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Music

Tom Morello picks "the greatest frontman of all time"

@josephtaysom

Rage Against The Machine’s reunion is a joy to behold, and their presence makes the musical landscape a brighter place. Their voice is necessary, and for guitarist Tom Morello, they are blessed with “the best frontman of all time” in Zach De La Rocha.

Throughout their career, the anarchic group has caused controversy every step of the way, and De La Rocha has been at the helm of it all. Rage Against The Machine’s anti-establishment message has made them plentiful enemies along the way and is also responsible for their musical prowess which is often overlooked.

Their talent isn’t what immediately comes to mind when you think about Rage. Instead, it’s the band’s refusal to censor the lyrics when performing ‘Killing In The Name’ on the BBC or when they protested at Lollapalooza and didn’t play a single note of music when they were on stage.

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De La Rocha’s stage presence can’t be understated, and he has a command that few can compete with. He’s earned his right to be involved in the conversation about the best frontmen in rock, and Morello doesn’t believe anyone has ever done it better.

“In my opinion, [Zack is] the greatest frontman of all time,” the guitarist said during an appearance on Revolver’s Fan First podcast. Morello continued: “He’s the punk rock James Brown. There’s no one in the history of Western music that has the sort of the totality of spiritual commitment onstage and in the studio as that guy.”

Morello makes a convincing argument regarding the spiritual element of De La Rocha’s craft. The energy he emits while master of ceremony at Rage Against The Machine concerts does create a quasi-religious atmosphere, even if there are 50,000 people in attendance.

It’s not just De La Rocha’s work on stage that makes Morello believe he’s the greatest ever frontman, but it’s also down to him as a human and his off-stage behaviour. The guitarist is in awe of his bandmate’s intellect, which he believes is why De La Rocha is such an impeccable talent. He added: “And it’s matched with a brilliant intellect, and he’s a tremendous musician as well, and it’s really an unbelievable combination. [I] just feel fortunate to be in a band with him.”

Watch footage below of Zach De La Rocha in his flow state performing ‘Testify’ with Rage Against The Machine at London’s Finsbury Park in 2010, and decide for yourself whether you agree with Morello’s bold claim.