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To read more about Episode 305, visit the main episode page.
[ MUSIC: “Sleep Now in the Fire” — Rage Against the Machine ]
Michael Moore [00:01:09] Yes, my friends, that is Rage Against the Machine. And I’m Michael Moore. You’re listening to Rumble with Michael Moore. This is my podcast. And we’re going to take a few moments tonight as Rage was just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a little over a month ago, and the acceptance speech given by Rage’s guitarist Tom Morello was one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard given in front of a microphone or from a stage. And I want to share it with you. So we’ll get to that in just a couple of minutes.
[00:01:47] In the meantime, I just want to let you know that I’ve been working on something here and hopefully I’ll have it ready in the next week or two. It’s about what we’ve all been filled with sorrow over. And anger. And rage. And that’s what’s going on in Gaza. A mass slaughter of as I’m recording this, over 17,000 people. Possibly upwards to half of them children. It happened and is happening at the hands of the Israeli army. Israeli citizens on October 7th were met with a slaughter in southern Israel by militants from Hamas, a Palestinian group who is committed to removing the 2.3 million Gazans from the large outdoor prison that has been created there by the Israeli government. It’s been a shocking thing to see. It’s been a very sad thing to witness. And it needs to stop. The slaughter needs to stop. Hamas does not need to kill anyone else. And the Israeli army does not need to try to wipe out the Palestinian people. This is just madness.
[00:03:21] So I’ve been working on something. I’ve been trying to figure this out on my own. Trying to come up with what we should do, what we can do, how we can bring this hate and the slaughter to an end. I think a lot of you, I hope, will appreciate the thinking that I’m putting together on this and to sort of answer the… everyday what we’re watching on the news, the sort of weird PR campaign that’s going on on one end, watching the president of our country — our country known as the bank, sends billions of dollars to Israel every year. The idea of that, I think, in the early years was to try and support and be there for the people that had faced their own slaughter, mass executions of the Holocaust back in the 1930s and 40s. And when the war was over, a desire amongst good people in the world to help the survivors of that madness. Somewhere we, everyone, others lost our way once again. And now it’s just… It’s just this. What we’re watching every night on the television.
[00:04:46] So, I hope you will look forward to this. It should be coming together here like I said, in the next week or so here on this podcast and also on my Substack. If you’re not signed up for my Substack, it’s free. Just go to MichaelMoore.com. You can sign up for it. No paywall. It’s all free. So do that if you can. But I’ll be letting you know about what’s coming here in the next week or so. And we’ll see maybe if I have a good idea or two that can bring this slaughter to an end and to stand up for the people who have not that many people standing up for them these days. So I hope you join with me in doing that.
[00:05:34] What we’re going to do today on the podcast is to play the acceptance speech from lead guitarist Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine as Rage was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a little over a month ago. I really want you to listen to this. It blew me away. As I watched him there on the stage say the things that don’t usually get said, speak directly to the people, the hard working people, the barely working people, the working poor of this country, of the world. Very few people take their side, and this band has done that for so many years. They have had some reunion concerts. You know, I think we all hope that they will get back together again someday. I became very good friends with them. I admire them greatly. They were inspiring to me. I ended up doing a, I don’t know, 2 or 3 music videos for them — “Sleep Now in the Fire” and “Testify” and… They were great to work with. You can Google them or get them on YouTube and watch them if you’d like. But man… Brave. Bold. Brash. You know, “take no prisoners” attitude to stand up and fight corporate America, to stand up and fight the military industrial complex, to fight racism and hatred, all forms of bigotry. They just put it right out there.
