Watch a pre-fame Rage Against The Machine perform in a record shop, 1992
Rage Against The Machine only made their debut public performance in October 1991 and this rare footage of Zach De La Rocha leading the group through a barnstorming set at Zed Records in Long Beach proves they were a world-class live act from the very beginning.
Their set came on March 29th, 1992, which arrived just seven months before the release of their critically acclaimed self titled debut later on in the year, and set the foundations for what was to come as the band’s fame was sent into the stratosphere. Their first album, it’s safe to say, established the group as one of the most integral band’s to have come out of the 1990s.
Their debut album changed the game and saw Rage become the voice for disillusioned youth around the world, a collection of music fans who fell head over heels for Rage’s unique brand of punk—material which arrived as a hybrid of rock and rap and became a much welcome arrival onto the scene.
They served up a blistering seven-song set at Zed Records, a performance which saw them sear through soon-to-be Rage Against The Machine classics such as the eternally relevant ‘Killing In The Name Of’, ‘Bombtrack’ and ‘Know Your Enemy’ as they previewed their timeless debut to the tiny number of people in attendance who are crammed through the aisles of the Long Beach store.
Hearing ‘Killing In The Name’ on this setting feels particularly strange, the song going on to take on a life of its own and is arguably the biggest political anthem of the last 28 years. Little did Rage know that when they performed it in Zed on that evening in ’92, however.
The track would, of course, have a second wind of success in 2009 when an underground campaign in the UK created to kickback at X-Factor winners scoring the number one single at Christmas and led to ‘Killing In The Name’ becoming the unlikeliest festive hit. As a thank you, they played a free show at London’s Finsbury Park the following summer and donated their profits made to charity.
For now though, step back to 1992 and check out the iconic set, below.