Prophets of Rage är bandet som säger att nu får det vara nog. Tre fjärdedelar av Rage Against The Machine, Chuck D från Public Enemy och B-Real från Cypress Hill utgör ensemblen som basunerar ut att nu jäklar i det är “festen slut”. Rocksverige fick ett exklusivt samtal med B-Real som bl a pratade om bakgrunden till bandet och att det är upp till den enskilde individen att förändra och att man kanske kan göra det med hjälp av Prophets of Rage:
“You have to want to change and you have to work and fight for the change you want, instead of just depending on politicians to change your life for you. When people really want change they organize and they get together and they put the goals on the board, what they want and what they´re gonna get to and how they´re gonna try to affect that and execute this change. To leave it up to these so called leaders man, you´ll be waiting forever for this type of thing. It´s a call to action really.”
Tom Morello said that ”dangerous times demand dangerous songs”. Would you care to explain?
Well, the world´s in this state right now that anywhere you go you´re dealing with terrorism, extremism and extreme violence with deadly weapons and sometimes even due to terrorism and you have the turmoil politically that´s going on in the Unites States and even abroad, so I think that´s what he meant by this. This music is much needed right now and I think that´s what he meant. It´s a call to action.
Do you feel you can change people with your music?
I believe so. I believe music has changed the way people think throughout time, from the beginning of the first note ever played by any musician or artist. A lot of music brought forth a lot of change. I brought forth tolerance and it brought forth to people being civil and respectful to one another and people fought for each other’s rights and a lot of that was due to music and the inspiration that came from it. I definitely think that music can be a relative and powerful tool to inspire people to make change, within themselves and within the system.
Do you think Prophets of Rage would exist if it wasn´t for the crazy situation with the election in the US?
I think that regardless of that election, things have been going haywire for a long time, so people have been hungry for this music for a long time. People have wanted it back in their lives and I think it would´ve come back no matter what. Even in spite of what´s going on with this campaign for president, there´s a lot of systematic problems and that´s pretty much a big reason why this came together, so I think it would´ve come together eventually regardless of this campaign.
Tell me about the song “The party´s over”.
For my take on it, it´s like a stance, saying “We´ve had enough of this bullshit, this clown shit that´s going on!” The party´s over and we´re gonna induce some reality into the so called campaign right now. You´ve got people running for president of the United States and one of them is just spewing ridiculousness by the day and the other one is a lifelong politician, who people have grown to mistrust and not have confidence in that they have the betterment of the people in mind. People are frustrated and we serve that voice for those that are frustrated with the lies and the lack of change. As Tom Morello said, “The change is up to you.” You have to want to change and you have to work and fight for the change you want, instead of just depending on politicians to change your life for you. When people really want change they organize and they get together and they put the goals on the board, what they want and what they´re gonna get to and how they´re gonna try to affect that and execute this change. To leave it up to these so called leaders man, you´ll be waiting forever for this type of thing. It´s a call to action really. People are fed up and tired of the things going on. They need to get involved with the process and make it change.
As a Swede, I find a guy like Trump really fascinating and it´s fascinating that so many people are actually thinking of voting for the guy.
Yeah, but that goes to show you how much distrust they have in politicians these days, that people would actually look to a guy like Donald Trump to run the country and to have faith in what he says he´s gonna do. In a long time, no one´s come and run a campaign like him. I don´t think anyone ever has it. Straight dogged out politicians called him “idiot” and said he was “raging against the machine” and that was partially why this band came together, because you can´t use that term because that´s not who and what you are. Tom and Tim and Brad decided “We´re gonna show you how you rage against the machine.” and that´s how Chuck D and I were called into it. But when you look at it like that… people are so disgruntled with big government that they would believe the shit that this guy is saying and he´s a part of that system too, in a disconnected sort of way because he´s a businessman. That´s how fucked up it is, that people would gravitate to him just because he´s saying things that are resonating with a certain part of America that concerns the fearful. Maybe they don´t even really wanna support him but they haven´t got faith in Hillary so they´re gonna choose him instead of her and on the other end it´s the same thing. It´s a fucking circus right now. We can only hope we´re wrong, but are we?
How´s the reaction been at the shows you´ve been playing? Have you gotten a good vibe from the people?
Oh yeah! The people have been soaking this up and are very much engaged in it and we couldn´t have asked for a better fan base to come and support what this is and just to be into the music, because in the beginning and in the end we are a band and we are playing music, as powerful as it might be. We wanna entertain people and we want people to love the show before the quality of how we´re playing it and what we´re playing. Obviously there´s a message behind it too, so there´s a fine line. People come and they wanna hear the message, but they also wanna have a good time and what we´ve been seeing is just that, people coming, absorbing the message, receiving it, embracing it, but having a great fucking time while doing so.
Is there going to be a full album? Have you been writing more songs?
Right now we´ve just been dealing with the tour and doing what we´ve just done with our EP and stuff like that. I think after this tour, we´ll settle down and go over what we wanna do as far as our recording schedule. I would think that as engaged as people are in this band right now, we would have to make an original album that speaks to what is going on in this day and age. The music we´ve been playing speaks to now as well because it transcends time… a lot of music that we´re playing from the Rage Against The Machine, Cypress Hill and Public Enemy catalog, but I think people are intrigued enough to want to hear what we would do, like from scratch, a new album and to see what kind of message we´re putting out there. I think that´s in our future, I mean, one would hope. We all have a great time on stage together and in rehearsals, so stuff like that most often translates into the recording process. I can´t wait for that part. We´ve got great musicians and it´s an honour to be with them.
