I remember seeing Tim McIlrath’s old band, Baxter at a VFW hall in Arlington Heights Il. for the first time. My band, the Broadways, were loading in and this group of kids, fronted by a crazy looking dude with a wild afro were playing this weird blend of hardcore, metal, emo and pop punk. I turned to one of my dudes (I think it was Dan, but it may have been Chris [or honestly, knowing the way I tend to repeat myself, it was probably both of them]) and I said “mark my words, that dude is gonna be famous someday.”
As long as I’ve known Joe, he’s been one of the most driven and dedicated people I’ve ever encountered. He’s not only a great bassist, but he’s also so fucking determined to be a great bassist, and that’s a distinction that’s important. Once you’re the best, if you maintain the drive that got you there, you’re onto something. If you sit back and rest on your laurels, you’re just another person who was briefly interesting for a second. Interesting fact about Joe: he almost exclusively eats Italian food, or at least that was true when I used to see him regularly. It was ALWAYS pizza or pasta, and never anything else. It’s amazing he’s not six hundred pounds.
I could go through and talk about Zack (a nice dude who was in GWAR [which is amazing] and who’s always been super cool to me, but who I don’t really know very well) and Brandon (a great hang, one of the most fun people on this earth to get into trouble with) but that’s not really the point. I’ve known Joe and Tim forever and they just had a record that debuted at #1 in Canada and #2 in the US and that’s fucking incredible. I’m super, super proud to say that I’m from the same page in history as those dudes, even if my name is written much smaller (and please, that’s not some sort of attempt to fish for compliments or me belittling my own relevance with false modesty. I’m stoked for what my band has done and I wouldn’t rather be in any other band in the world [except maybe Millionaires]).
There’s a lot of shit talk out there in the world of punk rock these days, and if there’s any lesson to be learned from it, it’s that that kind of shit is sort of poisonous and lame. There’s a difference between having an opinion on something and being an asshole. There’s a difference between friendly competition and smarmy bullshit. There’s a weird, increasingly prevalent mentality where people seem content to turn their rifles on each other rather than shooting outwards, at the whole shitty world that corralled us into this subculture in the first place.
I mean, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t call people out for doing stupid things, or that you can’t say that something sucks when it does, only the most small minded pussies in the world would say something like that, but what I am saying is that it seems like there’s not enough positivity being sent out there in the kind of grand, visible stream of collective consciousness that negativity so often treads in, and today man…I’m super stoked for some friends that I knew back when I was a kid that have pulled off a truly amazing feat for a punk rock band, or any musician for that matter.
Bottoms up, Rise Against! (heh…that’s a funny, funny thing to say.)
Okay, I’m out of here. I’m going on about 5 hours of sleep. Time to dust my dick off and get outside.