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The time a small town booked a Rage Against the Machine show then shat its pants about it


 
Sometimes when I despair at the abject cluelessness and parochialism of local news “journalism,” I’m reminded that at least I live in a city, and could have WAY WORSE local news pickings were I to forsake easy access to museums and concert clubs for the quiet life. Take the small town of Spanish Fork, Utah. A quick jog south of Provo, it’s bisected by a Main Street that runs a whoppin’ five miles from its northern to southern borders, and with a roughly 10% Hispanic population, Spanish Fork doesn’t boast a whole lot of Spanish speakers. This is no bastion of urbanity, and of course that’s fine, not everyplace has to be.

But when their fairgrounds manager booked a Rage Against the Machine show, the residents and the local news all UTTERLY FLIPPED THEIR LIDS.

Local lore holds that the booking was made under the misapprehension that “Rage Against the Machine” was the name of a touring tractor-pull or monster truck rally. The fairgrounds manager and city manager both deny that in a City Weekly article published last year, but whatever the reason for the booking, hysteria ensued. A contemporary article in the LDS-owned Utah paper Deseret News reported thusly:

A rally at the city park organized by Shelley Matterson expressed some residents’ own rage against the booking of the group but acknowledged that fairgrounds manager Steve Money, who scheduled the band at the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds, did so in error. “He’s devastated,” said Ann Banks, daughter of Mayor Marie Huff. Banks said her mother had been subject to verbal attacks by residents who called the mayor, wondering how the controversial group could have been booked to appear there.

Most residents expressed fear that the group - known for its loud music and rough lyrics - was coming to Spanish Fork. Tash Johns urged the council in absentia to “take the bold stand and cancel the concert. We will stand behind them if they take this stand of courage,” she said.

Residents said they feared the lyrics that will be heard well beyond the fairground’s wooden fences as well as the rocker fans that would be there and the potential for injuries that one man who favors the concert said would likely result. Others expressed concern about lawsuits that could result if someone is killed or injured during the concert. They also fear a discrimination lawsuit if the concert is canceled.

Wouldn’t want the rocker fans to kill anyone now…

But that article is quite measured. It’s local TV news where out-of-touch bafflement and old-people paranoia really shine brightest. This news report was completely alarmist even though it was produced after the concert took place—and of course nothing bad happened except that a terrible rap-metal band that made “anti-establishment” “socialist” records to profit the international corporation Sony played its shitty high-fivin’ bro-down music. I kinda lost it a little at the remark about the “big city rock band.”
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Occupy Your Rage Against the Machine: Bill Moyers interviews Tom Morello


 
Bill Moyers continues to make astonishing television with his truly great new PBS series, Moyers and Company. It’s unmissable, the most intelligent hour of programming on American TV today, bar none.

In the latest episode, Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello—a man I have a lot of admiration for—joined Bill Moyers for a particularly moving and inspiring conversation. From the show’s website

Songs of social protest—music and the quest for justice—have long been intertwined, and the troubadours of troubling times—Guthrie, Seeger, Baez, Dylan, and Springsteen among them—have become famous for their dedication to both. Now we can add a name to the ranks of those who lift their voices for social and economic justice: Tom Morello.

Morello is the Harvard-educated guitarist who dabbled in politics, then chose rock music to make a difference. He played guitar for the popular band he co-founded—Rage Against the Machine—and then for Audioslave. Rolling Stone chose his album “World Wide Rebel Songs” as one of the best of 2011, and named him one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

As likely to be spotted at a grass-roots rally as he would at a concert hall, Morello was in Madison, Wisconsin last year, braving bitter winter weather to sing on the steps on the state capitol in support of public service workers. Morello defended their collective bargaining rights against Republican Governor Scott Walker.

He was in New York City at the May Day demonstrations, an honorary commander of a battalion of musicians they called the “Occupy Guitarmy.” That same night, Harry Belafonte presented Morello with the Officers’ Award from the Sidney Hillman Foundation, honoring his “advocacy for and support of working people across the world.”

Tom Morello shares his music, his message, and mission with Bill Moyers, who’s all ears.

Two badass motherfuckers in conversation….
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Destroy the music machine: ‘Remixing’ John Cage’s classic 4’33” on the way to a UK Xmas #1

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  Cage Against the Machine..‘4.33’ Mr. Scruff Remix! by Mr Scruff

Three silent cheers for Dave and Julie Hilliard! They’re the couple behind Cage Against the Machine, the grassroots Facebook effort to bring a new recording of composer John Cage’s famous “silent” piece 4’33” to #1 in the UK charts this Christmas over whichever bullshit song wins the UK TV pop contest X Factor this year.

The Hilliards named CATM in hat-tip to last year’s successful Facebook campaign to boost Rage Against the Machine’s raw 1992 tune “Killing in the Name” into the Christmas #1 over whatever crappy tune won the ’09 X Factor. This year, indie-ish artists like Imogen Heap, Fyfe Dangerfield, Scroobius Pip, The Kooks and Heaven 17 popped into the studio to not play their instruments, and the single will be released by the Wall of Sound label. And instead of one single charity, the proceeds from sales of the new 4’33” benefits FOUR. Factor that in, Simon Cowell, you tit-head.

The race to #1 starts December 13. Here’s where you can sign up for a reminder and chart-eligible link to download the single.

Here’s an added plus: the wonderful conceptual flexibility behind 4’33” has allowed CATM to solicit remixes from both some innovative producers and you:

So go to it, give us a four minute thirty three second audio snapshot of your life. Record it on your phone, your Mac, PC, recorder, dictaphone, walkperson, whatever and share it here.

Check some out…
 

Latest tracks by RemixAgainstTheMachine

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment