evilempire

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The mid-song speech is a lost art form. 20 years ago today at The Tibetan Freedom Concert, during “Bullet in the Head”. I’d say this is in the Top 5 RATM speeches. Even though this track was off the s/t, #evilempire era was thematically about creating a bridge between EZLN/the Zapatista movement and the growing voices of mass discontent in the US. This one cuts pretty ruthlessly. “Just for your personal attention, we would like to announce and make very clear that the U.S. government is starting another Vietnam in Southern Mexico. We would like to make this very clear to you because we believe, we strongly believe, that the media in the U.S. is blocking it from your attention. What they’re attempting to do is prevent you from getting involved here to prevent the death of millions of indigenous people who took up arms against the 65 year old dictatorship, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional de México. And at this moment in time, millions of indigenous people are being chased into the hillsides by armies fueled and funded by the U.S. government, by the Clinton administration, by William Perry, and all them fucking pigs up in Washington. And we feel that it’s important that we all understand that and know that, and that our action can stop it. So are you standing in line? Are you believing the lies? You bowing down to this flag? You got a bullet in your head….” #imisszdlr #zackdelarocha #rageagainstthemachine #ezln #zapatistas #subcomandantemarcos #tommorello #bradwilk #timcommerford #prophetsofrage #sendog #cypresshill #windbelow #yearoftheboomerang #peopleofthesun #bullsonparade

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Here’s what I know. I was tipped off about this at Repo Records last night and camped out front this morning.

Just a few years off the release of the self titled, Rage was expected to follow up w/something big and 1995 would turn out to be the make or break year. Not much is publicly known about what happened. Extensive touring from their inception in 91 thru 94 left them no time to write, Zack kept disappearing to host student trips to Chiapas, Mexico to be w/EZLN, and creative tensions were driving the band apart to the point where Sony locked the band up in a house in Atlanta figuring they’d emerge with a demo. Apparently the attempt failed and a breakup was imminent. Though some members deny it, it seems like that tension could have given Rage that intensity, similar to the dangerous Zack/Vic dynamic in Inside Out. But that’s just speculation on my part.

To my knowledge Rage only played ~5 shows in 95. As a lifelong collector of Rage bootlegs, I’ve always considered anything 95-era to be Holy Grail worthy. The only known video is a 7 sec clip on YouTube of Tire Me from June 17 at the KROQ Weenie Roast–Zack had cut off his dreads and was wearing a homemade “EZLN” raglan. Show recording legend, Joe Burns, recorded audio from the Dec 95 Mumia Benefit in DC, and an instrumental demo version of EE is on YouTube. I also tracked down and visited a former DIY space in LA, now a used furniture store, where Rage played one of those rare sets, hoping to see ghosts but instead only found dingy velvet loveseats.

#evilempire turns 20 this year. It’s more musically abrasive than s/t, lyrically abstract, and thematically tied to US-Mexican relations and the EZLN uprising. It’s a theme that would carry onto BOLA. It’s function was to build a bridge between voices of growing mass discontent in the US w/the struggle of indigenous farmers in Southern Mexico trying to retain their lands. If nothing else EE is the soundtrack to that bridge and this bootleg is an important document to its construction. For me, it opened a very heavy door when I was 10 that has remained torn off the hinges since.

#rageagainstthemachine #zackdelarocha #timcommerford @tommorello @bradwilk

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“They were the first band that really got me to stop and think and actually give a fuck.”
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#rageagainstthemachine #zackdelarocha #tommorello @tommorello #timcommerford #bradwilk #rapmetal #funkmetal #metal #alternative #alternativemusic #alternativemetal #heavymetal #metalhead #tattoos #tattooed #tattooedboy #cigarette #nyc #evilempire #politics #raprock #bandtee #bandshirt #musiclover #music #musicblog #fashion #fashionblog #vintage #vintagetshirt @thejustinhood

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