Rise Against

Like I said before, Rise Against are the future of Fat Wreck Chords and hardcore punk in general. I recently interviewed the group's singer Tim via email [after my tape recorder broke down moments before the planned interview].

Please state who you are and what you do.

im tim. my band calls me vince though. im not totally sure why. i sing and play geetar.

First off, When do you plan on having a new album out?

"Revolutions Per Minute" is our second record and it will be out April 8th, 2003. Twelve brand new songs, that we're really excited about and can't wait for people to hear. We recorded it in December at the Blasting Room with Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore. We've even got Chad Price from ALL singing back-up vocals on it.

What's the overall feel of the new album compared to "The Unraveling?"

Well I hate cliche record industry terms, but I like to say that this record has a more mature, more rock sound to it. We spent more time on the actual songwriting. Heavy parts are heavier and melodic parts are more melodic than The Unraveling. We've finally come together as a band, and I've picked up the guitar too and contributed several of the songs on this record. We've got some fast hardcore on it, and some slower rock on it, a bit of everything.

Will you be making a video for the new album?

Actually yes, we will be shooting a video with Bob Trondson ( who did the Larry Arms and Blue Meanies videos) for our new song "Heaven Knows. " It should be quite an experience, I've never been involved in any sort of video shoot before so I'm really excited.

As for touring - how big do you think you want to get? Is the Warped Tour in the picture? Headlining tours? Would you ever go on tour with one of the big MTV-promoted punk bands like New Found Glory or Good Charlotte?

How big do we want to get? haha, I don't think that's really up to us, it's up to the fans. If people like the band, then we can't really control how big we get. If people hate the band, than obviously we won't ever be a big band. So who knows. We are doing select dates on the Warped Tour this year which we are really stoked about, and we will be headling a tour at some point in the next coming year.

I want as many people to hear our songs, our lyrics, and our message as possible. I'm so lucky to be a part of such a great band that I want to take advantage of what I have and the chance I've been given to pass on the legacy of punk that was passed on to me by bands I listened to growing up. I think that's the most important part about being part of punk rock. It's a language, and like any language, it will die if we stop speaking it. Some of these major label "punk" bands on MTV or tours sponsored by Starbucks or whatever are not speaking this language, and are therefore killing the spirit of punk rock. It's up to real punk bands to take the responsiblity of passing the torch to the next generation before it burns out.

As far as touring with MTV-promoted bands and the like, I think we would take each offer on a case by case situation. I'm always excited about playing in front people we don't normally play in front of and see how they react, but I'm also constantly wary of people who want to exploit us.

When is the Killing Tree hitting the road next? Would you ever consider taking Rise Against and the Killing Tree out on tour together?

Well, if you've seen the upcoming Rise Against tour schedule (US/CANADA/EURO and WARPED), you know that TKT will not be touring any time soon. As far as a TKT/RA tour, I'd have to say definitely not. TKT and RA exist in different parts of my mind, and I couldn't just flip the switch during a fifteen-minute set change. Both bands are so different to me and I'd prefer to keep them that way, not to mention doing a tour with both bands I think would be kind of pretentious.

You recently began playing guitar in Rise Against - will this be a permanent transition, or are you only doing this on selected songs? Do you like being behind a guitar more than behind a mic?

I will be doing this only on selected songs. Some of our new songs called for two guitar parts, so I started bringing my guitar to practice. I was always into the way Larry from Pegboy would switch it up, and I wanted to do the same thing. I think we are a very interactive band and I need to be without a guitar every once in awhile so I can interact with the crowd.

I played guitar in almost all the bands I've been in up until now, so I really enjoy the freedom of just being able to run around and sing.

Who and what are your influences?

Minor Threat, Black Flag, Fugazi, Jawbreaker, my friends, good books and authors, this shitty world we live in, my girlfriend, bands that are so damn good they make me try harder like AFI and Cave-In, or a good movie.

What would you think if Rise Against suddenly got play on commercial radio?

Hmm. Well we have been played on commercial radio before, but never in any type of rotation, just songs here or there. I'd hate to be that band you hear so many times that no matter how good they are you start to hate them (i.e: jimmy eat world). Though I would love to hear our songs while I'm driving around, I'd hate to hear them sandwiched between the traffic report and cell phone jingles.

