Last time Prophets of Rage featured in The Big Issue they were playing gigs on LA’s Skid Row for homeless people and pledging to ‘Make America Rage Again’ in typically fierce response to the calamitous rise of Donald Trump. Since then we have watched natural disasters unfold, the rise of neo-Nazis and white supremacists bringing chaos to America’s streets, while the president is more interested in 140 characters than statesmanlike behaviour in the White House.
In the face of such political turmoil the resistance movement in the US is gathering momentum. And Prophets of Rage founder and axe god Tom Morello, the baseball cap-wearing, riff-emitting former Rage Against the Machine guitarist, says the band is needed now more than ever.
“When we have a crying man-baby running our country, it creates challenges, and dangerous times create a need for dangerous songs to change that,” he points out.
When we have a crying man-baby running our country, it creates challenges
If anyone has the rap metal mettle to tackle America’s troubled times it is Prophets of Rage: the supergroup meshes the angsty rap metal of RATM with the classic hip-hop vocal stylings of Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Cypress Hill’s B-Real and DJ Lord on the decks.
The six-piece – which also includes former Ragers Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk – formed last year as Trump’s presidential campaign unexpectedly began to look viable. “I saw a news article with the headline ‘Donald Trump Rages Against the Machine’ and I thought, ‘That is not exactly what we had in mind’,” explains the 53-year-old New York native. “So I sent out a snarky tweet about it but I realised that that was not enough, I needed to do more, so I called up some friends and told them we have a mission to create change amongst the mosh pit.”
The anti-Trump revolution failed. And you need only to look at song titles on Prophets of Rage’s new album – which hit the streets last week – like Unfuck The World, Counter Offensive or Strength in Numbers, to see how that result went down with Morello.