Rage Against the Machine's recent Public Service Announcement tour ripped through North America, reminding anyone who forgot that RATM is still a powerful force to be reckoned with. One person, though, who never got it twisted when it comes to Rage (not surprisingly) is Stray from the Path guitarist Thomas Williams. It's fair to say Rage's 1996 classic LP Evil Empire changed Williams's life forever.
"I was pretty young and heavy into sports at that point – I liked music, but it was never like my fucking everything… until I heard Rage Against The Machine," Williams recently told Metal Hammer. "It changed my fuckin' life! I fell in love instantly and listened to Evil Empire nonstop, then got the self-titled album and didn't listen to anything else – I was obsessed. Williams continued by noting that he was into Korn and Mudvayne as a kid as well, "but that never really lasted for me."
As it relates to his own band, Williams said, “Stray from the Path are very fortunate; I think our band is fuckin' great, we have one of the best drummers on the planet and one of the best vocalists too. We’re a fuckin' good band and there aren’t many bands that can touch us, but I know a lot of bands that are fuckin' good that can't get the time of day so I know how lucky we are. Rage taught me that you have this platform you’re lucky to have and you need to make the best of it. I’m not saying we’re some superheroes that are here saving the day – we just talk about shit that matters to us.
"There are people that hate us for it, people that love us for it but that never swayed us. When we put out 'Goodnight Alt-Right' we fuckin’ got targeted by thousands of people around the globe who were mad at us. We still put out 'Badge & A Bullet' parts 1 and 2, now part 3 and people still fuckin' come after us for it. All I know is, I've heard stories about Rage Against The Machine working it so that a dollar of every ticket they sell goes towards a cause they care about. 20, 30, 40 thousand dollars a night going to local charities in each city they play. That is inspiring to me.
"How could you not look up to a band like that? They're the pinnacle. I look up to all of the guys in that band, but especially Tom Morello and the way he plays. He takes all these pedals and tries to make weird shit, it's so great. But I saw them live for the first time a few weeks back and being in that room affirmed for me that the one person that stands out most in that band is Zack De La Rocha."