Tom Morello says the release of Killing In The Name as atheir first single was actually their label, Sony’s, idea.

From Los Angeles Weekly:

When the members of Rage Against The Machine assembled in North Hollywood to cut their demo tape in 1991, they had no idea that those songs would help spur the alternative rock movement. Before Rage, the Los Angeles scene was better known for good looking hair metal bands of oft-dubious motivation. But that began to change after the politically charged band was signed to Epic Records (after their second show, no less).

Was there any resistance from Epic when they heard the lyrical content of the songs?

There was never any resistance. The record label actually suggested “Killing In The Name” as the first single, which contains the line, “Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me” 16 times and one “motherfucker.” They knew that this was not a band that would craft pop hits. It was also the label’s suggestion to not edit lyrical content for video or for radio, which is why it exploded outside of here. “Killing In The Name” and “Bullet In The Head” were hit songs across Europe, South America and Japan where there were less stringent censorship laws.

Would you prefer the headbanging dudes as opposed to the Paul Ryans of the world?

Paul Ryan is welcome to headbang at a show anytime, but if he wants to enact policy that’s going to hurt 99.9 percent of Rage Against The Machine fans, then he’s likely to hear about it from me. One of the strengths of Rage Against The Machine has always been the music casts a wide net. Many people were drawn to the band initially not because of politics, but because of the power, aggression and the fusion of hip-hop and rock. They were exposed to a new set of ideas that could change their minds or change their lives. That’s something that we as a band are pretty proud. Speaking of which, early on, the LA Weekly could never spell the band’s name right in the concert section. We were once listed as Rag And Ain’t The Machine, so if nothing else after 20 years, people have learned how to spell our name right.