They’re even vegetarians: Rise Against

Formed only ten years ago, Rise Against has quickly climbed the ranks of biggest acts in modern day punk rock. Their lineup consists of Tim McIlrath on guitar and lead vocals, Brandon Barnes on drums, Joe Principe on bass, and Zach Blair on guitar.

As punk rock bands usually are, Rise Against is extremely opinionated. All of them except Barnes are straight edge, meaning no alcohol or drugs of any kind, People for the Equal Treatment of Animals  (PETA) supporters, and strict vegetarians.

In 1999, the band originally formed under the named Transistor Revolt. However, in 2001, they switched drummers, and changed their name to Rise Against. They gained a strong underground following while releasing their first two studio albums, The Unraveling (2001) and Revolutions Per Minute (2003) on the independent record label Fat Wreck Chords.

After the first album, though, they again switched out band members—this time their lead guitarist—before releasing their second album for the label. Following its release, they got their first major exposure on the 2003 Warped Tour.

After Warped Tour, Rise Against signed on with Dreamworks Records, and in December of 2003, recorded their third studio album, Siren Song of the Counter Culture (2004). Shortly after its release, Dreamworks was purchased by Universal Music Group, and Rise Against was put into Geffen Records, a Universal subsidiary. After signing with Geffen, Rise Against once again changed their lineup, more specifically their guitarist, with Chris Chasse joining the band.

With Siren Son of the Counter Culture, Rise Against had their first album to reach the Billboard 200 chart. It was also the first album to be certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. With their newfound success, they went on their first international tours, including the first international Taste of Chaos tour in 2005, as well as playing both the Reading and Leeds festivals in the UK.

Upon finishing the support tour, Rise Against went into the studio in January of 2006 to record their follow up album at Fort Collins in Colorado. They named the album The Sufferer & the Witness, and released it on July 4, 2006. The album would go on to gain high praise from fans and critics alike, most notably Corey Apar of Allmusic.

“The bands inner grit is aptly drawn out amid all the pit-ready choruses and fist-in-the-air, stirring lyrics” said Apar. “Rise Against continue to muscularly confront political and personal grievances to the tune of swirling guitar, assertive rhythms, and Tim McIlrath’s sandpapered vocals.”

While touring in support of The Sufferer & the Witness, they would return to Warped Tour in 2006, this time a headliner. Later that year, they would go on to co-headline a tour with Thursday, Circa Survive and Billy Talent opening.

In early 2007, they returned to a supporting role, touring with emo kings My Chemical Romance.

In February of 2007, Rise Against went through their final lineup change, changing their lead guitarist for a third time. They waited another year and a half before releasing their fifth and latest studio album, Appeal to Reason, in October 2008. The album peaked at number three on the Billboard 200.

They are currently on tour with legendary punk rock band Rancid, Billy Talent and Riverboat Gamblers. They will be coming to the WaMu Theatre on July 6.

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