Tom Morello accepted Rage Against the Machine’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction on his own last night (November 3).
The Los Angeles group were inducted at the ceremony in New York by Ice-T, but band members Zack de la Rocha, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk were not in attendance.
In his inductance speech, Ice-T said: “You can’t impress me with normal stuff. You gotta impress me with stuff like suing the U.S. State Department for using their music in Guantanamo Bay for torturing. Who does that? Rage Against the Machine does that.”
“Or how about 1993, pulling up at Lollapalooza butt naked with duct tape, protesting against the PRMC [Parents Music Resource Center]? Who does that? Rage Against the Machine does that. I respect the hell out of this band.”
Morello went on to give a politically motivated speech, after which he was seen backstage holding his trophy as well as a note that read, “Ceasefire”.
The singer opened his speech by referencing the frictions within the band that had arisen due to their induction. “Like most bands, we have differing perspectives on a lot of things, including being inducted into the Rock Hall,” he said.
“My perspective is that tonight is a great opportunity to celebrate the music and the mission of the band—to celebrate the fifth member of the band, which is Rage Against the Machine’s incredible fans. The only 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 learn from Rage fans is that music can change the world,” he continued. “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, 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 aim is to change the world or at a bare minimum, to stir up a shit load of trouble.”
“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’s changed by average, 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, and that is what I’m here to celebrate tonight.”
Last month, Morello called for the condemnation of harm to all children, “no matter who they are”, in reference to the ongoing crisis in Israel and Gaza. He continued, “WAR CRIMES committed by any person, any organization or any government (yours, mine, friend or foe) must be denounced and the responsible parties held accountable.”
In other Rage news, the band’s singer Zack de la Rocha joined Run the Jewels on stage in Los Angeles last month to perform a version of their collaboration, ‘Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)’.