Rage Against the Machine Fans Speak!


Mars:

Me? Everything.

I grew up listening to 60's and 70's Rock. Like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Hendrix, Grand Funk, Santana, The Grateful Dead, The Who, Cream, and etc. etc.

Later I started to get into some lame Cock Rock. Also called Camaro Rock, or Arena Rock, or Hair Bands. I know this will sound like a cop-out but many of my drug friends at the time were into it. I would hang with them as they listened to it, but I didn't buy too many albums, because I liked my friends, but not so much the music.

I never listened to Bon Jovi, or Warrant or Poison or crap like that. The crap I listened to was mostly The Cult and Guns N' Roses. For the most part, I didn't listen to it at home or buy any albums, I just lived that lifestyle, but I quickly came to realize that most of these bands I'd go see in clubs sucked dog shit so bad, but they were cool to get stoned with.

I eventually started to listen to a little Punk, by way of the Dead Kennedy's and the Sex Pistols and The Dead Milkmen. Then I started to listen to some more hard core Metal, like Megadeth and Metallica at the same time and Hard Core Punk like the Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, and the Cro Mags. I also began to dig New Wave groups and "Modern Rock" bands like the Cure, New Order, P.I.L., and Sparks, among others.

I started to open my ears even more close to the end of High School. I discovered Whodini, and Run DMC, and Roxxane Roxxane, and others. I especially liked Whodini. Then I found a pair of High Tech keyboard and turntable wizards called Mantronix and I was in fuckin' LOVE!!! It was High Energy fast as hell, rapid beat Hip Hop. I couldn't believe it. Pretty soon it was also L.L. Cool J and some old Grandmaster Flash. The Beasties popped up too, all of a sudden out of nowhere.

I also discovered Parliament Funkadelic and Sly Stone. I suddenly realized that I didn't just like Prince, I LOVED FUNK, MAN!!!

I also found out there was Funk Rock and Funk Punk. I fell in love with Primus and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and soon, Infectious Grooves, and re-discovered The James Gang and The Edgar Winter Group's "Frankenstein".

So NOW I was listening to old 70's Rock, old 60's Psychedelic Rock, some Heavy Metal, some Punk and now Hip Hop and a little Rap, and anything that sounded even just CLOSE to Funk!

Everything changed when NWA came to light. I immediately was turned off by the whole "Ho" "Bitch" thing, but some of the Anti Cop stuff and Black Pride stuff was quite amazing to me. When "Fuck The Police" came out, it was BIG around here. EVERYBODY was chanting it!!!

At the same time I discovered The Clash. The most political Punk band this side of the Dead Kennedy's. With the Dead Kennedy's and the Clash, I was beginning to become politically aware.

But nothing could have prepared me for what was to come. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet PUBLIC ENEMY. Wow. What a fricken BOMB!!! Fear of Black Planet indeed.

Then they dissapeared shortly after their internal problems with Proffessor Griff. Next thing you know, they just dissapeared!!! POOF!!

I dunno what happened.

I kept listening to other music, but with PE apparantly gone, I had become very bored with the state of music. After seeing the power mix of Music and Leftist Politics, nothing else seemed to matter. Everything else seemed stupid. I'd hear some song about love, and I'd be like "Who cares, don't you know there's people dying in the world? There's places where you cannot even love."

I'd hear someone singing about some chick, or some party, or "gettin' down" or hanging out, or how sexy themselves are or how cool they are, or whatever and I'd be like "Shut up. There's much more important shit going on". I practically gave up on popular music, figuring that with PE and others gone, that we would never have a voice like that again. I ignored band after band after gangsta after gangsta. All seemed so stupid and retarded. And in Gangsta rap's case, increasingly more violent and belligerent. Current popular music seemed for people that didn't know or care about the reality that was going on.

In fact, when Nirvana popped up with "Smells like teen spirit", I didn't even know about it until I started hearing more and more and more and more people talk about it.

Eventually I borrowed my friend's tape. I was in awe at the fucking passion and raw energy and fury. What the hell was inside this guy??? It was primal, loud, muddy, and I couldn't understand half of his lyrics and vocals. I loved it. The guitar work fucking rocked, too. I fell in love again. Simply with the raw passion.

