Why I Love... Rage Against The Machine by Stray From The Path's Thomas Williams

Rage Against The Machine 1999
(Image credit: Brian Rasic/Getty Image)

“I could talk to you for fuckin’ ten years about Rage, man, I love that band. I don’t remember what grade I was in – sixth or seventh maybe – and this guy James Watson, who was our resident metalhead, showed me Bulls On Parade. Most people then hadn’t heard anything like them before and to be fair, even now there’s not too much that can do what they did.

I was pretty young and heavy into sports at that point – I liked music, but it was never like my fucking everything… until I heard Rage Against The Machine. It changed my fuckin’ life! I fell in love instantly and listened to Evil Empire nonstop, then got the self-titled album and didn’t listen to anything else – I was obsessed. 

You get really into a lot of stuff when you’re young – when I was a kid I was super into Korn too, but that never really lasted for me, and a lot of questionable stuff like Mudvayne that really doesn’t hold up. Only Rage and Deftones really hold up for me now and Rage are still a massive inspiration, setting an example for how other bands should do it. 

Stray From The Path are very fortunate; I think our band is fuckin’ great, we have one of the best drummers on the planet and one of the best vocalists too. We’re a fuckin’ good band and there aren’t many bands that can touch us, but I know a lot of bands that are fuckin’ good that can’t the time of day so I know how lucky we are. Rage taught me that you have this platform you’re lucky to have and you need to make the best of it. I’m not saying we’re some superheroes that are here saving the day – we just talk about shit that matters to us.

There are people that hate us for it, people that love us for it but that never swayed us. When we put out Goodnight Alt-Right we fuckin’ got targeted by thousands of people around the globe who were mad at us. We still put out Badge & A Bullet parts 1 and 2, now part 3 and people still fuckin’ come after us for it. All I know is, I’ve heard stories about Rage Against The Machine working it so that a dollar of every ticket they sell goes towards a cause they care about. 20, 30, 40 thousand dollars a night going to local charities in each city they play. That is inspiring to me. 

How could you not look up to a band like that? They’re the pinnacle. I look up to all of the guys in that band, but especially Tom Morello and the way he plays. He takes all these pedals and tries to make weird shit, it’s so great. But I saw them live for the first time a few weeks back and being in that room affirmed for me that the one person that stands out most in that band is Zack De La Rocha. Back when I first heard them, I was listening to guys like Corey Taylor and Chino Moreno, but absolutely nobody sounds like Zack. Nobody spits bars like Zack – and as I’ve got older I’ve realised his lyrics are amazing, dropping references you need textbooks to understand. It’s an education.

They haven’t put out a record since 2000, but bands like us are putting out music in 2022 that fills that void because we collectively need their shit. I grew up on that, I live on that. I wasn’t crazy about Prophets Of Rage because it felt like ‘let’s go honey, we’ve got Rage at home’ – not to be disrespectful – but Rage’s music is more relevant today than ever, so I want to hear it again. Even if they put out a record that was average, it won’t kill The Battle Of Los Angeles or Evil Empire. I desperately want it and seeing them live, it just made it so obvious they’re having a lot of fun so I'd love to hear that band hit a studio again.”

Stray From The Path's new album Euthanasia is out September 9

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.