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Zack De La Rocha

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Long Beach, Los Angeles CA, United States (1970 – present)

Zacarías Manuel de la Rocha (born January 12, 1970 in Long Beach, California) is a rapper, musician, poet and activist, best known as the lead singer and lyricist of Rage Against the Machine. His latest release has been under the name One Day as a Lion.

In 1983, de la Rocha’s father Roberto (known as Beto)—a member of Los Four, the first Chicano art collective to be exhibited at a major museum (LACMA, 1974)—suffered a nervous breakdown and took his religious ideals to extremes. He destroyed his art, and, when de la Rocha visited him on the weekends, he was forced to fast, sit in a room with the curtains closed and the door locked, and help destroy his father’s paintings. The Rage Against the Machine song Born of a Broken Man refers to Beto’s nervous breakdown, and Zack’s determination to not become the same.

After a while, he was unable to cope with this lifestyle and stayed with his German-Irish mother in Irvine, which at the time had one of the highest percentages of White Americans in Southern California. For elementary school, he attended the UC Irvine Farm School, a laboratory school housed in ranch hands’ bungalows associated with a slaughterhouse operation that was formerly on the site - houses that are among the very few still in existence from the Irvine Ranch. Among the people he met there was Tim Commerford.

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