Watch Tom Morello’s Impassioned Speech at Rock Hall Induction
Introduced by Ice-T – who championed the band’s skill at making “music that provokes change” – Morello took the stage as Rage Against the Machine’s lone representative.
He began by acknowledging that “like most bands, we have differing perspectives on a lot of things, including about being inducted into the Rock Hall.” The guitarist went on to explain that his personal reason for attending was not just to celebrate Rage Against the Machine’s career, but also the band’s mission and fans.
“The lesson I’ve learned from Rage fans is that music can change the world. Daily, I hear from fans who’ve been affected by our music and in turn have affected our world in significant ways. Organizers, activists, public defenders, teachers, the presidents of Chile and Finland have all spent time in our mosh pit.”
“Can music change the world?” the rocker pondered moments later. “The whole fucking aim is to change the world. Or, at a bare minimum, to stir up a shitload of trouble.”
True to form, Morello later challenged fans to take action. “Rage is not here, but you are,” the guitarist declared. "The job we set out to do is not over. Now you’re the ones who must testify.”
The speech, which received multiple passionate rounds of applause, can be watched below.
Rage Against the Machine's Complicated Relationship With the Hall of Fame
Whether Rage Against the Machine would or wouldn’t attend the event was a topic of conversation up until the ceremony took place. The band – which had been nominated three previous times before finally earning enshrinement this year – remained mum regarding their plans.
For a famously anti-authority act like Rage Against the Machine, induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame presented a conflict of interests. This is the same band who protested Tipper Gore’s Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) in 1993 by taking the stage naked and induced a riot by performing outside of the Democratic National Convention in 2000. Establishments aren’t exactly their thing.
Still, prior to Rage Against the Machine’s induction, Morello expressed enthusiasm at the possibility of being honored alongside fellow groundbreaking musicians.
“I’m a big proponent of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” the guitarist noted to Rolling Stone before this year's class was announced. “I like the idea there’s somewhere on the planet that celebrates music.”
To that end, Morello believed his band deserved induction based on their body of work and incendiary live shows.
“An argument for Rage Against the Machine to get into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is that there has never been a band with politics that radical on the top of the charts,” he argued. “It’s not close. It’s not close. That is rarified air.”
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Gallery Credit: UCR Staff