Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim Commerford is battling prostate cancer.
Commerford revealed his health diagnosis in an interview with SPIN, saying that he’s been dealing with some “pretty serious shit.”
“Right before I was about to go on tour with Rage, I had my prostate removed, and I have prostate cancer,” he said.
“I went to get life insurance but my PSA numbers were up. I couldn’t get it. They wouldn’t insure me. At first, the number was very low — like one-point-something. I watched it over the course of a year and a half, and it kept elevating further.
“Eventually, they did a biopsy and found out I had cancer, so they took my prostate out. 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.”
As the bassist explained, “it’s gonna be a long journey.” “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,” he continued.
Zack de la Rocha’s torn achilles eventually caused Rage Against the Machine to cancel their 2023 tour dates, but touring before the cancellation was quite the ordeal for Commerford.
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“Two months before the tour, I had surgery and my doctors said I wasn’t going to be ready,” he remembered. “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. Because of Zack [de la Rocha]’s injury, we had planned these little video interstitials that came in between blocks of songs.
“We were meant to go on stage, play some songs, go off stage, 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.”
Commerford also revealed that he initially hadn’t planned on telling the world about his cancer diagnosis. “Prostate cancer is a very, very, very tough one because it’s connected to your sexuality,” he said. “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.”