Transcription (mins):

0:00-0:49 Intro:

Hello, and welcome back to Protest Anthems. In this episode, Alex Gonzalez discusses the major themes of “Guerilla Radio” a song written by the band Rage Against the Machine. Rage released the song in 1999 on their album Battle of Los Angeles—the bands third project. Rage against the machine used their music to be the voice of the rebellion against the injustices they saw at the time of this albums release. These injustices include the misuse of power in democracy and the lack of control and influence the people have when it comes to politics or the government.  As Alex points out, “Guerrilla Radio” as a protest anthem has not lost its importance and still can be related to similar issues in today’s society.

0:49-1:03* ”Guerrilla Radio” Playing in the background*

Source of the song:


1:03-2:07 Hello and welcome back, this episode we are going to be talking about Guerrilla radio a powerful song by the radical band Rage Against the Machine. During the band’s career, their music and projects had many critiques about societal, government and world issues that they felt were most important and what they felt needed to be brought forward and discussed. Guerrilla radio which was the second song off their album Battle of Los Angeles which came out in 1999 fits that criteria. The underlying ideas of corruption and the misuse of power within a government system are heard throughout. Using their unique sound the band wrote and performed the song to bring awareness to this issue which is as important now as it was back in the early ’90s…in the late 90’s early 2000’s.


2:07-2:37 *Fade back into song (start from first verse)*

Source of the song:

Source of the article:


2:37-3:53 So Within this first verse Zach De la Rocha, lead singer raps

“Yes, a spectacle monopolized

They hold the reins, stole your eyes

All the Fist-a-gons, the bullets, and bombs

Who stuff the banks, who staff the party ranks”  

These lyrics directly relate to an issue that was present at the time of the release of this song and in modern-day society. Which is that there are wealthy individuals who have the ability to control different aspects of democracy. Christina Pazzanese, a journalist for U.S. News, discusses this idea of inequality of money and its influence over power in a democracy. She states that the growing gap leaves people with less wealth at a disadvantage. Due to the fact, these wealthy individuals have so much influence it drives those who are not of the same status to find new channels of communication and information. This can relate back to the title of the song “Guerrilla Radio” which is a reference to a type of radio used when other main channels are compromised.

3:53-4:08 *Interview with Tom Morello*

Source for Interview:

4:08-5:27 Tom Morello is able to give a sense of what Rage is about and why they are trying to critique certain specific topics. He was one of the influential parts of the group that pushed to critique the issues that they specifically chose. He is very well known for having specific words written on his guitar in his many performances that relate back to the songs that are being sung or just of ideas he feels are important or need to be spread. It was through the partnership with Zach de La Rocha that they were able to have such a chemistry to create such strong and powerful lyrics and music that helped them bring awareness to ideas and topics that weren’t really being discussed at the time. As you can see with the song “Guerrilla Radio” it brings up critiques of how money is used or misused within society to control specific aspects of politics or even take away from the people’s rights in a democracy.

5:27-6:01 *Play clip of the SNL Performance*

Source of Clip:


6:01-7:19 During their SNL performance the band Rage Against the Machine decided to hang the American flag in a “disrespectful way”, and this led to producers to try and take the flag down during rehearsals as well as making sure the flag would not go up during the live performance in order to make sure there was no backlash from the public when the episode aired. However, the band still decided to bring the flag on stage and hang it with no regard for what the producers wanted. At the end of the performance, the band was swiftly escorted off the stage and banned from performing on the show. I include this clip and story because I think it is important to know just how far the band is willing to go in order to keep the integrity of the band’s critiques. Also, it is important to see how they truly visual meaning to their lyrics and what they stand for. This can also be seen on Tom Morello’s guitar during performances he has various keywords written out on his guitar for everyone and it is again just adding into that aspect of the awareness that is brought about through their songs and lyrics.


7:19-7:49 *Play quick selection of songs from the album*

Source of album:

Sources of articles mentioned:

Jonah Weiner

7:49-9:19 I wanted to give more of a taste for the album or play more clips because I wanted to show its not just a one-time occurrence that RATM is really always raging about a specific issue. It’s implied in their name that they’re always raging or raging against the machine which can be seen as raging against society or not even society rather the government, raging against whatever is controlling an aspect of society at the time. But not only that their brand and their message was so influential for the time and even is influential now because you have these audiences that you wouldn’t, that consist of ages that you wouldn’t think would be listening to them. Case in point not only my age but a writer for the New York Times Jonah Weiner wrote about his experience with the band in his young teens and how at that time he saw why it was so influential to him because at such a young age your mind is so vulnerable and open to these ideas that its easier for you to either understand or listen to the lyrics and hear what specifically what the band is trying to say.


9:19-9:47*Clip of Chuck D and Tom Morello speaking on their new band and how it encompasses both ideologies of each band*

Link to interview:

9:47-11:48 So this next clip had on Chuck D and tom morello who are big influencers in the protest musician world I guess if you could put them in a category. Both were heads of two bands that created music, Chuck D was making music in like the late ‘80s early ‘90s and so on. And Tom Morello was obviously in the ’90s with Rage but the reason why I included it because it supports the idea that Guerrilla radio and its ideas are still relevant today. They are still necessary to talk about and not only that but the style in which they were performed or written are still relevant today. Obviously, with this new creation of Tom Morello and Chuck D’s band Prophets of Rage, they’re coming up with newer critiques but they are similar to the ideas that were brought up in the early stages of it such as Guerrilla Radio. As we see today we have blockades with fake news and control of the media not really being in the hands of the people but rather with those who can pay to get certain things off of media or on media and it’s a big deal. So these ideas that were brought up a while ago are still relevant in today’s society so obviously, it is also seen in this own podcast that we’re still talking about these ideas and these ideas can still be related to specific topics that are happening in today’s society. So Guerrilla Radio and its ideas will have a long way to go still and will still be relevant in today’s society. So I appreciate you listening to this podcast and listening to what I have to say about this song.


11:48-12:25 *Fades back into Guerrilla Radio*