Rage Against the Machine’s Tim Commerford reveals battle with prostate cancer

'I hope there’s one person who reads this and is like, ‘F***, I need to get checked out'
Tim Commerford of Rage Against The Machine
Tim Commerford of Rage Against The Machine Photo credit Theo Wargo/Getty Images
By , Audacy

More concerning health information has emerged from the Rage Against the Machine camp, with the news that bassist Tim Commerford has been going through a private battle with prostate cancer.

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Commerford, 54, spoke about receiving treatments earlier this year during Rage Against The Machine’s tumultuous 2022 reunion shows, which also resulted in injuries on two other members. In a new interview with Spin magazine, Tim reveals he had his prostate removed only two months prior to RATM’s tour kick-off in July, adding he’s currently on the mend while offering up a warning: “I hope there’s one person who reads this and is like, ‘F***, I need to get checked out,’ when they find out about it.”

Prior to surgery, the bassist explained, he had been monitoring his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels with his doctors, which during the course of more than a year rose to a point where he was unable to purchase life insurance.

"Eventually, they did a biopsy and found out I had cancer, so they took my prostate out," Tim continues. “I had been thinking, well, because they’re watching it and let it get to this point, maybe it’s not that big of a deal. I blame myself. I should have said, ‘My numbers are elevated, and what does that really mean?’ I should have taken it more seriously. I should have looked into alternate therapy instead of getting sucked into the most disgusting, capitalistic machine on the face of the planet: the medical establishment."

After the removal, Tim says his doctors were not sure if he would be able to hit the road with the band for their long-awaited reunion tour. "That was brutal. I would be on stage looking at my amp in tears. Then you just kind of turn around and suck it up."

Prostate cancer “is a very, very, very tough one because it’s connected to your sexuality,” Commerford admits. “It’s hard to disconnect from that, and when you’re forced into that situation, it’s a brutal psychological journey. I’ve been trying to find support groups, and it’s hard to find people and hard to talk about it. The suffering part of it, the physical suffering after the surgery, I’ve never felt pain quite like that. I have metal plates in my head and cadaver parts in my body. I’ve done a lot of damage through sports and mountain biking and this sort of thing and I’ve always felt like I had a really high tolerance for pain, and that s*** brought me to my knees. After the pain went away, I still haven’t really been able to get up, even though I’m working out and doing s***, but psychologically, the damage is severe. It’s very hard for me to not break down and get emotional.”

The good news here is, after a six-month test that "came back zero," Tim is “just trying to grab ahold of the reins,” he says. “It’s gonna be a long journey, I hope. My dad died in his early 70s from cancer, and my mom died from cancer in her 40s. Split the difference to 65 and I’ve got 10 years. I’m trying to get to the 100-song mark. I have some goals now. Songwriting has become a catharsis for me.”

Aside from his Rage Against The Machine duties, Tim has also been working on his side-project 7D7D. Listen to the new single "Misinformed" now.

Back in October of 2022, RATM put the breaks on their North American tour into 2023 as the band’s normally stage-commanding frontman Zack de la Rocha continues to nurse a serious leg injury sustained while on the road earlier this summer.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images