Rise Against guitarist Zach Wilson Casino Ballroom gig in Hampton NH
Speed round with Rise Against guitarist Zach Wilson. When you have five minutes with one of the strongest anthemic punk/rock bands touring the country in 2022, you jump at the chance and preface it with “Zach, I’ve got way over five minutes of questions here , so answer it as fast as you can…” Laughter abounds. Challenge accepted.
Rise Against is playing a sold-out show at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on Wednesday, August 10.
Seacoastonline: Let’s talk about “Nowhere Generation”. What were the objectives behind this record? Was it a strategic decision to save a handful of tracks for the “Nowhere Generation II” EP which was dropped last month? All the tracks are from the same recording sessions, right?
Blair: They are. We just “read the play” so to speak. We tried to appeal to the modern collective attention span.
seacoastonline: The title of the record is a stark realization of where we are in this country right now. It’s a hard pill to swallow. How do you approach songwriting with such heavy dialogue that seems to turn into a flawless anthem? Do you hear it before it happens or…? What fuels your inspiration for songwriting? When did you decide to use music as a kind of weapon?
Blair: Still. Whenever you have the privilege of being heard, you should earn it.
Seacoastonline: Picking up on the sentiment of that last question – sonically you’ve certainly grown throughout your existence. What do you think of how you have evolved musically and melodically over the years? The band still hits hard, but there’s been a definite shift from being more hardcore punk to a melodic heart-pulling machine (with the angst still very much present).
Blair: You grow and tastes change; as they should. Only a few groups manage to repeat themselves. The others use their welcome.
seacoastonline: Let’s retrace for a moment the roots of the group. What brought you together? What made you want to keep going over the years?
Blair: I wasn’t there at the time but it was a mutual affinity for this style of music. What keeps us together is being on the same page and agreeing that we still have a lot to say.
seacoastonline: In general, why the music? Why are you looking for it?
Blair: What else is there? Haha. Seriously, I think it picked us all individually (as corny as that sounds).
Seacoastonline: What was the moment or experience that led you to pursue your life as a musician?
Blair: My father was a radio DJ. I wanted to impress her. Music was everywhere in my house. That’s all I’ve ever been interested in or wanted to do.
seacoastonline: You have some of the most involved videos of any band still making videos. How do you use this medium to expose the meaning and presentation of your songs?
Blair: Take and choose! Haha. Usually there is an obvious theme that we all agree on going into any project. Luckily, Tim is a fantastic lyricist, so opportunities present themselves.
seacoastonline: What do you like about touring? Did you miss him when he took a forced break for a while there? Is there a heightened appreciation for bringing your music to audiences around the world or is it “business as usual”?
Blair: We never take what we do for granted and not being able to do it was singularly one of the most devastating events of our careers. We love what we do.
seacoastonline: You are going to New Hampshire for a concert at the Casino Ballroom. A place you have been before. What excites you about returning to the Granite State? What can people expect when they come to see you play?
Blair: We do everything we can every night and drop everything.
Seacoastonline: There is a legendary arcade under the Casino ballroom. If you were a classic arcade game, what would it be?