The Metal Musician Who Got Himself Banned From The MTV Awards For Life

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This week marked 23 years since Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim Commerford infamously stormed the stage at the MTV Awards in protest of Limp Bizkit winning Best Rock Video for ‘Break Stuff’.

Rage was nominated for ‘Sleep Now In The Fire,’ and Commerford clearly took umbrage to nu-metal upstarts LB taking center stage over his own band.

So what did he do? He climbed a tower on stage while Limp Bizkit was accepting the award, swinging it to the point where it looked like it would collapse, refusing any and all attempts by panicked MTV staffers to come down from his post.

A few years back, Rage drummer Brad Wilk gave a first-hand account of how the whole scene went down, including how Rage members initially tried to dissuade Commerford from taking action, but then basked in the glory of the sheer chaos he was creating.

Let There Be Talk podcast conducted the interview, and The Brag transcribed it:

“So Limp Bizkit wins, gets called up, and I remember sitting next to Tim, and Tim sitting next to Michael and he’s like, ‘I wanna fuckin’ go up there.’ He looks over to Michael and goes, ‘I wanna go up there.’

I think other people in the band were like, ‘No, don’t do anything.’ Michael Moore says, ‘Just go with it. Go with your heart.’ Tim is wearing flip-flops, and I see Tim get up and start walking over the chairs, and I’m elated at this point because I just love shit like this. I’m like, ‘This is fucking gonna be good! Whatever it is, it’s gonna be fucking good!’

He actually makes it to the stage, and then starts climbing this tower that starts shaking, and I’m like, ‘This is good, but someone might die now. Someone might get really hurt.’ He’s like, shaking this thing, and Fred [Durst] is looking at him… I’m still in awe, this is fucking amazing! I am standing up like I’m at the greatest sporting event that I’ve ever seen.

Meanwhile, MTV is trying to divert the attention because the stage is broken up in two parts, so they cut to a commercial. Mayhem ensues, absolute fucking mayhem. We get up out of our seats, and we’re trying to get to Tim.

I remember Tom [Morello] and I just being in a fucking swarm of fucking people, and it’s almost impossible to get Tim. There’s an undercover cop who went on a ladder to try to get Timmy. I remember watching this vividly. The guy tries to grab at Tim – he’s an undercover cop so he’s in regular clothes – Tim literally grabs the guy’s white fucking mustache and kind of pulls on it. I’m dying, I’m like, ‘This is fucking incredible!’”

They finally got him down, and we were all thrown outside. MTV hated us. I remember the head guy at MTV was there as we were being ushered out, ‘Thank you very much, don’t come back.’

We doubt Commerford is losing much sleep over the MTV ban, though. He’s got other, more “prestigious” awards ceremonies to look forward to as his band will soon be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside Missy Elliott, George Michael, Willie Nelson, Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, and The Spinners.