We all know how Fat Mike feels about George Dubya. Has his opinion affected yours in any way? What do you feel about the current state of affairs in the world?

I think what Fat Mike is doing by raising awareness about the absurd policies of GW is great. He is in a position to get the word out to a lot of people and it's awesome to see him taking advantage of that. I had a fairly low opinion of GW in the first place, so it hasn't been that affected by Mike's.

It's safe to say the world pretty much uphalls me. Our government is using the same tactics that an elementary school bully does to gain power and control. Our society is too obsessed with consumption and The Bachelor to even care. Corporate conglomerate's like Starbucks and Home Depot are putting mom and pop coffee shops and hardware stores about of business and all we care about is convenience. The Chicago police department is notorious for torturing confessions out of people who can't afford a lawyer and sentencing these innocent people to death (all of whom have been recently exonerated much to the dismay of most of the state). This is common sense. Our world is a fucked up place, and i don't need to tell you this. Someone once said, "If you're not angry, you're not paying attention."
People need to start paying attention.

Speaking of Fat Mike, how do you feel about being on Fat Wreck Chords? Has the label lived up to your expectations?

They made us sign these 300 page contracts,then took us away from our families and girlfriends. We live in a small, dark room in the basement of their office building. They feed us bread and water every other day and make us lick envelopes for the mailing list. Every coupla years they drag us out in chains and make us write a record. Then they decide it sucks and send us back to do something more "radio friendly." Especially Toby, he's always trying to get us to paint our faces and wear costumes, He said we'll be cooler and kids will relate to us more. Maybe he's right…

And now, onto some user submissions: "Why it is impossible to find "The Unraveling" in Canada?"

Is it? Email us if you can't find it and we'll do our best to get it in the store in your area. Honestly, we are concerned about this and would like to hear from you.

'Why does your drummer Brandon looks like such a dude on the inside of the cover?"

Because Dino (brandon) is the dude of all dudes, and only real dudes wear Cursive shirts…

"If The Rise, Rise Against and Against Me! tour together would they call the tour, the rise against me? that would be awesome."

Haha, I actually just had this conversation with Carl from Ferret, and yes, that would be awesome! I love both those bands.

"Michelle Branch or Vanessa Carlton?"

I'm one of those people who can't tell the difference.

"What are your favorite books and authors?"

Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)
The Marabou Stork Nightmares (Irvine Welsh)
1984 (George Orwell)
The People's History of the Unites States (Howard Zinn)
Player Piano (Kurt Vonnegut)

"What's with Christina Aguilara lately, is she a rebellious feminist icon like she claims or just an uberslut that will be doing porno in a year?

A year? I give her six months.

"I know you guys skateboard but I was wondering if you snowboard too?"

Joe and Dino snowboard. Dino grew up in Colorado so he's been doing it for awhile. Joe's the only really active skater in the band. He goes to skateparks like every other day and gleams the cube. Skating was a big part of my high school life, but I was never that good so it didn't really carry on into the present. I've only been snowboarding twice, Dino took me up while we were on the SnoJam tour in Canada and babysat me while I barely made it down the hill each time.

"Are you guys straight edge?"

Half of us consider ourselves straight edge. Nailed to the X! Straight Edge is a tough issue because there are so many assholes involved in it. There's bad apples in everything, but it doesn't take anything away from the true meaning behind a drug-free lifestyle. For me personally it's something I feel very strongly about and am really proud to call myself sXe.

"Are you vegetarian?"

3/4 veggie and Todd is a stinky vegan. We all advocate animal rights. Check out places like govegan.com and peta.com for more info.

"What is your favorite movie?"

"Wonder Boys" with Micheal Douglas, or maybe "The Warriors."

"What is your favorite album?"

Damn. I don't really have one favorite. It's a toss up between Pegboy "Strong Reaction" and something by Metallica.

"What are you passionate about?"

I love writing. Music, lyrics, whatever. I love creating. I bring a camera on tour and do a lot of photography. I try to spend as much time as I can outdoors. These are the things that keep me going.

"What bands are you listening to these days?"

Poison The Well, the new Beck, Hopes Fall, and HWM "Caution."

"How many people in the band smoke?"

