The Year in Rock 2016 — Rage Against the Machine Reunites (Sort Of); Music Gets Political

ABC/Randy HolmesThe presidential election dominated conversations of all kinds in 2016, including in the music world. It's fitting, then, that this year saw the formation of Prophets of Rage: a supergroup made up of Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk, plus Public Enemy's Chuck D and Cypress Hill's B-Real.

-- In May, a mysterious website called appeared online. The site didn't feature anything except for a countdown clock. Immediately, people speculated that Rage Against the Machine, who hadn't been active since 2011, was going to reunite.

-- When the countdown concluded, it was revealed that Prophets of Rage was a new band featuring guitarist Morello, bassist Commerford and drummer Wilk, with Chuck D and B-Real handling vocals. Rage Against the Machine vocalist Zack de la Rocha wasn't involved, but he did give the project his "blessing."

-- Prophets of Rage then announced the Make America Rage Again tour, which kicked off with a performance in Cleveland coinciding with the Republican National Convention. Throughout the tour, the band played a mix of Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill songs.

-- Along with the tour, Prophets of Rage released their debut EP The Party's Over, which featured an original song of the same name. The EP also included a re-working of the Public Enemy song "Prophets of Rage," plus a trio of live tracks.

-- Prophets of Rage will make the world rage in 2017 with a batch of international tour dates. They also plan on releasing more original music together. Meanwhile, de la Rocha is working on his debut solo album.

Prophets of Rage weren't the only political musicians of 2016. Many artists throughout the year commented on the election through their music and merchandise.

-- Leading up the election, Death Cab for Cutie and Jimmy Eat World both took part in 30 Days, 30 Songs, a project that united artists to write new songs in protest of Donald Trump. Death Cab released a song called "Million Dollar Loan," while Jimmy Eat World shared a track titled "My Enemy." Other artists who contributed to 30 Days, 30 Songs include Franz Ferdinand, R.E.M., My Morning Jacket's Jim James and Cold War Kids.

-- Two weeks after Trump was elected, Green Day performed on the American Music Awards. During their rendition of the single "Bang Bang," the punk rockers chanted "No Trump, No KKK, No Facist USA!"

-- In response to an unofficial Trump campaign ad using their song "Seven Nation Army," The White Stripes, who have rarely made joint public statements since breaking up in 2011, began selling "Icky Trump" t-shirts -- a play on their song "Icky Thump." On the other side of the aisle, Trump-supporter Kid Rock started selling t-shirts with slogans like "God Guns & Trump," plus others that were much more on the vulgar side.

Musicians in 2016 also responded to political events like North Carolina's HB2 law and the Dakota Access Pipeline.

-- Many artists protested the passing of North Carolina's HB2 law, or the "bathroom bill," and criticized it for discriminating against the LGBTQ community. Bands such as Death Cab for Cutie, Slipknot, Against Me! and The Lumineers used their shows in NC to speak out against the law and raise money for LGBTQ organizations, while Pearl Jam canceled their show in Raleigh in protest of the bill.

-- Musicians also threw their support behind the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and those joining them in protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong, Pink Floyd's Nick Mason and Duff McKagan of Guns N' Roses were among those who signed an open letter to President Barack Obama requesting better treatment for the protesters, while TV on the Radio and Dave Matthews Band played benefit concerts in support of Standing Rock.

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