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De la Rocha: raging for 50 years

Zack de la Rocha, the charismatic singer from Rage Against the Machine, turns 50 today.

By Marc Zisman | Video of the Day | January 12, 2020

When he was born on January 12th 1970 in Long Beach, California, Zack de la Rocha came into an unusual kind of heritage. His father, the painter Robert Isaac “Beto” de la Rocha was a member of Los Four, the legendary Chicano artist’s collective active in the 1970s and 80s. Further still, his grandfather Isaac de la Rocha Beltrán, was a part of the Mexican revolution!

We would have to wait until 1992 to witness Zack’s own political engagement, with the release of his band Rage Against The Machine’s eponymous debut album.

The Californian band’s debut is a real assault on the senses, a sonic and verbal uppercut, carried by the anthem Killing In The Name, an anti-establishment, rock’n’roll war cry which may appear lowbrow on the surface but remains violently effective in rousing the masses. The album is paired with an iconic cover, a photo of a Buddhist monk self-immolating by fire to protest exactions of Ngo Dinh Diem’s regime in South Vietnam which was supported by the United States.

Zack de la Rocha’s punchy voice, Tom Morello’s unfaltering guitar and the elastic rhythms produced by Tim Commerford and Brad WilkRage Against The Machine came across a combination which is still as effective today.

Despite some features here and there, notably with Run The Jewels, we’re still waiting for Zack de la Rocha’s first solo album, promised since 2016… until then, we’ll look forward to Coachella this year, with Rage Against The Machine reuniting to headline the Friday slot!


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