Rage Against the Machine - Maggie's Farm

Rage Against the Machine - Maggie's Farm

Maggie's Farm."Maggie's Farm" is a song written by Bob Dylan, recorded on January 15, 1965, and released on the album Bringing It All Back Home

Cover by Rage Against the Machine with film footage from Sergei Eisenstein's 1931 film 'Que Viva Mexico' showing the oppressive and exploitative feudal agricultural conditions under dictator Porfirio Diaz's regime which lasted until 1910 and the present day maltreatment of the native indigenous populations in Mexico.

Official website: RATM

By Matt Allen, The Telegraph

It was during an Orange County house party in 1991 that Tom Morello, Rage Against the Machine’s founding guitarist and political lightning rod, first understood the melodic power his band were able to unleash. The rap-rock four-piece – Morello plus frontman Zack de la Rocha, bassist Tim Commerford, and drummer Brad Wilk – had gathered to play several as-yet-unreleased cuts in a friend’s living room, including an instrumental take of breakout single, Killing In the Name. Within minutes, a whirlpooling moshpit had damaged everything within reach.
“Everybody went apes,” says Morello. “I thought, ‘Well, that’s different.’ I’d never seen anything like it, in any show I’d ever been to. People responded in a very visceral way.” By 1992, Rage Against the Machine had signed a major label deal with Epic and were releasing their self-titled debut, a barrage of metal-clad funk and hip hop grooves that achieved platinum status in both the UK and America. In a post-Nirvana landscape, their heavy riffola matched anything arriving from the US grunge scene for heft.
Meanwhile, de la Rocha, the son of a Mexican-American political artist was delivering an attack of controversial vocals that kicked out against police brutality (Killing In the Name) and political oppression (Know Your Enemy). "That's why I'm in this band – to give space and volume to various struggles throughout the country and the world,” de la Rocha told Rolling Stone in 1999. Morello’s “different” project had found a timely and powerful momentum.
Twenty five years on from its original release, Rage Against the Machine remains chillingly relevant – current turbulent, geo-political times have ensured to that. The band’s firebrand rhetoric has also been given extra muscle by the arrival of Prophets of Rage, a rock-rap supergroup comprising the original band’s engine room of Wilk, Commerford and Morello.
With de la Rocha’s vocals represented by the iconic voices of Public Enemy’s powerhouse frontman, Chuck D and B-Real of Cypress Hill, their arrival on the summer festival scene has been a riotous highlight. “It’s vital in times like these to have bands like ourselves,” says Wilk. “We’re musicians. Our voices and instruments are our weapons.”
The seeds of Rage Against the Machine’s emergence can be traced to Libertyville, Illinois when Morello, a Joe Strummer-obsessed singer-songwriter and the “only black kid” in the all-white town, moved to LA in 1988 to join Hollywood rock band and Geffen Records incumbents, Lock Up.

