Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello discussed the first time RATM debut their first ever songs to someone who worked near that rehearsal space.
Morello told Q on CBC, “I was surprised that we were ever even able to book a club gig! In 1991, there were no neo-Marxist, multi-ethnic, rap-punk-metal bands. There was zero… zero commercial ambition. The only goal was to make a cassette demo. I had had a record deal before, with a band that had more commercial leanings [called Lock-Up], and I knew that a record deal didn’t mean.
My life got worse – not better – when I had a record deal. So that didn’t matter and we just made music as a means of self-expression, with Zack’s [De La Rocha, vocals] tremendous lyrics and the band’s musical chemistry.
And that was it… I remember the first time anyone outside the four of us ever heard a note of our music. We were rehearsing at this industrial complex and this worker guy would pass by every once in a while. And he said, ‘What are you guys doing?’ I said, ‘We’re a band,’ and he said, ‘Can I listen?’
I was, like, ‘I suppose so…’ At the time, we only had a few songs together. So he sat down in our rehearsal room – he was the first guy to ever hear Rage Against The Machine – and we didn’t have a name or anything. And we played him a few songs, and as the cymbals die away at the end of the last song, I was like, ‘What do you think?’ And he stood up and he said, ‘Your music makes me wanna fight.’ [Laughs]
From the very first time that we performed in public, it was obvious that there was a connection to an audience that was very different than anything I’d ever been around.”
Rage Against The Machine are set to play live for the first time in 10 years in summer 2021, embarking on their largest tour since 2000. The reunion tour was set to take place in 2020, but was postponed due to the pandemic.