Rage Against the Machine have had a devil of a time making their return to the live scene after a decade plus absence.
First the band had to push the tour back multiple times over the span of a few years due to the pandemic. Then, when it finally kicked off, Zach de la Rocha injured himself while going off too hard on stage a few weeks ago. Next, security accidentally tackled guitarist Tom Morello and knocked him off stage. And THEN, Rage had to cancel the overseas portion of their reunion tour due to doctor’s order for Zach to stay home.
For whatever it’s worth, some of us here at The Pit saw night 1 of RATM at Madison Square Garden this week and hot DAMN. We’ll admit we were a little nervous when two security guards had to carry Zach out on stage at the beginning of the set because he literally could not walk on his own.
But what became apparent within the first 30 seconds was that Zach de la Rocha is still a better frontman sitting down on a road case than 99.9% of the live singers we have ever seen. Injury be damned, the man delivered. And from the video footage, it looked like Rage slayed every single one of their 5-night residency at MSG this past week, too.
Zach’s exact injury was still a bit of a mystery, though, until a post by friend and legendary photographer Glen E. Friedman yesterday seems to have shined a light on exactly what Zach is dealing with. Per Glen:
“RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE at Roseland in NYC circa 1996. Before i review for you the story of the 1st image, i want you to know that i am posting this today because I went to see my good friend Zack (with his torn ACL) perform last night at Madison Square Garden, one of the most hallowed venues in the modern world. RATM sold out FIVE nights. Even having to sit during the performance Zack De La Rocha showed the world what they had been missing in all the years he had been away from this incredible group of musicians. Zack “brought it” like few other ever have or ever could. Integrity, and heart, the touchstones of the most important and greatest. I had a great fucking time and was going off like a spoiled child up in front of the barricades because that’s how i’m used to it, being close and feeling it and letting it go through and move me.
I was inspired! Even used my iPhone to a make a few shots & video clips, i’ll add them here when you swipe left. I think i may even go back with some film and shoot OG style tonight, problem is the size of the venue and stage, for me, takes away the intimacy of closeness i usually go for, and the inconsistent lighting can be more than challenging when you go all analog/manual like I do. Maybe one day i’ll figure out how to use one of those digital cameras 🤷🏽♂️
So back to the story of my fave RATM image i made.
My old friend, and drummer for Suicidal Tendencies, Beastie Boys, among others, Amery “AWOL” Smith was working with RATM and invited me to come down and meet them during a 3 night stint at the world famous Roseland Ballroom. i went down the first night just to see and hear them… of course i was blown away and came back the next night and made some photographs. By this time i had already decided i was not generally using a flash any longer so there are risks involved concerning lighting, but i still had fun being on stage with them and i made this one great image. I love it and it’s also in my book “THE IDEALIST – In My Eyes 25 years” it’s a book of my aesthetic, art and politics.”
View this post on Instagram
Watch the video of of Zach de la Rocha apparently tearing his ACL:
A torn ACL does not sound enjoyable. Here’s wishing Zach a speedy recovery.