Rise Against

By Spud

Spud interviewed Chris Chasse, guitarist for Rise Against, at Manchester Academy 3 on 11th September 2006.

Spud: Today’s gig is at Academy 3 in Manchester which, to be honest, is a tiny venue for a band the size of Rise Against. Did you try and upgrade it or…

Chris: We were actually just talking about this during soundcheck. We don’t actually know why we’re playing this place. We played a bigger club last time.

Spud: London’s double the size of this place..

Chris: Yeah, we’re all kind of confused how this happened but it’s too late now. We’re here and it’ll be good, it’s just really small.

Spud: A Wilhelm Scream are support on this tour. Did you guys pick them yourselves?

Chris: We brought them on tour with us before and, I don’t know, we just try to think of bands who’ve been to Europe and they were one of the first ones. They were willing to go so that was it. Great friends, great band

Spud: You’ve been doing some dates in Europe as well. How’s that been going?

Chris: It’s actually been going extremely well; every show sold out except for one which was Paris, France and that was it. So it’s going extremely well, much better than we’d even hoped for.

Spud: You’ve been playing guitar in Rise Against since 2003 which is pre-major. Were there any conditions which the band insisted on before signing to Geffen? Anything to say you’d keep full artistic control?

Chris: Well, yeah. Geffen hasn’t told us to do anything or change anything at all. They’re actually a really, really good label. They put our shit everywhere and that’s all we really care about.

Spud: How did it feel to go back to the Blasting Rooms with Bill Stevenson to record the new album?

Chris: We should never have left. Him and Jason are like the 5th and 6th members of the band. They’re so easy to record with and so involved with the record. It just feels right and I can’t imagine us going to anybody else ever again.

Spud: Do you know many sales you’re upto for your albums to date?

Chris: In the US, Siren Song… has done 400,000 and Sufferer… has done 160,000. Siren Song… and Sufferer… are both already gold in Canada. Sufferer… did it in two weeks or something crazy in Canada. Worldwide I don’t know, but I know it’s selling really well in Germany and Australia. Worldwide I don’t really know but for the last two records we’re probably looking at roughly 650,000 or something like that.

Spud: Do you think your success at the lighter end of melodic hardcore has come about because of the balance you seem to strike between screaming and singing?

Chris: I would assume so yeah, because a lot of the screamo/emo bands are so ‘night and day’ when they scream and sing whereas when Tim sings it just sounds like one vocal like it’s supposed to, it’s almost supernatural. I don’t know, it’s like combining the key elements between the members of the band. People seem to like it so we must be doing something right…

Spud: Have you ever played the cover of Journey’s ‘Any way you want it’ live?

Chris: Yeah, we did it in Canada with Alexisonfire. We did it on Warped Tour twice and I think maybe one other time. It’s not appearing on this tour – we just don’t seem to have time for some reason. But we have a couple of dates left so maybe…

Spud: Whilst we’re on the topic of covers – you could have faced a backlash from more hardcore fans if you’d have got the Sick Of It All cover (‘Built To Last’) wrong on the latest album. But I think it’s really good. Do you think it’s important to educate your more mainstream fans in the history of hardcore?

Chris: Yeah, of course, all the bands that we respect we want people to know. We had an opportunity to do ‘Built To Last’ for a tribute comp., so we just decided to stick it on the UK release too. It’s got a little bit of flair on there, but it’s kept very true to the original. Nothing over the top, nothing to insult the song – just do the best we could do which is out of respect.

Spud: The lyrics of ‘Injection’ could be read as a nod towards straight edge. Is that correct?

Chris: Tim writes all the lyrics. Everybody has their own interpretation of every song we write, including us, but every song’s different and it means a different thing to him, us and the fans.

Spud: Do you think it’s important for a band the size of Rise Against to carry on with its campaigning, such as its work for PETA?

Chris: Of course. We have the opportunity to open people’s eyes to what’s going on. Whether it’s vegetarianism or environment issues or whatever. It’s something we’re always going to do and something we always have done. It’s just who we are.

Spud: How did you go about writing the new material? Was it a case of locking yourselves up for a few months or just writing down ideas whilst on tour?

Chris: It happens on tours during soundchecks and things like that, and then people bring whole songs to practices. By the time we go to recording we have 18 songs and about 13 make the record. We practice straight for maybe about a month then we record, but there’s all the pre-production then the proper recording. We’ve already started working on some new stuff now, but we’re not recording for at least another year.

Spud: If it all finished tomorrow what would you go and do?

Chris: Find a job as fast as humanly possible. Probably doing accounting in a business office, unfortunately. Joe and I would open a business, actually! (laughs).

Chris and Joe then pause to celebrate as Joe checking his email finds out he’s just got a new (free) bass.

Spud: Someone wanted to know if you can see yourself doing a Bad Religion and still doing this stuff in 15 years’ time?

Chris: I would love to be like Bad Religion in 15 years playing to 3,000 person clubs. Touring once a year and I think it would be great. Must be great to do that at forty-something years old.

Spud: Someone else saw you at Reading Festival. They thought the set was biased towards RPM and Siren Song… which they thought was quite surprising because they thought that it would have had more of the new record?

Chris and Joe try and recall their setlist.

Chris: We didn’t realise until we got to Germany that Sufferer… was so popular already. We thought we’d give it a bit of time to settle in. We had 40/45 minutes, maybe 12 songs, so we were thinking 5, 5 and 2. Now it’s pretty even – we play about an hour and includes more of the new record, and chuck a couple in from the first record.

Spud: What CDs are you listening to at the moment between shows?

Chris: The new Terror record. New Hope Conspiracy, new Hatebreed. They’re probably the 3 at the moment

Spud: Best gig ever played and best gig you ever saw?

Chris: I can’t single out one gig, but the best city would be Toronto, Canada. 2004 Warped Tour, 2005 headline show, 2006 Warped Tour. The kids are absolutely insane. The best show I’ve been to? Man, there’s been so many. 1996 I saw Slapshot, Bane, In My Eyes, and maybe one or two other bands in a small town in Massachusets. There was so many people there and it was absolutely crazy.

Spud: Anything you want to add?

Chris: Thanks to everyone for coming, and hopefully we’ll see more of you in a bigger venue next time.

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