Tom Morello on Rage Against The Machine’s 1993 naked protest: “The time I wish I had my pants on was when the police arrived”

The band took an infamous stand against censorship during their set at Lollapalooza festival

Tom Morello has recalled in a new interview Rage Against The Machine‘s infamous naked protest during one of their sets at Lollapalooza in 1993.

Morello and his bandmates walked out on stage naked in Philadelphia in July 1993 (back when Lollapalooza was a touring festival) in a protest against censorship.

Each member of the band wore black electrical tape over their mouth, while the letters PMRC (which stood for the Parents Music Resource Center) were daubed on their torsos. They stood in protest for their full 15 allocated minutes of stage time.


Recalling the protest in a new interview with Uncut (print only), Morello remembered how there “was an outpouring of excitement among the crowd for the first five minutes” of RATM coming out on stage in Philadelphia.

“Then there was an interesting stand-off as it was clear this was not just some sort of quick stunt,” he continued. “Then for the last five minutes there was outright hostility – booing and giving us the finger and quarter coins being thrown at our dicks.”

Morello added: “The time I wish I had my pants on was when the police arrived.”

The band were not charged by police for their method of protesting, although they were escorted off stage by members of law enforcement. Rage returned to Philadelphia later in 1993 to play a free show for fans who had come to see them at Lollapalooza.

“Hopefully in some way we made the point that controversial music is not something you can take for granted, you have to fight for it,” Morello added to Uncut. “Although people just remember us standing there naked.”


Earlier this month, Morello linked up with System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian to cover Gang Of Four‘s ‘Natural’s Not In It’ for a new Andy Gill tribute album.

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