10 Facts About Rage Against The Machine

The legends of rap metal.

logo
Ultimate Guitar
10 Facts About Rage Against The Machine
6

On Rage Against The Machine's first album, the cover is a Pulitzer prize winning photo of a burning monk.

The Vietnamese Buddhist monk is Thich Quang Duc, who burned himself to death. This act of self-immolation was protesting against the Prime Minister Ngo Dih.

Tom Morello explained:

'The idea in the music was that it was going to be an uncompromised and uncompromising expression of our world views as musicians and as activists. The photo on the cover of the monk self- immolating for his beliefs was one that we thought captured the integrity and the power that we were striving for in our songs!’

The band won two Grammys.

"Tire Me" for Best Metal Performance in 1997, and "Guerrilla Radio" for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2001.

Morello's great-uncle, Jomo Kenyatta, was the first elected president of Kenya.

Morello's father, Ngethe Njoroge, was a Mau Mau guerilla and Kenya's first representative to the United Nations. His mother, who is white, worked with the NAACP and founded Parents for Rock and Rap.

RATM's name comes from a speech Karl Marx made.

In this speech he asked the people to “rage against the machine”.

The band entertained thousands of Writers Guild of America writers at the fifth day of their strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers in Los Angeles in 2007.

Tom Morello used to be an exotic dancer.

He told NME: “When I graduated from Harvard and moved to Hollywood, I was unemployable…at one point, I even worked as an exotic dancer. ’Brick House’ by The Commodores was my jam! I did bachelorette parties and I’d go down to my boxer shorts. Would I go further? All I can say is thank god it was in the time before YouTube! You could make decent money doing that job – people do what they have to do.’

In 1999, RATM ordered donuts for 300 police officers who protested them outside a show in Massachusetts.

In 1993 Rage Against the Machine appeared on the Lollapalooza stage in Philadelphia, naked, with gags on their mouths, and letters spelling “PRMC” painted on the chest.

The band stood in silent protest of the industry's capitulation to censorious prudery from the Parents Music Resource Center, the organization that, in 1985, had pressured the RIAA into slapping Parental Advisory labels on all but the most squeaky-clean of albums.

In 1997, the band opened for U2 on their PopMart Tour.

All Rage's profits went to support social organizations, including U.N.I.T.E., Women Alive and the Zapatista Front for National Liberation.

Their 1999 album, 'The Battle of Los Angeles' also debuted at #1, selling 450,000 copies in the first week and then going double-platinum.

That same year the song "Wake Up" was featured on the soundtrack of the film The Matrix.

39 comments sorted by best / new / date

    gafaru
    My favourite fact is that they won this vote thing over some X-factor singer in 2009 so they could perform live in a BBC Radio morning show but they were asked not to swear. Their answer? Fuck you I won't do what you tell me.
    THE BULGE
    "this vote thing" was the Christmas number one. X factor had topped the charts the 5 previous years and it was a stick on again whether the song was any good or not and it was always a cover so someone started an online campaign and loads went onto iTunes and bought killing in the name. Rage then playes a free open air concert in London because of it. The line up was stacked. I remember this fondly it's also funny because the real winner was Sony music as bmg that rage is signed too and sico that xfactor releases on is also owned by Sony music.
    acglee
    Yeah that gig was great and Gogol Bordello were brilliant supporting. That animated Simon Cowell intro was genius! Btw Rage didn't profit from their single sales when they got to Christmas no. 1 - they donated the lot to charity.
    Weybl Himself
    That ending with the host is possibly the most british thing I've ever heard and I've been living in the UK for 2 years. Gold.
    jonnyharris1
    I distinctly remember how awesome it was tuning into it live that day, I was pumped up the entire rest of the day afterwards from their sheer ballsiness doing it. I love that he didn't swear the first 6 or so "I won't do what you tell me's", just to lure them into a false sense of security. Then when he gets going with the F bombs he really raises his volume and lets rip. Absolute classic! .
    Eifler121
    All I take from it is that Sony won big either way. Rage didn't do anything special, whatever idiots started the protest didn't think their plan through is all. Whether they put out quality music or not, It just proves that the industry wins no matter what. All in all it's a loss because it tells the industry there's no point investing in up and coming quality talent.
    KungFuRooster
    RATM are legendary and the only rap rock that can be taken seriously in a musical sense. That being said, their actual politics are garbage.
    SlowJoe
    In 2009 Killimg in the Name topped the charts in the U.K. As the Christmas # 1. For several years the X Factor winner was all but guaranteed the number 1 spot. There was a concerted campaign to see that didn't happen in 2009.
    vikingman369
    another little known fact: in 2008, the band broke up, as they were unable to rage against "the machine", the machine now under the control of someone they vocally supported. plans to reform and record music began shortly after the 2016 election
    Hexagram88
    What are they raging against exactly? Capitalism has been the one force to pull millions of people out of previously unavoidable situations. Countries adhering to capitalistic principles literally have poor people who are fat and have access to products otherwise reserved for royalty in other countries. Really, what are they raging against?
    thalesmlp
    Obviously you are from a rich country for such a spoiled way to see the world.
    Hexagram88
    You should revisit the definition of "spoiled" and find out why it doesn't conform to your definition. Maybe you're just too "proletariat" to understand the difference.
    Eissari
    They rage against the machine but still accept grammys, fame and shitloads of money. Hmm well yeah I get it.
    avatarofwhoa
    They need to come back. If ever there was a time for some political rap/rock, or whatever genre you want to call them, it's now.