ESPN Music: Long Forgotten

Rise Against reaches back into archives

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
9:33
AM ET
Rise AgainstRise AgainstRise Against consists of Tim McIlrath (vocals, rhythm guitar), Zach Blair (lead guitar, backing vocals), Joe Principe (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Brandon Barnes (drums, percussion).
Rise Against hasn't forgotten where it came from. So the Chicago-based punk band has reached into its own archives and pulled out "Long Forgotten Songs: B-Sides & Covers 2000-2013." The album, released Tuesday, is a collection of songs that didn't make it onto the band's six studio albums, as well special projects benefiting causes the band supports and covers from artists that influenced the band.

In an email interview with ESPN Music, lead vocalist Tim McIlrath talks about the songs on "Long Forgotten," the band's connection to Chicago sports and its plans for a new album, among other topics.

ESPN.com: Which was the most long forgotten song on the "Long Forgotten Songs: B-Sides & Covers 2000–2013" album? Any that you really regret not putting on a previous album? Did the process of getting this album together remind you how you have grown as songwriters?

Tim Mcllrath: This record was not just an missing piece of the puzzle that we wanted to share with fans, but it was a trip down memory lane for the four of us. A lot of these songs were missing from our own collections, so we imagined they must be missing from other people's collections. Songs like "But Tonight We Dance" and our Sick Of It All cover of "Built To Last" were some of our favorite songs and we knew many of our fans have never even heard them.

ESPN.com: What kind of sports do you enjoy while you're on the road or in your free time?

Mcllrath: I got really into downhill mountain hiking at some Colorado ski resorts after spending the last couple summers out there and bring a bike on tour. I ride almost everyday on tour, it s a great way to break out of tour monotony and see a bit of the city you happen to be in.

ESPN.com: Tuesdays are big in music because of new albums. They're also big on ESPN.com because of the NFL power rankings. Where would Rise Against fall in a punk power ranking?

Mcllrath: I guess that's up to our fans! We have pretty awesome fans.

ESPN.com: Your music has been used in various sports venues such as the Madden video game and in the X Games. Do you think your music works well in these areas? What has it been like to be a part of Chicago sports, either as a fan or through your music?

Mcllrath: For years, people have told me they work out to Rise Against. I guess it makes sense. We aren't mellow and chill. We are aggressive and physical and our songs have positive messages. I can see where the music can be a motivator and we are always excited to see it used to get people riled up.

[+] EnlargeWrigley Field
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesRise Against hasn't played Wrigley Field, but it was the site of one of singer Tom McIlrath's greatest meet and greets.
I grew up in Chicago so it's pretty sweet to go to a Blackhawks game and hear our song playing during the game and be invited to shoot the puck between periods. They play our songs at Soldier Field and I've thrown out the first pitch at a Cubs game. It's all pretty cool for a kid who grew up in all these stadiums.

ESPN.com: How hard is it to be a vegetarian rock star? Do you have a special section in your tour contract for food?

Mcllrath: It's way easier than it sounds. I grew up on hot dogs and McDonald's in Chicago and I still find a way to be hearty Midwest eater without involving meat.

ESPN.com: You're from Chicago ... your feelings on Wrigley becoming a concert venue? Any interest in playing there?

Mcllrath: I went to see Springsteen for the first time last year at Wrigley and after the show I ended up meeting the Boss himself. Tom Morello introduced me and Bruce turned and pulled out his iPhone and asked if he could have a picture with me. Turns out his son is a fan. But I wasn't sure how to ask him, "Hey, could you send me that pic?"

ESPN.com: Would any of you trade your music career to be a successful pro athlete? Who do you think has the tougher job between musicians and athletes?

Mcllrath: I think athletes and musicians live pretty parallel lives so we've always bonded with guys who come out to shows from major teams. We all travel a lot in big groups and live in hotels and dressing rooms and rely on our bodies to deliver everyday. We all spend a lot of time in a harsh media spotlight and give up a lot of privacy. But we all have a lot of fun obviously, and we do what we love, I feel lucky everyday.

ESPN.com: What is something you would like to see people "Rise Against" right now?

Mcllrath: War. We're still inadequately taking care of the men and women who fought the last two. War is about colostomy bags and catheters and rehab, not medals of honor and planted flags. We fumbled Iraq and Afghanistan, it's time we get benched.

ESPN.com: You've mentioned starting work on a new studio album this fall for a release next year. That still in the works? What should fans expect?

Mcllrath: It is! 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.

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