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Rage’s Morello praises chart race

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello has praised the Facebook campaign to get ‘Killing in the Name of’ to christmas number 1, calling it a ‘wonderful dose of anarchy.

In an interview on radio 6 Morello said “The one thing about the X Factor show, much like our own American Idol, is if you’re a viewer of the show you get to vote for one contestant or the other, but you don’t really get to vote against the show itself until now…. It’s this machinery that puts forward a particular type of music which represents a particular kind of listener. There are a lot of people who don’t feel represented by it and this Christmas in the UK they’re having their say.”

The guitarist said the single’s position as a Christmas number one contender was an “unexpected windfall” and he plans to donate some of the proceeds to a charity which helps children progress their musical careers in the UK.

“My hope is that one of the results of this whole Christmas season is there’ll be a new generation of rockers who will take on the establishment with the music they write.”

In comparison to those thoughtful and refreshing views, Simon Cowell has been predictably self-serving in a recent interview with NME, saying that the ITV1 show had “done everyone a favour” by adding some life to the festive charts. “I think we were getting to a point where [the Christmas chart] was all becoming like The Millennium Prayer, and I just didn’t like that song. I think we all have this belief that the Christmas number one was just amazing, a real special occasion, but actually when you look at them over recent years, it was Bob the Builder one year, Mr Blobby…there’s a tradition of quite horrible songs.”

Yes Simon. Like Robson and Jerome, Zig and Zag, the Teletubbies, the Power Rangers, and many more awful novelty acts that Simon Cowell has trotted out over the years, conveniently around christmas time. In fact, the X-factor singles fit in very well with that theme: short term, novelty acts, foisted on a spoon-fed public, then dumped when they’re no longer profitable.

Even more astoundingly, Cowell also had this to say about music in general:

“I think I’ve done everyone a favour. Shows like Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor have actually got people more interested in music again, and are sending more people into record stores. We haven’t seen this kind of uplift in years.”

Cowell is obviously running scared, now that he has to try and justify himself where previously he went unquestioned. That the Rage against X-factor has made people re-assess what music is has to be a good thing. The problem is, Cowell’s idea of what music is differs from that which Tom Morello would say. Music is about talent and also hard work, writing songs, practicing, and being creative. When do you ever see anyone playing instruments on X-factor?

What is genuinely creative, or hard-working, or talented about X-factor? They always sing bland, flowery covers, once a week for a few months, and anyone remotely different or quirky has no chance. Real hard work is gigging in a pub to a couple of dozen punters.

The values that it encourages in its viewers, particularly young people, encourage them to think that life is one big talent contest where if you strike it lucky you might become a star. It encourages people to think that pop stars are heroes, and it undermines those people out there who work hard and honestly.

And out of all this, Cowell and his cronies are gaining, not unlike the bankers who gained while they caused so much damage and misery to the economic system.

Even if Killing in the Name of does not make number 1, the campaign has already more than served its purpose in stirring up what has become a lifeless part of society, and got people thinking about not only music, but much bigger issues too.

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Rage against X-factor – Rage against the machine for christmas number 1?

Unless you’ve been living in outer space for the past week or so, you’ll probably have heard about the campaign to get Rage against the Machine’s ‘Killing in the name of’ to no.1 in the UK singles charts for Christmas, instead of the latest offering from this years winner of X-Factor. The campign group on facebook now has over 720,000 members.

For too long Simon Cowell has held the Christmas no.1, the UK charts, and indeed, British culture to ransom. The spectre of millions of people, particularly young people, spending their saturday evenings watching the same turgid processed-pop week after week is tragic. Even Sir Paul McCartney is at it, whoring himself on the X-Factor final, when if the Beatles were on X-Factor, Cowell would almost certainly turn them down for being too boring. Yet this is a man who inflicted the music of Robson and Jerome, Zig and Zag, the Teletubbies and the Power Rangers on us. A man who implores us to give money to charity, but could donate a million pounds in one cheque and not miss it one bit.

I believe in choice. And free choice, not being coerced and conned into thinking that you like something, only because it means that someone can make money out of you. Its all short term exploitation of people, and all the time people keep letting themselves be spoonfed, Cowell and co. will keep taking. Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ comes to mind. It is a very real symptom of a society in decline. It is killing real music and real talent.

How many truly class acts have come out of any of the reality music programmes? Like her or not, Susan Boyle can sing. And I guess Leona Lewis can too. Not my sort of music either, but Will Young has held down a career. But apart from that? How many young people have had their dreams built up then dashed? And not only that, but we are left with the very sad but real situation where young people think being on X-Factor is a legitimate career path.

The first winner of X-Factor, Steve Brookstein, was dropped by Simon Cowell twelve weeks after having a number 1 single. He was last seen singing on a ferry with Chico. He, someone who knows more than anyone what X-Factor represents, is supporting the campaign to get Rage against the Machine to Number 1.

And for those who are thinking that RATM are signed to Sony, and Simon Cowell works for Sony, its not the same. They are signed to separate sub-labels, Cowell makes no money out of this. OK, so maybe Sony will make money out of it at the same time, but Marx’s Communist Manifesto was sold in bookshops – sometimes you have to do what you can to get your message out there.

But Rage against the Machine are anti-capitalist, I hear you say? would charts matter to them? Well, who knows for sure… but I feel they would certainly approve of a large group of disaffected, frustrated people coming together to give the establishment a giant kick up the arse. ANYTHING that gives someone like Simon Cowell a wake up call, and lets him know that he cannot take the British public for granted, has to be a good thing.

The campaign has also raised well over £10,000 for Shelter, a charity that aims to help homeless people – a cause thats very appropriate near christmas, and one that Rage against the Machine would support.

To find out how you can help ‘Killing in the name of’ get to number 1 for Christmas, check out this link here.

This could be a defining moment in British Culture…

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