[00:07:25] And, you know, those of us who grew up in the ’60s and ’70s, you know, we had our protest music, as it was called back then, but there hasn’t really been a lot of that in subsequent generations. There’s been some of it and some of it has been outstanding. But Rage Against the Machine — wow. Four albums, that’s it. Four studio albums. Rage Against the Machine, their first one, Evil Empire, The Battle of Los Angeles and Renegades. Man. The unbelievable work on just those albums — and then they’re great tours. They’re live tours. The ones I attended were just mind blowing. One time they asked me to come up. I was in Detroit to introduce them on the stage before they came out. Oh, man. I mean to walk out on a stage and there’s like at least 25,000-30,000 people there and all the ones on the floor in a giant mosh pit and all kinds of stuff being thrown at the stage, it was… It was something I have never seen and have not seen since. And I was asked to speak at the counter inaugural, the protest against Trump’s election, the day after his inauguration in January of 2017, where everybody wore the pink hats and I couldn’t… You know, I’m standing on that stage down by the Capitol looking up to the Washington Monument — I can’t even see where the crowd ends. I know the earth is round, so at some point it does start to curve — well, at every point it curves, right? It’s a ball. So I really felt like, can I not see the horizon anymore? Because there’s just so many, you know, there were a million plus people at that. So I have had the privilege of seeing what that looks like, but 30,000 people at a Rage Against the Machine concert is its own thing, and I was lucky to be able to be part of that. Lucky to be able to make these music videos for them. They’re good souls. They’re still with us. They’re still making their own music. And I can’t wait to hear more of it. So to all of you who are part of this band — Zack de la Rocha, the incredible vocalist and lyricist, Brad Wilk, the drummer, Tim Commerford, the bass player, and Tom Morello, the guitarist. I hope you guys all know what an inspiration you’ve been to so many people. And we don’t want your voices to ever go silent. So please, a humble plea from all of us to keep that going, to keep testifying.
[00:10:34] So before we get to Tom Morello’s acceptance speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I’d like to thank our underwriter for today’s episode of Rumble with Michael Moore. Listeners of this podcast have heard me talk about Shopify for some time. They’re a long time supporter of my work here. And if you’ve got an idea for an online shop or a pop up shop, or maybe you’ve dreamed of opening your own storefront, Shopify can help you do that. Shopify, it’s the global commerce platform that supports its users at every stage of their business. Between their e-commerce platform, their in-person POS system and an endless list of integrations and third party apps, Shopify has got you covered from the moment you launch your online shop, to opening a brick and mortar store, to fulfilling your millionth order, Shopify is there to help you grow. Plus, and this is my favorite part, Shopify has an extensive help resource department to support you and help you succeed at every step of the way. This is why millions of entrepreneurs and small business people of every size across 175 countries use Shopify. In the United States alone, Shopify powers 10% of all e-commerce. So sign up, my friends, for a $1 per month trial period. That’s it. $1 per month trial period at shopify.com/rumble. Shopify.com/rumble — and make sure ‘rumble’ is in all lower case. Go to shopify.com/rumble now to grow your business no matter what stage you’re in. Shopify.com/rumble — all lowercase for rumble. Thank you so much Shopify for supporting my work.
[00:12:25] All right I think it’s time we turn this over to Mr. Tom Morello, lead guitar player and overall great guy, guru of the band. And again, this was just an amazing thing at the Barclays Center just a little over a month ago when Rage Against the Machine was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Tom Morello was there to accept the honor and to share it with all his fans. So without any further ado, let’s turn this over to Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine.
Tom Morello [00:13:07] My name is Tom Morello, and I’m one quarter of Rage Against the Machine. I am deeply grateful for the musical chemistry I’ve had the good fortune to share with Brad Wilk, Tim Commerford and Zack De la Rocha. Like most bands, we have differing perspectives on a lot of things, including about being inducted into the Rock Hall. My perspective is that tonight is a great opportunity to celebrate the music and the mission of the band, to celebrate with the fifth member of the band, and that is Rage Against the Machine’s incredible fans. You are the reason we are here. And the best way to celebrate this music is for you to carry on that mission and that message. The lesson I’ve learned from Rage fans is that music can change the world. Daily I hear from fans who have been affected by our music and in turn have affected the world in significant ways. Organizers, activists, public defenders, teachers, the presidents of Chile and Finland have all spent time in our mosh pit. When protest music is done right, you can hear a new world emerging in the songs skewering the oppressors of the day and hinting that there might be more to life than what was handed to us. Can music change the world? The whole fucking aim is to change the world or at a bare minimum to stir up a shitload of trouble. When Rage started, we rehearsed deep in the San Fernando Valley. This guy passed by our place regularly and one day asked, “What are you guys doing in there?” We said, “We’re a band.” He asked to hear us and we said, “Sure.” He came in, sat down. This was the first guy to ever hear the music of Rage Against the Machine. We played him a couple of songs. After we finished, we asked him what he thought. He paused, stood up and said, “Your music makes me want to fight.” Throughout history, the spark of rebellion has come from unexpected quarters — authors, economists, carpenters. But as Salvador Allende said, “There is no revolution without songs.” So who’s to say what musicians might or might not be able to achieve with revolutionary intent when the bouncing crowd makes the Richter scale shake?
