Rage Against the Machine’s Tim Commerford Recalls Outrageous MTV VMA Protest
Long before Kanye West tried to steal Taylor Swift or Beck's award show thunder, there was an infamous moment for Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim Commerford. At the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, the musician climbed up a fake palm tree onstage and refused to come down after Limp Bizkit won Best Rock Video. He ended up getting arrested and spending the night in jail. Commerford discussed that incident (check out a video above) and more in a new interview with ESPN Radio.
Commerford was on 'The Dan LeBatard Show' promoting his latest project Future User. He discussed the production of the video for the song 'Sleep Now In the Fire,' which is the one they were nominated for and lost to Limp Bizkit. That video and 'Testify' from 1999's 'Battle of Los Angeles' were directed by filmmaker Michael Moore ('Bowling For Columbine,' 'Fahrenheit 9/11').
Of the incident, he stated, "For me, [the protest] was real and it was for something important. It wasn't for twerking or doing something stupid. It may have seemed stupid at the time." Commerford says he was a huge fan of what Moore did with 'Sleep Now in the Fire' and 'Testify,' adding, "I think they are the greatest rock videos ever made and they've inspired me to this day, with what I'm doing today." The rocker says he felt they had the win all wrapped up, but started noticing that MTV would focus the cameras on the winners before they were actually announced.
"We were up against Limp Bizkit, one of the dumbest bands in the history of music," explained Commerford. "We're up against them and their singer made the video. So it was Limp Bizkit vs. Rage, Fred Durst-directed video vs. Michael Moore. And I'm sitting there with Michael and I'm like, 'Hey man, if that camera doesn't come over here, I'm climbing up that structure and I'm gonna sit there like a f---ing gargoyle and throw a wrench in this show.' And he's like, 'Tim, follow your heart.'"
You can listen to the entire interview at this location.