Zack De La Rocha is one of the world renowned names in the rock world. With his contributions to Rage Against the Machine, Rocha has influenced many fans and musicians throughout his career. But not everything about him is widely known by fans. Today, we will be diving into insights about Zack De La Rocha and Rage Against the Machine that we’re sure you haven’t heard of.
Rocha Started Music by Rapping
Although he gained success with a political rock band, Rocha’s start to music did not involve rock. Instead, he started with rap music before forming Rage with Morello. He began to perform hip-hop and freestyle at local pubs and was eventually noticed by the guitarist.
Tom Morello Was a Dancer
Have you ever imagined Tom Morello as an exotic dancer? Probably not, but it’s reality. After graduating from university, the rocker was ‘unemployable,’ so he even had to work as an exotic dancer. In his words, his favorite song in that era was ‘Brick House’ by The Commodores. His dancing career didn’t last long since he ultimately gained fame with Rage.
Rocha’s Political Activism Began In High School
Zack De La Rocha’s strong left-leaning political beliefs took root early in his life, predating his experiences in Chiapas. He recounted his upbringing in Irvine, a predominantly white city in Orange County, where he felt the sting of racism as one of the few non-white students in his high school. In an incident, a teacher used a racial slur in class while referring to California’s border checkpoint, leaving De La Rocha silenced and outraged. This moment spurred him to vow that he would never stay silent when he eventually formed a band, a promise he fulfilled through his impactful music career.
Tim Commerford Once Tore Up a U.S. Flag
You might have heard of this one before since it was one of the breaking points for the band. During their appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1996, bassist Tim Commerford tore up a U.S. flag and entered guest host Steve Forbes’ dressing room, where he threw it at Forbes’ associates. This incident occurred after Rage Against the Machine’s planned two-song performance was interrupted because they had hung inverted American flags on their amplifiers.
Rage Appeared Naked on Stage
Well, it was for a cause. At Lollapalooza 1993, Rage appeared naked on stage, with only duct tape covering their mouths. The band stood in a silent act of defiance against the music industry’s submission to the strict and censorious standards imposed by the Parents Music Resource Center in 1985. This organization had pressured the Recording Industry Association of America to put Parental Advisory labels on nearly all albums.
Rage Also Appeared in Guantanamo Bay Clothes on Stage
This was also rather a similar issue. The band headlined the Main Stage at Reading Festival in 2008, and dressed as prisoners of war in matching boiler suits with bags covering their heads, the band took the stage and immediately launched into ‘Bombtrack’. Despite the restriction of their headwear, they were able to play flawlessly.
After finishing the song, the band returned in regular clothes to continue their set. During the performance, Rocha seized the moment to give a speech, condemning George Bush and Tony Blair and calling for them to be held accountable for alleged war crimes.
Rage Performed For Free to Celebrate Their Hit
When their hit ‘Killing in the Name’ topped the lists on Christmas, the band decided to celebrate it with a free show. The show took place in London’s Finsbury Park in 2010, and all 40,000 tickets were gone within three hours.