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Rage Against The MachineRobin Harper

Watch Tom Morello Accept Rage Against The Machine’s Induction Into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame


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On what coincidentally serves as the 31st anniversary of their 3x multi-platinum 1992 landmark self-titled debut album, activist rap-metal innovators Rage Against The Machine have officially been inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. The group, who had previously been nominated four times, were inducted as part of a ceremony held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY tonight, November 03rd.

Musician/actor Ice-T introduced the outfit into the hall, who shared stories about his early exposure to the band while playing shows with his own group, Body Count. A video package highlighting Rage Against The Machine‘s career and accomplishments via archival interviews with the group’s lineup, along with praise from noted Rage Against The Machine fan, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, was shown ahead of the the award being presented.

Only the band’s guitarist Tom Morello was present to accept the award and delivered a rousing acceptance speech, which you can watch fan-filmed footage of below. Morello noted amid his speech that he and his bandmates had “differing perspectives” on being inducted into the hall. Unlike other artists inducted, there was no musical tribute or performance for Rage Against The Machine.

Morello‘s speech, as transcribed by Theprp.com, read as follows:

“My name is Tom Morello and I am 1/4th of Rage Against The Machine. I am deeply grateful for the musical chemistry I’ve had the good fortune to share with Brad Wilk, Tim Commerford & Zack de la Rocha. Like most bands, we have differing perspectives on a lot of things, including about being inducted into the Rock Hall.

My perspective, is that tonight is a great opportunity to celebrate the music and the mission of the band; to celebrate with the fifth member of the band, and that is Rage Against The Machine‘s incredible fans. You’re the reason we are here. And the best way to celebrate this music is for you to carry on that mission and that message.

The lesson I’ve learned from Rage fans is that music can change the world. Daily I hear from fans who have been affected by our music and in turn have affected the world in significant ways. Organizers, activists, public defenders, teachers [and] the presidents of Chile and Finland have all spent time in our mosh pit.

When protest music is done right, you can hear a new world emerging in the songs, skewering the oppressors of the day and hinting that there might be more to life than what was handed to us. Can music change the world? The whole fucking aim is to change the world. Or at the bare minimum, to stir up a shitload of trouble.

When Rage started we rehearsed deep in the San Fernando Valley. This guy passed by our place regularly and asked one day asked, ‘what are you guys doing in there?’ We said ‘we’re a band.’ He asked to hear us and we said ‘sure.’ He came in and sat down — the first guy to ever hear the music of Rage Against The Machine. We played him a couple songs. After we finished, we asked him what he thought.

He paused, stood up, and said ‘Your music makes me want to fight.’ Throughout history, the spark of rebellion has come from unexpected… Authors, economists, carpenters.

But as Salvador Allende said, ‘there is not revolution without songs.’ So who’s to say what musicians might or might not be able to achieve with revolutionary intent when the bouncing crowd makes the Richter scale shake. Personally I’d like to thank my wife Denise and my kids, who remind me daily that the world is worth fighting for. And thanks to all the musicians and changemakers who helped shape the band’s collective vision.

Rage has also been fortunate to have had many coworkers and co-conspirators who have believed in the band. From Michael Goldstone — the guy who signed us — and insisted the first Rage single be an unedited song featuring 17 cuss words, to the greatest guitar tech of all time, Slim Richardson, thank you.

And thanks and deep appreciation to the hundreds of others, from those who put up flyers, to those who have moved mountains to amplify the message and the music. What I hear in the music is this: that the world is not going to change itself.

But throughout history, those who have changed the world in progressive, radical or even revolutionary ways, did not have any more money, power, courage, intelligence or creativity than anyone watching tonight. The world is changed by everyday ordinary people who have had enough and are willing to stand up for a country and a planet that is more humane, peaceful and just.

And that is what I’m here to celebrate tonight. Fans often ask, ‘well what can I do?’ We’ll let’s start with these three things: 1. Dream big and don’t settle. 2. Aim for the world you really want without compromise or apology. And 3, don’t wait for us. Rage is not here, but you are. The job we set out to do is not over. Now you’re the ones that must testify.

If you got a boss, join a union. If you’re a student: start an underground newspaper. If you’re an anarchist: throw a brick. If you’re a soldier or a cop: follow your conscience, not your orders. If you’re bummed out you didn’t get to see Rage Against The Machine, then form your own band, and let’s hear what you have to say.

If you’re a human being, stand up for your planet before it’s too late. So tomorrow, crank up Rage and head out and confront injustice wherever it rears its ugly head. It’s time to change the world brothers and sisters, or at a bare minimum, stir up a shitload of trouble.

And finally, a special thanks to my mom, Mary Morello: a retired public high school teacher and proud Rage Against The Machine fan, and a lifelong radical who turned 100 years old a couple of weeks ago. She’s watching at home tonight, but she asked me to tell you this: history, like music, is not something that happens. It’s something you make. Thank you very much.”

Other entrants into the hall this year included:

  • Kate Bush
  • Sheryl Crow
  • Missy Elliott
  • George Michael
  • Willie Nelson
  • The Spinners

The ‘Musical Influence Award’ was given to DJ Kool Herc and Link Wray. This year’s recipients of the ‘Musical Exellence Award’ included Chaka Khan, Al Kooper and Bernie Taupin. Don Cornelius was posthumously inducted via the ‘Ahmet Ertegun Award’.

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