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Descendents’ Bill Stevenson and Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath on Punk Ethos and Milo Goes to College

"Milo Goes to College... those songs are imprinted on me," says McIlrath

Descendents’ Bill Stevenson and Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath, photo by Rodrigo Fredes
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    Consequence’s Punk Week continues with a video conversation between Descendents drummer Bill Stevenson and Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath. Keep checking back throughout the week for interviews, lists, editorials and videos — it’s all things punk, all the time.

    Rise Against and Descendents kicked off a tour earlier this summer, and Heavy Consequence was honored to have Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath and Descendents drummer Bill Stevenson sit down for an exclusive artist-on-artist conversation prior to their New York City show.

    McIlrath and Stevenson are no strangers to one another, with Stevenson having produced most of Rise Against’s albums, including their latest, Nowhere Generation.

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    In the video above, the pair discuss working together for the past two decades, with McIlrath saying, “Not only did our band, the four of us in Rise Against, grow up listening to the music that Bill has created, but we’ve gone on to make a lot of albums under his tutelage.”

    In turn, Stevenson notes that Rise Against inspired him at a time when he had a jaded view of punk rock. “That era, like 2002, ’03, ’04, ’05 — you guys came, and A Wilhelm Scream came, and Audio Karate came — and it kind of renewed my faith in rock and punk.”

    McIlrath points to Descendents’ 1982 album, Milo Goes to College, in particular, as a major influence on him musically. “My friends and I drove around listening to Milo Goes to College all the time,” said the Rise Against singer. “To the point where those songs are imprinted on me.”

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    “We were influenced by three main bands in the beginning — The Last, The Alleycats, and Black Flag,” remarks Stevenson. “And that’s the recipe for early Descendents … That’s what we sounded like on Milo Goes to College. … We recorded all the music in two days. … We were in high school.”

    Elsewhere in the conversation, Stevenson goes on to tells more stories about the early L.A. punk scene, while also discussing Descendents’ new album, 9th & Walnut, which features new recordings of previously unreleased material that the band wrote in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

    McIlrath, meanwhile, talks about working with Stevenson on Rise Against’s latest album, Nowhere Generation, as well as some of the other punk bands that influenced him and his bandmates.

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    Rise Against’s summer tour with Descendents continues through an August 28th show in Chicago. Pick up tickets via Ticketmaster.

    Trouble viewing the video above? Watch the interview on YouTube.

    Editor’s Note: For more punk in your life, you can also get our new “Punk Is Dead, Long Live Punk!” T-shirt at the Consequence Shop or using the buy-now button below.

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