Back in the post-Nirvana wild west of early nineties MTV, it seemed like anyone could get their fifteen minutes of fame no matter how weird they were (seriously, remember Ween?). Thinking back it is amazing that a band like Rage Against the Machine could get so big: two number one albums and three multi-platinum albums. Sure they did not invent the rap-metal fusion, which probably goes to Faith No More (unless you count the time Run-DMC teamed up with Aerosmith). But as good as Faith No More was, their rapping always seemed like a novelity, and I am sure in some circles they are just considered a one hit wonder.
Even more amazing was how Rage became such pioneers in the musical landscape (just do not blame them for the blasphemy that turned out to be Limp Bizkit, the douchebag you knew in college with the “Free Mumia” sign in his window even though he could not tell you the difference between Mumia and Mustafa, or Paul Ryan) was there was a very strong message which can been seen right on their debut album cover, this month’s induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame, which depicts a monk who set himself on fire protesting an anti-Buddhist regime. It was only highlighted by the opening track Bombtrack which repeated the line, “Burn, burn, yes you’re gonna burn.”
Rage Against the Machine even had their breakout MTV moment when the former music channel picked up their most politically charged song and video Freedom as a Buzzworthy selection and put it into heavy rotation. In-between a vigorous live show, featuring a very sweaty fat young kid, the video gave us a history lesson about Leonard Peltier who did not receive a fair trial when convicted of killing two FBI officers. But for the most agro for your buck, there is Killing in the Name Of which builds and builds until lead singer Zack de la Rocha (and pretty much every male under the age of forty within earshot) starts screaming “(Expletive deleted) you I won’t do what you tell me.”
Rage Against the Machine (WARNING: the next line will make you feel old) turned twenty late last year and included the prerequisite rerelease with plenty of different version that includes demo full DVD of a concert and music videos (the most bare bones version you can currently download for only $2.99) which will have frat boys and Paul Ryan raging for another twenty years.