Monday, February 21, 2011

Video Of The Week: Rage Against The Machine

If there was one legend I missed out on seeing play live, it's Bob Dylan, but I don't regret it: from watching videos, he's pretty stale, live, nowadays and his words are inaudible.

If there was a band I regret never seeing live, it's got to be Rage Against The Machine. I think they've only come to Montréal once, twice at the most, and I missed out.

I'm a huge fan of their mix of rap and rock, with political lyrics and Zeppelin/Sabbath-type guitar riffs blended with Tom Morello's use of his axe as a turntable with distortion and a rhythm section worthy of being named among the best of all time, they were a perfect band.

As the years went on, their songs had less anthemic choruses and less lyrics overall, cutting the number of verses nearly in half, but the songs were still better: better written, groovier, heavier, more pleasing to the ear, catchier... and a whole lot more involved, politically. Michael Moore - who appears in this one - started directing their videos, and they started attacking both American parties, Republicans for being the Machine they're Raging against, and Democrats for being exactly the same, with the same talking points (as evidenced in this video particularly) and backers, working for the same bankers and arms companies.

From 2000 to 2007, the band didn't exist as such: singer Zack De La Rocha went underground under the One Day As A Lion moniker, while the other three members were making millions of dollars sounding just like Pearl Jam with Chris Cornell in Audioslave. When Cornell proved to be too much of a douchgebag to handle (and at least one album too late), Audioslave was terminated and RATM resumed playing concerts, but they have yet  to release any material (new or old) confirming their re-emergence. And they've yet to come back to Montréal.

I'll admit I dreamed of opening for Audioslave, and impressing them so much I'd be invited for a 2-or-3-song encore singing Rage songs with them. Instead, on their final tour, they started singing old Rage and Soundgarden songs themselves. Not as cool.

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