How Rage Against the Machine Outsmarted Censors to Get ‘Freedom’ on TV

Rage Against the Machine are now rock hall qualified, but it took a little time and creativity before they hit their big break.

Many know that their self-titled debut album was released in 1992, but it wasn’t until the release of their fourth single, “Freedom” in the United States in 1994, that they were recognized by radio and television standards. We got a lot of airplay. However, while they eventually reached a mass audience, they were a little confused in the process.

In a new video for the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (see below), shared by Spin, guitarist Tom Morello asks host Ryan J. Downey to circumvent censorship restrictions without censoring their own art. We talked about how we finally found the way.

Morello quickly describes the biggest problem, explaining: on that record. “

With fewer restrictions in Europe and the band rapidly gaining popularity abroad, it led to quite a challenge, but the U.S. record label decided that the band would be banned because of the curse words contained in their material. “We’re playing these huge festivals here, opening House of Pain in small clubs in the United States,” the guitarist recalled, adding, “We’re in the United States. The record company was ashamed to have this band.It’s the politics of Led Zeppelin and Public Enemy that no one knows.”

The band’s A&R after three singles (“Killing in the Name,” “Bullet in the Head,” and “Bombtrack”) were not cut in the US because they contained curse words. The person in charge brought me a proposal to join the group. “Freedom” was his fourth single and gave the band an opportunity to shoot a video about Leonard freeing his Peltier once he could ensure there were no swearings against the air.

“The reason behind the secret [that was a single] The song didn’t have any curse words in the lyrics, so maybe it could actually air on MTV,” recalls Morello.

guitarist says: And he says, “We are doomed because there is a curse involved.” And I was like, ‘We went through this video forensically with all the litigation staff, but we were like, ‘No, no, no, it’s not in the lyrics. I just said, “Put that shit in.”

But before Morello says he’s figured out a workaround, that outspoken statement at the front certainly raised some concerns. Rather than “bring in that shit,” he offered that De La Rocha had something else to say. he recalls. So what if you brought Shitin and there was no curse? “

Morello quietly asks, though. As far as Viacom knows, the record got him featured on MTV, the record sold three million copies of him, and introduced a whole new generation to Leonard Peltier. “

‘Freedom’ debuts on MTV 120 minutes Released on December 19, 1993, it entered heavy rotation on MTV in early 1994, providing the platform the band needed to break out to a wider US audience.

Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello Speaks to Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

Rage Against The Machine “Freedom”

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