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Tim McIlrath (Rise Against) - conducted by Wes Kirk  

Tim McIlrath (Rise Against)

April 2005

The following are transcripts of an interview conducted with Tim McIlrath of Rise Against, on April 16th at Vancouver radio station, CFOX, in between showsÖ

MVRemix: Why is it so important to you to play two shows today, with one being all-ages?

Tim: All ages shows are important, and we always do all ages shows. Itís a pretty strict policy with the band, with a few exceptions, weíve always played all-ages shows. Thatís cause I would never ever want to exclude anyone from what we do. Nothing makes me feel worse than if I get an email from a 16 year old kid that says, listen, your band has changed my life and Iíve been waiting for two years for you to come to my town, and now I canít go. There is no point for a band like us to do age restricted shows. Except for today, where we give you the option. Punk rock, or at least the brand of Punk rock that we do, itís designed to speak to a younger audience. Our hope is to get these songs out to people who can relate to them at a time in their life when theyíre sort of figuring out who they are and are trying to identify with something out there. The songs that we have are so relevant to younger people, thatís my attempt in all the lyric writing is to try to relate to somebody else my own experiences in hopes that they might not feel so alone in their experiences. So, excluding them from the show makes no sense at all.

MVRemix: Do you remember any shows growing up because they werenít all-ages?

Tim: All kinds of shows. I missed all kinds of shows, but Chicago has a pretty good all-ages scene, so their were venues that people would play, but I donít remember anyone specifically that I missed. Although, Canada has an acoustic artist, Hayden, I was a big fan and he played a 21 and over show with Juliana Hatfield at the Double Door in Chicago. I remember going to the show and finding him, meeting him, and begging him to let me in. I was like 18 or 19 at the time, and I was like you gotta let me in. He said I canít let you in, Iím sorry, and now playing in a band I understand that you just canít let people in, especially if youíre serving alcohol, because itís just such a risk. I canít just sneak kids in, which is a bad thing, but thatís why we do all ages.

MVRemix: Since there are two shows today the crowd this morning was all kids, is there a different vibe?

Tim: I think where you get the different vibe is when you play the age restricted shows, like tonight, will be a different vibe. Iím sure when we play tonight it will be a more chill crowd. When you get an older crowd, there are people who donít spend a lot of time at the front anymore, they kind of hang out at the back which is understandable, but the people at the front make the show, they make it happen. Iím sure itíll be a little tamer audience, maybe a little drunker audience; theyíll be a little more rambunctious. Itíll still be a fun show, but the energy the younger kids bring to the show is just priceless.

MVRemix: I know you recorded your last album here. Have you spent much time in the city?

Tim: We spent a lot of time in the city. We stayed just down the street, at the corner of Robson and Beatty for three weeks, and hung out on Granville a lot just walking around.

MVRemix: So a couple of Vancouver questions. There is a link on your site to T.V turnoff week, which was started by the Vancouver mag Adbusters. What inspired you to put the link up?

Tim: Iím a big fan of Adbusters, I donít have any affiliation with them at all, but I am definitely a big fan of what they do. Our website is simply a tool to spread stuff like that, and to get exposure for things like that. Obviously T.V Turnoff is a great campaign, whether theyíre actually participating in it or not, just to get people to think about the role of television in your life. It plays such a huge role, and too big a role in a lot of peopleís lives. And if people could spend a week with a book or hang out with their friends or family, or taking a walk, then you could really discover how you spend your time and where it could be spent. So itís just a place to get more exposure for it.

MVRemix: Vancouver is a pretty Vegan and Vegetarian friendly town, how did you find it?

Tim: Yeah. Veggie hot dogs everywhere you go, which is so awesome. We just donít have that in the states. We just donít have hot dog venders that have Veggie wieners in the states; I donít know what it is.

MVRemix: As a band you focus on keeping the music positive, but you are still a punk band that is pissed off about the way things are. Is it hard to balance that?

Tim: I think there is a way to be pissed off but still be hopeful. The stuff that we do, the lyrics that we write and the angle we take, and I mean obviously there are a lot of things that make us very angry and weíve taken that and channeled it into some sort of positive energy. Our songs are hopefully motivating people to think about different issues, or change or social awareness. Itís just how you channel the anger.

MVRemix: Is the touring getting tiring?

Tim: Weíve been on tour for a long time, since last summers Warped Tour. Itís definitely tiring, itís exhausting, and some days are better then others. When youíre here in Vancouver and itís a beautiful day and we are here all day itís just wonderful When youíre out in Nova Scotia and itís like 10 degrees below zero and thereís 10 feet of snow, and youíre trying to get over a cold, thatís miserable. But thatís what weíve decided to do with our lives, even though touring is hard and itís long, and it drives you insane and pushes you to the edge; at the same time itís hard to complain because I just played for 1000 kids an hour ago and it was an amazing experience that I never take for granted. The fact that we can do music for a living, thatís something I donít take for granted. Even at its worst, it is hard to complain about it.

MVRemix: And youíre not done yet either, you are going on tour with Alkaline TrioÖ

Tim: Yeah. Weíll be in Europe in a week and a half from now with Alexisonfire, and then weíll take most of June off. Do a few shows here and there, and then weíll go out with Alkaline Trio. Weíll play Seattle and Portland will be closest to Vancouver, but itís mostly a west-coast and south-east tour. Then weíll go out and do the North-East U.S in August, and then weíll probably do the international Taste of Chaos tour with The Used and Funeral For Our Friend, thatíll be in Japan, Australia and the UK. Hopefully at that point, which will be at the end of October, weíll sit down and start writing some new songs.

MVRemix: Do you have an onstage philosophy?

Tim: The less I think about it, the better I am. If there is a long break before we go on stage, then you start over thinking it, but if you go out there and just do it, and be the most open and honest person you can be, then thatís what works. I always try to maximize my time up there, and there is so much I want to say and so little time to say it. And obviously you want to get some songs in there. If I talk to long, then we canít fit all the songs in. We donít have any pre show rituals that go on. I mean I warm my voice up for 20-25 minutes before every show. I wear the same clothes every show, which are these disgusting, disgusting clothes that you wouldnít want to touch with a ten foot pole, and thatís about it.

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"The less I think about it, the better I am. If there is a long break before we go on stage, then you start over thinking it, but if you go out there and just do it, and be the most open and honest person you can be, then thatís what works."