Rise Against
Rise Against.jpg
Background Information
A.K.A. Transistor Revolt
Origin Chicago, Illinois
Genre Punk Rock[1]
Melodic Hardcore[2][3][4]
Hard Rock[5]
Years active 1999-present
Label(s) Fat Wreck
Associated Acts 88 Fingers Louie
Arma Angelus
The Killing Tree
Last of the Believers
Pinhead Circus
Website http://www.riseagainst.com
Tim McIlrath
Joe Principe
Brandon Barnes
Zach Blair
Former Members
Toni Tintari
Mr. Precision
Todd Mohney
Chris Chasse

Rise Against is an American punk rock band from Chicago, Illinois, formed in 1999. Their current lineup consists of Tim McIlrath (vocals, guitar), Joe Principe (bass guitar), Brandon Barnes (drums), and Zach Blair (guitar), all of whom are straight edge (excluding Barnes) PETA supporters and strict vegetarians. The band is currently signed to Geffen, a record label owned by Universal Music Group. To date, Rise Against has released five albums, two EPs, and one DVD.

Rise Against spent its first five years signed to the independent record label, Fat Wreck Chords, on which it released two studio albums. The band gained mainstream popularity with its first two releases on Geffen, Siren Song of the Counter Culture (2004) and The Sufferer & the Witness (2006), which produced hits such as "Give It All", "Swing Life Away", "Ready to Fall", "Prayer of the Refugee", and "The Good Left Undone". Their most recent studio album, Appeal to Reason, was released in North America on October 7, 2008, producing the singles "Re-Education (Through Labor)" and "Audience of One".

History[edit | edit source]

Independent years (1999–2003)[edit | edit source]

Rise Against was formed under the name Transistor Revolt[6] in 1999 by former members of the bands 88 Fingers Louie and Baxter.[7] The first lineup consisted of Tim McIlrath (vocals), Joe Principe (bass and vocals), Toni Tintari (drums), and Mr. Precision (guitar and vocals). Though the band never performed live with this lineup, it released a self-produced demo/EP entitled Transistor Revolt in 2000, a year before signing with Fat Wreck Chords. Tintari left shortly after recording Transistor Revolt, and Mr. Precision left the band in 2001. Mr. Precision was replaced by Todd Mohney before the band began writing their second full-length album, Revolutions per Minute.[6] The band changed its name to Rise Against in 2001 and released its first two albums, The Unraveling (produced by veteran punk producer Mass Giorgini), and Revolutions per Minute (produced by Bill Stevenson at The Blasting Room) on Fat Wreck Chords in 2001 and 2003 respectively.[7] A reissued version of The Unraveling was also released on August 23, 2005 through Fat Wreck Chords; it includes additional bonus tracks.

The band toured extensively in support of these two records, performing in supporting roles for Sick Of It All, NOFX, Agnostic Front, No Use for a Name,[8] AFI, and Strung Out. In addition, Rise Against participated in the 2003 Warped Tour.[9] After touring in support of their first album and the release of Revolutions per Minute and its supporting tours, Rise Against attracted the interest of several record labels.

Siren Song of the Counter Culture (2004-2005)[edit | edit source]

Main article: Siren Song of the Counter Culture

Rise Against signed onto Dreamworks Records and recorded their third album, Siren Song of the Counter Culture, in 2004. Dreamworks was shortly absorbed by the Universal Music Group, and Rise Against found itself with Geffen Records, a Universal Music Group subsidiary. Shortly after the band signed with Geffen, Mohney left and was replaced by former Reach the Sky guitarist Chris Chasse. Rise Against released Siren Song of the Counter Culture in August 2004 on Geffen Records, increasing the band's popularity on the mainstream music scene. The album, in addition to being the band's first on a major record label, was their first to reach the Billboard 200 chart[7] and to be certified Gold by the RIAA.[10] The album received generally slightly positive ratings from critics. It was mainly criticized 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 said that Siren Song of the Counter Culture sometimes "gets carried away with its own melodic urgency." However, he goes on to say 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."[11]

Rise Against toured North America, Europe, Australia, and Japan in support of Siren Song of the Counter Culture.[12] 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),[13] a worldwide tour to the UK, Germany, Australia, 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.

