With a presidential election many have dubbed a fight for the soul of America coming in November, this was supposed to be a big year for Rage Against The Machine. Arguably the last truly great political rock band, Rage had announced their much anticipated world tour, including Coachella headlining shows, late in 2019.
And as I wrote when I reported the story it was no coincidence that the first dates were in Phoenix, Arizona; Las Cruces, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas. They very intentionally were playing border towns to make a statement
As we all know, Rage, along with almost all live music, has been silenced in 2020 thanks to the Coronavirus. But that isn’t going to keep Rage guitarist Tom Morello quiet.
After having fun trolling fans on social media, including asking one fan who told him to stick to music and not politics “What music of mine were you a fan of that DIDN’T contain ‘political BS’? I need to know so I can delete it from the catalogue,” Morello is once again speaking out musically.
Morello, with the help of Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds, Italian dance act Bloody Beetroots and Shea Diamond dropped the ferocious, rocking, surprise track, “Stand Up,” early this morning (July 2). And once again probably not a coincidence that a song that tackles several recent issues, including police brutality and discrimination, is coming two days before the Fourth of July.
All four of the artists, as well as Justin Tranter and Eren Cannata, wrote the powerful lyrics. And all four of the participating artists are donating 100 percent of proceeds from the song to the NAACP, Know Your Rights Camp, Southern Poverty Law Center and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute.
In a press release announcing the song all four of the artists involved spoke about “Stand Up.”
“I grew up in the tiny lily white, archly conservative town of Libertyville, Illinois. When I was a kid, someone hung a noose in my family’s garage, there was occasional N-word calling, etc, etc. On June 6 of this year, there was a Black Lives Matter rally and march in that same town that drew over 1,000 people,” Morello said. “It seems that the times, they are a’changin’. I was so inspired that night, I reached out to Dan from Imagine Dragons. The Bloody Beetroots and I had conjured a slamming track and within 24 hours Dan had sent back a completed vocal. We got Shea Diamond, a Black transgender woman with a long history of activism, on the track and the coalition was complete.”
Reynolds adds, “When Tom reached out to work together with Shea Diamond and The Bloody Beetroots on this track I immediately went up into my room and wrote/sang the chorus and verse that day. This country certainly needs fixing, and I believe it will take people from all sides and colors to fix it.”
“I was in my third month of quarantine and I was waiting for the right opportunity to present itself to reconnect to the world when Tom called me to work on ‘Stand Up,'” said the Bloody Beetroots Rifo. “It is during times of turmoil and upheaval that we musicians have the responsibility to accelerate change with a loud and strong message for a better present and future. Today we can change this planet. This is our time. This is our turn.”
The last piece of the puzzle to complete the powerful quartet, Diamond says, “When I hear people talking about being allies of the LGBTQ+ community, mainly in the black and trans community, it’s almost laughable. We watch them profit from our pain, making these surface level posts of solidarity – especially in music. When I think about Black Lives Matter and Trans Lives Matter, you don’t get to see any representations of collaborations – many would never share a post, let alone do a song together. So when I heard Dan Reynolds wanted me on his song, I nearly flipped. I wasn’t surprised, though – he’s been so intentional in sharing posts, helping to raise money within our community and more. He really puts the A in ally!!! This is a proud moment in music history, and I feel honored to be a part of such an important song during this climate… we need to know where everyone stands in the music community, as music is an essential tool that can change the hearts and minds of so many.”