I read an article today about Thy Art Is Murder frontman CJ McMahon leaving the band. He left because he couldn’t spend most of the year on the road and make essentially less than minimum wage. This is a band that toured on the Mayhem Fest, just wrapped up a huge tour second name on a bill with Parkway Drive, and has close to five hundred thousand likes on Facebook. According to McMahon, all of that led to sixteen thousand dollars a year for he and his bandmates.
It’s a sad state of affairs for the music industry, and it led me to one thought: fuck, Rage Against the Machine.
Okay, maybe just fuck, Zach de la Rocha, but fuck ‘em all anyway.
I realize I need to explain this because one does not make friends by hating on Rage. Everyone loves Rage, right? The rebels who are fighting the system, fighting for the common man. Well, where are they?
The link may not jump out at you, but bare with me. Here are some facts. The band still loves making music; the band wanted to continue, so, they enlisted Chris Cornell and formed Audioslave. Tom Morello stated in an interview with Rolling Stone that if it were up to him, the band would release two albums a year. They still get together and jam.
The problem isn’t friction; the problem is Zach.
Now, let me ask you a question. If sixteen million Rage Against the Machine records hadn’t passed through record store registers, would he be sitting in his Hollywood mansion right now? If millions of fans hadn’t bought concert tickets and t-shirts, would Rage have produced more albums? What if Rage had been a mid-level band? What if they were Helmet or Filter, who sold enough to make a living, but still had to tour to avoid getting a day job? Would they be touring or delivering pizzas? Nah, there would be twelve Rage albums, and they’d still be touring.
Every year around this time people start speculating about the Heavy Montreal lineup. Every year people look at each other, hope in their eyes, and say wouldn’t it be awesome if they got Rage? Trust me, they get offered every year. But that’s the safety net isn’t it? I’m not condoning hacking or identity theft, but if someone bankrupts Zach, I guarantee you Rage will announce a world tour within days.
So, now I look at the man who claimed to be screaming and fighting for the common man. I see that he got rich off of them and didn’t see the need to create anymore. Maybe, social injustice has ceased? Haha, certainly not, and Donald Trump is knocking on the White House door, it can only get worse from here.
There is a whole generation of fans out there who will probably never get to see Rage live. They won’t know what it’s like to yell, “All of which are American dreams” over and over again with twenty-thousand other people. Sure, there are other musicians who’ve made their money and cashed out. But, none of them claimed to be what Rage did.
Listening to Rage now, listening to Zach’s screeches, it sounds insincere. I think of him today, I picture him sitting in his house in Hollywood, rolling down Rodeo with his top down, enjoying the warm California sun.
Fuck you, Zach de la Rocha, fuck you. I hope CJ McMahon and every other touring musician find you and kick you in the nuts.
Written By Richard Brunette
*edited by Danielle Kenedy