Zack de la Rocha

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Zack de la Rocha
Zach de la Rocha at 2007 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.jpg
De la Rocha performing with Rage Against the Machine in April 2007
Background information
Birth nameZacharias Manuel de la Rocha
Born (1970-01-12) January 12, 1970 (age 49)
Long Beach, California, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Musician
  • rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
Instruments
Years active1988–present
Labels
Associated acts

Zacharias Manuel de la Rocha (born January 12, 1970) is an American musician and activist. He is best known as the vocalist and lyricist of rap metal/funk metal band Rage Against the Machine. [1] [2] He left Rage Against the Machine in October 2000 and embarked on a solo career, although the band reunited from 2007 to 2011. With former Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore, de la Rocha also co-founded One Day as a Lion in 2008.

Rap metal is a subgenre of rap rock and alternative metal music which combines hip hop with heavy metal. It usually consists of heavy metal guitar riffs, funk metal elements, rapped vocals and sometimes turntables.

Funk metal is a fusion genre of funk rock and alternative metal which infuses heavy metal music with elements of funk and punk rock. It was prevalent in the mainstream during the late 1980s and early 1990s, as part of the alternative metal movement. The genre has been described as a "brief but extremely media-hyped stylistic fad".

Rage Against the Machine American rock band

Rage Against the Machine is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California. Formed in 1991, the group consists of vocalist Zack de la Rocha, bassist and backing vocalist Tim Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello, and drummer Brad Wilk. Their songs express revolutionary political views. As of 2010, they had sold over 16 million records worldwide.

Contents

Early life

Zacharias Manuel de la Rocha was born in Long Beach, California, on January 12, 1970, to a Mexican-American father [3] (the artist Robert "Beto" de la Rocha, born 1937) [4] [5] and a mother of German and Irish origin, Olivia Lorryne Carter (born 1941). [4] [6] [7] His father was of partial Sephardic Jewish descent and played an integral part in his cultural upbringing. Beto was a muralist and a member of Los Four, the first Chicano art collective to be exhibited at a museum (LACMA, 1973). De la Rocha's paternal grandfather, Isaac de la Rocha Beltrán (19101985), [8] was a Mexican revolutionary [9] who fought in the Mexican Revolution and worked as an agricultural labourer in the U.S. De la Rocha would later see the hardships his grandfather endured reflected in the struggles of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. [10]

Long Beach, California City in California, United States

Long Beach is a city on the Pacific Coast of the United States, within the Los Angeles metropolitan area of Southern California. As of 2010, its population was 462,257. It is the 39th most populous city in the United States and the 7th most populous in California. Long Beach is the second-largest city in the Los Angeles metropolitan area and the third largest in Southern California behind Los Angeles and San Diego. Long Beach is a charter city.

Robert de la Rocha American artist

Robert Isaac "Beto" de la Rocha is an American painter, graphic artist, and muralist. He was part of the Chicano art collective Los Four for a few years. De la Rocha was also influential in reestablishing the traditional Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead in Los Angeles. He is the father of Rage Against the Machine vocalist and lyricist Zack de la Rocha.

Germans citizens or native-born people of Germany; or people of descent to the ethnic and ethnolinguistic group associated with the German language

Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe, who share a common German ancestry, culture and history. German is the shared mother tongue of a substantial majority of ethnic Germans.

De la Rocha's parents divorced when he was six years old, and he moved from East Los Angeles to Irvine with his mother, who attended the University of California at Irvine and ultimately earned a Ph.D. in anthropology. [11] De la Rocha later described Irvine as "one of the most racist cities imaginable" and said that "if you were a Mexican in Irvine, you were there because you had a broom or a hammer in your left hand". [12] De la Rocha became a vegetarian as a teenager.[ citation needed ]

East Los Angeles, California Unincorporated area in California, United States

East Los Angeles, or East L.A., is an unincorporated area in Los Angeles County, California. It is 97% Latino—the highest percentage of any neighborhood in Los Angeles County, and the highest of any census-designated place (CDP) in the country with a population of 100,000 or more.

Irvine, California Charter City in California, United States

Irvine is a master-planned city in Orange County, California, United States in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The Irvine Company started developing the area in the 1960s and the city was formally incorporated on December 28, 1971. The 66-square-mile (170 km2) city had a population of 212,375 as of the 2010 census; in 2018 the California Department of Finance estimated the city's population at 276,176.

