To celebrate their 20th anniversary, Rage Against the Machine will release XX on November 27, a massive box set compiling the band’s remastered 1992 debut album, demos and DVDs full of unreleased footage. Live clips range from their first full first concert at Cal State Northridge to their 2010 performance at London’s Finsbury Park.
“One cool thing in looking at the stuff in this box set is the intensity of Rage Against the Machine live was always there,” guitarist Tom Morello tells Rolling Stone. “It’s not like ‘Oh, they got a lot better as time went on.’ It was pretty ferocious right off the bat.”
Want proof? In this exclusive clip, the mostly-shirtless band plays “Bombtrack,” off their 1992 debut album, at a small gig. Zack de la Rocha spits furiously over the explosive riff and funky rhythm. “The band had certainly not broken at that point – we were still opening up for House of Pain in clubs in the United States,” says Morello. “That is a band that is really hungry and ready to set the world on fire.”
Morello wrote the classic riff well before Rage formed. “I actually came up with it when I was a freshman at Harvard, long before I moved to California. I had jammed that riff with a number of other musicians, and it just didn’t sound anything like it did playing it with Rage Against the Machine, and Zack’s ferocious flow over that song. It’s incendiary. From the very first time I jammed with Brad Wilk, we locked together in a way unlike anyone I ever played with. And lastly, and certainly not least, is what makes the hugeness of those riffs come to life is the Timmy C bass attitude, which is something that no one had ever recorded anything like that before. It took that monster-truck aggression distorted bass. In some ways, that’s the secret ingredient.”