Rage Against the Machine reunited Sunday. I am not a fan. Something you probably did not know: these self-professed Communists live, or lived (with the exception of Zack de la Rocha) in Hollywood mansions. I’ve got nothing against people enjoying their wealth, save for those who espouse a collectivist agenda.
I definitely have a beef with artists who support authoritarian regimes (see my review of “The Lives of Others”; I guess RATM would’ve been rooting for the Stasi).
Anyway, during the 2000 Democratic National Convention, the band staged a protest concert outside the Staples Center, attracting a fair share of Orange County “anarchists” wearing Che T-shirts and hammer and sickle pins (remember all those free concerts in Leningrad?) They were an easy crowd to incite — and for that I don’t hold RATM accountable. The police definitely overreacted, spraying the crowd with tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray. (Although I have to admit, it was fun running away from the cops amongst a crowd of sweaty pseudo-revolutionaries.)
De la Rocha said of the incident, “I don’t care what fucking television station said the violence was caused by the people at the concert, those motherfuckers unloaded on this crowd. And I think it’s ridiculous considering, you know, none of us had rubber bullets, none of us had M16s, none of us had billy clubs, none of us had face shields.”
He failed to mention the motorcade of SUVs that transported the band away from the riot. I watched them leave after they finished their set. Perhaps De la Rocha came back to join the fun, but I doubt it. In my account of the incident (written for an MTV subsidiary), that little detail was excised, less the corporate weasels offend one of the bands that was helping them all get rich.
RATM, it should be noted, was signed to Epic Records, a subsidiary of Sony Records. So really, they were just a cog in the machine they raged against.
And now they’re back, no doubt ready to capitalize on our blundering Commander-in-Chief. Don’t believe their hype.