Racism race or ethnic-based discrimination

Racism is the belief in the superiority of one race over another, which often results in discrimination and prejudice towards people based on their race or ethnicity. The use of the term "racism" does not easily fall under a single definition.

Musical career

Early career

De la Rocha met Tim Commerford in elementary school, and in junior high school, they both played guitar in a band called Juvenile Expression. De la Rocha's interest in punk rock bands like The Clash, The Misfits, Sex Pistols, and Bad Religion turned into an appreciation for other bands like Minor Threat, Bad Brains, and The Teen Idles. In high school, he joined the straight edge band Hard Stance, which evolved into the hardcore band Inside Out around 1988 and gained a national underground following. The band released a single record, No Spiritual Surrender , on Revelation Records in 1990 before breaking up. De la Rocha later said that the band was "about completely detaching ourselves from society to see ourselves as ... as spirits, and not bowing down to a system that sees you as just another pebble on a beach. I channeled all my anger out through that band." [13] [14]

Tim Commerford American musician

Timothy Robert Commerford is an American musician, best known as the bassist and backing vocalist for the American funk metal band Rage Against the Machine, supergroups Audioslave and Prophets of Rage (2016–present). Since 2013 and 2015, he has also been the lead singer and bassist of the bands Future User and WAKRAT.

Punk rock is a rock music genre that developed in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. Punk bands typically produced short or fast-paced songs, with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels and other informal channels.

The Clash British punk rock band

The Clash were an English rock band formed in London in 1976 as a key player in the original wave of British punk rock. They have also contributed to the post-punk and new wave movements that emerged in the wake of punk and employed elements of a variety of genres including reggae, dub, funk, ska and rockabilly. For most of their recording career, the Clash consisted of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Joe Strummer, lead guitarist and lead vocalist Mick Jones, bassist Paul Simonon, and drummer Nicky "Topper" Headon. Headon left the group in 1982, and internal friction led to Jones' departure the following year. The group continued with new members, but finally disbanded in early 1986.

Rage Against the Machine

De la Rocha performing live Zack De La Rocha CIW Rally.jpg
De la Rocha performing live

Following the dissolution of Inside Out in 1991, de la Rocha embraced hip hop and began freestyling at local clubs, at one of which he was approached by former Lock Up guitarist Tom Morello, who was impressed by de la Rocha's lyrics, and convinced him to form a band. Morello recruited former Greta drummer Brad Wilk–who had previously auditioned for Lock Up before that band's dissolution earlier that same year–and de la Rocha recruited his former Juvenile Expression bandmate, Tim Commerford, to play bass. The band was named for an unreleased Inside Out song, Rage Against the Machine.

Hip hop subculture including music, dance and graffiti

Hip Hop or Hip-Hop, is a culture and art movement that began in the Bronx in New York City during the late 1970s. The origins of the word are often disputed. It is also argued as to whether Hip Hop started in the South or West Bronx. While the term hip hop is often used to refer exclusively to hip hop music, hip hop is characterized by nine elements, of which only four elements are considered essential to understand hip hop musically. The main elements of hip hop consist of four main pillars. Afrika Bambaataa of the hip hop collective Zulu Nation outlined the pillars of hip hop culture, coining the terms: "rapping", a rhythmic vocal rhyming style (orality); DJing, which is making music with record players and DJ mixers ; b-boying/b-girling/breakdancing (movement/dance); and graffiti art. Other elements of hip hop subculture and arts movements beyond the main four are: hip hop culture and historical knowledge of the movement (intellectual/philosophical); beatboxing, a percussive vocal style; street entrepreneurship; hip hop language; and hip hop fashion and style, among others. The fifth element is commonly considered either street knowledge, hip hop fashion, or beatboxing; however, it is often debated.

Lock Up was a rock band that featured Tom Morello on guitar before Rage Against the Machine was formed.

Tom Morello American guitarist and singer-songwriter

Thomas Baptiste Morello is an American musician, singer, songwriter, actor and political activist. He is best known for his tenure with the band Rage Against the Machine and then with Audioslave. As of 2019, Morello is a member of the supergroup Prophets of Rage. Morello was also a touring musician with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. He is also known for his acoustic solo act, the Nightwatchman, and Street Sweeper Social Club. Morello also co-founded Axis of Justice, which airs a monthly program on Pacifica Radio station KPFK in Los Angeles.

