Was this the last time Rage Against the Machine played “Killing in the Name”?

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Rage Against the Machine have announced that they have split up again. Watch their latest stage performance of “ Killing in the Name “.

Rage Against the Machine 3.0 officially ended early Wednesday evening, when drummer Brad Wilk informed fans via Instagram that the band would not be resuming its Public Service Announcement reunion tour. “ RATM (Tim, Zack, Tom and Me) will no longer tour or perform in concerthe posted on Instagram. I’m sorry to those of you who waited for this to happen. I really wish that were the case… »

On the one hand, the news is hardly surprising. Rage is an incredibly volatile band. It imploded in 2000 after recording three albums of original music, reformed in 2007 for a series of festivals around the world, and quietly disbanded again in 2011 without releasing a single note of new music.

Frontman Zack de la Rocha largely disappeared in the years since, but the band announced a reunion tour in 2020, which was postponed until 2022 due to the pandemic. They put tickets on sale for 57 concerts in North America and Europe, but Zack de la Rocha ruptured his Achilles tendon just a few songs into the second concert. He finished the first part of the tour singing every night while sitting on a crate. Then they canceled the rest of the shows so he could heal properly. An entire year passed with no sign that they were going to reschedule these concerts (even after a seemingly recovered de la Rocha appeared at a Run the Jewels concert in Los Angeles) and the prospect of Rage’s future activity began to look dark.

On the other hand, it’s a bit shocking to see this reformation end so definitively. When informing fans of the cancellation following his injury, de la Rocha wrote a rare public message: “ It’s been almost three months since Chicago, and I’m still looking at my leg in disbelief. Two years of waiting during the pandemic, hoping we would have an opening to be a band again and continue the work we started 30 years ago. We rehearsed, we practiced, we made up, we worked to get back into shape. Then, after a show and a half, my tendon tore. I felt like the universe had played a bad joke on me. As I write this, I tell myself that these are just bad circumstances. It’s just a shitty moment. »

He continued: “ I hate canceling concerts. I hate to disappoint our fans… You have all waited so patiently to see us and it has never escaped my attention. I never take this for granted. For you, I have the greatest gratitude and respect. »

This statement comes from a man determined to finish the tour. She gave hope to fans who had purchased tickets for the 38 canceled concerts. It seemed like it was only a matter of time before de la Rocha was back on his feet and singing “ Bulls on Parade “.

But there is still a lot we don’t know. Why did Wilk write this message to fans alone? Why was there no collective declaration? Did his teammates even know that he intended to speak publicly like this? Do they share Wilk’s pessimism that there is no hope for the tour?

The good news is that the 19 concerts Rage managed to play in 2022 were absolutely incredible, even though de la Rocha sat in for 18 of them. “ It was absolutely explosiveguitarist Tom Morello told WECB Last year. It was different and unexpected for the band (to play with Zack sitting in), and for him as a leader. In a way, it was almost louder. And this, room after room. During the first two concerts, we wondered what it was going to sound like. The third or fourth show was at a festival (the RBC Ottawa Bluesfest) somewhere in Canada, in front of about 90,000 people going wild. I had the impression that the power of the group was intact. »

The tour ended with five evenings at Madison Square Garden in New York. The grand finale took place on August 14, 2022. Like all the concerts of the tour, it ended with a “ Killing in the Name » explosive. Here is a video of this last encore shot by fans.

At the end of the song, a pumped-up Morello threw his guitar across the stage at a roadie. Morello, Wilk and bassist Tim Commerford sat next to the singer, smiled and raised their fists for a photographer as the crowd roared. The crowd continued to roar as Morello, Wilk and Commerford all leaned over to hug de la Rocha, appearing to hold back tears. Then two masked roadies picked Zack up and carried him off stage.

It’s likely we’ll never know what happened in the 17 months since that powerful moment of group solidarity. Rage is not a band like Aerosmith or Fleetwood Mac that airs its dirty laundry in public. Zack de la Rocha has barely spoken to the press over the past quarter century. Let’s be grateful that we had 19 Rage concerts in 2022. Every one of them was a small miracle. And let’s hold out hope that at some point they’ll put the broken pieces of the band together and give us Rage Against the Machine 4.0.


Written by

Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson is a dedicated writer and key contributor to the WECB website, Emerson College's student-run radio station. Passionate about music, radio communication, and journalism, Christopher pursues his craft with a blend of meticulous research and creative flair. His writings on the site cover an array of subjects, from music reviews and artist interviews to event updates and industry news. As an active member of the Emerson College community, Christopher is not only a writer but also an advocate for student involvement, using his work to foster increased engagement and enthusiasm within the school's radio and broadcasting culture. Through his consistent and high-quality outputs, Christopher Johnson helps shape the voice and identity of WECB, truly embodying its motto of being an inclusive, diverse, and enthusiastic music community.