Rage Against The Machine’s Tim Commerford reveals he has prostate cancer

"It’s a brutal psychological journey"

Rage Against The Machine‘s Tim Commerford has revealed that he has prostate cancer.

The bassist told SPIN that he had his prostate removed just before Rage Against The Machine were about to go on tour, and also went into more detail about how he got diagnosed.

“I went to get life insurance but my PSA numbers were up. I couldn’t get it,” he said. “They wouldn’t insure me. At first, the number was very low – like one-point-something. I watched it over the course of a year and a half, and it kept elevating further. Eventually, they did a biopsy and found out I had cancer, so they took my prostate out.

“I had been thinking, well, because they’re watching it and let it get to this point, maybe it’s not that big of a deal. I blame myself. I should have said, ‘My numbers are elevated and what does that really mean?’ I should have taken it more seriously.”

He continued: “Now I’m in the situation that I’m in, which is, hold your breath for six months. It’s not a good one and not one that I’m happy about. I’m just trying to grab ahold of the reins. It’s gonna be a long journey, I hope. My dad died in his early 70s from cancer and my mom died from cancer in her 40s. Split the difference to 65 and I’ve got 10 years. I’m trying to get to the 100-song mark – I have some goals now.”

Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine in 1999 CREDIT: Brian Rasic/Getty Images

Commerford went on to reveal that he almost wasn’t able to embark on Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Public Service Announcement’ tour after his doctors said that he wouldn’t be ready in time.

“That was brutal. I would be on stage looking at my amp in tears,” he recalled. “Then you just kind of turn around and suck it up. Because of Zack [de la Rocha]’s injury, we had planned these little video interstitials that came in between blocks of songs. We were meant to go on stage, play some songs, go off stage, and on to the interstitials for a few minutes. It was seamless.

“Then he got hurt and we couldn’t leave the stage. So during the interstitials, we’re just sitting there. That was surreal. I would sometimes sit down and try to not think about certain things. It was weird. I kept it to myself throughout the touring we did and it was brutal.”

The tour was later cancelled after frontman Zack de la Rocha tore his Achilles tendon, which also meant that the band had to pull out of their headline slot at this year’s Reading and Leeds Festival.

Tim Commerford
Tim Commerford of Rage Against the Machine during their performance at Madison Square Garden on August 12, 2022 CREDIT: Astrida Valigorsky/Getty Images

Commerford admitted that he initially decided that he wouldn’t go public with his diagnosis at all. “Prostate cancer is a very, very, very tough one because it’s connected to your sexuality,” he said.

“It’s hard to disconnect from that and when you’re forced into that situation, it’s a brutal psychological journey. I’ve been trying to find support groups, and it’s hard to find people and hard to talk about it.

The bassist added that he still has reason to be optimistic. “I just got my six-month test, and it came back at zero. I was like, ‘Fuck yeah!’ That’s the best I can feel for the rest of my life.”

Commerford recently announced a new side project, 7D7D, for which he’s teamed up with Wakrat drummer Mathias Wakrat and guitarist Jonny Polonsky.

Last month they shared their debut single, ‘Capitalism’.

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