Tom Morello Responds to Rage Against the Vaccine Requirements

"No fans at any show in the history of Rage Against the Machine have ever had a vaccination requirement to be in the room. Ever."

Photo: Ming Wu

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Mar 29, 2023

The future is uncertain for Rage Against the Machine. Last fall, they were forced to cancel their 2023 tour after frontman Zack de la Rocha tore his Achilles tendon during the second show in their long-awaited, oft-postponed reunion trek. He went on to perform sitting down for another month before medical guidance advised against the band carrying on any further with their touring itinerary.

But before that, there were many rumours and punchlines swirling about the COVID-19 vaccination policy at the shows — and guitarist Tom Morello wants to set the record straight in no uncertain terms.

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the musician discussed the rules and regulations that were (or weren't) in place at the shows, as well as ticket pricing and the band's plans going forward.

"There's a lot of ridiculous people who disapprove of Rage's political outlook, who were not at the shows, who… just to be clear, no fans at any show in the history of Rage Against the Machine have ever had a vaccination requirement to be in the room. Ever," Morello told journalist Andy Greene. "People say that and it's just foolish."

The RATM reunion tour was initially scheduled for 2020. Obviously, the pandemic happened, and the band ended up postponing the dates multiple times before actually getting on the road in 2022. Although they never declared their own vaccination policy for the tour, tickets were sold at a time when many states and provinces — and thus, venues — had vaccine requirements in place. All of these were lifted by last summer, when the band actually got out there.

Morello went on to address the hot topic of ticket pricing. "I think by this point, I think everybody is familiar with the awful idea of dynamic ticket pricing," he said of the Ticketmaster system wherein ticket prices rise and fall due to demand. "There was that big uproar with Springsteen and this one and that one. Just to reiterate, every ticket for the show was $125 with the exception of about five to 10 percent of tickets, which we did the dynamic ticket prices with, and gave away every cent."

"Every penny over $125 went to charities in those cities," the guitarist explained. "In New York City, we raised over a million dollars for activist organization charities. There was a total of about six or seven million raised on that tour in what was basically a Robin Hood tactic."

He concluded, "I wanted to say those things out loud since there was a lot of misinformation in the world about those two things."

Elsewhere in the interview, Morello discussed RATM's future, likening the band to the ring in The Lord of the Rings. "It drives men mad. It drives journalists mad. It drives record industry people mad. They want it. They want the thing, and they're driven mad," he said. "If there are Rage shows, if there are not Rage shows, you'll hear from the band. I do not know. When there is news, it will come from a collective statement from the band. There is no news."

Between de la Rocha's recovery and bassist Tim Commerford revealing his prostate cancer diagnosis, healing is the best way to rage right now.

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