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POP MUSIC REVIEW : Funk Group Shows Its Influences

December 15, 1992|JONATHAN GOLD

What do you know, yet another funk-punk band--and a pretty good one: Rage Against the Machine on Sunday at the Whisky.

Obviously influenced by both the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Sugar Hill Records house band, the four Orange County dudes fall somewhere in the narrow space between the full hip-hop House of Pain and the rap-rock band Urban Dance Squad.

Guitarist Tom Morello has impeccable speedmetal chops, but preferred to make Public Enemy squeals, DJ-scratch sounds, Keith Emerson keyboard whooshes and washes of pure white noise.

Singer Zack de la Rocha, an angry-poet kind of guy in white-guy-rasta dreads, rapped the lyrics somewhat in the manner of the Beastie Boys' Mike D. But his standard sort of political screeds got to be too much. "Every so often, he does tend to go off on those rants," somebody in the audience commented. "He grew up in Irvine--he should keep it to himself."

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