Zack Leaves Rage Against The Machine

After nine years and three politically charged albums, frontman Zack De La Rocha has announced that he has left Rage Against The Machine.

The singer issued a statement on Wednesday blaming the split on the group's inability to work together collectively.

"I feel that it is now necessary to leave Rage because our decision-making process has completely failed," De La Rocha said in the statement. "It is no longer meeting the aspirations of all four of us collectively as a band, and from my perspective, has undermined our artistic and political ideal.

"I am extremely proud of our work, both as activists and musicians, as well as indebted and grateful to every person who has expressed solidarity and shared this incredible experience with us."

Responding to Zack's statement, Rage guitarist Tom Morello told MTV News Wednesday afternoon that he agrees that "the decision-making process has broken down for everyone. I have no hard feelings, and we wish

Zack well with his [solo] project. But everyone is excited about the 29 tracks that [Rage] have in the can, and some of it will be released in the fall."

That quote refers to an album of live material as well as covers of Cypress Hill, Devo, Bob Dylan, and Minor Threat (see "Rage Against The Machine Covers Dylan, Devo, Cypress Hill") that the band had been working on prior to the split. Epic Records has said that it is saddened by the news, and that no release date has been set for that material.

For some time now, De La Rocha has been working on a solo album with hip-hop artists such as DJ Shadow, Company Flow, and Amir from the Roots (see "Rage's De La Rocha Ready To Start On Solo LP"). That album is also expected to be released by Epic Records.

The news comes near the end of a tumultuous year for the band. The group had planned to co-headline a tour with the Beastie

Boys, but that project fell apart when Beastie Mike Diamond was injured in a bike accident. Rage then twice canceled and rescheduled shows in San Francisco that were to be recorded for a live album. The group then saw a minor riot break out after its performance outside the Democratic National Convention in August.

However, one of the band's more notorious moments may have come at last month's MTV Video Music Awards, when an inebriated Tim Commerford -- the group's bassist -- climbed the stage set and had to be removed from the venue by security. Sources close to the band say that the incident angered De La Rocha (who walked out of Radio City Music Hall afterward), and indicate that it may have snapped the singer's working relationship with the band.