When it comes to our favorite bands and artists, some of them like to challenge the norm and go politically right or left. But which socialist musicians are rich?
Some notable musicians who are wealthy despite having socialist or far-left-leaning anti-capitalism views include Rage Against the Machine, The Clash, Jello Biafra, other members of the Dead Kennedys, and country artist Steve Earle.
And in looking at that, I was looking for a net worth of at least $1,000,000.
This may seem ironic given that these people compete in the music industry, which is a prime example of capitalism and is a staunch counter to socialism.
The question some people have of musicians who are socialist is, “are you rich”? This is valid because, in a socialist world, goods are shared by the community based on the needs of both society and the individual.
Being rich, in theory, goes against this concept.
The other question people have is what do rich socialist musicians do with their money? Do they donate it to charity? Also, which of our favorites are socialist in the first place?
I did a little digging into the world of socialism within the music industry, and this is what I found.
Rage Against the Machine
— takashi murakami (@takashipom) January 30, 2022
Are the members of Rage Against the Machine wealthy?
Yes, they are very rich, according to reports.
One of the hardest ways to become rich in the music industry is to be a part of a group. This is because everything has to be divided by the members. However, the members of Rage Against the Machine are quite wealthy.
The wealthiest of all the members of Rage Against the Machine is Tom Morello. He is a co-founding member as well as the drummer for the group. Tom is worth an estimated $30 million, which is a lot considering his socialist beliefs.
Tom is actually considered one of the greatest guitar players of all time.
Next in line when it comes to the richest members of Rage Against the Machine is Zack de la Rocha. Zack was, of course, the frontman for the group. He left in 2000 as a result of creative differences. However, Zack has amassed a fortune of $25 million, according to rockcelebrities.net.
He originally joined the group after being approached by Tom. He was interested because the music would allow him to express his views as an activist.
Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk tie when it comes to the richest members of Rage Against the Machine. They each have an estimated net worth of $20 million. Tom is the bassist for the group, and Brad serves as the drummer. The two were involved with the group from the start.
After Zack left, they also joined Tom Morello’s supergroup called Audioslave. The two have also worked on other projects.
TONIGHT! At the Whiskey in LA. Tickets $20 at Whiskey box office at 10am. Proceeds go to PATH homeless charity. pic.twitter.com/jDvp8Ehr1J
— Tom Morello (@tmorello) May 31, 2016
Does Tom Morello donate to charity?
Yes, he donates to various charities.
As mentioned before, it is a bit difficult to resolve the political beliefs of Rage Against the Machine with the fact that the members are all rich. However, it should be noted that Tom Morello, as well as the rest of the group, donates a decent amount of money.
Tom has causes he believes in.
Need proof that Tom Morello donates to charity? Just look at the fact that he was honored by WhyHunger, which is an organization that seeks to end hunger. They gave him the Humanitarian Award.
In line with his beliefs, Tom has also supported the Occupy Wall Street Movement. He did this in 2012 by contributing to a box set.
Recently, Tom Morello released a live version of “Save the Hammer for the Man”. The proceeds from this track went to WhyHunger’s Covid-19 Rapid Response Fund. This was in 2020.
Tom is also the co-founder of Axis of Justice. This is a non-profit political activist organization.
If you want a more detailed look at the politics of Tom Morello, I wrote a recent article examining if he is a communist or socialist and why he implies he was discriminated against for growing up black and poor despite his having graduated from Harvard.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
“For about a weekend we were called The Psychotic Negatives, then we were The Weak Heart Drops, after a lyric in a Big Youth record. Then Paul thought of the name The Clash.” – @JoeStrummer on naming the band, 1988.
📷©️ Sheila Rock#TheClash pic.twitter.com/y3r7bsM7RA
— The Clash (@TheClash) August 23, 2021
Were The Clash communists?
Most would say no.
When it comes to the difference between certain political ideologies, they can become buried. This leads to the mislabeling of many beliefs. This often happens with communism and socialism.
It should also be noted that these two beliefs are very similar.
The Clash was considered to be an extremely political band. Though some might call them communists, most would agree that The Clash expressed socialist views in their music. However, some even say that the term socialist is a bit of a stretch.
Whatever the exact belief of The Clash and frontman Joe Strummer is, the overarching theme found in their music and public statements was compassion. They believed in racial justice, opposed imperialism, and also had a stance against capitalism.
Of course, Joe Strummer died in 2002. But died with a million-dollar estate. So clearly he benefited from Capitalism despite railing against it.
2) my biggest inspiration is billie joe armstrong from green day, he’s been my role model since i was 12 and his music inspired my passion for politics and doing what is right and when i saw green day in july 2017 he led a “no trump, no KKK, no fascist USA” chant 😁 pic.twitter.com/lDziCSy8LV
— oliver 🦷 (@labratking_) January 18, 2018
Is Billie Joe Armstrong a socialist?
It is unclear if he has declared an exact belief system.
If you know Green Day, you know the group’s lead singer, Billie Joe Armstrong. Billie has seemingly always been a political person. However, he has never aligned himself with anyone’s political beliefs.
Sure, anyone who knows Billie from various interviews or public stances is aware that he leans left. But despite this, is he a socialist, is he a democrat, or does he simply not like the idea of organized political parties?
Most would say it’s the latter.
This makes perfect sense, especially when looking at Green Day’s music. Particularly the albums “American Idiot” and “21st Century Break Down”.
One term some people have applied to Billie’s political affiliation is Independent. This fits, although the very existence of any political party seems to counter much of what Billie Joe Armstrong believes.
Perhaps he should simply be called a progressive.
— Alternative Nation (@AltNationNet) August 17, 2017
Are Pearl Jam a socialist band?
No, they are not.
Pearl Jam is a band that has always been somewhat political. They have always aligned themselves with left-leaning politics. However, they do it in such a way that is less abrasive than the way other bands go about it.
It has been said that Pearl Jam was always about doing and not saying. This means that they publicly supported the things they cared about, but they didn’t always put it in their music.
One recent example of this is their use of a poster of the White House in flames. This was done to protest then-president Donald Trump.
Pearl Jam has spoken about the hate they received from many more conservative-leaning people. This actually poses a pretty big question.
Can someone be both conservative and punk? I examined this in a recent article. And not surprisingly, there are several well-known punks who do indeed lean to the right including Johnny and Dee Dee Ramone among others.
Just click that link to read more on my site.
Politics is an interesting topic. It divides many people, however, it can also lead to some great art. Many of our favorite bands have beliefs that are either socialist or pretty dang close to it.
This also isn’t a new trend.
The reality is that this mirrors real life. Most of us have people in our lives who stray from a conventional way of thinking. This is great because it provides us with a fresh perspective, which is what many of these bands have done.
However, it can be difficult to take rich artists seriously when they say they are socialist. Again, this goes against the idea of being rich. However, perhaps they are rich despite their beliefs, and they simply do all they can to make the world a better place.
Side note- speaking of being rich in the music industry, check out this recent article I wrote about Billie Eilish and her family and whether their wealth played a role in her ability to get popular.
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay and Image by S K from Pixabay and Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay