Rage Against The Machine drummer explains their infamous MTV Awards appearance
Almost 18 years after the incident occurred, Rage Against The Machine’s Brad Wilk has discussed the infamous moment which saw the band’s bassist crash the stage at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards.
On September 7th 2000, Rage Against The Machine had managed to score themselves a nomination for Best Rock Video because of their legendary Michael Moore-directed clip for ‘Sleep Now In The Fire’. However, when it was announced that Limp Bizkit had actually won the award for ‘Break Stuff’, bassist Tim Commerford decided to take matters into his own hands, invading the stage, and earning himself a night in jail.
Speaking on Dean Delray’s Let There Be Talk podcast, Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk opened up about the infamous incident, and how both Limp Bizkit and MTV’s security reacted to the stunt.
“We were all sitting there, MTV gave us a bunch of bottles of champagne, Tim obviously was taking it pretty seriously,” Wilk explained. “To be honest, we weren’t fans of Limp Bizkit. The only thing we were fans of is that they were actually getting it together to write music and play, and do things.”
“Anyways, it seemed like in Tim’s eyes that they were going to give us this award – in Tim’s head. So Limp Bizkit wins the award for best video for ‘Break Stuff’… Michael Moore is sitting right next to us, he made one of the greatest videos. We literally shut down the New York Stock Exchange, an incredible video.”
“So the lesson in life is – never expect anything,” Wilk continues. “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,” he continues. “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,” Brad Wilk concludes. “I remember the head guy at MTV was there as we were being ushered out, ‘Thank you very much, don’t come back.’ That type of thing. I just remember laughing my ass off in the van back to the hotel.”
While this incident has arguably gone down as one of the most controversial moments in the award’s history, it also stands out as one of the most hilarious moments in the career of an otherwise serious political band. What more could you want?
Check out Rage Against The Machine’s Tim Commerford and his infamous stage invasion:
The article was originally published on Tone Deaf