Zack de la Rocha Broke My Heart
December 7, 2006
While playing–nay, completely rocking out to–“Killing In The Name Of” on Guitar Hero 2 this past weekend (116 note streak on Hard, thank you) I realized that I’m still harboring lot of frustration and anger towards Zack de la Rocha. Surely I am not the only one who is totally disappointed by his career trajectory?
Rage Against The Machine was never quite as good as I wanted them to be. Most often the music was threatening to skate out from under the vocals, or the vocals were charging too furiously for the music to keep up with. When everything clicked it was delightful, but I can count on one hand the number of times it clicked. So news of their break-up was welcome to me–Tom Morello’s riffs are a little by-the-numbers for me; it was always Zack’s venom and politics that I mainly responded to–I was really eager to see what kind of next-level shit Zack could accomplish if he associated himself with musicians and artists who had a wider sonic comfort range, or with a DJ who evoked sonic bombast more adeptly than one guitar and a so-so rhythm section ever could. Get him Just Blaze, get him Rick Rubin, get himTimbaland on crank. Remember the first time you heard a song produced by The Bomb Squad? Get him whoever’s going to be the next version of that.
But that was six years ago, and Audioslave has released three albums in that time. Sure they’re all kind of disappointing, but at least they have something to show for themselves. The only thing of substance we’ve seen from Zack was a less-than-stirring protest song with DJ Shadow, who for some reason still has a cult of devotees, despite the fact that it’s been 10 years since he did anything interesting. Maybe next is a split 7″ withSmashmouth? Or a press release announcing the title of Zack’s solo album as Chinese Democracy 2.
It can’t be writer’s block, can it? Did he decide that maybe things haven’t been so bad after all, since our current President got elected? Or maybe he’s been holed up in his bedroom since 2000, glued to CNN and just choking on his own rage. One has to wonder how the two events (the break-up and the election) are connected. He failed us when we needed him most.
Some possible career moves for Zack de la Rocha that are better than what he’s currently doing:
- Guest judge on the next season of American Idol
- Back-up vocalist on a Nickelback song, all Linkin Park-style
- Hanging out at D’Angelo’s house and re-enacting key scenes from On The Waterfront.