The Sufferer & the Witness (2006-2007)[edit | edit source]

Main article: The Sufferer & the Witness

In January 2006, after extensive touring in support of Siren Song of the Counter Culture, Rise Against returned to the studio to begin working on their fourth album. The band had been writing songs beforehand for several months. The album was recorded at the Blasting Room studio in Fort Collins, Colorado[14] with producers Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore.[15] The album was mixed by Chris Lord-Alge at Resonate Sound in Burbank, California; in April 2006, the band announced that mixing had been completed.[15] The band also announced that the album would be named The Sufferer & the Witness and would be released in June or July of that year.[15]

The album was released on July 4, 2006.[16] It entered the Billboard 200 chart at #10, selling "an impressive" 48,397 copies in its first week of release.[17] The Age newspaper said that with The Sufferer & the Witness, the band "returns to their punk roots."[18] 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." He goes on to say, "Rise Against continue to muscularly confront political and personal grievances to the tune of swirling guitars, assertive rhythms, and Tim McIlrath's sandpapered vocals."[19] Contrastingly, Christine Leonard of Fast Forward Weekly says 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 the oh-so-weary "Prayer of the Refugee."[20]

A DVD titled Generation Lost was released on December 5, 2006 to promote the band and their new album. It contains the documentary, "How We Survive", documenting the careers of the band members, as well as four videos of live performances by the band and two making-of clips.[21] Rise Against toured extensively 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.[22] In late 2006, the band co-headlined a tour with Thursday that also included the bands Circa Survive and Billy Talent.[23] In early 2007, the band supported My Chemical Romance as openers on the first half of their arena tour.[24] On February 23, 2007, on the same day as the beginning of their tour with My Chemical Romance, Rise Against announced the departure of guitarist Chris Chasse on the band's official website.[25] Chasse, who went on to form the band Nations Afire, would be replaced by longtime friend Zach Blair from Only Crime,[26] who had also been the touring second guitarist for The Loved Ones. Zach is also a former member of the band GWAR. 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 and lasted throughout the summer months.[27] 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. It contains three covers and two original Rise Against songs: "Obstructed View" and "But Tonight We Dance".

Appeal to Reason (2008-present)[edit | edit source]

Main article: Appeal to Reason

In May 2007, Punkbands.com reported that Rise Against was planning to return to the studio after The Sufferer and the Witness tour to begin work on a new album.[28] When asked in July 2007 about the band's plans for a new album, guitarist Zach Blair told The Punk Site that Rise Against would "start writing and recording the record" after touring and be "writing for a few months" before returning to the studio. He also predicted a summer 2008 release date for the album.[29] In an interview with bass guitarist Joe Principe, he stated that recording would likely begin around early 2008, although he said "everything could change", but that was "the plan right now".[30]

Rise Against headlined a North American tour supporting The Sufferer & the Witness throughout the summer months of 2007, deciding not to participate in the Warped Tour that year.[28] From October to December, they played in the Taste of Chaos tour, supporting The Used.[31] On January 7, 2008, Rise Against announced on their official website that they had begun writing and demoing for their next album.[32] When asked in May what the status of the album was, frontman Tim McIlrath told KROQ that the band was in the middle of the recording process because of a touring schedule. He also stated that the album would be produced by Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore, who had produced The Sufferer & the Witness.[33][34] Also in May 2008, Rise Against posted a lengthy studio blog on their official website, stating that they were back in the studio working on the album and had "spent many weeks in Chicago throughout the end of winter writing new songs in" their "rehearsal space" and were "pretty stoked on the direction," although they could not say how the forthcoming album would sound compared to the band's previous releases.[35][36]

To support the upcoming album, Rise Against was confirmed for a number of European festival dates set to kick off in the summer of 2008. The band played at the sixteenth annual KROQ Weenie Roast on May 17 at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater 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.[37][38] Like several previous years, the band participated in the Vans Warped Tour, although they decided only to perform on the tour's west coast swing from August 6 to August 17.[39]

In mid-June 2008, Tim McIlrath spoke to Gigwise.com about the new album. He stated that it was "mostly finished" but that a name and release date were still to be determined.[40] On July 14, 2008, it was reported on Punknews.org that the album would be titled Appeal to Reason. A release date of October 7, 2008 was announced as well as a headlining tour that would occur in the latter part of the year. The album gets its name from the leftist newspaper from 1897.[41] On August 19, 2008, Rise Against released the album's first single, "Re-Education (Through Labor)", to iTunes and other digital music stores. The band shot the music video for the single in August in Chicago with director Kevin Kerslake.[42] Appeal to Reason was also released as a pre-order on iTunes and other digital music stores in September.