None of us really. Dino is an ex-smoker who will partake occasionally, but I haven't seen him actually buy cigarettes in a long time. Man, do people really want to know this?

"Who has been your favorite band to share the stage with?"

Damn, that's a hard one, and I think each one of us would answer differently. Some of the most memorable are Sick Of It All and NOFX, just cause they are such legends and to be on tour with them is such an honor. One of my favorite tour's so far was with Boy Sets Fire, Thursday and The Movie Life. A lot of that was because the Thursday, TML guys and I are right around the same age and it was cool to be on tour with guys my age who are all doing the same thing with their lives, we had a lot in common. Snapcase are crazy. Watch out for those guys. AFI are amazing people. The Line are the funniest so far, and the Mad Caddies are the worst influence on us.

Just to let *everyone* know one last time, what happened to your old guitar player ?

Which one! haha, we're on our third now, but i think its become blatantly obvious that Todd is in for the long haul and our band is finally complete with his presence.

I'm assuming you're wondering about our first guitar player, Dan. Kicking our old guitar player out for having long hair isn't the first rumor about us and I'm sure it won't be the last. I've really avoided this question in the past because I became seriously irritated with how quickly punk kids were to embrace the rumors and lies that spread shortly after our split with Dan. I was really disappointed at the number of people who called themselves our fans that so quickly jumped to conlusions. At some point I decided that these people were not our fans, and I didn't feel the need to try to bring them back. Not every one out there is our fan, and thats something I'm very comfortable with. If you are one of these people out there who believe that we are some image-concious idiots because of something you read somewhere, then fuck off. I honestly could care less about you and you don't belong in our bands fanbase of amazing, amazing people. People will believe what they want to believe, and I really don't have the time to personally explain myself to each individual shit-talking, attention starved asshole.

I will say the following about this and then let it rest: Dan's departure from the band had nothing to do with the length of his hair. I can only assume Dan spread this rumor maliciously to hurt us as a band and to deny the personality flaws that brought about his departure. I have a whole list of complaints about Dan as a person, how he treated me as "the new guy", didn't listen to anything I said, and many more. But I have chosen to keep this between him and I, and not to use mediums like punk interviews to talk shit about him. Unfortunately, Dan has chosen to spend his time talknig shit about us in Chicago, in his studio, and even over a punk radio show (where he has wished that we " die in a fiery crash " in one particular interview) Being in a band with Dan, I did realize the amount of animosity he held for every ex-member or our band or of 88FL. So I'm not surprised at the amount of animosity towards us he carried then and will probably carry to his grave. Life's too short to surround yourself with negative/shitty people. Moving on…

Okay, back to my terrible questions. If you could prevent one death, would it be John Lennon's or Kurt Cobain's, and why?

Kurt Cobain. I'm a huge Nirvana fan and I would've loved to see what the future held for that band.

What is your favorite song to play live?

Six Ways til Sunday is a lot of fun because every one usually sings the end with us.

Being in three different bands [that I know of], you must have played tons of shows. What was the absolute worst?

Rise Against played in an amateur wrestling ring in Indiana. The mat would shake so much that Dino's drums kept falling over and I was jumping off the ropes. It was hilarious and think people hated us.

Baxter once played a show in a forest preserve in Flagstaff, AZ. It was under one of the shelters. Baxter was used to playing for nobody so we were pretty numb to shitty shows.

The Killing Tree played Toledo, Ohio (recently!) and nobody came but the opening band, and two of there members left before we went on. Luckily we bring a professional mosh crew to all our shows in this "unlikely" event. (thanks xn8x, bitsy, and grumpy!)

I played in The Honor System briefly (kudos to you if you can find their first three-song demo that i sing on) and we played a show at this gutterpunk squat in Colorado Springs, CO with a band called the Timothy McVeigh Army and all the dudes had facial tribal tattoos and scared the shit out of us. We cruised early, but not before a quick drum circle jam session.

Lastly, don’t you hate pants?

But I love donuts and Duff.

Okay, that's it for me. Here is your free space, write whatever you want here.

Thanks to all the folks out there who do something to contribute to the punk scene instead of criticizing it. Anyone who does a zine, a site, a label, a band, a distro, books shows or just supports the people who do.
We hope to see you on the upcoming Fat Tour! Check our site for dates, we're pretty much hitting everywhere.