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Rise Against

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Rise Against
Rise Against performing in Segrate, Italy, in 2012. From left to right: Brandon Barnes, Zach Blair, Tim McIlrath and Joe Principe.
Background information
Also known as Transistor Revolt (1999–2001)
Origin Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Years active 1999–present
Associated acts
Members Tim McIlrath
Joe Principe
Brandon Barnes
Zach Blair
Past members Dan Wleklinski
Kevin White
Todd Mohney
Chris Chasse
Toni Tintari
Dan Lumley

Rise Against is an American melodic hardcore band from Chicago, Illinois, formed in 1999. The band's current line-up comprises vocalist/rhythm guitarist Tim McIlrath, lead guitarist Zach Blair, bassist Joe Principe and drummer Brandon Barnes. Former members are guitarists Dan Wlekinski, Kevin White, Todd Mohney and Chris Chasse, and drummers Toni Tintari and Dan Lumley.

The band spent its first four years signed to the independent record label Fat Wreck Chords, on which it released two studio albums, The Unraveling (2001) and Revolutions per Minute (2003). Both the albums met with considerable underground success, and in 2003 the band signed with the major label Geffen. Their major label debut Siren Song of the Counter Culture (2004) brought the band mainstream success, producing several successful singles. Their next two albums, The Sufferer & the Witness (2006) and Appeal to Reason (2008), were also successful and peaked at number ten and number three on the Billboard 200 chart, respectively. Appeal to Reason was followed three years later by Endgame (2011).[1] All four albums released via Geffen were certified platinum in Canada, while three of these albums were certified gold in the United States.

Rise Against is also known for their advocacy of progressivism, supporting organisations such as Amnesty International and the It Gets Better Project. The band actively promotes animal rights and most of the members are straight edge (excluding Barnes), PETA supporters and vegetarians.


Early years and Fat Wreck Chords (1999-2003)

In the mid-1990s, guitarist Dan Wleklinski and bassist Joe Principe were members of the Chicago punk rock band 88 Fingers Louie.[2] Although the band was touted as a promising new act, internal arguments between members led to a disbandment in 1999.[3] Afterwards, Principe recorded several demos in the hope of using them in a new band.[4] Together with Wleklinski, Principe recruited drummer Toni Tintari and lead vocalist Tim McIlrath.[2][a] Principe met McIlrath in Indianapolis while attending a Sick of It All concert, and recalled seeing him perform with his previous band Baxter.[4] Principe was impressed with McIlrath's gritty vocals, which he likened to influential punk musician Ian Mackaye.[4] The group called themselves Transistor Revolt.[3]

Initial jam sessions were troublesome, as McIlrath unaccustomed to the band's fast-paced music.[4] Despite these early issues, the band was able to produce the extended play (EP) Transistor Revolt in 2000.[6] The EP attracted the attention of several punk fans including Fat Mike, the lead vocalist of NOFX and co-founder of the independent record label Fat Wreck Chords.[3] Fat Mike offered to sign the band to a recording contract, with the stipulation that they change their name. He gave some suggestions, like Jimmy Cracked Corn And The I Don't Cares, although none of the band members liked them.[3] After four months, Tintari suggested Rise Against, to which the band agreed to.[7]

With Fat Wreck Chords, Rise Against released their first studio album in 2001, The Unraveling. It was produced by veteran punk producer Mass Giorgini.[8] Wlekinski left the band in 2001, and was replaced by former The Killing Tree guitarist Todd Mohney.[9][10] After touring in support of The Unraveling, the band returned to the studio in December 2002 to work on their second full-length studio album, Revolutions per Minute,[11][8] which was released in 2003. The band toured extensively in support of its first two albums, opening for Sick of It All, NOFX, Agnostic Front, No Use for a Name,[12] AFI, and Strung Out. In addition, Rise Against participated in the 2003 Warped Tour.[13]

Siren Song of the Counter Culture and The Sufferer & the Witness (2004–2007)

