Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Rage is Back For The Dough

Sometime at the end of 2000, the revolution of contradiction died. Rage Against The Machine called it quits.

It was a tragic breakup amongst my people, the performance art/activist set that prayed at the altar of Rage, went to the shows, bought the CD's, and uniformly yelled "Fuck You I Won't Do What You Tell Me" on command, whenever the crescendo to "Killing In The Name" blasted through the speaker, on the one, Mayan/Mexica. We dutifully raged along with the song, with absolutely no sense of irony.

Once the band broke up — my theory: the egos of lead singer Zach De La Rocha and lead guitarist Tom Morello were too huge to contain in one group —it was lights out for the movimiento. One that included college student activists and frat boys, Zapatistas and Marxists, united by a band who spewed anti-corporate messages while signed with one of the worlds largest conglamorates, Sony Music.

It was announded over the weekend that the band would re-unite for a one-time only gig at the Coachella Valley Music Festival in April. I was immediately excited. The revolution was reborn. We would all get one more chance to yell "Fuck You, I Won't Do What You Tell Me" at De La Rocha's command. Maybe now they'll impeach Bush and elect Hugo Chavez!

Or, maybe, just maybe, the lure of a huge payday for the band was too good to pass up. Morello, drummer Brad Wilk and bassist Tim Commerford achieved a large measure of success with their group Audioslave (led by singer Chris Cornell of Soundgarden fame). Meanwhile, De La Rocha has been playing in Jarocho garage bands and hanging out with Zapatista leader Subcommandante Marcos since the breakup.

It's hard not to consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, de la Rocha's getting back together with the band for financial reasons. When you get down to brass tax, the organizers of the three-day event stand to make millions upon millions on ticket sales alone. It's probably no thing for them to shell out a couple million to each band member.

That measure of doubt is the only thing that sullies my enthusiasm for the show. Don't get me wrong, I plan on being first online to buy tickets when they go on sale this weekend. I imagine the few single-day tickets for the Sunday show will sell-out in a few minutes. This is shaping up to be a monumental reunion.

I just sometimes wish the band wasn't seeped in so much obvious contradiction, even if it is justifiable. So what if de la Rocha is funneling money to the EZLN, or Morello is hooking up Mumia Abu Jamal's books in lock up. I can't help but wonder if this reunion is solely about the money.

Call it the "Mortgage Against the Machine" reunion.

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