The songs on Orange County-based Inside Out's EP No Spiritual Surrender refuse to go silent two decades after they were first recorded. A young Zack de la Rocha sang on the hardcore cult classic alongside band members Vic Dicara, Mark Hayworth, and Chris Bratton before going on to critical success with political rap-metal outfit Rage Against the Machine.
Formed two years earlier prior to the release of "No Spiritual Surrender," Inside Out was a quintessential coming-of-age band exploring internal questions of identity while expressing external dismay with society at large.
De la Rocha strained his vocal chords on the original 7'' vinyl released on Huntington Beach's Revelation Records, screaming on the title track, "A cold hand tries to silence me / You try to grasp me / But I'm out of reach!"
The combination of such soul searching lyrics, infectious energy and pulsating riffs made Inside Out one of the more prominent hardcore staples in Orange County during the late 1980's touring coast to coast.
The band's EP was later converted to CD with two additional songs added and continues to sell steadily to this day. Bionic Records, an independent store in Cypress where you can still find No Spiritual Surrender, personally attests to the EP's longevity. "On average, it's still a once to twice a week seller for us," say Manager Mike D. "We always keep it in stock. If we run out of it, we reorder it right away from Revelation Records."
"There are a couple reasons as to why it remains popular with our customers," he reasons. "Obviously Zack de la Rocha's work with Rage Against the Machine and how huge that band became inspired interest in his earlier musical offerings. I don't think it would be as consistent of a seller if Zack de la Rocha hadn't gone on to do what he did," says Mike D. "The other part of it is that there were a fair amount of hardcore groups in Orange County at the time and Inside Out was one of the leading bands and we're located here in OC."
The short-lived history of Inside Out came to an end in 1991 when guitarist Vic Dicara left to join another band and became a full-time Hare Krishna devotee. Inside Out had been writing new material with now familiar song titles such as "Darkness of Greed" and "Rage Against the Machine." Reflecting back on their one completed album, Dicara expresses a spiritual view.
"This world is a temporary place of illusions which constantly change shape," he says. "It is surprising that the Inside Out CD is a shape of energy which has persisted for so long, so well. It is a pleasant surprise."
The website for Revelation Records, describes No Spiritual Surrender as "quite possibly the most popular release ever" for the label. For Dicara, it was the creative process itself, however, that he most fondly recalls. "The recording of the EP meant more to me than the actual release, and still means more to me than anything about the CD to this day," the guitarist says. "There was a very intense oneness of spirit and mind among the musicians when recording that record."
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Inside Out would reunite briefly after their breakup for a benefit cause when Zack had already grown his dreadlocks out and began screaming "Fuck you I won't do what you tell me" for Rage Against the Machine.
Dicara didn't participate as he was busy with his then-new--and current--band, 108. "We are currently working on completely transforming out outlook and artistic expression and releasing a third new record," he says bringing his current activities up to date. "I am also working musically with my wife in a project called Uniqua."
De la Rocha, of course, took to the stage of the Hollywood Palladium this summer with Rage Against the Machine playing Los Angeles for the first time in 10 years. He has also performed shows with One Day as a Lion, including the birthday bash for labor activist Dolores Huerta at the Greek Theatre in August. (De la Rocha did not respond to interview requests for this story by press time)
Bionic Records in Cypress is the last remaining outpost, with its Fullerton and Huntington Beach locations having closed down. They fused with Furnance Skate Shop which helps to pay the bills. In the record racks of this independent store is one place where you can still find that EP that refuses to surrender.