Rage Against the Machine is an American rock band formed in 1991 in Los Angeles, California. Rage Against the Machine are notable for their innovative blend of alternative rock, punk rock, hip hop, heavy metal and funk as well as their politics and lyrics. Rage Against the Machine drew inspiration from early heavy metal instrumentation, as well as rap acts such as Afrika Bambaataa, Public Enemy and Urban Dance Squad.
In 1992, the band released its self-titled debut album, which became a commercial success, leading to a slot in the 1993 Lollapalooza. The band did not release a follow-up record until 1996, with Evil Empire. The band's third album The Battle of Los Angeles was released in 1999. During their initial nine year run, they became one of the most popular and influential political bands in contemporary music.
Shortly after breaking up in 2000, the band released the cover album Renegades. Zack de la Rocha started a low-key solo career; the rest of the band formed the rock supergroup Audioslave with Chris Cornell, former frontman of Soundgarden, which had disbanded in 1997. Audioslave disbanded in 2007, and in April of that year, Rage Against the Machine performed together for the first time in seven years at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The band has continued to perform at many live venues and festivals around the world since 2007.
In December 2009, a campaign was launched on Facebook by Jon and Tracy Morter which generated nationwide publicity and took the track "Killing in the Name" to the coveted Christmas Number One slot in the UK Singles Chart, which had been dominated for four consecutive years from 2005 by winners from the popular TV show The X Factor. Before the chart was announced on 20 December 2009 the Facebook group membership stood at over 950,000, and was acknowledged (and supported) by Tom Morello, Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Muse, Fightstar, NME, John Lydon, Bill Bailey, Lenny Henry, BBC Radio 1, Hadouken!, The Prodigy, Stereophonics, BBC Radio 5 Live, and even the 2004 X Factor winner Steve Brookstein, amongst numerous others. On the morning of 17 December, Rage Against the Machine played a slightly censored version of "Killing in the Name" live on Radio 5 Live, but four repeats of 'Fuck you I won't do what you tell me' were aired before the song was pulled. During the interview before the song they reiterated their support for the campaign and their intentions to support charity with the proceeds. The campaign was ultimately successful, and "Killing in the Name" became the number-one single in the UK for Christmas 2009. Rage's Zack de la Rocha spoke to BBC1 upon hearing the news, stating that:
"We're very very ecstatic and excited about the song reaching the number one spot. We want to thank everyone that participated in this incredible, organic, grass-roots campaign. It says more about the spontaneous action taken by young people throughout the UK to topple this very sterile pop monopoly. When young people decide to take action they can make what's seemingly impossible, possible."
The band also set a new record, achieving the biggest download sales total in a first week ever in the UK charts. De la Rocha also promised the band would perform a free concert in the UK sometime in 2010 to celebrate the achievement. True to their word, the band announced that they would be performing a free concert at Finsbury Park, London on the 6th June 2010. The concert, dubbed "The Rage Factor", gave away all the tickets by free photo registration to prevent touting over the weekend of the 13th and 14th of February followed by an online lottery on the 17th February. This proved to be overwhelmingly popular, with many users facing connection issues. The tickets were all allocated by 13:30 on the 17th.
In addition to the free gig at Finsbury Park Rage Against the Machine are set to headline European Festivals in June 2010 including the Download Festival at Donington Park, England, Rock am Ring and Rock im Park in Germany and Rock in Rio Madrid in Spain. They are also to perform in Ireland on 8th June and The Netherlands on 9th June.