I’m listening to one of my favourite bands from the ’90s as I type this… Spending my teenage years in that decade, I was connected to alternative music and stumbled upon Rage Against the Machine. An influential band of the age, their music packs a punch from the lyrics to the big stadium sound. Zack de la Rocha’s politically-motivated writing is powerful and coupled with Tom Morello’s guitar, it has an explosive energy.
Below is a video of them playing one of their first public gigs at a college. If only the students knew how huge the band would become, having their Killing in the Name track become a cultural phenomenon and Wake Up immortalised in The Matrix OST!
I wasn’t fortunate enough to attend one of their live concerts but based on the music’s need for volume and the concert footage, it must have been sensational! That didn’t stop me from buying into the sound of Rage Against the Machine. They had a good run with Renegades of Funk, their self-titled album, Evil Empire and The Battle for Los Angeles.
My favourite album is the one that first hit my CD player featuring a picture of Thich Quang Duc, a monk who set himself alight in protest of the persecution of Buddhists on a busy Saigon road intersection. Summing up the raw energy, anger and power of Rage Against the Machine… the band was probably a decade or two ahead of their time.
Power riffs and pulsating beats, it comes crashing through and makes you want to move. I remember some of their tracks from this band being played at school socials. Listening to the band was an act of rebellion in its own right and kids gravitated to the kind of music that would stick it to the man.
Listening to Know Your Enemy off their album that plays like a best of… it’s full of life and headbanging intensity. Before this turns into an album review, it’s to say that music can inspire our writing. Right now talking about the band, the words are flowing freely…
Besides energising your writing and amplifying the mood, it has the ability to translate into an inherent emotional quality beneath everything. The right piece of music can really get the creative juices flowing and besides getting your body rocking, it has an explosive effect. Luckily I have a standing desk so I haven’t fallen off my “chair”!
Rage Against the Machine is an extreme choice, sure, but it’s what you think your writing is gravitating towards or what you think is going to unlock your next writing session. If you’re looking for inspiration, perhaps picking something that isn’t all that familiar will take your mind down different neural pathways. If you’re looking to get loud, outspoken, uncomfortably honest or pissed off, take a listen to Rage Against the Machine.