Revolutions require ambition and tenacity, and Rage Against the Machine fan Miles Solay tested both in 1996, when the 15-year-old talked his way past Saturday Night Live security to meet the band in their dressing room. "We've been friends ever since," says Rage guitarist Tom Morello, who recently produced a pair of forthcoming EPs for Solay's band of radicals, Outernational.
Days after the Supreme Court ruled on Arizona's anti-immigration law this June, the group Morello calls "an uncompromisingly, politically revolutionary band" mobilized its message of change in an online video for "Todos Somos Ilegales/We Are All Illegals," from their 2011 album of the same name. The video features appearances from Residente Calle 13, Morello and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, and clips of fans hoisting signs interpreting the song's lyrics ("The land we stand on, every inch of it stolen," reads one).
Formed in 2008, the New York-based Outernational – featuring guitarist Leo Mintek, bassist Jesse Williams Massa, drummer Nate Hassan and Dr. Blum on trumpet and several other instruments – recently criss-crossed the country in their van, playing places including Tijuana, met war veterans and interacted with those who had crossed the border.ca
"I've never worked with more focused individuals who really want change to happen through their music," said Smith, who recorded the band's second album, Welcome to the Revolution, at his Malibu home over three days in April 2011. Smith has since performed a handful of shows with Outernational in New York and Los Angeles, as the band hunts for a label to release the full-length in November.
Todos Somo Ilegales will feature sampled dialogue from films about immigration and revolutionary activist Bob Avakian between songs. "We scored it and made it as if it were a movie about the border," says Solay. "We're singing about a different way the world could be organized – no more men dominating women, or one nationality dominating people of other nationalities."
Later this month, Outernational will independently release the first of two Morello-produced EPs, Future Rock, followed by Here is the Rose in September.
"There's part New York City rock & roll band in them, and then there's the myriad of world music influences that drives these songs," says Morello. "They've gotten to the point where their songs are now great." You can watch the offical video for "Todos Somos Ilegales" here:
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