Rage Against the Machine
Zack de la Rocha, Tom Morello, Brad Wilk, and Timmy Commerford
took to a Philadelphia stage in 1993 clad in black electrical tape that
covered their mouths and the initials PMRC written in black marker across
their chests. They stood in this fashion for fourteen minutes while
feedback from their guitars rumbled through the amps. This seemingly
simple prank was actually protest against the censorship of music and the
Parents Music Resource Center, founded by Tipper Gore (Buchi, incidents
The music of Rage Against the Machine contains the political and
social views of the band members. They are very avid about defending
constitutional rights of the individual and large groups of deprived
people. The members of Rage Against the Machine each bring diversity and
strong political views into the music they produce. Each member is
unique in his childhood background and his introduction to music. It is
important to understand their backgrounds to fully understand their
passion for political justice.
Zack de la Rocha was born in Long Beach, California in 1970.
After his parent's separation when he was one year old, Zack lived with
his mother in the "whitest community in Southern L.A.". Zack turned to
his father to develop close ties with the Chicano community, but after
his father's mental breakdown, Zack was forced to look for direction in
a high school friend and now current band member Timmy Commerford. Zack,
who is responsible for writing the band's lyrics, uses his intelligence
to express his anger, especially in the mistreatment of groups like the
Zapatistas (Taneja, Band Members par. 1).
Timmy Commerford, the band's bassist, also came from a broken
home. His mother's brain cancer led his father to seek a divorce and
remarry. Tim uses his music to reveal a darker side of himself and
express his anger. Tim has a major issue with police and misuse of their
power (Taneja, Band Members par. 4).
Brad Wilk, the band's drummer, was born in Portland, Oregon in
1969. He did a fair amount of moving before he settled in Southern
California. Exposure to his father's greed for money directed Brad to
have a deep love for the music of Rage. He is known as the "heart" of
the band and has a strong appreciation for the quality of music the band
produces (Taneja, Band Members par. 3).
Tom Morello, guitarist for Rage, was born in New York City in
1964. Tom drew a great deal of influence in his political views from his
parents. His father served in the Mau Mau guerilla arm, which freed
Kenya from British rule. His mother was the founder of "Parents for Rock
and Rap", an anti-censorship group. Tom graduated from Harvard
University in Political Sciences with honors. Rage often draws from
Tom's political knowledge for their songs and messages (Taneja, Band
Members par. 2).
Several songs by Rage Against the...