Rage Against the Machine's Tim Commerford Opens up About Cancer Battle | Revolver

Rage Against the Machine's Tim Commerford Opens up About Cancer Battle

Bassist had prostate removed just months before reunion tour kickoff
rage against the machine tim commerford Justin Mohlman 2022, Justin Mohlman
photograph by Justin Mohlman

Rage Against the Machine's Tim Commerford has opened up about his battle with prostate cancer, which he had been keeping private to this point. Talking to Spin about his new alt-rock project 7D7D, the 54-year-old bass player revealed that he underwent surgery to have his prostate removed just two months before RATM kicked off their long-awaited reunion tour this past July.

"I've been dealing with some pretty serious shit," Commerford said. "Right before I was about to go on tour with Rage, I had my prostate removed, and I have prostate cancer. I've been someone that's taken a lot of pride in being in shape and taking care of myself. But it's something where either you're either lucky or not."

He continued, "You can find yourself in a situation like I'm in where it's like, fuck, my whole life changed. With everything that happens to me now, I wonder, am I feeling this way because I have cancer? Am I losing my hair because I have cancer? Whatever it is, it makes me wonder if it's happening because I have cancer.

"And prostate cancer is a very, very, very tough one because it's connected to your sexuality. 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 shit 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 shit, but psychologically, the damage is severe. It's very hard for me to not break down and get emotional."

Commerford lost both his parents to cancer, but fortunately, so far, his surgery appears to have been successful, as he recently received encouraging test results. "I just got my six-month test, and it came back at zero," the bassist shared. "I was like, 'Fuck yeah!' That's the best I can feel for the rest of my life. Every day I get closer to that test is like, 'Fuck man, is this going to be the time when the number is going to go up and I'm going to the next thing, whatever that is?' I already went through some pain and shit. And I'm continuing to go through like, some crazy shit."

Asked what it was like touring with Rage so soon after his surgery, Commerford said, "Two months before the tour, I had surgery and my doctors said I wasn't going to be ready. That was brutal. I would be onstage looking at my amp in tears. Then you just kind of turn around and suck it up. Because of Zack's injury, we had planned these little video interstitials that came in between blocks of songs.

"We were meant to go onstage, play some songs, go offstage, and on to the interstitials for a few minutes. It was seamless. Then he got hurt and we couldn't leave the stage. So during the interstitials, we're just sitting there. That was surreal. I would sometimes sit down and try to not think about certain things. It was weird. I kept it to myself throughout the touring we did and it was brutal."

You read the full interview here, and stream 7D7D's new song, "Misinformed," below.