It goes a-one, two, three: “Rage Against the Machine” turns 25

EpicTwenty-five years ago today, Rage Against the Machine introduced themselves with their self-titled debut album. Released November 3, 1992, the 10-track collection of political rap-metal fury has been certified three-times platinum, and is considered one of the most iconic albums of the ’90s.

No one is more surprised by that than bassist Tim Commerford. “[Twenty-five years ago] I would’ve laughed in [your] face and said, ‘Are you kidding me?'” he told ABC Radio.

Rage was formed in 1991 by Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello, drummer Brad Wilk and vocalist Zack de la Rocha. Arriving just as the grunge scene was exploding, Rage Against the Machine offered a different take on alternative rock with a combination of metal, funk, hip-hop and punk.

Body Count existed before that, and the Beastie Boys, and pretty much that was it,” Commerford recalled. “We were sort of at the forefront of a new style of music: rock n’ roll and rap. So there was a lot of fertile ideas.”

The anger of Rage’s music was matched in the anger of their politically-charged lyrics — take lead single “Killing in the Name” and its rallying cry: “F*** you, I won’t do what you tell me.”

“It’s not ‘sex, drugs and rock n’ roll’ for Rage, it really was ‘politics and rock n’ roll,’ that’s what it was,” Commerford said.

Rage released three more albums, 1996’s Evil Empire, 1999’s The Battle of Los Angeles, and the 2000 covers collection Renegades. De la Rocha departed in 2000, after which Commerford, Wilk and Morello formed Audioslave with Chris Cornell.

Rage reunited in 2007, but haven’t played a show since 2011. In 2016, Commerford, Wilk and Morello formed Prophets of Rage with rappers Chuck D and B-Real.

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