Appeal to Reason was released on October 4 in Australia, October 6 across Europe, and October 7 in the United States. The album opened at #3 on the Billboard 200, making it Rise Against's highest charting album. 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 accessible, mid-tempo songs and away from faster hardcore punk. Giving the album a C+ rating, Marc Weingarten of Entertainment Weekly says 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."[43] Kyle Anderson of Rolling Stone states that the songs on Appeal to Reason "are driven by an ever-sharpening pop sensibility." He concludes by saying, "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."[44]

The singles released from Appeal to Reason also did well on the music charts. "Re-Education (Through Labor)" reached number 22 on Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and number 3 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart,[45] making it Rise Against's highest charting single on a rock chart (Swing Life Away charted on the Pop 100). The music video for Appeal to Reason's second single, "Audience of One", premiered on MySpace Music on January 15, 2009.[46] "Audience of One" reached number 7 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart.[45]

Rise Against will embark on a North American tour with fellow punk rock bands Rancid, Billy Talent and Riverboat Gamblers in June and July 2009.[47]

Political Ideals[edit | edit source]

All of the group's members are strict vegetarians or vegans and active supporters of PETA.[48] 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 brush and forest fires. The group has called the video the most important video they have ever made.[49] The Director's Cut of the video was first made available to a PETA website.[50] In 2009, the band was voted Best Animal-Friendly Band by PETA, an animal rights organization.[51] In addition to being strict vegetarians, all the members of Rise Against, except drummer Brandon Barnes, are straight edge, abstaining from consuming alcoholic beverages or using recreational drugs.[52]

In addition to their support of animal rights the band has voiced their support for other liberal-minded political causes. During the 2004 United States presidential election, the band was part of Punkvoter,[53] a political activist group, and appeared on the Rock Against Bush, Vol. 1 compilation. During the 2008 presidential election, the band members endorsed Barack Obama.[54] 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."[55]

Rise Against and Vans shoes[edit | edit source]

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".[56] In response to criticism spawning from a rampant rumor of Vans' use of sweatshops, Rise Against released a statement to address the matter on both their MySpace profile and website saying,

"Just a quick note to address a handful of concern that some of you have addressed in regards to the shoe that we've teamed up with VANS to produce. All VANS shoes, including the RISE AGAINST VEGAN shoe are manufactured in factories that follow strict guidelines that are designed to protect the workers involved in this process. The right to fair compensation, the right to associate freely and bargain collectively, the right to work free from discrimination and harassment, and the right to a safe clean workplace are among many of the guidelines that VANS and the factories that produce VANS are committed to. We are proud to work with such a progressive and

legendary company.[57]

Musical style and influences[edit | edit source]

Rise Against's musical style throughout the band's career has been described by most critics as hardcore punk,[58][59][60] melodic hardcore,[61][62][63] or punk rock.[64] The band has cited numerous punk and hardcore bands as influences to its music. Brandon Barnes has 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."[65]

Tim McIlrath has 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."[66] Other bands that have influenced Rise Against include Descendents,[66] the Dead Kennedys,[66] and Bad Religion.[65]

Band members[edit | edit source]

Former members[edit | edit source]

  • Mr. Precision – lead guitar, backing vocals (1999–2002)
  • Toni Tintari – drums (1999–2000)
  • Todd Mohney – lead guitar, backing vocals (2002–2004)
  • Chris Chasse – lead guitar, backing vocals (2004–2007)

Discography[edit | edit source]

Main article: Rise Against discography

References[edit | edit source]

