Opinion: Prophets Of Rage Translates to Profits More Than Actual Rage
Prophets of Rage. Photo: Courtesy of Artist/Facebook
We’re in a time in our nation’s history where we need an anthem, a slogan, and a face to place atop a savior for our financial woes. It felt like many of us saw Bernie Sanders as that face, but now that has changed, and honestly during this whole election cycle I kept thinking, “what we really need is some politically charged music.” Luckily for all of us, Tom Morello and the rest of Rage Against The Machine, aside from their lead singer, will join with Chuck D of Public Enemy and B-Real of Cypress Hill to be the face and the sound of a “revolution” with their new supergroup, Prophets of Rage. The image of a fist in the air and the catchy slogan “Make America Rage Again” looked like something worth sinking your teeth into until the truth unfolded… it’s just another cash grab. I mean, what’s disingenuous about a band playing arenas named after giant multinational corporations and fueled by the world’s largest booking company and ticketing outlet?
We should have known that something was up when it was revealed that RATM singer Zach de la Rocha wasn’t involved, or the fact that the announcement of the group came from the social media outlets of Rage Against The Machine. After RATM broke up, de la Rocha spent time helping out those less fortunate through activism around the US and beyond while Morello and crew started up that crappy Soundgarden Against The Machine band, Audioslave. While it is true that Morello and several of the RATM crew were politically active while in Rage Against The Machine, they haven’t been very political in the years leading up to the formation of this group. It’s hard to believe that the group behind tracks like “Take The Power Back,” “Know Your Enemy,” and “Voice of The Voiceless” would go along with this travesty of fraudulence. Sure, Chuck D is in the group as well, which actually adds some form of actual “rage” to the group, but is he really out to “Fight The Power” when he’s involved with those who control all of it? For some reason, the band also contains B-Real of Latin hip hop group, Cypress Hill. I guess you could argue that the weed themed imagery of Cypress Hill invokes some sort of “fighting the man” mentality; but you could also argue that it’s just an image that helps sell albums just like you’re forced to question the integrity of any of these guys now.
The details around the efforts of Prophets of Rage to offer up any form or “change” have yet to be seen. While the band wants to be applauded for offering tickets starting at $20 and donating a portion of the proceeds from each concert to a local homeless shelter, they’re also playing in arenas named for the same companies that have caused the financial upheaval that the band pretends to be against. While the band says they’ll protest the Republican National Convention, it doesn’t feel like much of a revolution when the band is set to perform at places named after giant companies like AT&T, Verizon, Xfinity, Gexa Energy, and banking institutions like Eagle Bank, PNC Bank, Barclays and BB&T.
Couple this with a tour that’s 100 percent owned by concert promotions company Live Nation, in arenas where the company exclusively books entertainment, through Ticketmaster ticketing which is owned by Live Nation as well; and the whole affair feels like a put on. If you visit the band’s website, the first two things you see on the landing page are the merch store and the tour dates, all with “easy purchase” links so you can help “fuel the revolution.” It’s a little infuriating that RATM lyrics like “Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me” have lost all meaning by donning a shirt being sold by a band that feels like they only have rage against the fact that they couldn’t figure out how to charge you more for everything. They’ve even gone so far as to pick a real politically based act as their direct support…. oh wait, no they didn’t, they chose the blue eyed electro pop of Awolnation.
The fact remains that if any of these guys actually wanted to make a change, any one of them could afford to throw D.I.Y. style shows in warehouses or pretty much anywhere they wanted to. Getting crowd control, staging, sound, and lights can’t be too difficult for a collective of entertainers who have spent a lifetime in the music and touring industry. They could go so far as to use Brown Paper tickets or any one of the other smaller ticketing companies like Eventbrite or TicketFly to do their ticketing, and they could then give proceeds to a candidate or a cause after taking a percentage for themselves after costs. That is if it felt like that’s what they wanted. But, Tom Morello is 52, Chuck D is almost 56, B-Real is 46, and it really doesn’t feel like they’re trying to change more than their tax brackets here. If you actually think that the revolution “will not be televised,” it’s only because these guys couldn’t work out a TV deal with one of the big three networks.
Of course, Houston won’t have to deal with the band playing a corporate named arena, because they’ll be playing at the Woodlands Pavilion. It’s worth noting that Woodlands based chemical company, Huntsman will be presenting the concert. Can you imagine the “rage” the “prophets” will have when they realize that Huntsman brought in over ten billion dollars in revenue last year alone? Or how much they’ll want everyone to “rage again” when they realize that it’s the same Huntsman that was founded by Jon Huntsman Sr, father to Republican Jon Huntsman, Jr.? You might remember Huntsman, Jr. as the Republican governor of Utah, the Republican appointed ambassador to Singapore, Republican appointed United States Trade Representative, and Republican presidential nominee. I sure hope that the “prophets” don’t cancel the concert due to all of the “rage” that this might cause. Though I’m sure they’ll worry more about the profits while channeling their rage for all of the dates, including Houston. You can catch Prophets of Rage when they perform at the Woodlands Pavilion on October 8th. Tickets for the all ages show are between $20 and $69.50, or up to $399 for the “Robin Hood Package” and if you attend you can help them “take the power back” all the way to the bank.