“When I went into that fire burn I was thinking, ‘What's the worst that could happen?’” That time Rage Against the Machine's Tim Commerford injected himself with steroids then set himself on fire

Tim Commerford of Rage Against The Machine performs on stage at Finsbury Park on June 6, 2010 in London, England.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rage Against The Machine have always faced one apparently insoluble criticism. Railing against capitalist exploitation in all its forms, from the enslavement of the masses by advertising and TV to America's foreign policy, the Los Angeles quartet made a vast sum of money for themselves by signing to a major label, Epic, and touring the world enabled by a network of music-industry corporations – the very targets of their songs.

Noticing this, many an observer remarked on this apparent ideological inconsistency, but the band – Zack de la Rocha (vocals), Tom Morello (guitar), Tim Commerford (bass) and Brad Wilk (drums) – shrugged off the naysayers with the reasonable retort that the use of major communication networks makes for a better dissemination of information. Did people listen? No.

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Joel McIver

Joel McIver was the Editor of Bass Player magazine from 2018 to 2022, having spent six years before that editing Bass Guitar magazine. A journalist with 25 years' experience in the music field, he's also the author of 35 books, a couple of bestsellers among them. He regularly appears on podcasts, radio and TV.