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Raging Against Rage Against The Machine

Lyndsey Parker
Maximum Performance

OK, I know what I'm about to write isn't going to make me popular. In fact, it may provoke some reader rage, so to speak. But here goes: I didn't watch Rage Against Machine last night. And you know what? I have no regrets.

Am I the only person who wasn't all psyched for this year's Rage reunion? Er, probably. I've certainly been feeling in the minority lately. In the days, weeks--nay, months--leading up to festival, whenever my music-loving friends and I discussed the bands on our respective Coachella '07 must-see lists, everyone would exclaim, "Duuuuuude, I cannot WAIT for Rage!" And I'd just feel so left out. Because I just don't care about RATM. Do. Not. Care.

In case you need an example of what a non-RATM-fan I truly am and always have been, take this example: In the late '90s, I got in my car, battled Friday rush-hour traffic to L.A.'s Universal Amphitheatre, paid $10 and struggled for a half-hour to park, walked 20 minutes from my car to the concert, watched RATM's then-buzzing opening act, Girls Against Boys...and then left and walked all the way back to my car and drove home after G Vs.B's set. Yep, you read that right: I didn't even stay for RATM, after all that hassle. I was fleeing that amphitheatre as if it were on fire, to be honest. And the fact that Rage's fans were booing G Vs.B throughout their entire set didn't exactly ingratiate me to the band any further, either.

So we've already established that (despite the fact that I do actually admire RATM's passionate politics, undeniably excellent musicianship, and originality), I've never, ever been a raging Rage fan. But there are other reasons why I didn't give a rat's arse about yesterday's Rage reunion. Three reasons, in fact. Interested in what they are? Well, if you haven't already stopped reading this in disgust, scroll down:

1) How can I miss RATM if they won't go away? Seriously, did they even break up that long ago? Like five years ago or something? I'm pretty sure it was during the George W. administration, so I don't even think they have a new presidential regime to rally against or anything like that. As far as I'm concerned, that's not a "breakup," it's just a "hiatus." Plus, three-fourths of the band have been active in the music scene (as Audioslave) practically since this breakup/hiatus. So sorry, but when past Coachella reunions have included long-gone comeback bands like the Pixies, Iggy & the Stooges, Gang Of Four, Kraftwerk, Siouxsie & the Banshees, and Bauhaus--and when THIS year's lineup alone featured Crowded House, Jesus & Mary Chain, and Happy Mondays--well, how am I supposed to get all excited about a band splitting and then reuniting within the 2000's? C'mon, I have stuff in my refrigerator that's been there longer than RATM were away.

2) Did you HEAR Zack De La Rocha's solo song on the Fahrenheit 9-11 soundtrack? Man, it suuuuuucked. 'Nuff said.

3) Um, I'm a chick. My highly structured and undoubtedly accurate survey of my male and female friends during Coachella weekend yielded this finding: Dudes like RATM a whole lot more than chicks do. I'm not trying to perpetuate stereotypes here--and it's NOT like I spent all of Coachella watching girlies like Amy Winehouse, Regina Spektor, and Lily Allen, or weepy softies like Damien Rice and Travis--but I do believe the results of my survey would stand up to further scientific testing. RATM is, for the most part, a guy thing.

By the way, before all you Rage fans start clogging my inbox with hatemail, take solace in the fact that about the other 89,999 people at Coachella didn't share my attitude, judging from the crazed crowd response and elated after-concert conversation I overheard last night. Also--more importantly--please note that Rage Against The Machine always taught us to THINK FOR OURSELVES, HAVE AN OPINION, AND SPEAK UP. So in a way, by espousing my unpopular anti-RATM viewpoint, I'm actually proudly adhering to the very tenets that Rage and their fans hold near and dear. Ironic, isn't it?

PS: Once I actually fully wake up and recover from yesterday's festivities, I'll be blogging again about the Sunday bands I actually did see. Just FYI

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