Tom Morello was the sole member of RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE who attended the band’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony last night (Friday, November 3) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Pioneering rapper and BODY COUNT frontman Ice-T inducted Morello, singer Zack De La Rocha, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk into the Rock Hall, recalling how RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE opened for him during the band’s earliest days.
“Right out of the gate, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE was not a game,” Ice-T said. “In their their career, they did things that impress cats like me. You can’t impress me with normal stuff. You got to impress me with stuff like suing the U.S. State Department for using their music in Guantanamo Bay for torture. Who does that? RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE does that. Or how about 1993, pulling up at Lollapalooza butt naked with duct tape, protesting against the PRMC [Parents Music Resource Center]? Who does that? RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE does that. I respect the hell out of this band.
“If you want to go down in history, you have to make something or break something,” Ice-Tcontinued. “RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE broke every rule in the book just so they could let you know that they were in the building.”
In his acceptance speech, Morello said: “I am deeply grateful for the musical chemistry I’ve had the good fortune to share with Brad Wilk, Tim Commerford and Zach De La Rocha. Like most bands, we have differing perspectives on a lot of things, including about being inducted into the Rock Hall.
“The reason we are here and the best way to celebrate this music is for you to carry on that mission and that message. The lesson I’ve learned from RAGE fans is that music can change the world daily.”
The 59-year-old guitarist continued: “The job we set out to do is not over. Now you’re the ones that must testify. If you’ve got a boss, join a union. If you’re a student, start underground paper. If you’re an anarchist, throw a brick. If you’re a soldier or a cop, follow your conscience not your orders. If you’re bummed out that you didn’t get to see RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, then form your own band, and let’s hear what you have to say.
“When protest music is done right,” Morello added, “you can hear a new world emerging in the songs.”
When it was first announced that RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE was being inducted into the Rock Hall back in May, the bandmembers shared a lengthy statement thanking the institution for the induction, and recounting the long, radical journey that led up to the honor.
“In 1991 four people in Los Angeles formed a musical group to stand where sound and and solidarity intersect,” they wrote. “We are grateful to all of the passionate fans, the many talented co-conspirators we’ve worked with and all the activists, organizers, rebels and revolutionaries past, present and future who have inspired our art.”
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE‘s Rock Hall induction came after the band appeared on six ballots.
In October 2022, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE canceled its North American tour, three months after De La Rocha severed his left Achilles tendon, leaving a mere eight inches of the tendon intact.
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE‘s comeback tour, which was first announced in 2019 and then delayed several times due to the pandemic, marked the first time the reunited rap-metal quartet had hit the road together since 2011.
Late last year, Commerford revealed that he has been living with prostate cancer.
Back in 2015, Rolling Stone asked Commerford about the band’s Rock Hall prospects, to which he quipped: “If RAGE gets inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, it’ll be interesting to see who shows up. I think it’s pretty obvious. I think there’s somebody who’s going to show up and somebody who’s not going to show up and maybe somebody who’s going to show up with an enema filled with food coloring and shit all over the red carpet.”
Along with RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame class of 2023 includes Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, George Michael, Willie Nelson and THE SPINNERS. Chaka Khan, Al Kooper and Bernie Taupin received the Musical Excellence Award; DJ Kool Herc and Link Wray received the Musical Influence Award; and Don Cornelius received the Ahmet Ertegun Award.
Although Morello did not directly comment on Israel’s ongoing bombing campaign of Gaza, he posed for photographers backstage at the Rock Hall holding a piece of paper scrawled with the words “CEASEFIRE!”
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