Rage Against the Machine

Posted in MusicWorld on October 31, 1999 by
Throughout their eight-year career, much has been said about the incendiary Los Angeles quartet, Rage Against the Machine. While some critics describe the band as naive and preachy, few dispute their commitment. Hailed as rap-rock pioneers, the members of Rage Against the Machine compose and perform urgent songs that examine issues of politics, class and race. The result is one of the most distinctive rock sounds in recent memory. The band's music echoes rock and hip-hop icons like Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath and Public Enemy, while Zack de la Rocha's lyrics recall seminal protest singers like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. Political lyricism is often considered the kiss of death in pop music, but Rage Against the Machine is the exception to the rule. Their self-titled 1993 debut album and its 1996 follow-up, Evil Empire, have each sold in excess of 2 million copies domestically (their recordings have also been certified platinum throughout Europe, Australia and South America). The band's new Epic Records album, The Battle of Los Angeles, is one of the most anticipated recordings of 1999. The quartet recently celebrated the record's release by performing the single "Guerrilla Radio" on the streets of midtown Manhattan. The performance was broadcast live on "Late Night With David Letterman." Described by Billboard magazine as "one of the most original and virtuosic new rock bands in the nation," Rage Against the Machine has also won the respect of their peers. Rolling Stone magazine profiled Tom Morello in its recent "Guitar Gods" issue, while bassist Y Tim K. and drummer Brad Wilk are often cited as one of rock's finest rhythm sections.