Artist and Musician Biographies


In this video, R.A.T.M. plays "Testify"

One of the defining and deafening sounds of mid to late 1990s rock has been a style fusing rap with extremely hard rock, or heavy metal. Following on the heels of grunge, both lyrically and musically this more raw and aggressive approach to music has come to dominate the mainstream of American alternative rock.

Although many of the bands at the forefront of this movement have simultaneously delighted and horrified audiences with their violent and often sexist lyrics and behavior (both on and off stage), none has been so socially vigilant and politically charged as Los Angeles's Rage Against the Machine (R.A.T.M).

Formed in 1991, R.A.T.M. began like so many bands do, performing at parties and in friends' living rooms. Inspired by the Public Enemy and Pearl Jam.

Rage's music is stripped down to the bare essentials of guitar, bass, drums and vocals. The irresistibly head bobbing rhythms of drummer Brad Wilk, bassist Y.Tim. K., and guitarist Tom Morello, the nephew of Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of Kenya, create a rock solid foundation for the confrontational lyrics furiously erupting from vocalist/rapper Zack de la Rocha, who is the son of the Chicano political artist, Beto. Although their lyrics are often explicit they reflect the urgency of the band's message.

Unlike other rap/metal practitioners who followed their stylistic lead, such as Korn, and Limp Bizkit, R.A.T.M. is dedicated to their various causes through an outspoken (if not militant) musical activism. They often donate their earnings to raise money for organizations including the Anti-Nazi League, American Indian Movement, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Women Alive, and the National Commission for Democracy in Mexico.

Frequently, they have used their live performances as a platform for protest and to raise awareness of issues such as censorship and human rights. In the end, the band's name describes their modus operandi with pinpoint accuracy. All of Rage Against The Machine's recorded material delivers thought provoking, often anti-capitalist sentiments, from their self-titled debut release in 1992, "Evil Empire", featuring the breakthrough single "Bulls on Parade" in 1996, and their most recent effort Battle of Los Angeles released in 1999.

Zack de la Rocha decided to leave the group in late 2000, but the other members expect to continue the band without him.

Page author: A.E.