[00:15:23] Personally, I’d like to thank my wife, Denise, and my kids who remind me daily that the world is worth fighting for. And thanks to all the musicians and changemakers who helped shape the band’s collective vision. Rage has also been fortunate to have so many talented coworkers and coconspirators who have believed in the band. From Michael Goldstone, the guy who signed us and insisted the first radio single be an unedited song featuring 17 cuss words, to the greatest guitar tech of all time, Slim Richardson, thank you. And thanks and deep appreciation to the hundreds of others — from those who put up fliers to those who have moved mountains to amplify the message and the music. What I hear in the music is this: that the world is not going to change itself. But throughout history, those who have changed the world in progressive, radical or even revolutionary ways do not have any more money, power, courage, intelligence or creativity than anyone watching tonight. The world’s changed by average, everyday, ordinary people who have had enough and are willing to stand up for a country and a planet that is more humane, peaceful and just. And that… And that is what I’m here to celebrate tonight.
Tom Morello [00:16:42] Fans often ask, “But what can I do?” Well, let’s start with these three things: 1. Dream big and don’t settle. 2. Aim for the world you really want without compromise or apology. And 3. Don’t wait for us. Rage is not here. But you are. The job we set out to do is not over. Now you’re the ones that must testify. If you’ve got a boss, join a union. If you’re a student, start an underground paper. If you’re an anarchist, throw a brick. If you’re a soldier or a cop. Follow your conscience, not your orders. If you’re bummed out, you didn’t get to see Rage Against the Machine, then form your own band, and let’s hear what you have to say. If you’re a human being, stand up for your planet before it’s too late.
[00:17:28] So tomorrow… So tomorrow crank up some Rage, and head out and confront injustice wherever it rears its ugly head. It’s time to change the world, brothers and sisters — or in a bare minimum, to stir up a shitload of trouble.
Unidentified [00:17:43] And finally… And finally, a special thanks… A special thanks to my mom, Mary Morello, a retired public high school teacher, a proud Rage Against the Machine fan and a lifelong radical who turned 100 years old a couple of weeks ago. She’s watching at home tonight, but she asked me to tell you this: History, like music, is not something that happens. It’s something you make. Thank you very much.
Michael Moore [00:18:22] Wow. Powerful. Man, oh, man, Wasn’t that just amazing? Share that with your friends, people you work with, people you go to school with. That just was one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard. It was just amazing. And as I said, Tom’s been a friend for a long time, a good soul, a great leader, and an overall shit-kicker and fighter for the good. I, we, all of us thank you, Tom and Brad and Tim and Zack for giving us that great decade of Rage Against the Machine, for what you’ve gone on to do since then in your various endeavors with Audioslave, with Tom and the Nightwatchman, and Zack with your solo work, your poetry, your activism — everything all of you have done, what you’ve stood and fought for, it’s been inspiring. And I know, like Tom said here in his speech, his main hope is that 1 or 2 or 20 of you listening to this right now decide that it’s your time, it’s your time to have your voice heard, to not be afraid. I can’t tell you how much I endorse this message. And my sincere hope that you don’t just sit back and say, “Oh, well, I mean, I would never get to have my music or my voice or my movie or whatever, heard or seen. I mean, I’m just me. I’m just sitting here in Wilmette, Illinois.” No. Nope. I’m going to tell you that’s the big lie. They want you to believe that you have no real power, that you have no ability or means by which to reach thousands or millions of other people. You do. You hold it right now in your hands. And I want to personally encourage you to make that voice heard. Do it.
[ MUSIC: “Sleep Now in the Fire” — Rage Against the Machine ]
[00:20:35] All right, I hear the band playing so I guess that’s my cue. Thank you, everybody, for listening to this show. Thank you to my executive producer and editor, Angela Vargos, to all the people who’ve helped me on this podcast and to all of you who listen to it. Much, much appreciation. Let’s go out now once again with Rage Against the Machine. Take care everyone.
[ MUSIC: “Sleep Now in the Fire” — Rage Against the Machine ]