What’s worse than breaking up with your partner? Your favourite band calling it quits!
This week in 1994, Oasis released their debut album, Definitely Maybe. Who would have thought that 15 years later, Noel Gallagher would be pulling the plug. Here’s his version of the story:
Here’s Liam’s side of things:
For today’s FM96 5 @ 5 the theme is BAND BREAK-UPS! Maybe you were torn the day Sammy Hagar split with Van Halen…from his visit on Oprah’s Where Are They Now last week:
Or…maybe you were crushed when Zack de la Rocha walked out of Rage Against the Machine in 2000…here’s an archive interview on that topic with Tom Morello from TeamRock.Com:
Judging from their performance tonight, Rage don’t look like a band on the verge of imploding. Guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk crank out their razor-sharp backdrop to Zack de la Rocha’s seething polemic. At the end of the show, the band grin as they bid their farewells. Contrary to rumours, it looks as though everything is running smoothing in the Rage Against The Machine camp for the first time in years.
“I am extremely proud of our work,” the statement continues. “Both as activists and musicians, as well as indebted and grateful to every person who has expressed solidarity and shared this incredible experience with us.”
After months of speculation, the most groundbreaking, incendiary and politically-driven band of the past 10 years has finally ground to an inglorious halt. “Rage Against The Machine has been a tremendously volatile rock rollercoaster for nine whole years,” laughs guitarist Tom Morello. “It actually comes as something as a surprise that the original line-up has remained intact all this time. It’s important to emphasise that Rage Against The Machine have notbroken up. Zack has left the band. Tim, Brad and myself will continue to make groundbreaking music.
Zack’s migration from the Rage ranks is untimely, to say the least. November 27 sees the release of Renegades, an album comprised of covers of revolutionary classics, including the MC5’s Kick Out The Jams, Minor Threat’s In My Eyes and the Rolling Stones’ Street Fighting Man. Recorded just weeks before de la Rocha’s exit, it doesn’t sound like the work of a band in turmoil.
“Zack called me the morning that the press release was issued,” explains Tom. “One thing that might not be clearly understood is that we were in a period where he was planning to take 18 months to two years off. He wasn’t planning on writing another Rage song or playing another Rage show until 2003. So, as far as it did come as a surprise, in our daily schedule it didn’t have a huge impact on the rest of us. I was disappointed that, come 2003, we wouldn’t be booking a world tour, but Tim, Brad and I were planning to continue to work together and make new music. Those plans will continue.”
Was there any hostility expressed towards Zack in the aftermath of the shock revelation? “No, we parted company on good terms and we wish him well,” he states democratically. “There’s been some confusion over this record, since it coincides with Zack’s departure. It’s a studio album, with Zack as the vocalist. For Timmy, Brad and myself, we’re really proud of this record and want everyone to know about it.”
There has been much speculation over the reasons behind de la Rocha’s sudden decision to leave the band he helped form in 1991. Some sources have pointed towards Tim Commerford’s bizarre antics at the MTV Video Music Awards in September, where the bassist chose to scale a 15-foot stage prop during Limp Bizkit’s award acceptance speech. Commerford’s reluctance to come down angered the vocalist, who left the awards ceremony as a result, telling reporters he felt “humiliated” but his bandmate’s behaviour. Others attribute the departure to on-going internal tension within the band.
“It’s not unique among rock bands to find the occasional dissension,” he said at the time. “But compared to music we make and the causes we pursue, it’s not so interesting.” Right now, Morello refuses to be drawn on the subject of why he thinks Zack quit. “You’d have to ask him,” he explains. “Let’s just say Rage Against The Machine’s forces made us burn brightly and burn quickly. There’s been a constant tension that’s been an enormous challenge for us all over the years. Zack did what he had to do.”
Morello says that after the initial promotion for both Renegades and the subsequent live album – which is set for release next year – the remaining members will “figure out what the future holds for the band”. Will you carry on using the name Rage Against The Machine? It is, after all, taken from a song by Zack’s former band Inside Out. “Again, that’s something we’ve got to figure out,” he remarks. “Right now, what we’re concentrating on is Renegades. We’ve got some great ideas for the band, but we’ve got to figure all that out in the coming months.”
Naturally, Morello and co face the arduous task of finding a singer capable of filling de la Rocha’s boots. Various names have been bandied around, including Downset’s Rey Oropeza and Orange 9mm’s Chaka Malik. However, reports suggest that the remaining members of Rage have already approached Cypress Hill frontman B-Real – both parties have been seen out and about together in LA, and the rapper is rumoured to be joining the band in rehearsals shortly, with a view to hitting the road in support of the new records next year.
However, Morello remains evasive on the subject of the replacement vocalist. “We don’t know,” he states. “I couldn’t tell you right now. I’m very optimistic about what the future holds, especially because it hold two Rage records with Zack. He’s a fantastic vocalist and I cannot wait for people to hear what we’ve done. It’s a very fortunate circumstance.
“B-Real has done stuff in the past,” he continues. “He’s on this new record, so I can see where these rumours may have sprung from. Not only is he a great MC, but he’s also a great friend too.” So is he in the frame? “Seriously, we have not made a decision,” says Morello. “We’ve got some great ideas on how to move forward, but we’ll see where everyone’s head is at and take it from there.”