Rage Against the Machine's Machine

How do hip-hop-metal-shredding political activists Rage Against the Machine pick their causes from among the cornucopia of benighted peoples, wrongly imprisoned innocents and endangered wildernesses? It turns out the band has a political adviser—a kind of rage manager—in University of Pennsylvania sociology grad student Jake Sexton. We discovered Sexton while seeking Rage's endorsement of the June 4 Free Arthur Carmona fund-raiser at the Galaxy Concert Theatre (featuring performances by 00 Soul, Wax Apples, Throw Rag, Chris Gaffney and the Suburban Legends and hosted by the fabulous Commie Girl). Carmona, you'll remember, was 16 years old when Costa Mesa police snagged him and, with the help of eager Irvine police and a DA hell-bent on prosecution, sent him to prison for 12 years for a crime it's most likely he did not commit (for more information, go to www.ocweekly.com and type “Carmona” into the search engine). Sexton warned us that getting the band to back Carmona was a long shot, given the countless requests Rage receives each week from around the world. He requested legal documents from Carmona's pro bono defense (the LA-based firm of Sidley N Austin), asked probing questions (“How many witnesses have recanted their testimony?”), and talked with guitarist Tom Morello. Finally, last week, Sexton said the Carmona Defense Fund could stamp its documents with the Rage Against the Machine seal of approval. It was unclear at press time whether the band—whose members Sexton says are momentarily “all over the country” —will appear at the show itself. Carmona backers say others interested in the case include actors Esai Morales and Edward James Olmos, No Doubt, Ozomatli, and Los Lobos. For updates, visit the organization's website at www.freecarmona.org. (Will Swaim)

MONEY GOOD! NAPSTER BAD! Kudos to Camp Chaos, whose online cartoon satirizing the Metallica vs. Napster lawsuit is the frigging funniest thing we've seen all month. Napster is the website that allows fans (including Metallica fans) to download music (including Metallica music) for nothing. Hence the Metallica lawsuit. The cartoon presents a nervous, Igorish Lars Ulrich and a Frankenstein-like James Hetfield (both of whom once called OC home), thanking their fans for buying albums, concert tickets, T-shirts and Metallica cock rings—and then telling the Napster users among them that they're going to jail, where they'll all be gang raped. Anti-Napster Metallica fans have retaliated with their own propaganda, such as “Fuck Napster” shirts, and this Metallica classic posted to a fan site: “NAPSTER FANS ARE FUCKING COMPUTER NERDS . . . I BET YOU GET BEATEN UP IN SCHOOL.” Mmmm . . . feel that sympathy! (Victor D. Infante)

YOU ARE A TARGET MARKET The following press release arrived recently in the LowBallAssChatter mailbag: “TOMBSTONE PIZZA ANNOUNCES WARPED TOUR ROAD TRIP CONTEST—Teens Have Chance to Win a Week at Vans Warped Tour 2000 This Summer. . . . There's nothing worse for teenagers than trying to impress the babe of the moment and having their growling stomachs sound more interesting than they do. Tombstone Pizza has the solution to preventing future embarrassments —the Warped Tour Road Trip Contest will give one lucky teen a chance to hang with this summer's hottest bands, eat pizza all day long and go home with enough cool stories to last through a lifetime of dates. . . .

In addition to the contest, the Tombstone Pizza sponsorship of the Vans Warped Tour 2000 will give concert-goers in key cities across the United States a chance to visit the Tombstone Pizza booth on site and snag some free Tombstone/Warped Tour stickers or temporary tattoos. . . . Tombstone Pizza and the Warped Tour have created the ultimate teenage dream—music, sports and the number one frozen pizza all in one place.” (Rich Kane)

YES, YOU WILL GET FOOLED AGAIN The Who—or, rather, their publicist—phoned the LowBallAssChatter desk last week, letting us know that these walnut-faced codgers have a new live album out (The Blues to the Bush/1999, currently available only at www.musicmaker.com), and would we please give it a listen and write about it? Well, okay, you asked for it: it's terrible—sad, tired, depressing and just plain dull, tragic proof of what happens when a once-great band simply cannot pack it in. Even the crowd's tepid enthusiasm sounds more like a result of cheap booze than genuine jubilation at hearing “My Generation” for the God-knows-what time. And who the hell cares about “After the Fire”? Yeccchhh! But let's cut to the larger issue—the Who have become such anonymous museum pieces and have fallen so far that they have to have a PR flack shill for them, something even the Stones don't need. Yet. (RK)

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