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Rise Against Singer Tim McIlrath Encourages Fans to ‘Be Educated’ on Politics

Rise Against's Tim McIlrath
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Rise Against are well-known for the politically infused messages within their music. Having developed their own sound combining hardcore punk with a pop sensibility, the underlying essence of Rise Against’s social and political activism-through-sound has resonated with millions of fans worldwide.

In a recent interview with Noisecreep, Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath spoke about his discovery of punk rock, hardcore and grunge in his home town of Chicago.

“As a band, we all got there in different ways,” begins McIlrath. “For me, personally, I started out listening to a lot of classic punk — Black Flag, Jawbreaker — then I got into bands like Nirvana and a lot of the other amazing alternative bands from that era in the early ’90s. But it wasn’t until I found the Chicago hardcore scene that I found bands and music that could seen as a vehicle for ideas of change – so that triggered my interest in an active way.”

McIlrath also spoke about his perception of modern politics.

“Politics are so prepackaged today – far left wing, far right wing – we think it’s confused a lot of our younger fans, explains McIlrath. “We never want to present either side of politics as a stereotype – as it applies to our songs, we want our songs to be more timeless and not locked onto some current political catchphrase or stereotype. We want our fans to understand the bigger picture. Don’t just blame elected officials, but find out the root causes of what is going on. Be educated.”

The frontman continues, “A few years ago, so many bands were attacking [George W.] Bush – at the same time, by just attacking him, they were also attacking a symptom of a much bigger problem. It didn’t start with him and didn’t end with him leaving. There are many long-running problems in our political process.”

Rise Against are currently on a North American tour with A Day to Remember and Title Fight, with a ton of European dates to follow. Check out the full interview with James McIlrath on Noisecreep.

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