Having worked somewhat incongruously as both political secretary for Democrat politician Alan Cranston and an “exotic dancer” to pay the bills, Morello had his ambitions of fame dented when the band split up in 1990 after releasing just one album, 1989’s Something Bitchin’ This Way Comes.
When the band divided their final pay cheque of $1,000, Morello was only 26 years old, but the sudden career lane change proved inspiring. He was now free to make the heavier, angrier music he had held back from Lock Up’s recording sessions. Morello called in Wilk, who had previously auditioned for the band and, later, de la Rocha and Commerford.
“I was relieved that my music career was done," says Morello. "I thought, ‘Well, if I’ve missed my grab at the brass ring, then at least I’m going to play music that I believe in and love.’ Rage Against the Machine was formed with zero ambitions.” The band’s early writing sessions – a basic, punk rock set-up comprising guitars, drums and de la Rocha’s righteous rage – were soon imbued with a headier vibe.
Rap front-liners, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill soundtracked Commerford’s drive into rehearsals throughout much of 1990, as did the punk thrash of Minor Threat and the Sex Pistols. “That’s what we were being inspired by,” says Commerford. Lyrically, the social and political rhetoric of these bands proved influential too. Morello, in particular, had been taken by Public Enemy’s 1991 album, Fear of a Black Planet and its willingness to tackle “taboo” political issues head on. “It outflanked any music at that time,” he says.
Rage Against the Machine’s rock-rap musical gumbo soon delivered an album of demos that would make up their debut album. Early cassettes were delivered to record label influencers with a match taped to the box. Chuck D, impressed by the band’s lyrical MO would later take them on a powderkeg US tour where shows were patrolled with police helicopters and metal detectors were commonplace, the authorities fearing an outbreak of gang violence.
“Tom’s (guitar) was what-the-f---, out of this world,” says Chuck. “The bass was like [Motown bassist] James Jamerson. [Rage Against the Machine] had power.” On its release, Rage Against the Machine went triple-platinum in America and made the UK top 20, though its breakthrough moment undoubtedly arrived when firebrand single Killing In the Name was aired on Radio 1 in February 1993. In a headline-making blunder, DJ Bruno Brookes accidentally played the track’s uncensored mix, peppering the airwaves with the anthemic, but expletive-heavy chorus, “F--- you, I won’t do what you tell me.” Brookes was suspended and the LA four-piece’s notoriety was immediately assured.
Elsewhere, the album would leave an indelible musical fingerprint. Their joining of rock and rap – a trick that had been successfully executed only rarely by the time of Rage Against the Machine’s emergence – to commercial and critical fanfare proved influential. Liam Howlett of rock-rave trailblazers The Prodigy recalls how the Essex outfit were driving along Hollywood’s Sunset Strip in a stretch limo in 1992.
When frontman Keith Flynt played Killing In the Name through the speakers, the band began diving at one another. “It was like a light had been shone on what we could do next,” says Howlett. “Rage really opened up the possibility that rock could be funk and groove again.” The Prodigy would go on to release the heaving, moshpit-friendly electronica of Music for the Jilted Generation in 1994.
The remainder of Rage Against the Machine’s existence was no less eventful. During a four album-strong career, the band took to the stage at a 1993 Lollopalooza show naked, save for black tape stuck across their mouths in an anti-censorship protest. They later caused Wall Street to be closed, albeit briefly in 2000, having arrived to record their Michael Moore-produced video to single, Sleep Now In the Fire. Two hundred protesters, including Morello, stormed the New York Stock Exchange.
"For a few minutes, Rage Against the Machine was able to shut down American capitalism," said Moore afterwards, proudly. Rumours of the band’s breakup would dog them until de la Rocha’s eventual departure in 2000, the result of extended intra-band squabbling.
"I feel that it is now necessary to leave Rage because our decision-making process has completely failed," wrote de la Rocha said in a statement. "It is no longer meeting the aspirations of all four of us collectively as a band, and from my perspective, has undermined our artistic and political ideal. I am extremely proud of our work, both as activists and musicians, as well as indebted and grateful to every person who has expressed solidarity and shared this incredible experience with us."
Morello, Wilk and Commerford would go on to form Audioslave with the recently deceasedChris Cornell, formerly of grunge flagbearers Soundgarden. Today, the debut album by the newly formed Prophets of Rage does at least give the band’s anthems a chance to live on in a festival setting. The unsettling irony is that recordings such as Killing In the Name (which became a number one single in 2009 following an online campaign) and Bullet In the Head, songs forged in an environment of political oppression, inequality and social conflict 25 years ago, now sound as timely as ever.
“No one was more surprised than I,” says Morello of his band’s success. “I didn’t think that Rage Against the Machine would be able to book a club show (in the beginning). Music was ghettoised. It was an apartheid type world, racially and musically. Black music was played by black people; white music was played by white people and never the twain shall meet. There was no thought that Rage Against the Machine could be anything more than four guys in a rehearsal room.”
Rage Against the Machine's self-titled debut album turned 25 on November 3, 2017.
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