Rage Against the Machine was on the main stage at Lollapalooza by 1993 and was one of the most politically charged bands ever to receive extensive airplay from radio and MTV [ citation needed ]. Rage's second and third albums peaked at number one in the United States, but did not result in the political action de la Rocha had hoped for. He became increasingly restless and undertook collaborations with artists such as KRS-One, Chuck D, and Public Enemy. He left Rage Against the Machine in October 2000, citing "creative differences," at which time he issued a statement saying: "it was necessary to leave Rage because our decision-making process has completely failed", [15] in reference to the disagreement over the release of Renegades. The other members of the band sought out separate management and secured the immediate release of Renegades. After searching for a replacement for de la Rocha, the other members of Rage joined Chris Cornell of Soundgarden to form Audioslave. [16]

Lollapalooza music festival in the United States

Lollapalooza is an annual 4-day music festival based in Chicago, Illinois at Grant Park. Performances include but are not limited to alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock, hip hop, and electronic music. Lollapalooza has also provided a platform for non-profit and political groups and various visual artists. The music festival hosts more than 160,000 people each year.

MTV American pay television channel

MTV is an American pay television channel owned by Viacom Media Networks and headquartered in New York City. The channel was launched on August 1, 1981, and originally aired music videos as guided by television personalities known as "video jockeys" (VJs). At first, MTV's main target demographic was young adults, but today it is primarily teenagers, particularly high school and college students.

Solo career

Zack de la Rocha on stage with Rage Against the Machine in 2007 Go At it Now!.jpg
Zack de la Rocha on stage with Rage Against the Machine in 2007

Following the disbandment of Rage Against the Machine, de la Rocha worked on a solo album he had been recording since before the band's dissolution, working with DJ Shadow, El-P, Muggs, Dan The Automator, Roni Size, DJ Premier and Questlove with production partner James Poyser. [17] The album never came to fruition, and de la Rocha started a new collaboration with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, in which around 20 tracks were produced. [18] Reznor thought the work was "excellent", [18] but said the songs will likely never be released as de la Rocha was not "ready to make a record" at that time. [19] On working with DJ Shadow and Reznor, de la Rocha admitted in a 2008 interview that:

When I left Rage ... first off, I was very heartbroken, and secondly, I became obsessed with completely reinventing my wheel. In an unhealthy way, to a degree. I kind of forgot that old way of allowing yourself to just be a conduit. When I was working with Trent and Shadow, I felt that I was going through the motions. Not that what was produced wasn't great, but I feel now that I've maybe reinvented the base sounds that emanate from the songs. [20]

In 2000, de la Rocha appeared on the song "Centre of the Storm", from the Roni Size/Reprazent album In The Mode, [21] while in 2002, he appeared in a minor role in the first part of the Blackalicious song "Release" on the album Blazing Arrow . [22] A new collaboration between de la Rocha and DJ Shadow, the song "March of Death" was released for free online in 2003 in protest against the imminent invasion of Iraq. As part of the collaboration de la Rocha released a statement which included the following:

Lies, sanctions, and cruise missiles have never created a free and just society. Only everyday people can do that, which is why I'm joining the millions world wide who have stood up to oppose the Bush administration's attempt to expand the U.S. empire at the expense of human rights at home and abroad. In this spirit I'm releasing this song for anyone who is willing to listen. I hope it not only makes us think, but also inspires us to act and raise our voices. [23]

The 2004 soundtrack Songs and Artists that Inspired Fahrenheit 9/11 included one of the collaborations with Reznor, "We Want It All". [18] This album also contained "No One Left", the debut recording by former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello as The Nightwatchman. On October 7, 2005, de la Rocha returned to the stage with new material, performing with Son Jarocho band Son de Madera. He later spoke as MC and again performed with Son de Madera at the November 22 Concert at the Farm, a benefit concert for the South Central Farmers. He sang and played the jarana with the band, and performed his own new original material, including the song "Sea of Dead Hands". [24] On September 8, 2016, it was reported that de la Rocha's first solo album was complete and would be released in early 2017. The news came with a new song, produced by El-P, called "Digging for Windows" that was released on YouTube and BitTorrent. [25] However, to date, the album remains unreleased with no further announcements made.

