“I don’t want to string people or myself along any further”: Rage Against the Machine are finished, according to drummer Brad Wilk

Rage Against the Machine
(Image credit: Astrida Valigorsky/Getty Images)

Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk has ended talk of the band’s live return. In a frank Instagram post dated January 3, the drummer said that the band “will not be touring or playing live again.”  

His full post reads: “I know a lot of people are waiting for us to announce new tour dates for all the canceled RATM shows. I don’t want to string people or myself along any further.

“So while there has been some communication that this may be happening in the future… I want to let you know that RATM (Tim [Commerford, bass], Zack [de la Rocha, vocals], Tom [Morello, guitars] and I) will not be touring or playing live again.

“I’m sorry for those of you who have been waiting for this to happen. I really wish it was…”

There has been no official band statement at this time, but it seems unlikely that any statement would contradict the drummer’s own words.

Scott Ian, Velvet Revolver guitarist Dave Kushner and Gojira drummer Mario Duplantier were just some of the big names to express their sadness at the news, alongside their appreciation for all the band has done.

"Dood… that sucks. I know how hard you worked at trying to make this happen," reads Kushner's comment. "You will do something great again. Don’t forget that when you weren’t in a band with those guys, you were in @blacksabbath !!! Hang in there @bradwilk and talk soon."

Scott Ian simply put: "Respect. Always. Cheers Brad."

Rage Against the Machine, who count guitarist Tom Morello among their ranks, formed in Los Angeles, 1991 and quickly became one of the most influential rock and metal bands of the ‘90s.

Tracks like Killing in the Name and Know Your Enemy, from their self-titled debut album, made a huge imprint on guitar playing at the time, thanks to Morello’s innovations with his DigiTech Whammy. The record went triple-platinum in 2000.

The band broke up that same year but became unlikely heroes in the UK in 2009. Killing in the Name spearheaded a campaign to end a four-year run of X Factor winners claiming the much-coveted Christmas number one. To celebrate their strange success, the band reformed for a show at London’s Finsbury Park in 2010.

The campaign also sparked a resurgence in popularity for the band, who went on to headline Download Festival, Rock am Ring and Rock im Park in Germany, and Rock in Rio Madrid in 2010. But it wasn’t until 2019 that the band properly greased their wheels again, announcing a 2020 world tour that ultimately didn’t take place until 2022 owing to the pandemic.

Frontman de la Rocha sustained a leg injury during the second show of the group’s North American dates, forcing the cancelation of the remaining world tour and 2023 US dates, which now look extremely unlikely to be rescheduled.

The politically charged band were finally inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2023, although only Morello attended. The ceremony included Jimmy Page’s first live performance in eight years, which saw the Led Zeppelin man pay homage to Link Wray.  

Away from the Hall of Fame and RATM, Morello has kept busy. 2023 began with his guest spot on the Måneskin single, GOSSIP, in January, and also included trading solos with Nuno Bettencourt, Slash and Buddy Guy across multiple live appearances, not to mention a signature Neural DSP plugin.

Meanwhile, RATM’s future may be cast in doubt, but the future of Morello’s son, Roman, looks bright. Footage has recently emerged of the young guitarist – who can “run circles around” his father according to Morello senior – shredding Killing in the Name to an empty stadium during soundcheck.

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Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to Prog, Guitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.