I ended up getting into Pearl Jam, too. And STP, and Alice In Chains, and others. I realized that while Nirvana and Mudhoney and the Melvins were the only REAL GRUNGE groups. The media started to label Pearl Jam and all the others Grunge too, though. I didn't get it. How could they say Pearl Jam was grunge?? I mean, they rocked, and they were from Seattle, and they wore "Grungy" clothes and hair, and these bands were certainly NOT the Cock Camaro rock of Bon Jovi and Van Halen and Motley Crue. NO songs about sex or party drugs, or partying, or crap like that. It was Rock but with an awareness.

But Grunge??? Even Kurt Cobain hated that. He couldn't believe the Record Companies marketed them as Grunge. That pissed him off and myself too.

But anyway, this opened the door to all the shitty bands we have now, like Lit and Rancid, and Everclear, and Bush, and Hole and others. Kurt Cobain saw this and it disgusted him that he practically ceated this new market. Opened the doors for any band that just LOOKED "Grunge" or "Alternative".

So I loved Grunge and TRUE alternative but was cynical of any new band ONCE AGAIN.

So then, I heard "Killing in the Name". I really liked it. I heard it at the same time I heard the Smashing Pumpkins. I ended up liking the song, but thought it was just a fluke. One good song. I didn't even think that there might be more. I just figured that all the other songs they had must just suck. Besides, it was the CENSORED version of the song and some of the intensity and curse words were gone.

And so I ignored Rage completely oblivious to the fact to who they were. Kept playing my Nirvana and Mudhoney albums over and over and over.

Then years after the Kurt Cobain tragedy and of listening to shit, other shit and more even worse shit on the radio being pumped out like diarrhea, out of my radio pumps "Bulls on Parade".

I didn't understand the lyrics at first, but I heard the beginning and the radio DJ said, "Okay your radio's been a safe place until now, boys and girls, they're back, and there here...."

So I hear the intro, the HEAVY fucking beat, the phat groove, and followed by Tom's Wah Wah going apeshit. Then Zack comes in and I'm like "Hey, they did it again, and this one sounds better than that last song!!" And Zack starts doing a more improved MC rap. I don't catch the lyrics right away, though.

All I know is it sounds fucking KICKING! And the chorus is a great hook. I do catch the words, "They Rally Round the Family w/ a Pocket Full of Shells" and I just thought it was about shooting innocent people. I was like, what? Why are they glorifying killing families? Are they insane?

Then I started hearing more of it. "I walk tha corner to the rubble that used to be a library, Line up to the mind cemetary, now". That blew me away. I knew a band who would sing a lament about a library being torn down to build NOTHING but an empty lot was NOT singing about shooting people for nothing.

I kept listening. "While arms warehouses fill as quick as the cells....Rally round the family, pockets full of shells...."

I kept playing the song over and over after I had taped it. Then not to long after that came "People of the Sun". THAT was it. I fully understood what this song was about. That intro. Zack saying "You better turn up the bass on this one". Zack's rhymes were still a little too fast, but what I could make out was so dope.

"There borders and boots on top of us....their toxic metropolis....this is for the People of the Sun, it's coming back around....troops stripping Zoots.....tha city of angels does tha ethnic cleanse....came and try and steal ya name, but now you found a gun, "Your'e history!"....this is for the people of the sun...."

And then I hear the scratching which I thought was so fucking cool. I went out and bought the album. (Later I'm even more shocked that Tom was doing it on his guitar!!!)

To my surprise, I start liking every song, I'm simply hooked on reading the lyrics inside the album, as I become a Truth Addict. I couldn't believe it. I thought when I found the Clash that Ihad found my favorite band. I thought that they and PE were the CLOSEST I'd come to finding a group that felt CLOSE to the way I felt. Little did I know that in 1996 I would find EXACTLY what I had been waiting for all my life.

The words about the Police Violence, the lyrics about the racist attitudes towards minorities is this God forsaken country, the attitude towards corporate America and other "industrialized" nations, the Capitalist bullshit, their support of the Zapatista movement, their supoort of the A.I.M., of Leonard Peltier, of Mumia......

Wow. This was too much to believe. To this day I continue to shake my head in disbelief. They've reinforced my values and now I realize I'm not some nut and that I'm not alone in feeling how I feel. I cannot put into words what it's like to discover there's a band out there that reflects not just SOME of what I believe in, but EVERYTHING. Everything....

And the rest is history. Now I know HO ONE can outdo them for me. No one will ever surpass them. Not Nirvana, not PE, not The Clash, not anyone.

There's other bands that I heard AFTER Rage that I like. Korn, The Deftones, The New Radicals, Electrafixion, the Dave Matthews Band, Garbage.

But no one like Rage. No one at al...

The rest is history.

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