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Transcript of Tim McIlrath
He is a vegan and lives the straight edge lifestyle which is to abstain from alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and any substance that can be considered addictive.
He grew up in Chicago where he listened to underground punk music that would later influence his style of music.
He promotes animal rights, the It Gets Better Project, Amnesty International (an organization for human rights), and is an active member of PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. He is also an activist and is currently involved in petitioning to help eliminate gun violence after the Colorado Theater Shooting. Basic Facts He was also born with a disease
called heterochromia, where both
of his eyes are a different colour. What Makes Him a Leader McIlrath uses music as a vehicle to voice opinions and create awareness for important social and political issues. He has been quoted in saying that “every one of our songs has a meaning to it. We try to speak up about important issues and create a positive influence. There are so many negative things to sing about in this world but why not try to sing about the positive things in life, or why not try to make a positive impact? People don’t want to talk about certain political or social issues so I feel that it’s our job to, we need to start the dialogue. So what if somebody doesn’t like it. Not only will we talk about it, we’ll sing about it.” The band is constantly promoting different charities and human rights organizations on their website and in their concerts. They participated in the occupy Wall Street protest and are helping to bring to light the “Activists are Terrorists” initiative, where the FBI trains new agents to label human/animal activists and environmentalists as terrorists. Tim is described as being very involved in the global community and tries to be a positive role model. “Tim is really the driving force behind the band. He comes up with the majority of the songs and he is always trying to promote some cause for human or animal rights. The guy is so dedicated to making the world a better place that it’s amazing he hasn’t achieved world peace yet.” Brandon Barnes, Rise Against drummer. In his song Hero of War he sings about the damage the war in Iraq was causing not only to the country but also to the soldiers and some of the things that happen there that the media doesn’t talk about. It was met with much critical acclaim and the band won several awards for “Best Song and Music Video for a Cause”. Tim himself said “I got so many letters from soldiers saying ‘Dear Rise Against, I just heard your song Hero of War and nobody has ever put into a song what I feel like, thank you for writing it.’ However I got almost identical letters saying ‘Dear Rise Against, I’ve been a marine for 8 years, shame on you for writing that song.’ Hero of War is an honest song about the things that are really happening, if you have a problem with Hero of War than you have a problem with the truth. If you have a problem with the truth, than you’ll have a problem with Rise Against.” The song Help is on the Way criticizes the American government and how they handled the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. “I was touring around New Orleans and I saw, first hand, the destruction that it caused and how some people were having a very hard time getting their life back together. So I sat down one afternoon and watched some of the old news clips about it and realized, in all the footage with people stranded on the roofs of their houses, the filming is being done by helicopters and yet not one of them flies down to save those people. It made me physically sick. We’re more concerned with broadcasting our tragedy than we are helping people through it. It was at that point I knew I needed to say something, I needed to write a song about it.” Lastly, Tim wrote the song Make it Stop (September’s Children) about homophobic bullying after over 10 gay American teenagers committed suicide in the month of September 2010 due to being bullied. He teamed up with the It Gets Better Project to promote the video and also promote the ideals that the video stands for. Tim's songs have also covered how we are destroying the planet, activism, taking stands for important causes, sweat shops, and about the lower class being taken for granted and treated unfairly. Many of their songs have been nominated for “Best Music Video with a Message”.