Year of tha Boomerang

“Year of tha Boomerang” is a song by the American political rap metal musical group Rage Against the Machine. It originally appeared in the film and on the soundtrack of Higher Learning in 1994. On the back of the soundtrack, the song is called “Year of the Boomerang”. Although the track was released as a promotional radio CD single, it was never given a domestic release.

“Year of the Boomerang” made its live debut at Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson, CA on April 29, 1994.

Tire Me

“Tire Me” is the 6th song from the album Evil Empire by Rage Against the Machine. Although “Tire Me” never had a music video, was never released on any media formats, and had no radio airplay, the song won a Grammy Award in 1997 for the Best Metal Performance.[1]

“Tire Me” made its live debut at Cal State in Carson, California on April 29, 1994, with slightly alternate lyrics than the final album version. At the Pinkpop Festival in 1994 before playing the song, Zack De La Rocha said it was written to celebrate the death of Richard Nixon.[citation needed]


“Vietnow” was the final single for Rage Against the Machine’s Evil Empire album. Officially it is only the third single from the album, as “Down Rodeo” was a promo release only.

The cover photograph of an elderly lady seen from the back, carrying a boombox radio and walking down a mountain was taken by the Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide in the Sonoran Desert in 1979. The original photograph is called “Mujer Ángel” and has also appeared in the black-and-white photography book Canto a la Realidad: Fotografia Latinoamericana, 1860-1993 as compiled by Erika Billeter.

The song’s lyrics concern right-wing AM radio shows, hosted by people such as Rush Limbaugh, Oliver North and Michael Reagan[citation needed]. The verse riffs bear a resemblance to “The Wanton Song” by Led Zeppelin, whom Tom Morello has cited as a major influence.

The lyrics “is all the world jails and churches”, are perhaps influenced by the works of American novelist James Baldwin. Baldwin’s 1953 novel Go Tell It on the Mountain includes the character Roy Grimes arguing with his mother and commenting, “You think that’s all that’s in the world is jails and churches?” At least one of James Baldwin’s books is contained on Rage Against the Machine’s Evil Empire liner notes.[1]

The line “Comin down like bats from Stacey Koon” is a reference to Sgt. Stacey Koon, one of the 4 LAPD policemen videotaped beating black motorist Rodney King in 1991. He and Laurence Powell were the only two convicted of the four.

The song made its live debut during the 1996 Big Day Out festival in Australia.

The song was covered by the hardcore punk band Stray From The Path in 2012.

The Ghost of Tom Joad (song)

“The Ghost of Tom Joad” is a folk rock song written by Bruce Springsteen. It is the title track to his eleventh studio album, released in 1995. The character Tom Joad, from John Steinbeck’s classic 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath, is mentioned in the title and narrative. Originally a quiet folk song, “The Ghost of Tom Joad” has also been recorded by Rage Against the Machine. Springsteen himself has performed the song in a variety of arrangements, including with the E Street Band, and a live recording featuring Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello as guest. In 2013, Springsteen subsequently re-recorded the track with Morello for his eighteenth studio album, High Hopes (2014).

Testify (Rage Against the Machine song)

“Testify” is a single by rap metal band Rage Against the Machine off their third studio album The Battle of Los Angeles.

The cover of the single was taken from the 1968 Olympics Black Power Salute. The song’s lyrics notably make reference to George Orwell’s novel 1984 through use of “The Party” slogan “Who controls the past (now), controls the future. Who controls the present (now), controls the past.” The song is a playable track on Rock Band 2.

Sleep Now in the Fire

“Sleep Now in the Fire” is the fifth track from the 1999 album The Battle of Los Angeles by the band Rage Against the Machine. It was released as a single in 1999. The song contains lyrics about greed, such as the conquest of Native Americans, Christopher Columbus’ voyage by Niña, the Pinta, and Santa Maria and U.S. slavery in the 19th century as well as criticism of actions taken by the U.S. government in wartime, including the bombing of Hiroshima and the use of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War.

Guitarist Tom Morello’s solo is also notable as he simply uses feedback from the amp, along with using his whammy bar to adjust the pitch of the feedback. By flicking his toggle switch on and off, he is able to create the high-pitched solo.

