1. The music of Rise Against and activism essentially go hand in hand. You guys have written
so many meaningful and inspirational tracks. Is there any particular one that hits close to
home or that means the most to you?
I was always drawn to the song “Collapse (Post-Amerika)” off of Appeal To Reason. It
touches on global warming and the damage we are doing to the environment. I don’t think many
people realize how the damage that has already been done will affect future generations. We all
share our time on this planet, so we really need to take better care of it.
On the most recent record, you guys have said that the writing process was a bit more
introspective than others. Would you say that was the biggest difference between The Black
Market and some of your other releases?
From my perspective, yes. Our earlier albums had a similar vibe to The Black Market, but
we really delivered it on this one. Tim [McIlrath, vocalist/guitarist] spent hours and hours writing the
lyrics. Writing such personal content can take its toll, but I’m glad to see he used this record as an
Now that you guys have spent time with some of these songs on the road, have any of them
been altered in any way?
We haven’t messed with the formula too much yet. That always comes in time. Songs like
“Ready To Fall” and “Savior” have been played so much over the last eight years, that we look to
find new ways to keep them interesting. I love when bands deviate from the path a little bit with
some of their older material. It keeps things fresh and interesting.
Is there a standout song on the album that you love to play live?
“I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore” is super fun to play live. There is a lot of energy behind
that song, and it seems to translate well to the audience.
What is the setlist creation process like? How do you divvy up the different albums into
about a 15- to 20-track show?
Of course it becomes a bit more difficult with every record we put out. As a band, we
always want to play the new songs. For fans, they always want to hear the ones that got them
listening to us. So it is honestly just about trying to maintain a balance of the two. Making sure we
have a good amount of new and old tunes and that all of our records are represented live.
With so much material to work with, do you change the setlist throughout a tour at all?
We haven’t too much in the past. On this current summer tour, we are making a conscious
effort to change it almost every night. It is definitely going to be a lot of fun!
You have toured with so many great bands, both as headliners, and as support. I caught
you guys a few times with bands like Bad Religion and Foo Fighters. Is there a favorite
memory or story to go along with any of the acts that you have shared the stage with?
My favorite memory was when we played a Scream song with Dave Grohl on drums.
Scream was one of my favorite bands growing up. Dave played drums for them before he joined
Nirvana. On the Australian tour with Foo Fighters, I asked him if he would play a Scream cover
with us. He was so excited to do so (laughs). That totally made my year (laughs).
On social media, you are connecting with your fans in a really cool way. You are sharing
photos of fans’ Rise Against tattoos with #risetattoo. Do any of you have tattoos of some of
your own favorite bands?
2. Tim, Zach [Blair, guitarist], and myself all have Minor Threat tattoos. That band was a huge
influence on all of us, so we wanted to do something to honor them. I remember the day we got
them very vividly. We were on tour in NYC and we called a tattoo artist named Civ from Long
Island to see if he had the time to do the tattoo. He was a pioneer of the NYC hardcore scene with
his bands Gorilla Biscuits and CIV. He’s from our world and is also a huge fan of Minor Threat, so
he was the perfect guy for the job!
With a history of playing intimate shows, festivals, and various other types of venues, do
you have a preference? Or do all of these different types have their own advantages and
They all have pros and cons for sure. But, for me, nothing beats a small intimate punk rock
show. That energy you get from the audience is like no other. It is truly special.
Summer, of course, is the season for festivals. Do you get to relax when you aren’t on
stage, or are you constantly moving around getting from venue to venue, show to show?
We do have time to check out other bands. More times than not, we are able to hang with
friends that are also playing the same day. It’s also great being able to catch their shows whenever
we can. It’s a great way to relax.
What’s next for Rise Against?
We’re about to embark on a U.S. tour with our buds in Killswitch Engage and letlive. It
starts in Chicago on July 17 and runs through August 17. After that, we’ll make it back to Europe
and Australia. We’re definitely staying busy!