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appears on The Battle of Los Angeles (1999)
In many ways, the 90s was a strange time, for music, television...music television (shit, I wish I could go back and invent MTV), pop music *cough*GoBritney!*cough*, movies, advertising and more. One of the beautiful gifts of the 90s is Rage Against the Machine (hereafter referred to as just Rage).
The rock quartet out of Los Angeles consists of Zack de la Rocha, Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk, at vocals, guitar, bass (also backing vocals), and drums (I’m sorry, Brad; I didn’t mean to put the drummer last). It’s hard to pin down exactly what kind of band Rage is/was. Multiple genres can lay claim to parts of Rage’s sound, punk, metal, hip-hop, and more, but Rage is just Rage. They’ve played with the likes of Suicidal Tendencies, Wu-Tang Clan, and U2 (I dunno, that one’s weird to me too, but whatever). Other bands might sometimes sound a bit like Rage, but I bet they never shut down the NYC Stock Exchange. Rage is a fusion of different styles and inputs, and their sound is its own. It’s many things, and, at its core, it’s political, revolutionary, unapologetic, and it rocks.
I was torn between two songs, and I almost went with Guerilla Radio, in no small part due to some fond memories of Tony Hawk’s Pro-Skater 2, but, in the end, I had to go with Sleep Now in the Fire, off their 1999 album, The Battle of Los Angeles. The video for the song is simple, a one-time, live performance of the song, on a makeshift stage in front of the NYSE. The video was directed by Michael Moore, who told the band, “No matter what happens, keep playing.” Moore was briefly arrested as a consequence. If that alone doesn’t make you want to listen/watch, I don’t know what to tell you.