At the end of the song, a short sample of Korean artist Uhm Jung-hwa’s 1998 song Poison can be heard – it was accidentally captured from a local Korean radio station broadcast through Morello’s amplifier.[1]

People of the Sun

“People of the Sun” is the second single by American rap metal band Rage Against the Machine for their 1996 album Evil Empire. The song is about the Zapatista revolution. Lead vocalist Zack de la Rocha wrote the song after a visit to Chiapas in southern Mexico. “People of the Sun” also has a music video. It was nominated for a Best Hard Rock Performance Grammy in 1998, but it lost to The Smashing Pumpkins’ “The End Is the Beginning Is the End”.

The song has a wide variety of references, most notably the destruction of the Aztec empire by the Spanish (see the article Five suns) and the Zoot Suit Riots of Los Angeles in 1943. De La Rocha also refers to the last Aztecan Emperor Cuauhtémoc, who was tortured and eventually executed by the Spaniards.

The single artwork of the corn, sickle and ammunition belt is a 1927 photograph taken by Italian photographer Tina Modotti in Mexico.[1]

The final version of the song made its live debut on May 9, 1996, in Paris, France.

No Shelter

“No Shelter” is a politically charged song released by Rage Against the Machine in 1998 that was featured on the Godzilla soundtrack. It can also be found as a bonus track on the Australian and Japanese release of The Battle of Los Angeles in 1999. The song is about how the mass media distracts the public from more important issues in the world and manipulates people’s minds.

The song discusses consumerism and criticizes the feigned rebelliousness of teenaged consumerism, mentioning Nike and Coca-Cola particularly. Its central theme, however, is media control over public sentiment. In particular it attacks the historical inaccuracy of Steven Spielberg’s film Amistad.

Know Your Enemy (Rage Against the Machine song)

“Know Your Enemy” is a song by the American rap metal band Rage Against the Machine. It features Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan on vocals during the bridge section.[1] The Allmusic describes the song as “immediately memorable” and “surprisingly straightforward”,[2] while music critic Joel McIver cited it as “a standout track” of the album.[3]

The song is in common time. The song’s intro, in a moderate tempo of 84 BPM, makes use of Tom Morello’s toggle switch to switch between a pickup that is turned off, and one that is on, creating a tremolo effect. Morello’s effect is to imitate 70’s classic rock synthesizer sounds.[4] This is accompanied by Tim Commerford’s slap bass, making this the only other track on the album to use the technique besides “Take the Power Back”. After this, it starts up in a faster, punk-ish riff at a tempo of 114 which has been compared to Edgar Winter Group’s “Frankenstein”, providing yet another link to classic rock.[5] This then leads into the verse, another fast paced riff centered upon the bass. Both the main and secondary riffs were written by Timmy C on an acoustic bass. The song is in the key of F# minor. The chorus then returns to the original riff again, and then returns to the verse. Then, the song goes into a slower, 4/4 beat with palm muted guitar, background percussion by Stephen Perkins and the trance-like vocals of Maynard James Keenan performing his famous words (“I’ve got no patience now/so sick of complacence now/sick of you/time has come to pay”, 34 words including repeated lines). It was planned that Perkins’ Jane’s Addiction bandmate Perry Farrell would be doing the section but was absent leading to Maynard as his replacement on short notice.[6] All is brought to an end by Tom Morello’s guitar solo using the DigiTech Whammy pedal and toggle switch until the tempo slows down dramatically with a false ending. The guitar chord dissolves on a sludgy note resemblant of the intro to Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man”.[citation needed] It goes back to the verse riff with Zack speaking the line “All of which are American dreams” eight times, finishing well after the band stops playing.

Killing in the Name

“Killing in The Name” is a song by American rap metal band Rage Against the Machine, featured on their self-titled debut album, and was released as the lead single from the album in November 1992. In 1993, the song peaked at number 25 in the United Kingdom. Written about revolution against institutional racism and police brutality, “Killing in The Name” is widely recognized as the band’s signature song, and has been noted for its distinctive guitar riffs and heavy use of profanity.