After the release of Revolutions per Minute, Rise Against was approached by several major record labels, and eventually signed with DreamWorks Records in December 2003.[14] However, DreamWorks Records folded into Geffen Records the following year, forcing the band to switch labels.[15] Rise Against were also to switch guitarists, following Mohney's departure in 2003; he was replaced by former Reach the Sky member Chris Chasse.[16] Under the new lineup, Rise Against made their major record label debut with Siren Song of the Counter Culture in August 2004. It became the band's first album to reach the Billboard 200 music chart, where it peaked at 136,[11] and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting shipments of 500,000 copies.[17] The album received generally positive reviews from critics, but drew criticism for its accessibility and melodious sound compared to previous Rise Against works. In giving the album 3 out of 5 stars, Johnny Loftus of Allmusic commented "Siren Song of the Counter Culture sometimes gets carried away with its own melodic urgency." However, he also stated that because of the album being the band's major-label debut, "maybe the fuller sound and occasional forays into acoustic guitars and cello overdubs...are OK."[18] Rise Against toured North America, Europe, Australia, and Japan in support of Siren Song of the Counter Culture.[19] Some of the most notable mentions include performances on the first international Taste of Chaos tour in 2005 (with Funeral for a Friend, Story of the Year, The Used, and Killswitch Engage),[8][20] a worldwide tour to the UK, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, the Give It a Name tour in the UK, the Reading Festival and Leeds Festival in the UK, a US tour with Alkaline Trio, and the Warped Tour in North America.

McIlrath performing with Rise Against during the Warped Tour in Vancouver in 2006

In January 2006, after touring in support of Siren Song of the Counter Culture, Rise Against recorded their fourth studio album at the Blasting Room studio in Fort Collins, Colorado with producers Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore.[21][22] Mixed by Chris Lord-Alge at Resonate Sound in Burbank, California,[22] The Sufferer & the Witness was released on July 4, 2006.[23] The album peaked at number 10 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 48,397 copies in its first week of release;[24] it was eventually certified gold by the RIAA in 2008.[17] The Age newspaper said that with The Sufferer & the Witness, the band "returns to their punk roots."[25] In addition to earning Rise Against its best chart and sales numbers at the time, the album was generally well received by critics. Corey Apar of Allmusic, in giving the album 4 out of 5 stars, said of it, "the band's inner grit is aptly drawn out amid all the pit-ready choruses and fist-in-the-air, stirring lyrics." and also commented that "Rise Against continue to muscularly confront political and personal grievances to the tune of swirling guitars, assertive rhythms, and Tim McIlrath's sandpapered vocals."[26] Contrastingly, Christine Leonard of Fast Forward Weekly said of the band, "Returning to their old school form with the ballistic intensity of "Bricks," they just as quickly lose focus with questionable efforts such as 'Worth Dying For' and 'Prayer of the Refugee.'"[27]

A DVD titled Generation Lost was released on December 5, 2006 to promote the band and their new album. It contained a documentary of the careers of the band members, as well as live performance videos and making-of clips.[28] Rise Against toured in support of The Sufferer & the Witness throughout the second half of 2006 and all of 2007. The band was a headliner in the 2006 Warped Tour.[29] In late 2006, the band co-headlined a tour with Thursday that included the bands Circa Survive and Billy Talent.[30] In early 2007, the band supported My Chemical Romance as openers on the first half of their arena tour.[31] On February 23, 2007, Rise Against announced the departure of guitarist Chris Chasse, who left on his own accord because the touring schedule was becoming "too much," on the band's official website.[32] Chasse was replaced by longtime friend Zach Blair from Only Crime.[33] On June 15, 2007, the band began their first official headlining tour in support of The Sufferer & the Witness; it was a North American tour that lasted throughout the summer months.[34] During this tour, on July 3, 2007, Rise Against released an EP in Canada titled This Is Noise, which was subsequently released in the United States on January 15, 2008.

