Relationships come and go; record collections are always there for emotional consolation. But what do you do when your favorite band breaks up with you? The hip-hop/hard-rock quartet Rage Against the Machine has proved to be one of the most exciting bands around during its eight-year run, melding slashing guitars, rap rhythms and political fervor with unsurpassed skill. Recently, though, front man Zack de la Rocha announced plans to go solo. Rage guitarist Tom Morello says the band will continue, but he's not sure it will do so under the same name. Is there a chance de la Rocha might rejoin his mates after he gets this solo thing out of his system? Says Morello: "We're not planning a reunion tour just yet."
For now, Rage fans will have to make do with what could be the band's final studio CD, the magnificent "Renegades" (Epic). The project started as a live album with a few bonus studio tracks that paid tribute to musical rebels. The extra tracks turned out so well that the band members decided to turn the CD into a collection of cover songs. "Renegades" includes songs by the hip-hop duo Eric B. and Rakim ("Microphone Fiend"), punk pioneers MC5 ("Kick Out the Jams") and even folk rocker Bob Dylan ("Maggie's Farm"). Rage's versions radically transform the originals, altering the melodies and providing fresh rhythmic fire. Paying homage to rebel heroes, Rage has confirmed its place among them.