A year ago, with the Occupy Wall Street movement in full bloom, the phrase “we are the 99%” was ubiquitous, as protesters worldwide railed against big banks, corporate bonuses, and, well, a bunch of other stuff that involved drum circles. Since then, the movement’s waned somewhat, and the percentage most people are talking about these days is the 47% of people that Mitt Romney claimed are dependent on government assistance. However, the trio of Tom Morello, Serj Tankian and Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath have united to create an anthem for the Occupy movement.
“We Are the 99%, which is available for free download at axisofjustice.net, was co-written and produced by Morello, and it sounds like it. The guitar riff is Rage-like, yet as a protest anthem, it’s, well, more anthemic, perhaps due to the fact that McIlrath and Tankian are more melodic vocalists than Zack de la Rocha. Axis of Justice was formed by Tankian and Morello ten years ago, and it makes sense that they would loop McIlrath into the song, as all three artists are pretty political.
“‘We are the 99%’ is a song inspired by the global Occupy movement,” Morello says. “I wanted to capture the excitement and energy of people fighting for change and make sure the song was free to anyone who wants it. Brothers in arms Tim McIlrath (from Rise Against) and Serj Tankian (from System of a Down) lent their amazing talents to the song and we incorporated chants from the original Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park as well. It’s my hop that songs like this will provide a rocking soundtrack for those who have a vision of a more just planet and strengthen their resolve to fight on.”