The Truth Behind Soundwave Revolution’s Cancellation

The ill-fated 2011 Soundwave Revolution is infamous for its short but tumultuous history, having been cancelled just a month shy from its scheduled debut. Rumours sparked at the time that a mysterious headliner had pulled out of the event forcing the festival’s demise and three years later promoter AJ Maddah has revealed not only who that headliner was but also that the festival was created entirely for them.

“Soundwave Revolution was actually created for a specific band. It was actually specifically put together for Rage Against The Machine,” Maddah told host Tom Roberts in an interview on the “Full Metal Lockdown” podcast. “The festival was a one-off and it was created for them.”

At the time of the festival’s announcement in 2011, Herald Sun journalist Nui Te Koha reported a rumour that Rage Against The Machine would be part of the Soundwave Revolution tour, but they were never officially announced by the Soundwave camp as the headlining act on the bill.

“It was all looking fabulous and it was going to be Rage Against The Machine,” explains Maddah. Then he said they spent “eight months of fucking around” with the band, going back and forth on whether or not they were coming. “Three quarters of the band had signed on but Zack [de la Rocha] hadn’t,” said Maddah. “And it just stretched and stretched to the point where we couldn’t wait anymore we had to announce the tour.”

The first lineup announcement for Soundwave Revolution boasted the likes of Van Halen, Hole, Alice Cooper, Bad Religion, Alter Bridge and Machine Head amongst others. Then, Maddah recounts, the festival starting having the same issues with Van Halen who were unable to definitively confirm their attendance.

“We’d reached the juncture where if we went any further we would have had to go on with the event without a headliner. And we would have had to keep people’s ticket money to pay the costs,” he said. “The honourable thing to do is to cancel it and give everyone a full refund. So that’s what we did.”

On August 9th 2011 Maddah confirmed in a statement via Nova that Soundwave Revolution “as we know it” had been cancelled. “We were scheduled to make a second announcement on the first of August – we had our festival co-headliner on that announcement,” he said. “Their circumstances changed at the last minute and they had to pull out and unfortunately we don’t have enough time to replace them and we didn’t really want to go ahead with an incomplete line-up.”

Many of the bands originally confirmed on the bill eventually made their way to Australia on the replacement Counter Revolution festival or the year later as part of the 2012 Soundwave Festival. Interestingly, Rage Against the Machine has not played live together since headlining its own L.A. Rising festival show in Los Angeles in 2011.

Recently drummer Brad Wilk said Rage Against the Machine may have already played their last show and if that’s the case he has made his peace with it. Maddah also talked a little about next year’s Soundwave lineup, teasing four headline acts 2015. Listen to the full interview here.