Rage Against the Machine has lost its main voice with the stunning departure of lead singer Zack de la Rocha, but the remaining band members are vowing to “rock on” without him.
The dreadlocked singer’s decision to quit after nine years of spewing out the group’s impassioned, politically charged lyrics leaves a giant hole in the band.
In a cryptic statement released by his publicists, de la Rocha says he is leaving because “our decision-making process has completely failed. It is no longer meeting the aspirations of all four of us collectively as a band, and from my perspective, has undermined our artistic and political ideal.”
The three remaining members of Rage — bassist Tim Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello and drummer Brad Wilk — pledged to go on without him.
“We are committed to continuing with our efforts to effect change in the social and political arena and look forward to creating more groundbreaking music for our fans,” they said in a statement.
“In other words, we’ll keep it loud, keep it funky and most definitely rock on ….”
‘No Hard Feelings’
The band has had a rocky time of it lately, having to reschedule a series of concerts after their planned outing with the Beastie Boys was canceled because the Beasties’ Mike D injured his shoulder. Then Commerford was arrested at the MTV Video music awards for disorderly conduct.
Rage also faced political opposition when their free concert at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles in August was shut down as protesters clashed with police.
The band has been credited for spawning the rage rock movement that led to bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit.
Rage is continuing with plans to release a live album later this fall featuring covers of songs by Cypress Hill, Devo and Bob Dylan.
Morello told MTV News he agrees that the band’s decision-making process has broken down. “I have no hard feelings, and we wish Zack well with his [solo] project,” the guitarist said. “But everyone is excited about the 29 tracks that [Rage] have in the can, and some of it will be released in the fall.”
Fans Discuss Potential Replacements
Fans posting messages on Rage’s Web site varied from sad to berserk. One fan begged de la Rocha to “please still hold that fist up in the air,” while others discussed potential replacements for the singer — ranging from rap singers Eminem to Chuck D.
In his statement, de la Rocha praised the band, saying he is “grateful to every person who has expressed solidarity and shared this incredible experience with us.”
Rage Against the Machine was formed in Los Angeles in 1991 and has released three albums, including their self-titled debut, 1996’s Evil Empire and 1999’s Battle of Los Angeles. Rage has sold more than 8 million albums domestically while speaking out on social and political injustices.