Rage Against The Machine have once again called it quits. In a note to fans, drummer Brad Wilk said that the group will not be resuming their Public Service Announcement reunion tour or carrying on in any form. This is their third breakup following splits in 2000 and 2011.
“I know a lot of people are waiting for us to announce new dates for all the cancelled RATM shows,” he wrote on Instagram. “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, Zack, Tom 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…”
Rage reunited in 2022 following an 11-year hiatus and launched an extensive tour of North America and Europe. But frontman Zack de la Rocha erupted his Achilles tendon during the second stop of the tour at Chicago’s United Center. He finished out the first leg of the tour by sitting on a road case every night, but they pulled the plug on the rest of the tour that year so that the singer could properly heal.
“I hate cancelling shows,” de la Rocha wrote to fans. “I hate disappointing our fans…You have all waited so patiently to see us and that is never lost on me. I never take that for granted. For you I have the ultimate gratitude and respect.”
The band remained largely silent in the months that followed, and guitarist Tom Morello was evasive about the future of the band when he spoke to Rolling Stone in March 2023. “Rage Against the Machine is like the ring in Lord of the Rings,” he said. “It drives men mad. It drives journalists mad. It drives record-industry people mad. They want it. They want the thing, and they’re driven mad. If there are Rage shows, if there are not Rage shows, you’ll hear from the band. I do not know. When there is news, it will come from a collective statement from the band. There is no news.”
Zack de la Rocha emerged from seclusion Oct. 12, 2023 when he made a surprise appearance at a Run the Jewels concert in Los Angeles. He joined the group for “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” and was back on his feet, raising the hopes of Rage fans that he was ready to resume the Rage tour. But he skipped out on the band’s induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the following month. Morello was the sole member of the group to show up.
“Like most bands, we have differing perspectives on a lot of things, including being inducted into the Rock Hall,” he said during his acceptance speech. “My perspective is that tonight is a great opportunity to celebrate the music and the mission of the band — to celebrate the fifth member of the band, which is Rage Against the Machine’s incredible fans. The only reason we are here and the best way to celebrate this music is for you to carry on that mission and that message.”
Sadly, Rage won’t be carrying on their mission at concert halls any time in the foreseeable future. They played a mere 19 shows in 2022, and de la Rocha was largely immobile for 18 of them, but they remained one of the greatest live acts in rock. Let’s hope they find a way to back together at some point in the future. Their story deserves a better ending than this one.