Rage Against The Machine Profile


    Band Profile

VOCALS: Zack de la Rocha was born in Long Beach, California in 1970. He was raised in Irvine, California. Before Rage, Zack sang in band called Inside Out and played guitar in a band called Hardstance. He writes and performs poetry and organizes local shows in addition to his Rage-related activities. He is also currently involved in building a community center near his home.


"In junior high I got into the Sex Pistols, Bad Religion, Social Distortion. Then I got into hardcore at sixteen, seventeen. Hardcore was the whole expression of my being: Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Teen Idles, State Of Alert with Henry Rollins."

"I lived [in Irvine], but I never felt totally accepted as one of these rich white suburban kids. I wasn't economically deprived like so many of my Chicano brothers and sisters, but I felt the tension and the rejection--and that's when I started getting into hip-hop, started break-dancing. `The Message,' `Rapper's Delight,' Run-DMC...that was what was happening around that time."

"Inside Out was the first band I ever fronted. I channeled all my pain through that band. It was about completely detaching ourselves from society to see ourselves as...as spirits, and not bowing down to a system that sees you as just another pebble on a beach. But what Inside Out went through were a ton of lineup changes."

"You can't ignore what some bands have done. I know that from my own experience, by Bad Religion. I know our record will be in a bin next to Lfrom the way my life was changed by F**k Armageddon, This Is Hell ionel Richie--but so are John Coltrane, KRS-1 and Boogie Down Productions, and Public Enemy."



LEAD GUITARIST: Tom Morello was born in New York City in 1964. He was raised in Libertyville, Illinois and went to Harvard University in 1982. He graduated with honors. His father and mother were activists. His father was a member of the Mau Mau guerilla army which freed Kenya from British colonial rule. Tomís mother helped found an anti-censorship organization named Parents For Rock & Rap. Before joining Rage, Tom was in an LA band called Lock Up, which released an album on Geffen


"I lived in Libertyville for 18 years, and in the whole town there were maybe three or four other blacks and an equal number of Asians. My mom used to play the Temptations, War, and James Brown at home. I got a guitar when I was 13 or 14, and I was determined to become Jimmy Page or Ace Frehley of KISS. But I got disenchanted with taking lessons and stopped playing for four years. I didn't pick it up again until I heard the Sex Pistols album. Seeing the Clash in Chicago was a life-changing experience. They were more powerful than any band I'd ever seen because of the conviction, the realness behind it."

"My Harvard friends went on to become professors, doctors, lawyers, bankers. They had a difficult time understanding why I wanted to be a socialist rock musician. My musician friends had the opposite problem...In `86, I moved to Los Angeles. The glam scene was in full effect--I was appalled! In `88 I joined Lock Up. We made an album for Geffen, toured, eventually broke up. I met Brad Wilk when he auditioned for Lock Up, and he and I had a great playing chemistry together. He was the first guy I called when I left the band. We started auditioning a lot of people, looking for the right chemistry, while I taught guitar to support myself."

"Rage heightens the contradictions: in the intensity of the live show, in the brutality of the music, in the content of the lyrics. It's a political assault which might force you to consider the ideas that are put forward."


Brad Wilk is the percussionist, and helps exemplify the coveted RATM sound. He was born in Portland, Oregon and lived in Chicago before settling in Southern California.After watching money ruin his father as a child, he tries to put minimal worth in material things. He is in the band for the music, and is not especially politically inclined. He admits that Rage is a political band, and that opening people's eyes is a great thing, but that sometimes "People want to be rocked... and we will rock you."


"In grade school I listened to Led Zep, the Who. John Bonham had a unique feel, not straight time and not quite swing but somewhere in-between--just amazing.Then I heard the Sex Pistols, and that changed me. In high school I started getting into George Clinton, James Brown, and the Meters."


Tim Commerford is the bassist for Rage. Tim's father is an aerospace engineer. He is the youngest of five kids, and his mother was a mathematician who died of brain cancer when he was seven. His family dissolved and he lived with his father after that. He and Zack have been friends since elementary school, and it was Zack who turned him on to playing bass. He follows Brad Wilk's philosophy of being in the band for the music, but has since decided it is also about "education." He writes poetry on the side, and loves jazz.He listens to Inside Out and Bad Brains



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