Interview with Timothy „Tim“ James McIlrath abou b-sides, issues and values, by Merle Rowehl. Pic by courtesy of Oktober Promotion.
entertaim.net: Bill Stevenson has been your producer since „Revolutions per Minute“. How big of an impact did he have on the development of the band?
Tim: Bill has had an incalcuable impact on our records. He was and is the perfect producer for us. He is a foremost authority on punk music but still endeavors to push the envelope and create something that can break boundaries. He’s a lot like us. We’re punk and hardcore kids who don’t feel limited to to create anything we can come up with.
entertaim.net: What compelled you to release an album of b-sides right now?
Tim: A couple of different factors weighed into this decision to release the b-side album. 1) the sheer number of songs that were slowly amassing was getting a little ridiculous. 2) we had time off so we could adequately devote our attention to creating the whole thing from artwork to song sequence. It seemed like a great time to put something out that wouldn’t just get lost in the shuffle of releases
entertaim.net: How do you decide which song to put on an album?
Tim: There’s always about ten songs that we know are going to end up on a record. Then there are usually 3-4 that we are torn between. The decision often times had more to do with the ten songs that it does the 3-4. We see what kind of shape the record is taking, then we decide which songs would best add to that or complement the other songs. It doesn’t mean the b-side sucks, it just means that it didn’t complement the others as well as another song might have. It’s all gut instinct in the end.
entertaim.net: Rise Against is addressing a lot of political issues – did you ever get any bad or offending reactions to that?
Tim: When a band decides to take on political issues, there is always pushback. But we feed off the dialogue and are simply happy that people are listening at all. When you challenge preconceptions you can create friction. But friction is the only place where real change happens.
entertaim.net: Dealing with those terrible issues in your songs (exploitation of human beings and animals), how do you maintain a positive outlook on life?
Tim: There is so much in life to be positive about. Wherever there is a challenge, there is a group of people willing to sacrifice everything to overcome it. That’s a beautiful thing.
entertaim.net: What was the most moving story a fan ever told you about, considering the impact the band had on his/her life?
Tim: There are so many I don’t even know where to begin. We get a lot off an exchanges where people tell us the songs have saved their lives, helped them though a breakup, or re-directed their priorities towards issues of change and awareness. Every time you hear that it makes every thing you’ve done completely worth it. We’re lucky to have such amazing fans.
entertaim.net: Tim, thank you for the interview.
Tim: You’re welcome …