Rage Against The Machine's "Bullet In The Head"

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE  “Bullet In The Head”  b/w  “Darkness” (Epic Records #35-74927 promotional single, 1993)

Now-legendary L.A. alterna-agit-punk-rap-funk-metal-core alchemists Rage Against The Machine rose like a phoenix from the ashes of the eternally-youthful (and forever broke) late-’80’s Revelation Records leftist hardcore scene in ’92, signed to Epic Records, released a stellar multi-platinum debut LP, took their face-melting show on the road with Perry Farrell’s first Lollapalooza tour and never looked back.  Critics balked.  How could de la Rocha, Morello & Co. hold the machine in contempt, much less rage against it, while simultaneously massaging the giant American corporate schlong to wargasm by selling their souls to a major?

One word:  Platform.  The little toupeed, four-eyed midget spouting misinformed Biblical shit at the top of his lungs every Saturday from the town square sidewalk won’t get heard by anyone.  But the giant, towering behemoth on the big stage with the loud PA system and the pummelling electric guitar and thunderous bass will be heard by all.  At a time when students shelled out $20 for Che Guevara T-shirts, the RATM boys knew all too well that revolution sells.  Not only will it be televised, the networks will shuck for ad space.  The time was right.  Let’s get the word out.

Rage Against The Machine's self-titled 1992 debut LP

Married to Japanese corporate giant Sony, Epic Records (who over a decade earlier had begrudgingly released The Clash’s budget-priced 3-LP Socialist manifesto, Sandinista!) squeezed out this little promo 45 in ’93, probably to fan the flames of RATM’s blazing Lolla showcase.  Side A is their notorious smackdown, “Bullet In The Head” from ’92’s eponymous debut LP.  According to the sleeve art, the track clocks in at 4:67.  Very cute, guys.  Just close your eyes & smell the mosh pit.

Play \”Bullet In The Head\” by Rage Against The Machine

I probably should’ve warned you…these clips are full of F-Bombs.  But you knew that already, so hopefully you covered Junior’s ears.  (He hears nastier stuff daily on the playground, I assure you.)  Anyway, as great as “Bullet…” is, side B holds the real gem here with the non-LP “Darkness” (also known as “Darkness Of Greed”).  This soft/LOUD/soft showstopper later became widely available on a rarities comp, but for a brief and shining moment, I wore the crown of Mixtape King through mere possession of this promo.  Get your crowd-surf on…NOW!

Play \”Darkness\” by Rage Against The Machine

Since the days of this earth-shattering debut, RATM released more stunning LPs (including one of covers), got banned from this and censored from that, and broke up and reformed several times.  Tom Morello took his guitar pyrotechnics to the very successful Audioslave (as well as projects such as The Nightwatchman and Street Sweeper Social Club), while Zach de la Rocha’s long-talked-about collabs with ?uestlove and El-P never fully materialized.  But their style, sound, intensity and hands-on activism still remains as a heavy influence to today’s youngsters.  So I’m warning you, always keep one eye glued to the RATM website, ’cause you never know when or where they’ll turn up, amps cranked and fists raised.  And you won’t want to miss it.

NEXT WEEK: I cry tears in my coffee.