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Rock Hall exec talks Rage Against the Machine’s induction: “They represent where rock ‘n’ roll was going”

Rage Against The Machine, Promotional Photograph, 1999
Courtesy of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Among this year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Rage Against the Machine is the closest thing to a “traditional” rock band. But if you know anything about Rage Against the Machine, it’s that they never were “traditional.”

In inducting Rage, Rock Hall’s vice president of education and visitor engagement, Jason Hanley, feels that the Hall of Fame is recognizing the “Killing in the Name” outfit not just for being a “great rock ‘n’ roll band,” but also for how they pushed rock music forward, both sonically and politically.

“I also think they represent where rock ‘n’ roll was going throughout the ’90s and into the 2000s,” Hanley tells ABC Audio. “[Their sound] was already mixing up hip-hop, rock ‘n’ roll, funk music, all of these different elements were coming out — even jazz, on some level — that they were working in there.”

Hanley continues, “I think that’s something the voters are recognizing here, too, is that Rage Against the Machine literally was built to rage against the machines of society and the things that cause discrimination and racism and all these other issues we still, today, deal with in society.”

While Rage is getting into the Rock Hall this year — after a total of five appearances on the ballot — fellow ’90s rockers Soundgarden once again did not make the final cut.

“I think Soundgarden is definitely gonna be back on the ballot at some point again, too,” Hanley says. “But I do think that voters this year seem to be looking for these different little categories of rock ‘n’ roll.”

The other 2023 inductees include Kate Bush, Missy Elliott, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, The Spinners and George Michael. The induction ceremony takes place November 3.

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