Tim Commerford

Timothy Robert Commerford (born February 26, 1968) is an American musician, best known as the bassist and backing vocalist for rock band Rage Against the Machine (1991–2000; 2007–2011; 2019–present) and supergroups Audioslave (2001–2007; 2017) and Prophets of Rage (2016–2019). Since 2013 and 2015, he has also been the lead singer and bassist of the bands Future User and Wakrat.

Tim Commerford
Commerford in 2007
Commerford in 2007
Background information
Birth nameTimothy Robert Commerford
Also known as
  • Timmy C
  • Y.tim.K.
  • Tim Bob
  • tim.com
  • S.W.I.M.
  • Tim the Bassist
Born (1968-02-26) February 26, 1968 (age 53)
Irvine, California, U.S.
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • Bass guitar
  • vocals
Years active1988–present
Associated acts

He was ranked eighth on Paste magazine's list of "20 Underrated Bass Guitarists" in 2014.[1]

Early lifeEdit

Timothy Robert Commerford was born on February 26, 1968, in Irvine, California, the youngest of six children. His father, an aerospace engineer, worked on the Space Shuttle, and his mother was a teacher/mathematician.[2] He is of French and Irish descent. His idols in rock included Gene Simmons, bassist of Kiss; Sid Vicious, bassist of the Sex Pistols; Steve Harris, bassist of Iron Maiden; and Geddy Lee, bassist of Rush.[3] In the fifth grade, he met future bandmate Zack de la Rocha. Around this time, his mother was diagnosed with cancer. Shortly thereafter, his father divorced and remarried. Commerford stayed with his father, while his mother moved to Sacramento, to live with her sister while seeking treatment. Commerford's father abused him during the period when they both lived in Irvine together. During this time, de la Rocha introduced him to bass, and Commerford soon found an outlet in music and poetry, playing bass in the band Juvenile Expression. Commerford's mother died of brain cancer in 1988.[2]


Rage Against the Machine (1991–2000)Edit

In 1991, following the break-up of the band Lock Up featuring guitarist Tom Morello, the band's drummer, Jon Knox, encouraged Commerford and Zack de la Rocha to jam with Tom Morello. Tom soon called Brad Wilk, who had unsuccessfully auditioned for Lock Up. This line-up went on to form Rage Against the Machine. After frequenting the L.A. club circuit, Rage Against the Machine signed a record deal with Epic Records in 1992. That same year, the band released their self-titled debut. They achieved a phenomenal amount of mainstream success and released three more studio albums.

In late 2000, after Commerford's stunt at the VMA's, a disgruntled de la Rocha quit the band. On September 13, 2000, Rage Against the Machine performed their last concert at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Audioslave (2001–2007)Edit

Commerford performing with Audioslave at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2005

After Zack de la Rocha left Rage Against the Machine, music producer Rick Rubin suggested the three remaining members of Rage get together with then-former Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, and "see what happens".

By May 2001, they had begun to work in the studio, writing their first song "Light My Way". By April 2002, the newly formed band had split due to "outside" pressures, mainly from management companies. They soon got back together though, and on November 19, 2002 they released their eponymous debut, which would attain triple platinum status. Audioslave attained a large amount of success, and released another two studio albums. On May 5, 2005, Audioslave played a free concert in front of 65,000 Cuban fans, becoming the first American rock band to play a concert within Cuba.

On February 15, 2007, Chris Cornell officially announced his departure from Audioslave, thus disbanding the group.

Rage Against the Machine reunion (2007–2011)Edit

On April 29, 2007, Rage Against the Machine reunited at the Coachella Music Festival. The band played in front of an EZLN backdrop to the largest crowd of the festival. The performance was first thought to be a one-off, this turned out not to be the case. The band played seven more shows in the United States in 2007 (including their first non-festival concert in seven years at the Alpine Valley Music Theater in East Troy, Wisconsin), and in January 2008, they played their first shows outside the US as part of the Big Day Out Festival in Australia and New Zealand, and then at the Reading and Leeds festival in the summer of 2008, in England.

The band continued to tour around the world, headlining many large festivals in Europe and the United States, including Lollapalooza in Chicago. In 2008 the band also played shows in Denver, Colorado and St. Paul, Minnesota, the locations of the Democratic National Convention and Republican National Convention, respectively. Their most recent performance was in 2011, at The Coliseum at Los Angeles.