Appeal to Reason (2008–2010)

A man with a shaved head playing a guitar with an intense expression. A harmonica player is in the background.
Blair and McIlrath playing on the Appeal to Reason tour in 2008.

Rise Against played at the sixteenth annual KROQ Weenie Roast on May 17 in Irvine, California, and at the sixth annual Download Festival on June 13 at Donington Park, England. They also played at Switzerland's Greenfield Festival as well as Germany's Hurricane Festival and Southside Festival.[35][36] Like several previous years, the band participated in the Warped Tour, although they decided only to perform on the tour's west coast swing from August 6 to August 17.[37]

Rise Against's fifth studio album Appeal to Reason was released on October 4 in Australia, October 6 across Europe, and October 7 in the United States. The album sold 64,700 copies in its first week and peaked at number three on the U.S. Billboard 200,[38] making it Rise Against's highest-charting album to date. Appeal to Reason was met with generally positive reviews. However, critics did not rate it as highly as The Sufferer & the Witness, mostly blaming the movement toward the mainstream and away from faster hardcore punk. Giving the album a C+ rating, Marc Weingarten of Entertainment Weekly said the album is filled with "protest anthems that lean closer to the burnished angst of such bands as New Found Glory and Fall Out Boy than the genuine outrage of brainy Green Day" and songs that are "peppy but pretty empty, power-chord downers with little bark or bite."[39] Kyle Anderson of Rolling Stone stated that the songs on Appeal to Reason "are driven by an ever-sharpening pop sensibility." He also said that "Rise Against may be nervous about leaving the underground behind, but with sharp songs like these, they're ready for the rest of the world."[40]

Rise Against released a song called "Death Blossoms" for DLC on Guitar Hero: World Tour on March 12, 2009.[41] "Ready to Fall" and "Audience of One" were also added for a track pack. Another song called "Sight Unseen" was released on the Internet at about the same time. "Death Blossoms" and "Sight Unseen" were later released on the compilation album Long Forgotten Songs: B-Sides & Covers (2000-2013) as tracks 2 and 10 respectively. Two previously unreleased songs from the Appeal to Reason recording sessions were released on Fat Wreck Chords on May 12, 2009, as a self-titled 7" vinyl.[42] The release included the songs "Grammatizator" and "Voice of Dissent" and was released on 7 inch vinyl, with 1010 pressings made on coloured vinyl and a further 4008 made on black vinyl. Another split 7" shared with Anti-Flag was released that same year, originally given away with any merchandise purchase on the 2009 Rise Against/Anti-Flag/Flobots UK tour.[43]

Rise Against embarked on a North American tour with bands Rancid, Billy Talent, Killswitch Engage, and Riverboat Gamblers in June and July 2009.[44] They were also on a short tour of the UK in November, which was supported by the bands Thursday and Poison the Well.[45] The band also played at KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas in December 2009, playing right before AFI. After completing a European tour from October to November 2009, an Australian tour in January and February 2010 and a summer European festival tour, Rise Against began recording their next album in the fall of 2010.[46] In September 2010, Rise Against took part in A.V. Club Undercover by covering the song "Sliver" by Nirvana.[47] On September 7, 2010, it was announced on their official website that Rise Against would be releasing their second live DVD entitled Another Station: Another Mile on October 5, 2010. According to the band this DVD will focus more on the band's live, unreleased footage than a documentary, but will show backstage, on tour, and on the road footage as well.[48]

Endgame (2010–2013)

On September 13, 2010, according to guitarist Zach Blair, Rise Against had begun recording their sixth studio album for a 2011 release, at the Blasting Room in Fort Collins, Colorado. On Rise Against's latest DVD Another Station: Another Mile, there are samples of possible songs for their upcoming album played throughout the beginning of the DVD.[1] Rise Against has announced two South American shows in Brazil and Argentina and a run of European shows in late February and March 2011 respectively.[49]

