Tim McIlrath still considers Rise Against to be just a little punk rock band from Chicago. So having a second consecutive album debut in the Top 10 of the Billboard chart — “Appeal to Reason,” which bowed at No. 3 in October — is nothing less than “pretty incredible.”
“It’s really hard to grasp,” says McIlrath, 29, who co-founded the politically minded quartet in 1999. “I don’t think I ever grasped when our last record (2006’s ‘The Sufferer & the Witness’) was No. 10. That was just hard for me to believe we were anywhere in the Top 10 at all.
“So to be hitting the Top 10 again, with a considerably better showing, it baffles my mind, that’s for sure. I never wrote records to get into the Top 10 in Billboard, y’know? I didn’t need that sort of validation to make the record a success.”
But McIlrath does think the increased sales for “Appeal to Reason” indicate that in trouble times, with war raging overseas and an economy in turmoil at home, Rise Against’s message is resonating with more people, and they’re finding their concerns reflected in the band’s songs.
“I think that’s what the punk scene is supposed to be about, making you feel less alone in how you feel about the world and things around you,” he explains. “There’s a whole different level of that now. I’m kind of waking up to the fact that, ‘Oh, wow, I’m not the only disenfranchised kid out there now. There’s apparently a lot of them that are gravitating towards our music.
“I think there’s a lot of alienated people out there who are no longer finding artists who are in touch with how they’re feeling or artists who are asking the questions they’re asking or are as confused and overwhelmed as they are. It’s just really crazy for me to think there’s that many people out there that might be like us.”
Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, Thrice and the Gaslight Anthem perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 23) at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Tickets are $27.50. Call (313) 961-5451 or visit www.livenation.com.
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