Where Are You Now, When We Need You Most, Rage Against The Machine?Commentary • Entertainment • Opinion • music • ISSUE 40•32 • Aug 11, 2004 By Jacob Ainsworth Jacob Ainsworth For nearly 10 years, Rage Against The Machine provided a voice for the disaffected, the disenfranchised, and the angry. Blending punk, pop, hip-hop, metal, and thrash, their music fought corporate America, cultural imperialism, and government oppression head on during a time when most of America was lulled into a Clinton-induced torpor. When Rage Against The Machine's cry for justice was amplified by a major-label debut in 1992, hundreds of thousands of American youths turned to them for guidance. Over the course of eight years, Rage released three original albums and one covers album, each a new and varied challenge, a 60-minute call to arms, a soul cry for the low and lost. But then, in October of 2000, the unthinkable happened: Singer Zack De La Rocha left the band. On that fateful election night in November, there was no one to articulate the outrage and denounce the Supreme Cult's appointment of George W. Shrub to Commander-In-Thief. Where were you then, Rage Against The Machine? Where are you now? Every album you released was a Declaration Of Independence for music fans no longer content with music that served only to entertain. Hearing the teeth-grinding post-metal riffs of "Sleep Now In The Fire," thousands awoke from MTV and Top 40 radio's 24-7 "pop-ulum somnalocasts." Every song, every lyric furthered your message. Your words about the war for oil in the Middle East were prophetic. You were an inspiration! What happened? Now, of all times, we look to you for clear-eyed articulation of the fucked-up world we live in. The people of the sun still labor in Mexico, but no one plays bass about their struggles! Mumia sits in prison, yet no one sings for his freedom. What do we hear? Silence. You've abandoned us in our hour of need. How could you? Everywhere: exploitation. Where's the rock? You summed it up so clearly in "Fistful Of Steel" when you sang, "If the vibe was suicide, then you would push da button, but if you're bowin' down, then let me do the cuttin'." You lifted the nation's youth up out of the mire and taught us to question, to act. Rage Against The Machine, come back. Bring us more slamming riffs and sonic wallop. Bring us more shredding and axing. Do that thing where you make your guitar sound like bagpipes. Seriously, we need a healthy dose of your cuttin', or Bush will win. It's Vietnow, man, and just like you said before, America's getting its news-trients from the likes of Benito Hannity and Adolf Limbaugh. We need a musical antidote to the poison. This nation needs another bomb track to ignite it! We are lost, Rage Against The Machine. Where have you gone? The voice of the voiceless is silent. Surely Zack has ample material for new songs. This empire couldn't be any more evil. What about Abu Ghraib? If ever anyone was sleeping in the fire, it was those prisoners. Zack, if you're listening, if you're reading this—we need you. And where are you, Tom, Tim, and Brad? You bravely stood up for the dispossessed of the Third World, but in the current political climate, we are dispossessed in our own country. The erosion of our rights and liberties makes captives of us all. Do you no longer care? Did the machine defeat you? I'm sorry. I got carried away. It's only my fear for the future that led me to question you. For if not you, then who will rage for us? Audioslave? They're only three-fourths of Rage Against The Machine, and you know it. Besides, they broke up. Limp Bizkit? Slipknot? They have the infectious energy, but aren't so vocal about saving the world from Dick Chicanery and Donald Grab-The-Money-And-Rumsfeld. Only one band has the power to rage against the machine, and that is Rage Against The Machine. If you have any sort of a conscience, you will heed my call.