Rage Against the Machine geared up for their first L.A. show in 10 years with a press conference today explaining why they’re playing the gig: to rally the opposition to Arizona’s anti-immigration legislation. The Friday night concert will raise awareness for SoundStrike, a collective of musicians including Rage, Nine Inch Nails, Kanye West and others who have vowed not to play Arizona since the state passed strict anti-immigration regulations. “We’re here to use our music to unite people of all colors and economic strata in a single voice of solidarity to say no to legalizing racial profiling,” said Tom Morello. “And we’re here to rock this mother to the ground.” Unfortunately, Rage also delivered some bad news: this weekend’s show, which also features a performance by Conor Oberst, will be Rage’s only North American concert this year. The band expects to raise as much as $350,000 to fight the legislation.
At the conference, de la Rocha revealed that his stance isn’t just political — it’s personal. “Just minutes from my home I can quickly get to the 10 freeway,” he said. The 10, de la Rocha added, “connects communities that I’ve called home my whole life to the state of Arizona, where decades ago my grandfather first crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.”
As Rolling Stone previously reported, de la Rocha spoke out about the anti-immigration law at a gig with his side project One Day as a Lion in California last week. “We need to stop this codification of racial profiling from spreading throughout these states,” he said, before adding that “poor workers” have taken the blame for a mess created by “those motherfuckers at Goldman Sachs and AIG.”