Originally published in Spanish in Reforma
Translated by irlandesa
Reforma Saturday, October 30, 1999.
They Use Rage Without Violence
Since the beginning of their career in 1991, Rage Against the Machine has made very clear what their intentions were through the simple meaning of their name: "Furia contra el Sistema." This rage, however, as their singer Zack de la Rocha, says, is expressed through the tool of information, and not through resorting to violence.
The controversial Los Angeles group visited Mexico for the first time in order to give a concert today in the East Pavilion of the Sports Palace, and, while here, to give a preview presentation of The Battle of Los Angeles, their new release, which will go on sale on November 2.
Made up of Zack de la Rocha (voice), Tom Morello (guitar), Y. Tim K. (bass) and Brad Wilk, this band has released two previous albums: Rage Against the Machine ('92) and Evil Empire ('96), in which they have openly expressed their political-social concerns, with lyrics that address issues such as racism, injustice, capitalism and war, to the rhythm of the high decibels of hard core and rock.
Prior to his appearance tonight at the Alternative Forum of the Domo de Cobre, Zack de la Rocha - in an exclusive interview with Reforma - talked about his closeness to Mexican culture and his interest in the Zapatista Movement, his new album and his much anticipated performance in our country.
"I'm very excited, because we're finally here. I've traveled in Mexico over the last five years, and now we're finally going to play, which is something we've wanted," the vocalist commented.
Of Mexican descent on his father's side, De la Rocha comments that his relationship with our culture comes directly from those roots, as well as his concern for political-social problems. His grandfather was a campesino who emigrated to the United States, and who was treated like a slave. Later, both he and his father had to confront the barrier of racism.
As for his sympathy with the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), the leader of Rage Against the Machine noted that he was struck by how the indigenous revealed themselves in the face of injustices, and by their courage in raising their voices above many social and cultural prejudices.
"That really remained in my heart, because I also feel Mexican. That's why I'm interested in spreading those ideas through art, because music has the power to cross borders, to break military sieges and to establish real dialogue. Our purpose in sympathizing with the Zapatistas is to help spark that dialogue."
"What battle are you referring to in the title of your new album: 'The Battle of Los Angeles'?"
"Los Angeles is famous for Hollywood and for its culture of entertainment, but the reality is that it's a city that's in permanent conflict between those who have and those who do not, between those who were born privileged and those who have been abandoned by the Government system.
"Rage's music has always tried to reflect and to raise those voices of the vulnerable, and the album's title has to do with that. Especially if we consider the fact that recently the police in Los Angeles were found to be involved in cases of corruption. They were also accused of beating up a Mexican immigrant, and these people went completely unpunished. They're like the caciques of the southeastern part of the United States."
"Many people consider your proposal to be violent: what are your thoughts on that?"
"The music is not violent, music is an expression of what we see every day, an expression of our conscience and of our desire to create a more democratic world, which can be achieved with information. Information is a very important tool, it's as powerful as any weapon."