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Street Sweeper Social Club Inspire the Working Class … and Prison Inmates

In this day and age, the working class is being fleeced and facing the most devastating economic turmoil in recent history. The one bright spot of these trying times is that the best music is crafted from desperation, and no one is more inspired to enact social change through the vehicle of music than Rage Against the Machine / Street Sweeper Social Club guitarist Tom Morello. “People have a lot at stake, a lot to lose and it’s personally dangerous right now,” the guitarist told Noisecreep. SSSC are attracting the kids, known for having a short attention span, and convincing them to use their youth as power to make change and wake up by pairing empowering, funkdafied riffs and rhymes.

SSSC are touring with Nine Inch Nails and Jane’s Addiction, but the band played its first shows in an unconventional manner. They performed for 11-year-olds at the School of Rock and for 100 inmates at Sing Sing maximum security prison in upstate New York. SSSC were invited by MC5‘s Wayne Kramer to play for the prisoners as part of a reward program. The band even partook in a meet and greet with the inmates. “There are two things I want to say,” vocalist Boots Riley said to Noisecreep. “I promised one of the inmates I’d say this. If you watch the movie ‘Belly,’ there is a kid sitting on the bench, smoking weed at a bus stop. He is now in Sing Sing, for a long time. He said to me, ‘Tell people I’m in here.’ So I am. Another guy said, ‘I’ve been in prison 15 years and this is the best day I’ve had.’”

Once again, Morello and his cohorts act instead of preach yet still manage to have one. “When we were playing, they didn’t know our songs,” Morello said. “The music was heavy and funky, so they didn’t know how much they could mosh. Boots had them pumping fists during a song and then they’d sit down.” SSSC’s self-titled debut is music that moves, regardless of race, class, creed or station in life.

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