Rage Against The Machine: ‘We want Simon Cowell to host our Christmas Number One victory gig’

Tom Morello tells NME.COM about band's plans for free show and how they got involved in 'X Factor' chart battle

Rage Against The Machine have invited Simon Cowell to host the free UK gig they plan to stage next year to celebrate beating The X Factor to Christmas Number One.

The band beat ‘The Climb’ by Joe McElderry, the winner of this year’s show, by over 50,000 copies after fans Jon and Tracy Morter set up a Facebook group encouraging music lovers to challenge the series’ hold on the Christmas chart race by downloading the 1992 song.

Speaking to NME.COM, Tom Morello confirmed the band were now beginning to make plans for the gig and have asked their rival to take part.


“We’ve invited him [Cowell] to be the presenter of our free show so we have to see how he responds,” explained the guitarist. “I will say I heard Simon Cowell graciously called Jon [Morter] to congratulate him. Rage Against The Machine is waiting for our congratulatory call because we’re Number One.”

Morello added that Rage Against The Machine had yet to earmark a date or venue for the free gig, but insisted they would live up to their promise.

“We’re thrilled about doing it. It’s going to be the victory celebration to end all victory celebrations. If ‘Killing In The Name’ is the song that liberated the UK charts, we are planning to go there and make it as big and as free as can be,” he declared.

“The band is going to have a victory celebration here [in Los Angeles] at a local UK-style fish’n’chips pub on Tuesday night and we’ll probably be clinking glasses and drinking a toast to our great fans and comrades in the UK, but we may start getting some ideas together of when this is going to happen.”

Morello said that the band only got involved in the campaign after taking a lead from their fans.

“We were followers in this campaign, we tried to lend some wind to its sails, but it began at a completely grassroots level without the band’s involvement,” he explained. “Once we got in, we got in all the way, in those last four hours of the campaign I sent about 50 of the most storm the barricade Twitters that a man could send to try and encourage one last push.


“Make no mistake about it, this was a political act! This was an entire nation delivering a stinging slap of rejection to the whole notion of pre-fabricated pop ruling the charts. And Rage‘s victory over The X Factor was an act of God. That the bad winter weather came in, keeping people away from stores and made it more of a fair fight, because we didn’t have hard copies in stories. When Paul McCartney and Mother Nature agree on something it’s going to be unstoppable!”

The guitarist added that he hoped the spirit behind the campaign could be used for wider issues in the future.

Rage Against The Machine was built for moments like this,” Morello declared. “That historic chart upset the other night is one we’re very proud to have been a part of, but more proud that it showed that people uniting in solidarity can do anything. That’s the lasting message from this. It went from being ‘let’s kick The X Factor off the top of the charts’ to a real people’s movement and, in the future, the energy behind it can be used for other social justice causes and not just chart-topping.”

Get the current issue of NME – on UK newsstands now – for an exclusive interview with Simon Cowell