In 2009 the song was the focus of a successful Facebook campaign to prevent The X Factor winner’s song from gaining the Christmas number one in the United Kingdom for the fifth successive year. The campaign provoked commentary from both groups and other musicians, and gained coverage in both national and international press. The song became the first single to reach the Christmas number one spot on downloads alone. The campaign also spread to Ireland, and although less successful, it helped “Killing in the Name” become the Christmas number two in the Irish Charts. The campaign made the song the group’s highest charting single in either the UK or Ireland.

Guerrilla Radio

“Guerrilla Radio” is the second track from the 1999 album The Battle of Los Angeles by the band Rage Against the Machine. The band won the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance for this song. It has remained one of their signature tracks. “Guerrilla Radio” was also featured on the soundtracks for video games such as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, Madden NFL 10 and Guitar Hero Live, as well as being a downloadable track for the Rock Band series.

“Guerrilla Radio” was performed live on the Late Show with David Letterman in 1999. During the commercial break, “Bulls on Parade” was played and was re-joined in progress while the credits were playing. Letterman joked that “he hoped they (Rage Against the Machine) weren’t neglecting their school work”. The performance was controversial due to Zack de la Rocha giving the middle finger on live TV and wearing a “Free Mumia Abu-Jamal” T-shirt.

Freedom (Rage Against the Machine song)

“Freedom” is a song by American rap metal band Rage Against the Machine, released as the fourth and final single from their self-titled album in 1994.

“Freedom” was used in an episode of the MTV series Daria, entitled Quinn The Brain in 1998.

The video for “Freedom” was directed by Peter Christopherson and produced by Fiz Oliver at Squeak Pictures. It premiered on MTV’s 120 Minutes on December 19, 1993. According to CVC Broadcast & Cable Top 50 chart, “Freedom” was the Number 1 promo in January 1994.

The video is focused on the case for Leonard Peltier, who was one of the leaders of the American Indian Movement (AIM). The band is performing live in a small venue throughout the video. During the video, footage from the Peltier case is examined and detailed with shots of Peltier and other members of AIM. There is also a reenactment of what took place on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The footage of this reenactment is from Michael Apted’s 1992 documentary Incident at Oglala.

During most of the video quotes from Sitting Bull and general AIM information taken from Peter Matthiessen’s 1983 study of the Peltier case, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, scrolls along the bottom of the screen. The video ends with a picture of Peltier in prison and the phrase “justice has not been done”.

Down Rodeo

“Down Rodeo” was a promotional single by American rap metal band Rage Against the Machine sent out to various American radio stations. The song was intended as the third single from their Evil Empire album, although a domestic single was never released.

The song addresses social inequality between the rich and poor of America, and a literal type of class warfare. The lyrics of the opening verse, where the song gets its title, seem to represent a fantasy of committing or preparing for armed assault along Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California, one of the wealthiest shopping districts in the world: “So now I’m rollin’ down Rodeo with a shotgun, These people ain’t seen a brown skin man, Since their grandparents bought one”.

Another verse states: “Fuck the G-rides, I want the machines that are making them.” This is possibly a reference to workers’ self-management. Another interpretation relates to taking control of production (ownership of automobile factories) as opposed to passively participating in consumption (buying automobiles) and enriching the owners of the factories.

There is also a reference to Black Panther activist Fred Hampton: “They ain’t gonna send us campin’ like they did my man Fred Hampton.”

The song made its live debut at a secret show on April 19, 1996, at The Dragonfly in Los Angeles, California.

Calm Like a Bomb

“Calm Like a Bomb” is a song by American band Rage Against the Machine, off their third album The Battle of Los Angeles. Like their song “Tire Me” from the 1996 album Evil Empire, “Calm Like A Bomb” never had a music video or was released on any media formats. It did however, receive enough radio airplay to become an album favorite.

The artwork most commonly associated with the song is from a competition the band held for the then upcoming album The Battle of Los Angeles. Competing artists were given titles to put on their covers including “Agunzagun”, “Battle Hymns” and of course, “The Battle of Los Angeles”.[1] One of the titles was even a verse from “Calm Like A Bomb” – “The Riot Be The Rhyme Of The Unheard”.[2] Tom Morello eventually used the name “Battle Hymns” for a track on his debut album, One Man Revolution in 2007.

