What made you decide to do a headlining stint instead of the Warped Tour this year?

Mostly because our record’s been out since 4th of July last year and we have yet to do a proper headlining tour in North America [for it]. We’ve just been teaming up with other bands this whole year. They only give us a half-hour at Warped Tour—that’s like seven or eight songs, and we co-headlined with Thursday and we each [kept] our sets fairly short, and then we opened up for Billy Talent across Canada and opened up for My Chem across the states, and those were all half-hour, 40 minute sets, and so we really have yet to play a full headlining set for anybody in North America on this record.

Also, I think it’s kind of an unspoken rule in Warped Tour that headliners don’t really do back to back years. There are obvious exceptions to that rule, but for the most part they try to mix it up, so we’re just gonna go out this summer and do our own thing and play as many songs as we can for our fans who are tired of just seeing us for seven or eight songs and 30 minutes at bigger shows.

Will any activist groups be out on the road with you?

We’ll have PETA out with us all summer. There’ll be tables by the merch with all that information. We try to bring them out whenever they’re available to every show we possibly can.

What made you decide to do Taste Of Chaos this fall?

Taste is a no-brainer; it’s a really great tour. We did the first international Taste Of Chaos a couple years ago and had a blast. It’s a great way to do the world—you do it fast—in six weeks you play everywhere from Japan to Australia to the UK to Germany, and it’s a whole lot of fun to be out with that many bands and seeing the sights and hanging out. A tour like that is 40 or 50 people, and when 40 or 50 people get on a plane, you’re pretty much ruling that plane—that’s a lot of fun! So as soon as we got that invitation we jumped at it.

What are your plans when you’re done with touring this year?

We’re just gonna take a little break in the winter, take some time off. We’ve been on the road for a long time, been busy as hell in support of the record. So we’re gonna take a much needed break, and then start thinking of our new record in the spring, go record it in the summer of ’08, and if all goes according to plan, then we’re looking at a fall of ’08 release.

In researching you guys, I noticed that you have quite a few songs in video games. Are any of you big into gaming?

It’s funny, none of us are—I don’t even own a video game console. Actually, I’m lying—we do have a PlayStation on the bus and someone gave us Guitar Hero with a couple of guitars, so that’s the one game that we actually all get into. Everyone in the crew, everyone in the band, we’ll have Guitar Hero tournaments, but aside from that none of us play video games. Its funny, we’ll be in a video game and they’ll give us a free copy of it, and I give ’em to my brother, cuz he’s into games, and I’m like ‘here you go dude, tell us if the song’s actually in there!’

Tell me about the limited edition Rise Against Vans sneaker.

It’s pretty cool, huh?! Have you seen it?

Yeah, it looks awesome. How did you come up with the ‘prison issue’ style? Did you guys have complete authority over the design?

We completely 100 percent designed it. And they were super cool, like ‘whatever you want to do, you name it. You pick the unit, you pick the shoes, you pick the colors, you pick whatever you want to put on it.’ We went through a handful of designs of different types of shoes—we all wear Vans shoes, so we all wanted our favorite shoe. But I have a little three-year-old daughter, and I get her little kid Vans, and when it comes that small, they don’t do shoelaces, they do Velcro. I remember getting her a pair of old schools with two Velcro straps going across it, and I was like, shit, her shoes are way cooler than my shoes—they’re Velcro, they just look tighter!

So when Vans approached us, I brought in my daughter’s shoe and said, what if we did a shoe like this but for all of us, and everyone was way into the idea. We had yet to see a Velcro Vans anyway, so we did it. And Vans was cool with it, they were like yeah, do Velcro, do the Prison style. And we didn’t want to make it a walking billboard for our band, we don’t wanna wear those shoes, and nobody else would, so we kept the artwork pretty subtle. And we all wear black all the time anyway, so of course it’s a black shoe. It’s all vegan too. I’m super stoked on it. I don’t actually have a pair yet, but I can’t wait. I think you’re that guy if you wear your band’s merch, but that might be the one exception to the rule. I’m pretty proud of it.

Rise Against will be performing along with Silverstein and Comeback Kid at the Nokia Theatre in Times Square on Wednesday, June 27 and at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ, on Friday, June 29. For more go to riseagainst.com

Photo Credit: Lisa Johnson

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