NORCO (CBSLA.com) — A group of musicians known for provocative lyrics that take aim at police and politicians was kept out of a Norco prison Wednesday night, just before it was set to perform before 800 inmates.
“We were denied at the last minute because apparently they got some calls from right-wing nuts in Sacramento who said they were going to foment rebellion,” said musician Tom Morello. “What we meant to do is come here to play a great show.”
Morello is one of six musicians who make up the supergroup Prophets of Rage. All come from three well-known musical groups: Rage Against the Machine, Cypress Hill and Public Enemy. Those groups have released songs with lyrics highly critical of police and political figures.
Prophets of Rage released its first single to coincide with a protest performance outside the Republican National Convention last month.
The band was not allowed inside the prison as planned Wednesday night because of orders issued by the California Department of Corrections just before showtime.
The concert was intended to support the nonprofit organization Jail Guitar Doors, which provides musical instruments and opportunities to help rehabilitate inmates.
The organization’s co-founder Wayne Kramer said: “They didn’t want to see good things happen for what they consider to be bad people, when in truth, they’re just people.”
“We play for those on the lowest rungs of the ladder,” said Morello. “We play for the underclass, those who do not have a presidential candidate who presents them.”
The show went on outside prison walls and was loud enough for inmates to hear. Law enforcement and other people nearby came by to watch the performance.
“The barbed wire cannot keep the music out,” Morello said.