"I don't know, I'm the bass player": Tim Commerford admits he has no idea if Rage Against The Machine have broken up

Tim Commerford Rage Against The Machine
(Image credit: Getty Images/Astrida Valigorsky)

Rage Against The Machine bassist Tim Commerford has opened up about his battle against prostate cancer, and discussing the band's current status after drummer Brad Wilk announced in January that they would "not be touring or playing live again". 

In an expansive new interview with Rolling Stone, Commerford discusses his new group 7D7D, personal health battles, politics and what the hell is going on with RATM -  admitting he's not entirely sure. 

“I don’t get involved in that," he says. "I’m the bass player. I just wait for someone to tell me what to do. Brad said what he said, but he’s one step above me. He’s in the number three spot. I am the low man on the totem pole. That’s all I can tell you. I’m the bass player. The bass players always are the last people to find out about shit like that.”

In 2020, Rage Against The Machine announced their planned comeback, to have included their first world tour in 20 years. 

Delayed due to the pandemic, the band finally returned to the stage in July 2022, but were forced to cancel planned European and UK shows - including headline performances at Reading and Leeds festivals - in August that year after vocalist Zack de la Rocha ruptured his achilles tendon. The band's remaining US dates, rescheduled for 2023, were also cancelled in October 2022. Discussing the decision to cancel the shows, Commerford admits there were other health issues at play, including his own prostate cancer diagnosis that saw him undergo treatment before the tour, and struggle psychologically when the band were on stage.

“At that time with Rage, I was not there,” he tells Rolling Stone. “I was very emotional, and that was the hardest part. It wasn’t like the physical side. It was the psychological aspect of accepting that you have cancer. I was turning my back to my amp, and just fighting back tears. It was very difficult…people would ask how I was doing, and I would just cry.”

Although since given the all-clear after surgery, Commerford goes on to explain that each check-up still weighs on him.

"The cancer will never be gone though," he explains. "It’s always going to be there. When you have prostate cancer, they test your PSA [Prostate-Specific Antigen] level. I’m at a zero right now. But I get tested every three months. I’m going to be really stressed before the next test."

Although Rage have been in a state of flux in recent years, Commerford has kept busy - not least with his new project 7D7D. Formed in 2022, the band have released four singles to date. The latest, Insignia, came out February 9. Of his new group, Commerford suggests he is taking things slow for now, not looking to immediately fill the arena-sized gap RATM have left in his schedule.

"I want to play at the fuckin’ bowling alley,he tells Rolling Stone. “I want to play at coffee houses. I want to go out there and do this and not be the guy from Rage as much as I can be that.”

In November 2023, Rage Against The Machine were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, but guitarist Tom Morello was the only member to attend the ceremony.

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.