Rage Against the Machine adds more dates
The reformed band will Rock the Bells with Wu-Tang Clan on a summer tour.By Geoff Boucher
Times Staff Writer
February 24, 2007
It turns out Rage Against the Machine will play more than one show after all--the seminal L.A. band will join the Wu-Tang Clan for three shows under the banner of Rock the Bells, the acclaimed hip-hop festival that kicks off in New York on July 28 and hits Southern California on Aug. 11.
That local show will be at the National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino while the third show, on Aug. 18, will be in San Francisco. The sites of the New York and San Francisco shows as well as ticket sales information will be announced by organizers on Monday.
Rage is already the closing-night headliner of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 29 in Indio, a festival that sold out 80 days in advance due to the pent-up fan demand for the Los Angeles band. Rage played their last show in 2000.
That Coachella show was announced as a "one-and-done" affair but the quick sellout and the harsh-priced ticket scalping already underway are among the factors in the added shows, according to sources close to the band. There's also the historical punch of performing with Wu-Tang Clan, one of the most ambitious and influential hip-hop outfits ever.
"Rage will do four shows and just four in 2007," said Chang Weisberg, the founder of Guerilla Union and organizer of Rock the Bells. "Coachella is first, that's the granddaddy. And now these three with the Wu-Tang Clan represent a very, very special thing."
The New York hip-hop collective has already announced the planned summer release of "8 Diagrams," the Clan's first album since "Iron Flag" in 2001. The album will feature new contributions from eight of the nine members from its classic line-up: RZA, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Raekwon, GZA, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Masta Killa. The ninth member, the late ODB, who died in 2005, will appear in the form of previously recorded material.
RZA said in a released statement in November that the contemporary doldrums of hip-hop demand a return by the flamboyant and potent Clan: "People want something that gives them an adrenaline rush. We're here to supply that fix. How could hip-hop be dead if Wu-Tang is forever? We're here to revive the spirit and the economics and bring in a wave of energy that has lately dissipated."
More details on the shows, including an on-sale date, will come Monday via the "Kevin & Bean" morning show on KROQ-FM (106.7), the powerhouse rock station in Los Angeles.
Fans have been hopeful that Rage will tour but, according to Weisberg, these three new dates and the Coachella appearance are the extent of the current comeback. Rage helped launch Coachella in 1999 when the band co-headlined the inaugural edition of the huge festival.
Rage guitarist Tom Morello has said that the reunion is driven in part by politics and a desire by him and his compatriots to rally young people against President Bush, the war in Iraq and the Republican Party.
When Rage split, frontman Zack de la Rocha went solo while Morello, drummer Brad Wilk and bassist Tim Commerford went on as Audioslave, adding singer Chris Cornell and releasing three albums. That band's future came into question with the recent Rage reunion stirrings and likely ended altogether with the Feb. 15 announcement by Cornell that he is moving on due to "irresolvable personality conflicts and musical differences."
Morello, meanwhile, is also launching a new solo career as the Nightwatchman, the stage name he uses for his aggressive and largely acoustic protest music. His album, "One Man Revolution," is due in stores April 24 and he will tour in the spring.
If Rage as a whole also tours soon it would add to a summer of major reunions hitting the road; the members of the Police and Genesis have set aside their famous quarrels and are gearing up for road runs, while the notoriously fractious Eagles are finishing their first studio album since 1979 and are expected to tour as well.
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