Love Letter To A Record: Mammal’s Nick Adams On Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Self Titled’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.

Nick Adams, Mammal – Rage Against The Machine

I have to admit we didn’t get along when I first laid ears on RATM’s debut. It came out of nowhere and was polarising! I couldn’t quite get my head around it at first as it literally sounded like nothing I’d ever heard before. It was immediately confronting and challenging and demanded my undivided attention. Aroused? Totally! But it was far from love at first sound…

We started hanging out at high school parties at first. Everyone would go batshit crazy screaming, ”Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me!!!” whilst spilling beer all over my mums carpet. Good times, but I wasn’t interested in flings and novelty. It was only when we were alone and we started to spend quality time together that I really got to know and discover the beauty, complexity and depth and ultimately the “uniqueness” that I started to fall in love.

Timmy C on bass and Brad Wilk on drums. I mention these two together for this album because this rhythm section is second to none when it comes to laying the big, fat groove and bottom end power on which the other two members built upon. In later albums, Timmy C went even further and produced some of the most creative and interesting bass lines/sounds of 90’s/00’s heavy rock in my opinion.

And Brad Wilk? Like Phil Rudd of ACDC, not the flashiest of drummers but plays EXACTLY what is needed with exactly the right feel. There is no replacement for this guy without changing the entire dynamic and loosing the “soul”. And no one hit on the first beat of a riff as badass as Brad.

Tom Morello. Like Jimi Hendrix before him he flipped guitar playing on its head when this album came out. I mean, what the fuck was this guy thinking? Who had the balls to record scratchy, blippy noises and pass them off as a guitar solo?? Total game changer. And not many who have followed since have had such an impact. Not only that, but when he wasn’t shoving weird solos into your ears he was dropping the biggest and hookiest riffs around! There was heavier at the time, sure. But that slow groove and stylistic attack? Nope.

And lastly, Zack De La Rocha. The jewel in the Rage crown. Raw, aggressive, punk rock energy mixed with ridiculously sophisticated hip-hop rhymes delivering a direct and uncompromising message.

This bloke was not fucking around. He wasn’t talking “hot chicks” like Poison or even “Poor me, life is shit” like Eddie Vedder. This guy was screaming, “HEY!! Wake the fuck up! You are a fucking slave inside a machine and your true enemies are the ones you vote for. Oh, and by the way, check this next riff… Awwww, shit!!” BOOM!

Self Titled in my opinion was just the “polite” introduction both lyrically and sonically for Rage. And as much as it was like being blasted in the face with a flame thrower at the time, I believe they went on to evolve their sound and even surpass the complexity of message and wordsmithery(?) – irony! – in their next albums.

BUT! That being said, everyone remembers their first time and their first love. I still check in on Self Titled every now and again. Its usually after a few beers and in the guise of a bit of casual stalking on YouTube. To this day, I still find myself mid-chats with someone at a party and trying desperately to suppress the urge to smash the kitchen up and set fire to the couch all whilst playing air guitar solos on the coffee table when ‘Killing In The Name’ comes on. But when I look around the room and get that little nod of acknowledgement from a complete stranger that he’s thinking the exact same thing I know that even though Self Titled has obviously been around the block a couple of times and seen its fair share of collage parties its beauty and integrity remains as does its obvious impact on many, many hearts over the years. And just like that magical first time you fall in love I envy future generations that will get to hear this album for the very first time and get those same tingles that I did.

And when that first riff to ‘Bombtrack’ drops, let them quote the great man Zach himself with his opening line on the album… “AWWAGHHA!!!”

Reunited Melbourne rockers Mammal have announced a 2018 national tour, while also sharing their first new music in eight years. Check out the full list of dates below.

Mammal 2018 National Tour

Friday, 29th June

Theatre Royal, Castlemaine

Tickets: Official Website

Friday, 27th July

Fowlers Live, Adelaide (Supported by Osaka Punch and Fresh Violet)

Tickets: Official Website

Saturday, 28th July

Rosemount Hotel, Perth (Supported by Osaka Punch and Fresh Violet)

Tickets: Official Website

Thursday, 9th August — RESCHEDULED SHOW (Previously 8th June – tickets remain valid)

Bloom, Geelong

Tickets: Official Website

Friday, 10th August

Pelly Bar, Frankston (Supported by Osaka Punch and Fresh Violet)

Tickets: Official Website

Saturday, 11th August

The Croxton, Melbourne (Supported by Osaka Punch and Fresh Violet)

Tickets: Official Website

Thursday, 16th August

The Bridge Hotel, Forth (Supported by Osaka Punch)

Tickets: Official Website

Friday, 17th August

Club 54, Launceston (Supported by Osaka Punch)

Tickets: Official Website

Saturday, 18th August

Republic Bar, Hobart (Supported by Osaka Punch)

Tickets: Official Website

Friday, 24th August

Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle (Supported by Osaka Punch and Fresh Violet)

Tickets: Official Website

Saturday, 25th August — NEW SHOW

Long Jetty Hotel, Long Jetty (Supported by Osaka Punch and Fresh Violet)

Tickets: Official Website

Thursday, 6th September

The Basement, Canberra (Supported by Osaka Punch and Fresh Violet)

Tickets: Official Website

Friday, 7th September — NEW SHOW

Manning Bar, Sydney (Supported by Osaka Punch and Fresh Violet)

Tickets: Official Website

Saturday, 8th September — NEW SHOW

Waves, Wollongong (Supported by Osaka Punch and Fresh Violet)

Tickets: Official Website

Saturday, 15th September — NEW SHOW

The Zoo, Brisbane (Supported by Osaka Punch and Fresh Violet)

Tickets: Official Website

Also performing at Come Together Festival


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