Rage Against The Machine
Signing to Epic' mostly on the reputation of their infamous live performances, Rage Against The Machine started up with Zack De La Rocha (vocals), Tom Morello (guitar), Timmy C. (Full Name: Tim Commerford; bass) and Brad Wilk (drums). The U.K. would be one of the first places to see them on a wholesale scale with the performance of Killing In The Name Of on the new defunct cult TV program yoof. The song formed the centerpiece of their eponymous 1993 debut album. The album was a revolutionary hybrid of hip-hop rhythms with monster riffing. The album made them come across as one seriously angry group of young men raging against all sorts of injustice, most noted being the American White influenced capitalist system (the machine for which they had rage - that same machine that was selling their records incidentally). Their winning formula was a good mix of Funk with anger in tracks like Bullet In The Head, Bombtrack and Know Your Enemy; tracks showing why they were winning over the copycats. The anger and political dissent experienced on the tracks was so convincing probably because of the influence of Morello whose father was a member of the Mau Mau (Kenyan Guerrillas who fought against British occupation), and his Uncle, Jomo Kenyatta, who was imprisoned but later became that county's President. La Rocha's father, on the other hand, was a noted L.A. muralist and political activist.
Their infamous live shows were now available to the public, one most noted incident was the group's Philadelphia show where they walked on stage buck naked with PMRC scrawled across their chests. Other sold out events would commence until 1996 when their next effort was launched.
1996's Evil Empire was less impressive by lacking the focus of its forefather, although it still hit U.S. #1 (4 U.K.). The cover art also failed to meet the previous' expectations of the first which featured a Buddhist Monk setting himself on fire to protest the Vietnam War. Nonetheless they were an apparent smash at that year's Reading Festival by almost upstaging the headliners the Prodigy. This was also the same time that saw Timmy C. change his name to Y.tim.K.
After a brief visit to the camp of electro-punks Essex for collaboration with Morello on their No Man Army track, Rage Against The Machine got working on the next album. It would be Guerrilla Radio, Mic Check and New Millennium Homes that highlighted their third effort The Battle Of Los Angeles (1999). The album immediately went to 1 in the U.S. but only 23 in the U.K. For a change, the follow-up Renegades (2000), did not take their usual three years to complete; the change in plan was due more to the album's contents that featured only covers of other act's works. The album, not surprisingly struggled on the charts in comparison to its predecessors making only 14 in the U.S. (71 U.K.).
The band was rumored to have broken up several times during their career but it was made official in the fall of 2000 when vocalist Zach De La Rocha left the group, citing a breakdown of communication amongst the band members. Even though the remaining three had committed to continue, as the focal point of the group his departure left the status of the band in question. The remaining three members would close up the shop then reform with ex-Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell in a new band, Audioslave (formerly Civilian).