Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Best Band Ever*

*according to me, at this moment, subject to change
let's continue with the revolutionary ideals of last night, shall we? Anyway today is the 40th anniversary of Ernesto Guevara's execution. Though he's known as Che after seeing the Motorcyle Diaries I think I like calling him Fuser more. Che was an inspiration to me, as he must be in order for me to hold onto my poser socialist revolutionary self image, the whole idea of taking off before medical school and seeing the truth about the injustice of the world, of being born to privilege and still turning your back on it, the beret, are all things that I'm still trying to attain. Plus the idea of him fomenting revolution in Africa as well as Latin America is really cool (and yeah I know all the horrible things he did in pursuit of revolution but let's not ruin a perfectly good narrative with gradiations of character and facts) When he was captured in Bolivia he was ordered to be executed because They did not want to give him a stage to espouse his beliefs and so he was killed and cleaned up and lain on a table to prove that both the man and his ideals had been killed.
Yeah about that...when the president of Bolivia comes to the site of his execution and proclaims his an inspiration, when he are venerated as a saint, if not messiah (though I'm sure the anti religious Che would love that), it is probably a sign that neither the man or his core values are dead. Though having his image plastered on any and everything it can be plastered on is like the sickest irony ever. And so in order to honor Che there was only one band that came to mind the only band that actually seems to believe in the ideals of Che (or at least as much as an american rock band who still sells merchandise can) and so Rage Against the Machine is the Best Band ever.*

I think I first heard or was first exposed to Rage (as the kids call them) when I was like 13 and Bulls on Parade exploded. There was a crew of kids at my middle school who I kind of labeled informally as the Rage crew, who skateboarded and smoked and were so into the music that they were trying to start a band called Rebel Against the System, or something similar. I mean I liked the band but not to that level- I think I was more drawn to the heaviness of the music and the rap cadence more than anything else (this was in kind of my angry/disaffected phase) but now when I read the lyrics you can see the message and knowledge that passed way over my head at the time, but are still shamefully relevant today when we spend hundreds of billions on war but our schools and infrastructure are crumbling and underfunded. From Bulls on Parade
Weapons not food, not homes, not shoes
Not need, just feed the war cannibal animal
I walk tha corner to tha rubble that used to be a library
Line up to tha mind cemetary now
What we don't know keeps tha contracts alive an movin'
They don't gotta burn tha books they just remove 'em
While arms warehouses fill as quick as tha cells
Rally round tha family, pockets full of shells

Bulls on Parade [download]
(and wow I don't think I've seen that video in like ten years) Anyway I got the album Evil Empire and I remember having it in my discman while my mom was trying to take me to LACMA or something (ah teenage years) I think People of the Sun was really big to me, with the references to the spanish genocide (conquest) of the indigenous people of the americas (and really resonants after Columbus day yesterday) and the california latino history that is taught in schools in L.A.
Check it, since 1516 minds attacked and overseen
Now crawl amidst the ruins of this empty dream
Wit their borders and boots on top of us
Pullin' knobs on the floor of their toxic metropolis
But how you gonna get what you need ta get?
Tha gut eaters, blood drenched get offensive like Tet
Tha fifth sun sets get back reclaim
Tha spirit of Cuahtemoc alive an untamed
Now face tha funk now blastin' out ya speaker, on tha one Maya, Mexica
That vulture came ta try and steal ya name
But now you got a gun, yeah this is for the people of the sun

People of the Sun [download]
and their song Vietnow was another favorite having one of my favorite lines ever " I'm a truth addict/ ah shit I got a head rush" and the chorus one of those mantras I tend to live by "fear is your only god."

Vietnow [download]
Their third album Battle of Los Angeles has some of my favorite songs ever (and i apologize if the already poor writing gets even worse now, i just snuck a sandwich and to be honest, as Trent Reznor said, I like the band but all of their songs kind of sound the same, and there was no real emotional subtlety to explore. Pure visceralness leads to me repeating "the lyrics make you think and the music is awesome, which makes it even cooler that all the sounds are made by guitar, bass guitar, drums and voice." so with that warning on with the slop.)
the usual Testify

and Guerilla Radio

(there really is no band that pumps me up the same way they do, where i want to throw a molotov cocktail just to start the revolution) to Mic Check (here's a performance from a benefit for Mumia Abu-Jamal)

Mic Check (once Hunting, Now Hunted) [download] it was just a tremenous album though their self titled debut is probably my favorite of all of them. I already wrote about Wake Up as a stuck in my head song of the day [download] and Killing in the Name just so intense as is everything else about them

This video for Freedom [download]

actually inspired me to vote for Leonard Peltier in the 2004 election ( I vote in california- it's not going red)But even after they broke up I still felt I had to support them, listening to Audioslave (until I couldn't stand it anymore) and waiting and still waiting) for Zack de la Rocha's solo album buoyed by the fact it had to be amazing, based on his work with KRS-One and Last Emperor on "C.I.A. (Criminals in Action)

I still don't understand how they could have broken up right before the time they were needed most. I mean if they were that angry and militant during the 90s and the Clinton Years I can't even imagine the level of Rage (pardon the pun) they would have reached over the last 6 years. It would have been pure fire...until they were shipped to Gitmo undoubtedly.
and so for all of those reasons plus the fact that my biggest regret (ok not really but still) was leaving the DNC protests in 2000 even though I knew they would be playing a free concert that night (which turned into a mini riot and I missed :( , and plus I love the socialist khaki and star style, Rage Against the Machine is the Best Band Ever*
and you can study the lyrics to and the knowledge in all of their songs here
including the lyrics to No Shelter off of the Godzilla Soundtrack Album


Cinema, simulated life, ill drama
Fourth reich culture, Americana
Chained to the dream they got ya searchin for
The thin line between entertainment and war
There'll be no shelter here!
The frontline is everywhere

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