Future User and Wakrat (2014–present)Edit

Commerford co-founded provocative band Future User, together with Jordan Tarlow (keys), Jon Knox (drums) and super producer Brendan O'Brien (guitars). He plays bass and is the vocalist of the band. Tim Commerford hid several months under the S.W.I.M persona on the first music videos, before unmasking himself in the "Mountain Lion" video.[4] In the band's first video, tennis player John McEnroe subjected himself to waterboarding.[5] The "Mountain Lion" video featured road racing cyclist Lance Armstrong, a close friend of Commerford,[6] while a skateboarding Commerford appears to inject himself with a steroid.[5][7]

In 2015, he formed "punk and hardcore-influenced band", named Wakrat. The band also features drummer Mathias Wakrat and guitarist Laurent Grangeon. The band debuted their first single, "Knucklehead", in September 2015.[8]

Prophets of Rage (2016–2019)Edit

In 2016, Tim Commerford reunited with Tom Morello and Brad Wilk, and was joined by Chuck D and B-Real to form supergroup Prophets of Rage. They play covers from their Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill material, and new material as well.

Other contributionsEdit

Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk contributed to Maynard James Keenan's side project Puscifer and his album "V" Is for Vagina on the track "Momma Sed". Both have taken part in the production of Dave Grohl's 2013 'Sound City Movie' Soundtrack, with the track "Time Slowing Down".

Personal lifeEdit

In 1993, Commerford was introduced to mountain biking by his future father-in-law, Jimbo Insko. Commerford is known as a biking enthusiast, having featured in Mountain Biking UK magazine issue 242. In 1995, Rage Against the Machine was forced to cancel a concert after Commerford broke his wrist in a biking accident. In 2006, he rode a bike from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara with a group of people (including John McEnroe) to see Pearl Jam and Sonic Youth play at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

In 2001, Commerford married his longtime girlfriend, Aleece Dimas, who is a medical professional and AIDS activist. They have two sons together, Xavier and Quentin, and the family lives in Malibu. The older son, Xavier was featured on Audioslave's music video "Like a Stone".[2] In November 2018, the couple announced they were divorcing.[9]

In 2015, Commerford appeared on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz radio show for a then record of five consecutive days.[10] Among many topics, he discussed his protest of Limp Bizkit winning Best Rock Video at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards and waterboarding John McEnroe.[11][12]

Political viewsEdit

Commerford is a self-described "conspiracy theorist". In a Rolling Stone interview in 2015, he claimed that the Moon landing was faked and he confronted Buzz Aldrin about it at a John Cusack movie premiere. In the same interview, Commerford also stated that he doesn't believe ISIS is real and cast doubt upon the ISIS beheading videos:[13][14]

They're not real. They're high-def. They have a soundtrack. The parts of those videos that you couldn't fake are edited out. At first, I thought it was edited out by our government so our kids wouldn't be seeing it on the Internet, but no. That's the way those videos came. The knife starts to cut the neck, and then it fades out. There's too much stuff that doesn't look real. They've edited out the parts that would be too hard to fake. We created Jihadi John and ISIS so we can go drop bombs.[13]



Commerford had been a major endorser of Fender basses since the mid-1990s, and is best known for playing personally-modified Fender Jazz Basses with Precision Bass necks,[15] hand-wired pickups and Badass II bridges. Commerford's main bass from the early days was an Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay, used almost exclusively until about 1995 when he switched to the Fender Jazz Bass. From the peak of his career in the mid-1990s, Commerford played Fender basses for 12 years, until he made his switch to Lakland for the Rage Against the Machine reunion in 2008. After 21 years, he switched back to Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay basses when he began playing with Prophets of Rage and Wakrat.

Pre-Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine (1991–1995)
Rage Against the Machine (1995–2000)
Audioslave (2001–2007)
Rage Against the Machine, Future User, Wakrat (2008–2016)
  • Lakland Black Joe Osborn Signature – Tim's main tour bass during this time was a Black Joe Osborn with a Dual Access Bridge (as do all of his other basses). It was used on the majority of songs.
  • Lakland 3-Tone Translucent Joe Osborn Signature – Tortoise Shell Pickguard and Rosewood fretboard.
  • Lakland 3-Tone Translucent Joe Osborn Signature – Pearloid Pickguard and Maple fretboard.
  • Lakland Blonde Translucent Joe Osborn Signature – Had a Rosewood fretboard with Birdseye Maple blocks and a Black pickguard. Used between 2008 and 2015 with Rage, Wakrat and the Sound City Studios record.
  • Lakland Candy Apple Red 44-60/55-60 (Vintage J) (former Joe Osborn Signature) - Main bass during the 2010 tours.[27]
  • Lakland Inca Silver 44-60/55-60 (Vintage J) (former Joe Osborn Signature) - Drop D bass during the 2010 tours.[28]
  • Lakland Sunburst Joe Osborn Signature. Used with Wakrat in 2015.[29]
Prophets of Rage, Wakrat[30] (2016–present)


Commerford is very secretive of his tone, even going so far as to put effects on his pedalboard that he doesn't even use, making his own gear, and even removing the labels off some of his effects. Here are some effects which he has used during his career.