Rise Against finished recording their sixth studio album, Endgame, in January 2011, after recording some last-minute guest vocals. The lyrics of the album focus on real world events, such as Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.[50] According to McIlrath, although the lyrics discuss grim topics, they actually take on a positive view and were written from the perspective of: "What if the place on the other side of this transition is a place we'd all rather be living in?"[51] On January 12, 2011, Rise Against announced the release date of Endgame as March 15, 2011.[52] Although Spin Magazine labeled Endgame as a concept album, on January 7, 2011, McIlrath tweeted a clarifying message stating that "the record is not a concept record and, fret not, has absolutely nothing to do with the Dixie Chicks."[53] The first single from the album, "Help Is on the Way", debuted on KROQ on January 17. A second song from the album, "Architects", was debuted and released digitally on February 15. As a promotion effort, the band embarked on a short tour of South America in February and then a month-long tour of Europe in March. Upon returning to the United States, the band announced a U.S. spring tour with Bad Religion and Four Year Strong.

Rise Against performing in 2011.

Endgame is notable for being the first album to establish Rise Against's stance on homophobia with the third song on the album, "Make It Stop (September's Children),"[54] which references the September 2010 suicides of teenagers in the LGBT community, specifically mentioning Tyler Clementi, Billy Lucas, Harrison Chase Brown, Cody J. Barker, and Seth Walsh.[citation needed] Upon the album's release, the band put a message on their website inviting listeners to apply the songs' messages to current events, in addition to those on which they were originally based.[citation needed]

On May 10, 2011, the band released a 7" split vinyl with Face to Face. The 7" features 2 songs, with each band covering a song by the other band.[55][56] In August 2011, Rise Against made appearances at the Reading and Leeds Festivals.[57] The band was the main support act for the Foo Fighters' fall US tour 2011. Rise Against supported the Foo Fighters on 9 dates in September, with Mariachi El Bronx as the opening act.[58] After this, the band announced a tour of Canada throughout October 2011, supported by Flogging Molly and Black Pacific. The tour consisted of nine dates.[59] Rise Against contributed a cover of "Ballad of Hollis Brown" to Chimes of Freedom, a tribute album of Bob Dylan songs produced in February 2012 to commemorate Amnesty International's 50th anniversary.

Rise Against embarked on a two-leg US tour with A Day to Remember and The Menzingers in the spring of 2012. Leg one ended with the band launching another European tour. The band continued back to Europe for the summer months. Doing a slew of festivals along the way. To end 2012, the band announced the return to the US with a fall tour with Gaslight Anthem and Hot Water Music. The tour will include two shows in Arizona, which the band has not played since 2009 due to the Sound Strike.[citation needed] On January 2, 2013, vocalist Tim McIlrath told Rolling Stone that Rise Against was "focusing on recharging [their] batteries" after two years of touring in support of Endgame.[60] In March 2013, Rise Against played their first ever performances on African soil when they performed in South Africa for the Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town legs of RAMFest, where they headlined the festival along with the UK band Bring Me the Horizon.[61][62]

The Black Market (2013–present)

Rise Against performing at Open Air St. Gallen in 2015

On May 22, 2013, Principe told that Rise Against was going to begin work on their seventh studio album around the end of the year for a 2014 release.[63] On September 10, 2013, Rise Against released a compilation of B-sides, sampler contributions and covers titled Long Forgotten Songs: B-Sides & Covers 2000–2013. In an interview with ESPN on the same day singer Tim McIlrath was asked about the next record's progress and said "...We are getting together periodically all fall to put some ideas together and then we'll hit the studio when we are ready. It's been a good breather, but now I can't wait turn up some amps and scream."[64]

