Today is the birthday of Brad Wilk, the hard-hitting drummer behind
Rage Against the Machine. Known for their highly political Marxist views as
well as their razor-edged mix of rock and rap, Rage Against the Machine
have been turning heads since their first performance in a friend's living
room in Orange County, California. The bandmates -- Wilk, singer Zack De La
Rocha, bassist Tim Bob and guitarist Tom Morello -- soon got together and
self-produced a 12-song demo, which sold more than 5,000 copies. They
signed with Epic not long after and released their major-label debut,
Rage Against the Machine, after winning support through some
second-stage performances at Lollapalooza in 1992.
The band also toured with House of Pain and returned to Lolla in
1993 -- this time in a protest to censorship which consisted of the
bandmates standing together, naked and silent, onstage for 25 minutes. Duct
tape letters on the band's chest spelled out P-M-R-C, which stands for Parental Music Resource Center. By the end of the year their video for "Freedom" was a mainstay of MTV's programming. Meanwhile, Rage had been supporting shows for Rock for Choice, the Freedom of Leonard Peltier, United Farm Workers and Para Los Ninos.
In the spring of 1996, the band released its second album, Evil
Empire, and released a single for "Bulls on Parade." They've been
touring practically nonstop since, including a summer tour with the Wu-Tang
Clan and Atari Teenage Riot. De La Rocha recently sprained his ankle during
his usual onstage antics, but the show has gone on. In addition, Morello
contributed a song to the Spawn soundtrack (working with Prodigy),
and the band's video for "People of the Sun" has been nominated for an MTV
Video Music Award.
Other birthdays: John Stewart, 58; Al Stewart, 52; Dean Ford
(Marmalade), 51; the late Freddie Mercury (Queen), who would have been 51;
Buddy Miles, 51; Loudon Wainwright III, 51; Dave "Clem" Clempson (Humble
Pie), 48; Dweezil Zappa, 28 and Lina Santiago, 19.