Rage Against the Machine reunion

De la Rocha performing with Rage Against the Machine at Coachella 2007 RATM at Coachella.jpg
De la Rocha performing with Rage Against the Machine at Coachella 2007

Rumors that Rage Against the Machine could reunite at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival were circulating in mid-January 2007 and were confirmed on January 22. [26] The band was confirmed to be headlining the final day of Coachella 2007. Rage Against the Machine, as a full band, headlined the final day of the 2007 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 29. The band played in front of a Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) backdrop to the largest crowds of the festival. The performance was initially thought to be a one-off, but this turned out not to be the case. The band played 7 more shows in the United States in 2007, and in January 2008, they played their first shows outside the US as part of the Big Day Out Festival in Australia and New Zealand. The band continued to tour around the world, headlining many large festivals in Europe and the United States, including Lollapalooza in Chicago and the Reading and Leeds Festivals. In a 2008 interview, de la Rocha said this of the relationship between him, Commerford, Wilk and Morello:

So much has changed. When you get older, you look back on tensions and grievances and have another perspective on it. I think our relationship now is better than it's ever been. I would even describe it as great. We're going to keep playing shows – we have a couple of big ones happening in front of both conventions. As far as us recording music in the future, I don't know where we all fit with that. We've all embraced each other's projects and support them, and that's great. [20]

Later in 2011, de la Rocha and the rest of Rage Against the Machine reunited for one final show, headlining, LA Rising July 30, 2011. The show was a great success, filling the LA Coliseum. The band has not played together since.

One Day as a Lion

In 2008, de la Rocha and former Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore formed One Day as a Lion. They later added Joey Karam of The Locust on keyboards for their live shows. The group combines rock drumming, electro keyboards, and hip-hop vocals. De la Rocha played keyboards as well as providing vocals, with Theodore on the drums for their self-titled EP. The band's name derives from a black and white graffiti photograph taken by Chicano photographer George Rodriguez in 1970 with a caption reading: "It's better to live one day as a lion, than a thousand years as a lamb". [27] This comes from a minatory slogan popular during the 1930s in Fascist Italy, "Better one day as a lion than a hundred days as a sheep." [28] The saying is an allusion to Psalms 84:10, "Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere." They released their debut EP, One Day as a Lion , on July 22, 2008.

Activism

De la Rocha advocates in favor of Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and the Zapatista (EZLN) movement in Mexico. He spoke on the floor of the UN, testifying against the United States and its treatment of Abu-Jamal. De la Rocha has been particularly outspoken on the cause of the EZLN. He explained the importance of the cause to him personally.

Zack's Chicano identity informed his band's commitment to the struggles of immigrants, people of color, and the Zapatistas. He renamed the People's Resource Center in Highland Park the Centro de Regeneracion. There, many of the same artists and activists who had participated in the struggle over the Peace and Justice Center maintained their commitment to providing youth a space for cultural expression and training. Along with music workshops and the development of Radio Clandestina, Centro members also organized graffiti workshops and youth film festivals. Although the Centro lasted only two years, it was an important space in the ongoing institutionalization of the community politics, cultural practices, and social networks of the Eastside scene in the nineties.

The EZLN and de la Rocha's experiences with them inspired the songs "People of the Sun", "Wind Below" and "Without a Face" from Evil Empire , [29] and "War Within a Breath" from The Battle of Los Angeles . Zack de la Rocha asked their record label, Epic Records, for $30,000 to donate to the EZLN. [30] It is not known if they complied. The EZLN flag has been used as a stage backdrop at all of the band's shows since their reunion in April, 2007. On his post-Rage political music, de la Rocha admitted that it was near impossible for him to draw the line between politics and music.

