Zack De La Rocha Reminds You Why Music Venues Are So Important

It’s not just Australian venues who are under threat from bureaucratic machinations. Rage Against The Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha recently penned a letter of solidarity, urging the University of California, San Diego to continue funding the site’s historic venue and meeting place, Che Cafe.

As The Music reports, the cafe has been a part of the UCSD site for over 30 years, but was advised back in May that the school was being “forced” to shut down the venue because of maintenance funding cuts. However, the cafe believes this is an attempt to get rid of the Che Cafe Collective.

“The proposal to relocate the Che Cafe was given without underlying proof and documentation that the space is unsafe,” write Che activists on Facebook. “The University, though asked, has yet to provide any timeline relating to relocation, renovations and return to the facility. The repairs cited have been in their current condition without any health and safety incident for years,” they add.

Now, Che Cafe supporters have shared a letter of solidarity they purport to be have been written by the Rage Against The Machine frontman. Writing on Indy Bay, Chris Burnett, the host of Indymedia On Air on LA radio station KPFK 90.7FM and former core member of the cafe, said he could confirm that the letter was indeed written by the vocalist and was in fact delivered to him for “distribution.”

In the letter to the UCSD administration, the famously political frontman voices his concerns about the closure of the cafe, which he describes as a place that is “not only a great venue, but a source of inspiration and community building for any artist, student, or worker that has entered its doors.”

The letter raises issues that are also pertinent to the ongoing struggle between venues and local government in Australia. The frontman frames the Che Cafe as more than a music venue, but a place that wields influence over the local community, and where artists and fans alike converge.

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Zack de la Rocha’s Letter of Solidarity with the Che Cafe

My name is Zack de la Rocha of the revolutionary group of musicians known as Rage Against the Machine. I am writing this letter as a member of a growing community of artists who are concerned about the UCSD administration’s latest attempts to shut down the Che Cafe. A place that is not only a great venue, but a source of inspiration and community building for any artist, student, or worker that has entered its doors.

In its ever shifting rationales for attempting to close the Che Cafe, the administration has clearly lost its focus on what this venue has done to enhance the student educational experience and the university as a whole. Simply put, no other university campus venue in all of California has done more to build a bridge between students of UCSD, regional artists, and indeed artists from around the world. This unique forum of cultural and political exchange is a rarity, and without diminishing the merits of other student organizations on the UCSD campus, few can boast the kind of scope and positive influence that the Che Cafe has garnered for over three decades.

I have performed at the Che Cafe a number of times and always left more empowered, more informed, and more inspired than when I arrived. Like so many others, I am personally indebted to the dedicated people throughout the years who have tirelessly worked to create a safe, all ages, truly democratic venue; one that should be embraced and defended as an indispensable campus forum for art and ideas.

In solidarity,

Zack de la Rocha.

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