Interview: Rise Against

interview by chris wharton

Do you guys have any plans to tour the U.S. to support “Revolutions Per Minute” after you return from Europe? If so, do you know who you will be taking out on the road with you?
 Tim McIlrath: We have a ton of touring planned. We’re starting with the first 2 weeks of warped tour, a little run in California in July, the last 2 weeks of Warped and then a co-headlining tour with Shai Hulud from Florida through Texas. We also plan on doing a full US/Canadian tour in the fall which is still being worked out as I type this that may be headlining thing or us supporting a bigger band.

How have line-up changes affected how the new record came out?
Todd adds so much to our writing. He’s basically responsible for all the lead work on the record. Tim and I usually bring ideas or sometimes full songs to practice then we rake em over the coals til we’re all happy with the result.

Can you describe “Revolutions Per Minute” in 5 words?
Angry, sincere, energetic, punk rock

It seemed like a little bit of a gap existed between “The Unraveling” and your new record. Were you guys busy with other projects in that time?
No, we were touring our asses off. We basically wrote RPM from the road.

Do you have a favorite song from your new release, and is it your favorite that you have written or is an older one your all-time favorite?
My favorite song is ‘Last Chance Blueprint’. I think it’s the perfect song that kids can sing and dance to and the lyrics sum up our lives touring.

Do any of the band members have current side projects?
I had one practice with Neil from the Lawrence Arms and Nolan (Alkaline Trio roadie). Matt Skiba was suppose to sing but with our conflicting schedules it never saw the light of day.

If you could tour with any band, who would it be?
I would love to tour with Bad Religion. We played one show with them in Belgium and it was, by far, the most memorable to me. I grew up learning how to play bass to their records so it was an honor to meet em.

What is the best band that you have got to tour/play with?
Hmm, that’s tough but as it is right now, I would say Antiflag. We just did a tour of Japan with them and no use for a name and it was the funnest tour we’ve done a long time. It must be because we’re both from the Midwest. We get each other’s humor.

What is the funniest or oddest thing that has ever happened to you or another band on the show before? I saw you play in Pittsburgh and one of the opening bands got creamed with mashed potatoes because it was the day before Thanksgiving.
Haha, oh shit! That was number 2 from Antiflag’s other band. That was fucked. Um, one time our banner fell on our drummer while we were playing our 1st song. That was pretty embarrassing. See what happens when we try to be rockstars.

What are some of your favorite authors or books? I saw that you give a short listing of suggested reading in your liner notes. Are those books that have personally inspired you?
Those are books that seem like they would compliment our record and the message. I like books that expose American imperfections, like Fast Food Nation. Everyday Americans do not realize how fucked that industry is so they spend millions of dollars every year at these establishments. Read the book people! (laughs)

Are people treating you differently in Europe because you are Americans?
No, not like I thought they would. American politics were never even really brought up unless it was by us during our set.

Could you explain the cover art of “Revolutions Per Minute”?
It implies music that impacts the audience in a relevant and politically current way.

I know that you might get this alot, but who was behind the Journey cover at the end of the record? Was it just one or two of you and the rest just went along with it? Or is it an inside joke?
I like Journey so I was just curious. Haha, that was us going insane after driving to Ft Collins, Colorado from Chicago to record RPM. Tim had the best of CD and we came up with the idea in a very impulsive way. The fact that we didn’t change a thing is the ultimate tribute to our founding rock/pop fathers.