Bradley J. "Brad" Wilk (born September 5, 1968) is a musician, actor, and activist from the United States. He is best known as the drummer of the rock bands Rage Against the Machine (1991–2000; 2007–11) and Audioslave (2001–07).
Wilk started his career as a drummer for Greta in 1990, and helped co-found Rage with Tom Morello and Zack de la Rocha in August 1991. Following that band's breakup in October 2000 Wilk, Morello, Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim Commerford, and Soundgarden front man Chris Cornell formed the supergroup Audioslave, which broke up in 2007. As of 2016, he is playing in the band Prophets of Rage, with Commerford, Morello, Chuck D, B-Real and DJ Lord.
Bradley J. Wilk was born on September 5, 1968, in Portland, Oregon and raised in Chicago, Illinois. His family later settled in Southern California. He started to play the drums when he was thirteen years old. He has cited John Bonham, Keith Moon, and Elvin Jones as his greatest influences. Wilk was a fan of Van Halen in his youth, having seen the band live when he was thirteen. He is of Jewish-Polish descent.
Wilk's success as the drummer of Rage Against the Machine came from the failure of a different band; he once auditioned for a band called Lock Up, who released one album (titled Something Bitchin' This Way Comes) through Geffen records in 1989 and broke up when the album received little media attention upon release. Former Lock Up guitarist Tom Morello was looking to pick up where Lock Up left off and start a new band, and contacted Wilk, who was playing with the band Greta, to see if he was interested in playing the drums. A short while after, the duo met Zack de la Rocha while he was rapping freestyle in a club, and through him, bassist Tim Commerford (a childhood friend of Zack's). The band played two shows in 1991, and spent 1992 frequenting the L.A. club circuit, during which they signed a record deal with Epic Records, and released their self-titled debut album that November. They quickly achieved commercial success and would go on to release three more studio albums–Evil Empire in 1996, The Battle of Los Angeles in 1999, and Renegades in 2000– before disbanding in October 2000.
Rage Against The Machine reunited to play at the Coachella Music Festival in Coachella, California on January 22, 2007. On April 29, 2007, Rage Against The Machine reunited at the Coachella Music Festival (see Rage Against the Machine reunion tour). The band played in front of an EZLN backdrop to the largest crowds of the festival. Initially thought to be a one-time event, the band played seven more shows that year in the United States (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 of the U.S. as part of the Big Day Out Festival in Australia and New Zealand. The band has since continued to tour around the world, headlining many large festivals in Europe and the United States, including Lollapalooza in Chicago. After a brief South America tour in 2010, they created their own festival, the L.A. Rising, which they headlined on July 30, 2011. That was their last show so far. In November 2012, they released an XX anniversary boxset of their first album.
The remaining members formed Audioslave with former Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell. The band released their self-titled debut album in 2002, which was followed by Out of Exile in 2005, and Revelations in 2006. Audioslave formally disbanded in February 2007 when Cornell left to focus on his solo career.
In 2016, Brad Wilk reunited with Tom Morello and Tim Commerford, and was joined by Chuck D, B-Real and DJ Lord 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. They're touring the United States under the statement "Make America Rage Again" to protest against Donald Trump policies and the 2016 American presidential election.
Wilk and bandmate Tom Morello joined with Maynard James Keenan of Tool and Billy Gould of Faith No More–in a lineup that was billed as Shandi's Addiction–to record the song "Calling Dr. Love" for the 1994 Kiss tribute album Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved. Wilk and bandmate Tim Commerford contributed in Keenan's side project Puscifer and his album "V" Is for Vagina on the track "Momma Sed". Wilk also contributed drums to rap group Cypress Hill's album Skull and Bones. In addition, Wilk composed the song "Snoop Bounce (Roc N Roll Remix)" for Snoop Dogg's Death Row's Greatest Hits CD.
In 2005, Wilk played the lead role in the independent short movie Sleeping Dogs Lie by writer Chumahan Bowen and director Stuart Lessner. The film also features Tool lead singer Maynard James Keenan as Deputy Lance. Wilk played drums on Josh Homme's tracks on the soundtrack to Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys. Wilk performed live with Tom Morello's side project, Street Sweeper Social Club, at the 2010 Coachella music and arts festival. In 2013, Wilk and Commerford contributed drums and bass, respectively, for Dave Grohl's Sound City soundtrack, on the song "Time Slowing Down". Brad played several shows with the Sound City Players.
Having established himself as a session musician, Wilk has also contributed drums on the Black Sabbath album 13, which was released on June 11, 2013. In late 2013, Wilk joined the band The Last Internationale and recently recorded their debut album called We Will Reign with producer Brendan O'Brien. The record was released on August 19, 2014.
To the end of 2014 until June 2015, Brad Wilk was playing drums on tour with the Smashing Pumpkins along with Billy Corgan, Jeff Schroeder and also Mark Stoermer on bass. On 26 February 2015, while touring Australia with the band, he joined the Foo Fighters on stage at Sydney's Olympic (ANZ) stadium playing drums for a Van Halen cover Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love. On August 3, 2015, Wilk sat-in with The 8G Band on Late Night with Seth Meyers. He's also been drumming for Juliette Lewis on various tours and shows.
Wilk has mentioned a weird connection to the number three throughout his life, and little "3"'s are plastered all over his drumkit, and as well as in the liner notes for Rage Against the Machine's third album, The Battle of Los Angeles. In an interview with Modern Drummer Wilk said "Ever since I was eight or nine I've gravitated to the number three. It's something that has always been a really heavy number for me. It's tattooed on my arm, and I count in threes. Everyone in school was taught two, four, six, eight, ten- I'd count in threes in the way I'd walk, even in the decisions I'd make. It was all based on threes", and also incorporates 3 into his playing.
Wilk was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1997, and is active in raising money for diabetes awareness. He has donated about $12,000 to the Orange County chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
Unable to find an all natural, sugar-free lemonade that would fit with his diet management and exercise plan, Wilk began formulating his own lemonade in his kitchen, using stevia in the place of sugar. After receiving positive feedback from friends and family, Wilk launched Olade. Since December 2009, the Food and Drug Administration has approved Olade to be put into the market as a non-dietary supplement, meaning anyone with or without diabetes can consume it.
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