On April 14, 2007, Morello and de la Rocha reunited on-stage early to perform a brief acoustic set at House of Blues in Chicago at the rally for fair food with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). Morello described the event as "very exciting for everybody in the room, myself included". At Rage's first reunion show, de la Rocha made a speech during "Wake Up" in which de la Rocha called numerous American presidents war criminals, citing a statement by Noam Chomsky regarding the Nuremberg Principles. [31]

Discography

Hard Stance

De la Rocha played guitar on the following albums:

Inside Out

De la Rocha credited for vocals:

Rage Against the Machine

De la Rocha credited for vocals:

One Day as a Lion

De la Rocha credited for vocals and keyboards:

Solo and collaborations

Related Research Articles

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Audioslave American band

Audioslave was an American rock supergroup formed in Los Angeles in 2001. The four-piece band consisted of Soundgarden lead singer/rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell and Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk (drums). Critics first described Audioslave as a combination of Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine, but by the band's second album, Out of Exile, it was noted that they had established a separate identity. Audioslave's sound was created by blending 1970s hard rock with 1990s alternative rock. Moreover, Morello incorporated his well-known, unconventional guitar solos into the mix. As with Rage Against the Machine, the band prided themselves on the fact that all sounds on their albums were produced using only guitar, bass, drums, and vocals.

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Inside Out (band) hardcore punk band

Inside Out was a hardcore punk band from Orange County, California. It was fronted by Zack de la Rocha, later of Rage Against the Machine.

Brad Wilk American musician

Bradley J. Wilk is an American musician, actor, and activist. He is best known as the drummer of the rock bands Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, and Prophets of Rage (2016–present).

<i>Songs and Artists That Inspired Fahrenheit 9/11</i> 2004 compilation album

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Killing in the Name single

"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.

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People of the Sun 1996 single by Rage Against the Machine

"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".

"Wake Up" is a song by American rap metal band Rage Against the Machine. It is the seventh track from their self-titled debut album. While never released as a single, it remains a staple of their live shows and is usually played as the last song before the encore. It appeared in the feature film The Matrix, which increased the song's exposure.

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We Want It All

We Want It All is one of only two songs the Rage Against the Machine vocalist Zack de la Rocha released while the band was disbanded. Out of the twenty or so tracks which De La Rocha and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails collaborated on, this is the only track of those sessions which has been released. The song was produced by Reznor and was recorded at Nothing Studio in New Orleans in 2003. It was mixed by David Bianco at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles and mastered by Steve Marcussen.

One Day as a Lion is a power duo that was started in 2008 by Zack de la Rocha, the vocalist of Rage Against the Machine, and Jon Theodore, former drummer of The Mars Volta and current drummer of Queens of the Stone Age. The duo blends elements of rock and rap. One Day as a Lion released their eponymous debut EP in July 2008 on the Anti label.

<i>One Day as a Lion</i> (EP) extended play by One Day as a Lion

One Day as a Lion is the debut EP by One Day as a Lion, the musical duo consisting of Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha on vocals/keyboard and Jon Theodore, formerly of The Mars Volta, on drums. The mixing for the album was done by Mario C.

Tom Morello discography

This is the discography of Tom Morello, an American rock guitarist most known for his work with the bands Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, Street Sweeper Social Club and as his folk alter-ego The Nightwatchman. Morello started playing guitar in the mid 80's in the band Electric Sheep together with future Tool guitarist Adam Jones on bass. After graduating cum laude from Harvard University in 1986 with a BA in political science, he moved to Los Angeles, where he briefly worked as an aide to Senator Alan Cranston. Later Adam Jones moved to L.A. as well; Morello introduced Jones and Maynard James Keenan to Danny Carey, who would come to form the band Tool. In the late 80's Morello was recruited to replace original guitar player Mike Livingston in the rock band Lock Up, in 1986 the band released its only album Something Bitchin' This Way Comes. In 1991 Morello left Lock Up to start a new band, after being impressed by Zack de la Rocha freestyle rapping he invited him to join his band, he also drafted Brad Wilk who had previously auditioned as a drummer for Lock Up. After Zack convinced his childhood friend Tim Commerford to join as the band's bass player the line up was complete.

Political views and activism of Rage Against the Machine

Rage Against the Machine is a Grammy Award-winning rap metal band, formed in 1991 in Los Angeles, California, United States. The band's line-up consists of vocalist Zack de la Rocha, bassist and backing vocalist Tim Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello and drummer Brad Wilk. Critics have noted Rage Against the Machine for its "fiercely polemical music, which brewed sloganeering leftist rants against corporate America, cultural imperialism, and government oppression into a Molotov cocktail of punk, hip-hop, and thrash." Their lack of want for authority often relates to anarchism.

Wakrat

Wakrat is an American trio composed of Tim Commerford, Mathias Wakrat and Laurent Grangeon. The heavily alt-punk-influenced group released their eponymous debut album in 2016.

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Notes