In an era where righteous activism has taken a back seat to lethargy, hostility and cries of ‘fake news’, the zeitgeist was right for rock-rap supergroup Prophets Of Rage to detonate upon the musical landscape, galvanised by a desire to bring the noise while delivering mind-bombs from the frontline of these troubled political times.
And what a power packed and seminal lineage this collective possess! Featuring members of 90’s power house Rage Against The Machine (Tom Morello, Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford), as well as members of hip hop demi-gods Public Enemy (Chuck D and DJ Lord) and Cypress Hill (B-Real), since 2016 they’ve been on a mission to ‘make America rage again.’ Last year saw them drop their self-titled debut record, featuring smashing singles ‘Unfuck The World’, ‘Living on the 110’ and ‘Radical Eyes’. And local music fans can rejoice in the news that Prophets of Rage will be rocking, rhyming and raging The Tivoli in Brisbane on Monday, 26 March.
In the lead up, I was lucky enough to get some interview time with Raging Prophet B-Real, who indeed told it like it is!
You have a highly anticipated Australian tour coming up shortly. Seeing as it’s the first time that this particular musical project is touring Australia, what can we expect when you hit us in the live realm?
You can expect a set that is 100 percent full throttle. We put it all out on the stage and we have a great time doing it. We’ve had some amazing reactions to the sets we play. The fact that it’s mixed with the RATM, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill catalogues makes for an explosive set.
The band has an incredible musical pedigree. Were there egos to contend with to get things off the ground or did you all come into it from a place of friendship, mutual admiration and having a common vision?
In coming together as a band we put our egos aside because we have so much love and respect for each other as artists but also as friends. In doing that we found that we had tremendous chemistry, not only on stage but in the studio as we got deeper into the formation and what we set out to do. Things looked great on paper but you never really know till things start moving forward.
In relation to music as truthful social commentary and as a form of artistic protest, do you feel that you were very much needed in the present day musical landscape, from the point of view of ‘telling it like it is’ and trying to shake out the inertia and ignorance that seems to pervade our times?
We as individuals were separately and collectively tired of seeing all these things happen and yet no one was addressing it. Consciousness in the music industry up till last year was buried and very little light was shed on any music that had something to say. We felt it was a responsibility to wake people up again. There is too much going on to keep your eyes closed and mouth shut.
Over here in Australia, we hear talk of potential impeachment when it comes to your current President. Do you think that this is a realistic possibility?
The reality is we are stuck with him until then. But that’s not something we can lean on. People can still work and fight for change, with him in office or not. Our problems were here long before him and will be here after. People can’t give up hope because they don’t like who’s in the Whitehouse.
You took your name from a classic Public Enemy track, and I think it perfectly encapsulates your ethos. Was there much debate when it came to settling on the name, or was it a bit of a no-brainer?
It was by far the easiest band meeting in history in terms of coming up with a name, lol! It seemed the most logical and it fit.
Rock and rap have always been interesting and compatible musical bedfellows (from Aerosmith & Run DMC to Anthrax and Public Enemy and beyond). Do you find that your fans are open to and digging both sides of the musical coin?
Most definitely. All three groups are a bit of both genres of rock and hip hop. So it’s somewhat of a perfect fit for us. I think as we evolve and as time goes on we will try some different things.
What would be the most satisfying or important thing that you, personally, could hope to achieve as a Prophet of Rage?
For me it’s as simple as our first mission in this band was, to wake people up. To inspire people to live and fight for your dreams and to have some compassion for others. And as an artist, to rock the hell out of people!
What does the rest of the year have in store for the band? And from a personal perspective how on earth do you go about juggling your commitments with both Prophets and Cypress Hill!
It will be a busy year to say the least. It’s a unique situation but I try to manage the time as well as I can to make it work. From my family life, Cypress and Prophets it’s pretty hectic but it’s worth it.
Prophets Of Rage will be tearing it up with a highly anticipated gig happening at The Tivoli (relocated from The Riverstage) in Brisbane on 26 March.