“Calm Like A Bomb” is notable as a display of guitarist Tom Morello’s creative use of a whammy pedal. Like many of RATM’s songs, the song’s lyrics discuss social inequalities. The song also features a reference to Emiliano Zapata. Tim Commerford uses a combination of a home-made overdrive pedal and the Jim Dunlop 105Q Bass Wah pedal on his bass throughout the song. In Rolling Stone magazine’s feature article this past year on the new “Guitar Heroes,” a section was printed about Tom Morello, and Calm Like a Bomb was cited as the prime example of his skill and fame on the guitar. He has occasionally referred to the extremely high whammy-pedal effects used in songs such as this as “pterodactyl sounds.”

“Calm Like A Bomb” made its live debut on June 11, 1999, at the K-Rock Dysfunctional Family Picnic in Wantagh, New York at Jones Beach Amphitheater.

It was prominently featured in the ending credits of The Matrix Reloaded and was also included in the film’s soundtrack.

Bulls on Parade

“Bulls on Parade” is a song released by American rap metal band Rage Against the Machine in 1996, and can be found on their 2nd album, Evil Empire.
The song is widely known for its popular guitar solo containing a vinyl scratch effect used by Tom Morello, done by toggling between two pickups – one on and one off – while rubbing his hands on the strings over the pickups to create the effect that someone is scratching a vinyl disc. “Bulls on Parade” is also known for one of Tim Commerford’s more famous bass solos, during the second wah-wah riff, and right before Morello’s guitar solo. Morello has also stated that the sound he was going for was a “sort of ‘Geto Boys’ sound, menacing”[1] with E♭ tuning and a wah-wah pedal to create a Los Angeles gangland-style riff.


Bullet in the Head (song)

Bullet in the Head is a song by American rap metal band Rage Against the Machine, released as the second single from their 1992 eponymous debut album. A fan favorite and one of the album’s heaviest tracks, “Bullet in the Head” refers to the band’s belief that the government uses media to control the population, drawing comparisons between typical residences and Alcatraz. The track was transferred intact from the band’s demo, also titled Rage Against the Machine.[1]

As well as one of the band’s most well known riffs, the song features many innovative guitar techniques by Tom Morello. These heavily use a DigiTech Whammy pitch shifter and wah-wah pedal. In the verses, Morello picks the open D and G strings on his guitar with the DigiTech Whammy in the open (furthest) position to raise the pitch by two octaves. This creates a ‘sampling’ sound. Not as often heard is an unusual sound believed to be Morello picking a natural harmonic on his guitar and then raising the pitch with the Whammy pitch shifter. The band debuted “Bullet in the Head” at their first public performance at California State University, Northridge in The Quad on October 23, 1991.[citation needed]

Both front and back images for the single’s artwork were by the French photographer Marc Riboud.[2]


“Bombtrack” is a song by American rap metal band Rage Against the Machine that opens their self-titled debut album. Like most of Rage Against the Machine’s songs, the song’s lyrics discuss social inequality, proclaiming that “landlords and power whores” were going to “burn”. The intro riff was composed by Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello when he was playing with the band Lock Up, and, upon hearing it, they told him it was too “heavy”. The song is one of three on the album in F# along with “Know Your Enemy” and “Fistful of Steel”. It is one of the band’s heaviest songs and incorporates subtle double kick flourishes which was rare for Brad Wilk. Impressed by their song, Rage Against the Machine named it Bombtrack in reference to hip hop terminology where the word ‘bomb’ means ‘the greatest’, making the song title literally mean ‘the greatest track’.

A music video was released, depicting support for the Peruvian Maoist guerrilla organization Sendero Luminoso and its leader Abimael Guzman. The video clip did not appear on the group’s first home video, citing Rage’s first altered political opinion. In 2003, the video finally appeared as bonus material on their Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium DVD.

The single artwork features Cuban photographer Alberto Korda’s famous image of Che Guevara, Guerrillero Heroico. A mirrored version of the iconic two-tone portrait by Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick, Guevara’s face is further doctored in a way reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s prints of Marilyn Monroe.[original research?]

Perhaps the song’s most notable appearance outside of the music industry would be its appearance in Oliver Stone’s controversial film Natural Born Killers, when Mickey breaks out of his prison cell in search of Mallory.

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