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Prophets of Rage’s Tim Commerford: ‘I Love the Challenge’ of Writing Music That Appeals to People Who May Not Agree With the Message

Kevin Winter, Getty Images
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Prophets of Rage are striking a chord. Following in the footsteps of Rage Against the Machine, the band is not one to shy away from addressing political or social issues in their music, and while their listeners may not always agree with the messages, the music is still getting through. During a recent chat with Loudwire Nights host Toni Gonzalez, bassist Tim Commerford spoke about the writing process and knowing that their ideology may not always be consistent with those who are listening.

Gonzalez asked Commerford if it was “mission accomplished” if they were able to have fans enjoy the music even if they don’t agree with the politics. The bassist replied, “Absolutely. It’s one thing to create music that your fans immediately love, but it’s another thing to create music that people who don’t agree with what you have to say dig. That really feels subversive and it feels like, ‘Okay, we’re getting to them,’ and I love that.”

The bassist continued, “I love that feeling of making music that, for example even the homeless issue; so many homeless people are veterans and, for the most part, veterans may not agree with what we’re saying and what we’re doing but here we are making a song that’s addressing a lot of veterans that are homeless. It feels really good to make music that people hate and that people love and that maybe people that hate it might love. I love the challenge. I keep telling people, it’s like if Prophets of Rage were a video game, we went to level of difficulty: extreme.”

One of the audiences that is hearing their music is the children of the band members. Commerford also spoke about being a role model not only for their own children, but others as well. “Our most important job is to be role models to our children. We’re in a situation right now where I wonder what the future will be like, but ultimately I want to be that role model and I’m really proud of the message that we’re putting out there and I love that my sons are exposed to it and that they get to question the things that they learn in school. When Zack [de la Rocha] and I were in school — we went to the same high school and junior high school — they weren’t teaching us about Latino culture or black history or anything like that and I learned that through listening to hip-hop music and ultimately became politicized by being in Rage Against the Machine and being around people like Tom and Zack. So, I’m really proud to do the same for my children.”

Ultimately, Commerford says the best thing that can happen is that people are moved by the information they’re getting from the band. He adds, “It’s just important not to be complacent and to always question authority and always realize that there’s strength in numbers.”

Prophets of Rage’s self-titled album is due Sept. 15.

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