On April 14, 2014, the band posted a short video on their Facebook page teasing a new album with the message "Coming Soon".[65][66] On May 5, 2014, the band posted another short video indicating that a new album would be released in the summer of 2014.[67] On May 27, 2014, the band released a short video with a teaser of a song from the new album, and clarified the summer release date to be July 2014.[68] On June 4, 2014, a new teaser was released on Facebook revealing the album title The Black Market and release date of July 15, 2014.[69] The album's first single, "I Don't Want To Be Here Anymore", was released on June 10, 2014.[70] In an interview with Kerrang! Magazine, Tim McIlrath gave an insight into The Black Market and also confirmed five song titles for the new album: "I Don't Want To Be Here Anymore", "The Great Die Off", "People Live Here", "Zero Visibility" and "Awake Too Long".[71] On June 13, 2014, the band unveiled the official album artwork for The Black Market on their website. The track listing for the album was released one week later on June 20, 2014, on their website and other social media sites. On June 23, 2014, "The Eco-Terrorist In Me" was leaked on iTunes and became available for purchase. The Black Market was released on July 15, 2014. Following the release of The Black Market, Rise Against obtained its second no. 1 on Billboard's Top Rock Albums with 53,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Their first no. 1 was their previous album, Endgame.[72][73][74]

Politics and ethics

All of the group's members are vegetarians and active supporters of PETA, an animal rights organization.[75] Their video for the single "Ready to Fall" contains footage of factory farming, rodeos, and sport hunting, as well as deforestation, melting ice caps, and forest fires. The group has called the video the most important video they have ever made. In February 2012 the band released a cover of the Bob Dylan song Ballad of Hollis Brown as part of a benefit for Amnesty International.[76] The Director's Cut of the video was first made available to a PETA website.[77] In 2009, the band was voted Best Animal-Friendly Band by PETA.[78] In addition to being vegetarians, all the members of Rise Against, with the exception of Brandon Barnes, are straight edge; that is, they refrain from consuming alcohol or using drugs.[79]

In addition to their support of animal rights, the band has voiced their support for Democratic causes. During the 2004 United States presidential election, the band was part of Punkvoter,[80] a political activist group, and appeared on the Rock Against Bush, Vol. 1 compilation. The Rock Against Bush project raised over $1 million for then presidential candidate John Kerry. During the 2008 presidential election, the band members endorsed Barack Obama.[81] In a news bulletin in early 2009, the band stated: "Few things are more exciting than watching Bush finally release America as his eight year hostage."[82]

Vans shoes

On May 23, 2007 Rise Against announced their endorsement of a new line of Vans shoes that would be "completely vegan in consideration to [their] animal rights efforts".[83] In response to criticism spawning from rumors of Vans' use of sweatshops,[84] Rise Against released a statement to address the matter on both their MySpace profile and website saying,

Musical style and influences

Rise Against's musical style throughout the band's career has been described by most critics as melodic hardcore, punk rock, and hardcore punk.[86][87][88][89][90][91][92] The band has cited numerous punk and hardcore bands as influences to its music. In 2004, drummer Brandon Barnes stated: "I think we have a lot of different influences from hardcore like old Cave In, to a lot of punk like Face to Face, Screeching Weasel, and Down By Law."[93]

In 2006, Tim McIlrath stated of the band's style: "We’re emulating Minor Threat and Black Flag. Who knows, maybe if Ian MacKaye was wearing eyeliner then I would be."[94] Other bands that have influenced Rise Against include Descendents,[94] Dead Kennedys,[94] Refused,[93] Bad Brains,[95] and Bad Religion.[93]

Band members



Awards and nominations

Year Title Award Result
2006 "Ready to Fall" MTVu Good Woodie Award Nominated[96]
2008 "Rise Against" Rock on Request Award Won
2009 "Rise Against" Best Animal-Friendly Band (PETA) Won[97]
2009 "Re-Education (Through Labor)" MuchMusic Video Award Nominated
2011 "Make It Stop (September's Children)" MTV Video Music Award Nominated[98]
2012 "Ballad of Hollis Brown" MTV Video Music Award Nominated[99]



  1. ^ Guitarist Kevin White was also an original member of the band, but soon left to pursue other musical interests.[5]


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External links