All you guys in the band, have you known each other for a long time? Do you go way back?
I´ve known Tim, Tom and Brad for approximately 22 or 23 years, maybe 24. I´ve known Chuck D about the same. We´ve all known each other about 20 some odd years, because we´re all fans of each other´s bands and we influenced each other in certain ways in our careers. We go way back all of us. It´s crazy when you think about it and it took us this long to do something together, but the magnitude that this is on man and the rumble that it´s created, there was no timing better than this. The world needed it and I think to a degree we felt compelled to be those guys to bring it. I think we´re all fed up and tired of seeing the bullshit, so “Here, we´re gonna give you a dose of reality!”
There´s a lot of things going on in Europe as well. Can you see yourselves touring in Europe as well?
You know, I said this the other day, we started off by wanting to make America rage again, make them think, wake them up, but I think the message is now global. Make the world rage again, wake everyone up!
You played with Dave Grohl recently and you did “Kick out the jams” (MC 5, 1969). What was that like?
Awesome! I´ve never gotten a chance to jam with Dave Grohl before and that was a great experience for all of us. Tom and Dave had jammed together and I believe Brad and Dave have, but it was a great experience for all of us, I think. I can´t wait to do it again. Dave´s a very cool dude.
What songs have been the most fun to play with Prophets of Rage and what songs have the people really gotten into when you´ve played them?
It´s crazy because they´re pretty much into everything, but I gotta say that the most powerful response are to “Bulls on parade” and “Killing in the name of”. Just outstanding the way that people react to those songs. It just goes to show you how much they´ve missed this band. Not Prophets of Rage, but Rage Against The Machine. They´ve missed that music and us bringing it back, it goes to show you how people want this music, because it´s substance and it´s fucking good and that combination just makes people gravitate to it. People have just been having a great time with us out here and we´ve been having a great time performing it to the people. It´s been like no other experience musically that I´ve had in my life.
What´s the status of Cypress Hill right now?
DJ Muggs is finishing up our album and all that stuff, so we´re just waiting. He´s out on tour with Die Antwoord right now, so once he gets back he´ll finish the mixing and we´ll continue our 25 year celebration. We´ve got some Cypress Hill shows coming up in October and it´s gonna be awesome, man. I can´t wait to get back out there with my other brothers. I´ve got extended family everywhere. It´s been an incredible run, man. I can´t complain.
“Insane in the brain” (Black Sunday, 1993) was the first song I heard by Cypress Hill. What are your memories from recording that song and did you kinda feel that you were onto something?
It was a great feeling when we came up with that song. We didn´t know it would be a hit, we just knew it was a good song. When Sony decided that they wanted that as the single, we were all looking at each other like “Really? You want that one?” We were still young and as an artist you are sometimes to attached to your song so you can´t really be the one to pick the single, unless you study what´s really out there on the radio and what´s hitting and the type of thing that people are looking for. Most artists don´t do that. They worry about what they´re doing creatively and all that stuff, so you can´t really see it like that, but outside views… they heard something in that song that we didn´t and we trusted their decision, because they´re Sony and they´re known for being hit makers with the right songs, so we just trusted their choice and thank God it wasn´t me choosing because I had chosen something different and our careers might´ve been way different. It´s great still performing it to this day and seeing the reaction of the old and young. They get down to that song because fortunately for us, it´s a song that gets passed down from the generation of ours to the younger generation and fortunately they accepted it and still go crazy to this shit. It´s amazing to see and it´s cool that we´re playing it in the Prophets of Rage set because I think it proves handy in the hip hop aspect of our setlist. It keeps people up and I can´t do nothing but salute that song. People get tired of their music, but I don´t get tired of it. I´m thankful for it.
Back then you had MTV and people were selling records. Do you miss those days and get nostalgic?
Yeah I definitely miss those days for what they were because they were great days. A lot of us proved that we would be around so long due to the work we put behind our music and our touring and everything else that went along with it. That was the time when you could build something, but like these days now too because it allows you more creativity and allows you to put shit out directly, you don´t have to wait on the middle man and you can do whatever you feel is right, whereas back in that time, if you were signed to a contract you only put music out when you were putting out an album and you had to have permission to do collaborations and all this other crap. There´s none of that red tape anymore. You can be totally self-sufficient and get music out there so much faster, whether it´s good or bad music, that remains to be seen. This day and age allows the artist to put out material quicker, more inexpensive and be just as creative, if not more creative, than back in those times. It´s just that the resources to make a huge album to sell worldwide, those resources are gone from the record companies because they lack faith in their product.
A final question, do you think there will come a day when marijuana is legal in all of the US?
I think we´re getting close. We´re hitting state by state, a little bit at a time, but I think at some point someone will have the balls to say “Let´s do it across the board.” When that happens, you´re gonna see our economy boost back up in the United States. I think we will be out of that $13 trillion debt in a matter of a few years if that should happen, because it will create revenue, it will create jobs, it will create businesses of all kinds that relate to the marijuana community and there are a lot of businesses that are just right there waiting for this to happen. It´s gonna create millionaires, it´s gonna create business for the United States of America and for other countries that are legalizing. It´s spreading. Maybe not as quick as we´d like it to, but it´s spreading and it´s getting better and yes, we got a few setbacks and we´ll continue to have setbacks, but that´s a fight for you. You´re gonna win some, lose some and you´re gonna give and take. As long as we get everything right, I think eventually you will see legalization across the board.
Text: Niclas Müller-Hansen
Foto: Danny Clinch