Amplifiers and cabinetsEdit

Throughout his career, Commerford has used Ampeg amplifiers and cabinets live, and presumably in the studio.

For his years in Rage Against the Machine, he used two Ampeg SVT-2PRO heads and two Ampeg 8x10 Cabinets. Both the cabinets and heads were mounted in road cases that have graffiti art work presumably done by Commerford himself. One was usually draped with an upside-down American flag which was occasionally burned during concerts, most notably at the band's Woodstock '99 performance during "Killing in the Name".

For the recording of Audioslave and Out of Exile, Commerford continued to use Ampeg but switched to a 3 amp and cab system: Each amp an SVT2Pro with a clean signal into an 8x10 cab and increasing levels of gain each into the additional 4x10 cabs. For the Out of Exile tour and recording of Revelations, Tim also used other equipment from Ashdown and Mesa/Boogie. The Mesa replacing his clean channel and the Ashdown ABM Evo replacing his most overdriven channel with an SVT2 taking care of the medium gain.[40] Currently, he uses two Ampeg SVT-VR heads (as of May 2008) and his original two Ampeg Cabinets with graffiti from the 2000-era setup. In 2016, he added various other amp heads including a silverface Ampeg SVT classic and Barefaced bass speaker cabinets.[41]



  1. ^ Barrett, John (July 9, 2014). "The 20 Most Underrated Bass Guitarists :: Music :: Lists :: Paste". Pastemagazine.com. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Tim Commerford". IMDb. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
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  5. ^ a b "Lance Armstrong Talks Trash in RATM Offshoot Future User's 'Mountain Lion' Video". Rolling Stone. January 27, 2015. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
  6. ^ Andriakos, Jacqueline (January 27, 2015). "Lance Armstrong Makes Cameo in New Drug-Related Music Video". People. Time Inc. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
  7. ^ Mandell, Nina (January 27, 2015). "Lance Armstrong makes cameo in new music video about PEDs". USA Today. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
  8. ^ Bowar, Chad (September 25, 2015). "Rage Against the Machine Bassist Tim Commerford Forms New Band Wakrat Read More: Rage Against the Machine Bassist Forms New Band Wakrat". Loudwire. Retrieved October 10, 2015.
  9. ^ "Tim Commerford splits from his wife Aleece Dimas".
  10. ^ "R/DanLeBatardShow - TBT: Tim Commerford from Rage Against the Machine".
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  12. ^ "R/DanLeBatardShow - TBT: Tim Commerford from Rage Against the Machine".
  13. ^ a b Newman, Jason (October 2, 2015). "Rage Against the Machine Bassist Gives Band Update, Talks ISIS, Trump". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 10, 2015.
  14. ^ Hartmann, Graham (October 2, 2015). "Rage Against the Machine's Tim Commerford: 'I Don't Believe ISIS Is Real' Read More: RATM's Tim Commerford: 'I Don't Believe ISIS Is Real'". Loudwire. Retrieved October 10, 2015.
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  18. ^ "RATM Testify". forevermetal67 at YouTube.com. February 12, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
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  20. ^ "Rage Against the Machine - 9/16/1997 California Expo Center, Sacramento CA full performance". Tyler Jones at YouTube.com. August 10, 2015. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
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  22. ^ "Tim Commerford and his white Jazz Bass with Audioslave". Retrieved August 9, 2016.
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  26. ^ "Photobucket". Retrieved November 10, 2016.
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  28. ^ "Lakland Official Website". Lakland.com. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  29. ^ "Sickest bass ever". Wakrat on Facebook. December 30, 2015. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  30. ^ "Wakrat (featuring Tim Commerford) - Knuckehead - Live at Black Heart, London, July 2016". chocolatetelevision at YouTube.com. July 27, 2016. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
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  34. ^ "632280956". Kevin Winter at Getty Images Entertainment. January 20, 2017. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
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  36. ^ "Prophets of Rage Perform "Killing in the Name Of"". Jimmy Kimmel Live at YouTube.com. July 26, 2016. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  37. ^ "Prophets of Rage @ Audio Club [09/05/2017]". Rafael Andres at YouTube.com. May 10, 2017. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  38. ^ "Generation Fucked: An Evening with Wakrat". Upsetmagazine.com. August 2, 2016. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  39. ^ "Generation Fucked: An Evening with Wakrat". Upsetmagazine.com. August 2, 2016. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
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External linksEdit