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Rage Against the Machine hold event to fight homelessness ... and Simon Cowell

Rage-against-the-machineIf Rage Against the Machine's live show on Wednesday is to be believed, the only societal plague as bad as homelessness is Simon Cowell.

The "American Idol" host was the villain of a rare get-together for the Los Angeles rock group. The audio was broadcast live on BBC "Radio 5 Live." A camera crew was also present, so expect footage to eventually show up online along with a possible DVD release.

The concert was to promote the band's single, "Killing in the Name" -- which is actually a song from 1992. In a good ol' British romp, Rage Against the Machine is pitting the 17-year-old track against a single by Joe McElderry, the Cowell-backed pop singer, for the title of Britain's No. 1 Christmas single.

Rage Against the Machine's merry battleground has mostly been on Facebook, where fans are rallying for "Killing in the Name." Bad news for McElderry, who won Cowell's "X Factor" British reality TV show -- his cutesy song is trailing.

Now, we get the whole benefiting homeless thing, and sure, Cowell is a twit, but what's the big deal?

Rage guitarist Tom Morello is publicly expressing his sickness of all the manufactured ballads and the dumbing down of popular music. Yeah, we get that junk in the States, too, old chap.

Venting about Cowell, the band's frontman Zach de la Rocha told NME, "He seems to have profited greatly off humiliating people on television and has a unique position of capturing the attention of people on television, but also the airwaves."

Paul McCartney, one of the biggest pop stars of all time and one who has appeared on that "X Factor" program, chimed in, saying, "It would be kind of funny if Rage Against the Machine got it, because it would prove a point."

Funny is right. We're going to grab a cup of tea, and watch merrily as the machine gets raged against.

-- Mark Milian

Photo: Kiko Huesca / EPA

Comments () | Archives (4)

The 'big deal' is that Tom and the chaps responded to a completely grass roots anti-XFactor movement in the UK that - without his knowledge - had co-opted Killing in the Name as their protest song of choice. When RATM realised the group had amassed 900,000 members and looked serious as hell, they graciously decided to send us a message of support in the shape of this impromtu gig, for which they had less than a day in my estimate to put together from knowing nothing about the cause. When they found out that we were also raising money for the homeless they did not hesitate in offering proceeds from the windfall generated to Shelter, the chosen charity.

We are extremely happy that they reacted so generously to our fight with this unrequested gesture. May I suggest that if you would like to get them to perform a similar gig in the states, you mobilise a million people to adopt a RATM track for a good cause.

I hope this clears up any questions about the motivation behind this extraordinary event and the endless generosity of spirit shown by the Rage boys.

Let's get serious here. RATM's label is Sony, the same label that Simon Cowell works under. RATM isn't raging against the machine, they're a cog in the machine. So even if RATM's track beats McElderry's in the Xmas race, Sony will be the ultimate winner. Sony's execs are laughing themselves silly over the whole thing.

I think it's worth noting that Rage Against The Machine did not start this campaign, rather it was a collection of RATM fans who started a Facebook group.

Morello wasn't aware of it until it began to build steam, at which point he offered his support, so it's not like Rage Against The Machine started to push one of their own songs just to make themselves more money, as was hinted at by the DVD comment in your second paragraph.

Finally, non x-factor single as British no. 1. Well done RAGE :D. Down with reality TV; It is trash.


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