Rage Against the Machine, the seminal L.A. band that made heavy music into political manifesto, will reunite after a seven-year lull for one show as the headliners at the 2007 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
Sources say Rage, which played the main stage at the first Coachella in 1999, will be joined by other familiar faces for the eighth edition of the festival, which covers three days this year and begins April 27: Red Hot Chili Peppers, which headlined in 2003, are back, as is Björk, who topped the bill in 2002.
Organizers were mum this weekend and it was not clear which day Rage or the other acts were slotted to play; that announcement is expected in the next few days. Other acts expected in the eclectic lineup: Arcade Fire, Interpol, Willie Nelson, the Roots, Manu Chao, the Decemberists, Arctic Monkeys, Sonic Youth, Crowded House, Air, Tiësto and Kings of Leon.
Tickets go on sale Saturday, via Ticketmaster. Three-day passes will cost about $250 and there will be a limited number of single-day passes available.
The headliners are not novel, but they are potent. The Peppers are up for their first best album Grammy right now, and Björk remains a mesmerizing figure to fans of avant pop. But in Southern California rock circles, there is very little that could compete with the excitement of a Rage Against the Machine reunion. The quartet's hybrid of funk, rap, metal and leftist ideology was as subtle as a Molotov cocktail; in the 1990s, its aggro-anthems made it the only band that mattered to a fan base that included East L.A. protest kids as well as those in Hollywood punk circles, college dorms and mainstream rock festival mosh pits, where politics were secondary to the group's feral energy.
The band is vocalist Zack de la Rocha, guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk. Their split came amid rumors of bad blood between De la Rocha and his mates, who went on to work with Chris Cornell in Audioslave. However, Morello and De la Rocha appeared together at a 2005 rally for the urban farmers of a South Los Angeles community garden.