitar, backing vocals), Tom Morello (lead guitar) and Brad Wilk (drums). All members contribute to song writing.
  • Commerford and de la Rocha first met in fifth grade, and de la Rocha introduced Commerford to the bass guitar, who used the instrument as an outlet to family conflicts. Commerford and de la Rocha played in a band in junior high. Later, de la Rocha joined a hardcore band in high school which evolved into the group Inside Out. The band released one album in 1990, and developed a national underground following. The following year, Inside Out split up. De la Rocha began to combine metal rock with rap, and he performed freestyle at local clubs. Morello watched him perform, and was impressed with his style. Morello had recently left a band, and he suggested that they form a new group. De la Rocha recruited his former bandmate Commerford, and Morella recruited drummer Wilk, and Rage Against The Machine was created.
  • They chose their name after a song that de la Rocha had written for Inside Out. They gave their first performance in October 1991. They made a demo tape of 12 songs, and several record labels showed interest. They were signed, and their debut album, the self titled Rage Against The Machine was released in 1992. The album only reached #42 on the album chart, but as they continued to grow in popularity, sales increased, and eventually it sold over 3 million copies in the US. Singles from the album did well in the UK – Killing In The Name reached #25 there, and reached #1 16 years later when a British DJ promoted the song at Christmas time in a stunt to try to prevent another song from reaching #1 – but nothing charted in the U.S.
  • In 1995, they contributed a rap metal song to the soundtrack of the film Higher Learning. The following year, despite rumours of the band breaking up, they released their second studio album, Evil Empire, which reached #1 on the album chart the week it was released. It contained the single Bulls On Parade, which reached #11 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. Another song from the album, Tire Me, was never released nor did it get radio airplay – yet it won the Grammy award in 1997 for Best Metal Performance. The album ultimately was certified 3x platinum in sales.
  • 1999 saw the band perform at Woodstock ’99, and their third album was released later that year. The Battle of Los Angeles debuted at #1 on the album chart. Included on the album was their highest charting single, Guerrilla Radio – it’s their only song to make the Hot 100 (peaking at #69) and it reached #6 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. The band won its second Grammy award for the song, for Best Hard Rock Performance.
  • By the fall of 2000, the band was falling apart. De la Rocha announced his departure in October, stating that the decision-making process had failed. Their final studio album, Renegades, had already been recorded, and it was released in December 2000. Fans of the group bought the album, and it was certified platinum. The single Renegades of Funk reached #9 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.
  • After the breakup, Morello, Wilk and Commerford remained together, forming the band Audioslave with Chris Cornell as lead vocalist. Audioslave was together from 2001 to 2007, releasing 3 albums with 2 songs reaching #1 on the Alternative Songs chart. In 2007, the original Rage Against The Machine reunited and toured around the world for several years. Their final concert was in 2011. In 2016, Morello, Wilk and Commerford formed a supergroup with Chuck D of Public Enemy and B-Real of Cypress Hill, calling themselves Prophets of Rage. They toured and released an album. While Prophets of Rage continues to tour today, officially, Rage Against The Machine has not split up.
  • Rage songs are full of left wing and revolutionary politics, and they are activists on their viewpoints. In 2008, they performed in the cities of both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions and confronted the party delegates after the concerts. Their performance on Saturday Night Live in 1996 was cut to one song after they attempted to hang inverted American flags on their amplifiers in protest of guest host Steve Forbes, who was a Republican presidential candidate at the time. In 2000, an altercation during the filming of a music video led to the band storming the New York Stock Exchange, stopped by the closing of the  exchange’s riot doors.
  • Rage has been nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for 2018 and 2019, but they were not selected either year. They finally were inducted in 2023. Get ready to rave and crowd surf in the mosh pit! Here’s the video to Killing In The Name. These guys seem very angry.

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