Rage Against the Machine

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Rage Against the Machine (also Rage or RATM) was a rock band, formed in 1990 in Los Angeles, California. The band's founding members were vocalist Zack de la Rocha and guitarist Tom Morello. De la Rocha borrowed the name from Kent McClard of Ebullition Records while in a hardcore band named Inside Out, the band having recorded a song by that name. The full line-up of Rage (the "Guilty Parties," according to the liner notes of their albums) was:

Zack de la Rocha - vocals, Tom Morello - guitars, Brad Wilk - drums, Tim Commerford - bass. A successful rock band in the 1990s, Rage is often credited with inventing the nu metal genre. They were known for their anarchical views, which infused their music as well as being expressed through written pieces on album sleeves, in magazines, and on the band's website, and by their participation in political protests. For example, at Lollapalooza III (1993) in Philadelphia, they stood still on stage for a full 15 minutes, completely naked, with duct-taped mouths and their guitars feeding back through the amps, as a protest against censorship and the "Parents Music Resource Center". Among other campaigns, the band has rallied for the releases of death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal and life-long sentenced Leonard Peltier, been vocal supporters of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, performed outside opposite (in protest) of the (2000) Democratic National Convention (in Los Angeles, California), and has played numerous concerts for various benefits.

Some elements of the British music press, such as Melody Maker, however, mocked the band for voicing loud commitment to left-wing causes while being signed to Epic, a subsidiary of Sony, at a time when many alternative labels were struggling. Some critics felt that the band's anarchism might be more lucrative than it was sincere.

The band's musical signatures were de la Rocha's distinctive, rap-influenced vocal style (influenced mostly by Chuck D. of Public Enemy), Commerford's grinding, heavily distorted bass, and Morello's experimentation with guitar sounds, and fans particularly admired their powerful live performances. They toured with many other significant bands, including U2 and the Wu-Tang Clan.

The band released three studio albums of original material, Rage Against the Machine (1992), Evil Empire (1996) and The Battle of Los Angeles (1999). There was also a covers album, Renegades (2000), an album of live and rare material fittingly titled Live & Rare (1997), and a second live album, Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium (2003)(CD), several singles, music videos and three live shows, Rage Against the Machine (1997), The Battle of Mexico City (2001), and Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium (2003)(DVD). The CD and DVD, both titled Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium, were released separately and contain slightly different track lists. The concert was the band's last.

Zack de la Rocha left the band between the release of The Battle of Los Angeles and the release of Renegades, though the latter features his vocals. The band officially split up not long afterwards. Zack de la Rocha is believed to be working on new material in the hip-hop arena; the remaining members of the band teamed up with ex-Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell as vocalist and are working as a new group under the name Audioslave. The first Audioslave single, "Cochise", was released by early November 2002, and the first album followed. According to a Spin magazine interview with de la Rocha, he has recorded several tracks with various artists, among them DJ Shadow. There is currently no information on when de la Rocha's solo album will be released, but in 2003 a song called "March of Death" that he recorded with DJ Shadow was released in protest of the war on Iraq. In September 2004, Zack released a song called "We Want It All" on the Songs and Artists That Inspired Fahrenheit 9/11 soundtrack.


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