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Rage Against the Machine returned half their payment for first Coachella

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When Coachella first started back in 1999, it was not the gigantic, celebrity-attending extravaganza it is today. In fact, after its inaugural festival, promoter Goldenvoice lost a huge amount of money and faced a very uncertain future. Luckily, Rage Against the Machine was there to help out.

The “Killing in the Name” rockers were among the headliners for that inaugural Coachella, alongside Beck and Tool. As Tom Morello reveals on the Tuna on Toast podcast, the festival was “so unsuccessful” financially that organizers asked for half of the band’s payment back.

Rage obliged, Morello says, because they were friends with Goldenvoice, who’d had built a strong reputation in the local Los Angeles music scene booking rock and punk shows.

“They had booked every back-alley show from day one,” Morello says. “They were the punk rock promoters.”

So, did Rage Against the Machine save Coachella? Who’s to say. “We should’ve asked for a piece of the festival,” Morello jokes.

Rage was scheduled to headline the 2020 Coachella as part of their reunion tour before the festival was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Coachella will return in April 2022, though the lineup has yet to be announced.

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