Rage Against the Machine
Real name: Tom Morello, Zack De La Rocha, Tim Commerford, Brad Wilk
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Rage Against the Machine (also Rage and RATM) is an American rock band, noted for their blend of hip hop, heavy metal, punk and funk as well as their revolutionary politics and lyrics. During their initial nine year run, they became one of the most popular and influential political bands in contemporary music.
In 1991, guitarist Tom Morello left his old band, Lock Up, looking to start another band. Morello was in a club in L.A where Zack de la Rocha was free-style rapping. Morello was impressed by de la Rocha's lyric books, and asked him to be the vocalist in a band. Morello called and drafted drummer Brad Wilk, who had previously auditioned for Lock Up, while de la Rocha convinced his childhood friend Tim Commerford to join as bassist.
Shortly after forming, they gave their first public performance in Orange County, California, where a friend of Commerford's was holding a house party. The blueprint for the group's major-label debut album was laid on a twelve-song self-released cassette, the cover image of which was the stock-market with a single match taped to the inlay card. Not all 12 songs made it onto the final album—two were eventually included as B-sides, with the remaining three songs never seeing an official release.
On October 18, 2000, de la Rocha released the following statement:“I feel that it is now necessary to leave Rage because our decision-making process has completely failed. It is no longer meeting the aspirations of all four of us collectively as a band, and from my perspective, has undermined our artistic and political ideal. I am extremely proud of our work, both as activists and musicians, as well as indebted and grateful to every person who has expressed solidarity and shared this incredible experience with us.”
Following the September 11th attacks, Clear Channel created a list of "songs with questionable lyrics"; RATM has the distinction of being the only band to have all its songs on the list.
The Simpsons has passed references to both the band and the phrase; In one episode, Bart says that his t-shirt, adorned with "Adults suck, then you are one", expresses his "rage at the machine", and in a later episode Bart says "When I raged against the machine, money poured out" after destroying school vending machines.
The band have also been referenced in musical parody and tribute albums. The band's name is parodied in that of the comedy band, Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine. That group's album Lounge Against the Machine contains a lounge version of the song "Guerrilla Radio". The "Weird Al" Yankovic album Straight Outta Lynwood contains the song "I'll Sue Ya", which he states is a parody of Rage Against the Machine's musical style.