Rage Against the Machine and the Art of Protest

Rage Against the Machine and the Art of Protest
Composer: Rage Against the Machine
Conductor: Rage Against the Machine
Label: Sexy Intellectual
Release Date: 2010-02-24
Rated: NONE
Genre: Recording

When Lennon died in 1980, the Reagan era began. When Rage Against the Machine broke up in 2000, Bush started breaking our balls. Despite the fact that RATM was gone when it was needed the most (only to reunite in 2007 for an ongoing series of occasional shows), in retrospect, what Morello, De la Rocha, Commerford, and Wilk did was amazing. The Art of Protest is the typical unauthorized video documentary that relies on stock footage, the band’s music (not as much as we would’ve liked), and interviews with people such as journalists Ann Powers and Gustavo Arellano (of ¡Ask a Mexican! fame), the band’s live sound engineer Dave Levine, and Michael Goldstone, the person who signed them to Epic/Sony. Did I say Epic/Sony? It’s easy to accuse RATM of hypocrisy for talking against the machine while being part of it, but when you consider that the band had absolute creative and promotional control, even refusing to edit their first single “Killing in the Name,” the question becomes more complicated. But the movie is more concerned with the history of the protest-song movement, from the days of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Bob Dylan, all the way to Public Enemy and N.W.A, two of RATM’s main musical influences. RATM were dead wrong to say that Bush and Gore were the same thing in 1999, but they were right about everything else. The continued relevancy of their music is proof that resistance never dies. And the louder, the better. — Enrique Lopetegui

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