Like Staind, Sevendust and so many bands before them, hardcore rockers Rise Against are finding their greatest success with the song most different from the rest of their catalog.
A year after their Siren Song of the Counter Culture was released, the Chicago group is riding high thanks to heavy airplay of its tender ballad "Swing Life Away."
"It's a working-class love song anthem," singer Tim McIlrath said. "It's basically a song that came out of an acoustic compilation we took part in a couple years ago. We got a really good reaction, so we put it on our record and it took on a life of its own. And people really embrace that song. It's something more fun for us, too. It makes our set a little more dynamic."
Rise Against are hoping to ride the momentum from "Swing Life Away" into their next single, either "Life Less Frightening" or "Anywhere But Here." ("It's like picking your favorite kid or your favorite parent," McIlrath said.)
The band has also just re-released its 2001 debut, The Unraveling, remixed and remastered by Bill Stevenson from the Descendents and Black Flag. "We added a couple of [compilation] tracks and the lyrics were always difficult to read, so we made it waaayyy easier," McIlrath said with a smile. "I'm really excited about it because I'm proud of those songs and it's a great way to create more awareness about our first record to our newer fans."
Touring, of course, is another way to create awareness, and Rise Against have no shortage of that. After playing a few radio festivals this month, including KEDJ's Edgefest in Peoria, Arizona, on Saturday with Interpol and Louis XIV, the band will join the Used, Killswitch Engage and Story of the Year on the international Taste of Chaos Tour.
Rise Against recently finished a trek with fellow Chicagoans Alkaline Trio and have also shared some dates with the Windy City's Fall Out Boy, Lawrence Arms, Holy Roman Empire and the Methadones. So is there a scene exploding there?
"I think Chicago always has a great scene; the world just chooses to pay attention every now and then," McIlrath said.
Rise Against plan to return to the studio at the end of the year and release their fourth album next summer.