  1. http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/24012796/rise_againsts_punkrock_explosion
  2. http://blogs.suntimes.com/derogatis/2008/11/rise_against_melodic_hardcore.html
  3. http://chicago.decider.com/events/rise-against-alkaline-trio-thrice-and-the-gaslight,17782/
  4. http://web.archive.org/web/20090221093719/http://www.cbc.ca/arts/media/blogs/popculture/2008/10/cheer_up_emo_kids_rise_against.html
  5. http://www.altpress.com/reviews/327.htm
  6. 6.0 6.1 Rise Against Biography
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 allmusic ((( Rise Against > Biography )))
  8. No Use for a Name + Anti-Flag + Rise Against
  9. the biography of Rise Against
  10. Billboard.com - Charts - Hits of the Web
  11. allmusic ((( Siren Song of the Counter Culture > Review )))
  12. Rise Against Return to Canada
  13. Taste of Chaos
  14. Rise Against recording at Blasting Room for new album
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Rise Against finishes mixing, promises no acoustic guitars, surprises for next album
  16. Altsounds.com Reviews | Rise Against- The Sufferer & The Witness
  17. Chicago Punk Rockers Rise Against Score #10 Best Selling New Album in America.
  18. Politically motivated
  19. allmusic ((( The Sufferer & the Witness > Overview )))
  21. New Releases: Gwen, Ciara, Eminem's Mixtape, Black Eyed Peas & More
  22. Still finding things to get angry about
  23. Punk show headliners choose diverse routes
  24. The Parade Begins: My Chemical Romance Announce U.S. Tour Dates
  25. Parting is such sweet sorrow...
  26. Chris Chasse leaves Rise Against, Zach Blair (Only Crime) steps in
  27. Rise Against begins mapping out North American tour
  28. 28.0 28.1 Rise Against Plan Next Album
  29. Rise Against Interview - Zach Blair
  30. Interview: Rise Against
  31. Why Used is new again
  32. Happy 08
  33. KROQ talks to Rise Against
  34. Rise Against Interview @ KROQ Weenie Roast Y Fiesta 2008
  35. Rise Against Back In The Studio!
  36. Rise Against begin studio blog
  37. Rise Against Announce Short European Tour
  38. Rise Against (European festivals, Warped Tour announcenment)
  39. Rise Against announce Warped Tour dates
  40. Rise Against Reveal All About Their New Album At Download
  41. Rise Against announces album release, tour with Alkaline Trio, Thrice, Gaslight Anthem
  42. Rise Against Claim There's Nothing Radical About Appeal to Reason
  43. Appeal to Reason | Music Review
  44. Appeal to Reason : Rise Against : Review : Rolling Stone
  45. 45.0 45.1 Artist Chart History - Rise Against
  46. Video Premiere: Rise Against's 'Audience of One'
  47. Rise Against and Rancid Will Storm North America During Summer
  48. PETA2 // Out There // Rise Against
  49. Rise Against : Now Playing : Ready To Fall
  50. Too Graphic for TV—Rise Against Video
  51. Animal-Friendly Recording Artists, Record Label Strike the Right Chord With Young Activists
  52. Rise Against prove you can be vegetarian and hardcore
  53. Punk Rockers Invade Iowa
  54. Rise Against - 10.06.08 - Interview
  55. Rise Against To Tour With Rancid - "Audience of One" Video
  56. Rise Against Vans Shoe Avail Now! - Prison Issue Old Schools
  57. Rise Against Vegan Shoe Manufacturing
  58. Punk legacy continues
  59. Rise Against - The Sufferer and the Witness Review
  60. Anti-Flag and friends keep political punk alive and well at Boston show
  61. Rise Against: Melodic hardcore? Political pop-punk? Mainstream underground? Great whatever you call it
  62. Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, Thrice, and The Gaslight Anthem at
  63. Things That Go Pop!: Cheer up, emo kids: Rise Against rise to the top
  64. Rise Against's Punk-Rock Explosion
  65. 65.0 65.1 Rise Against talks politics, punk
  66. 66.0 66.1 66.2 Interviews: Tim McIlrath (Rise Against)

External links[edit | edit source]

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