Photo by Paul L. Carter
Prophets of Rage, the supergroup comprising members of Rage Against the Machine, Cypress Hill, and Public Enemy, have only been around for a few months, but they’ve built a reputation on bringing their politically minded act to unconventional venues. Yesterday, the Prophets were scheduled to perform before 800 inmates inside a state prison in Norco, California, but at the 11th hour they were banned from even entering the prison.
“We were denied at the last minute because apparently they got some calls from right-wing nuts in Sacramento who said they were going to foment rebellion,” guitarist Tom Morello told CBS Los Angeles. “What we meant to do is come here to help the prisoners and play a great show.”
The order to ban the performance came down from the California Department of Corrections just minutes before the show — a benefit for Wayne Kramer’s nonprofit organization Jail Guitar Doors — was scheduled to start. Kramer, who was on hand, took a dim view of the situation: “They didn’t want to see good things happen for what they consider to be bad people, when in truth, they’re just people.”
The good news is that Prophets of Rage were allowed to set up outside the prison and crank their amps up loud enough for the inmates inside to hear. “We play for those on the lowest rungs of the ladder,” explained Morello. “We play for the underclass, those who do not have a presidential candidate who represents them.”
If Morello and co. ever want to play to actual criminals, it looks like they’ll just have to wait for the next Republican National Convention to roll around. For now, you can watch video of their “prison” performance below.