tim mcilrath - Action for Animals
tim mcilrath - Action for Animals
Tim McIlrath SINGING FOR CHANGE Rise Against singer Tim McIlrath recently talked with Action for Animals about his commitment to animal rights activism and using the microphone to speak out about important issues. How did you get involved with animal rights activism? What’s kept you involved? For me it was going to shows that got me involved in animal rights. I was part of a really cool and progressive hardcore scene in Chicago in the 90s. This scene fostered a constant dialogue about a number of political issues. Everything from immigration, the environment, sexism, racism, religion, and animal rights were laced in songs, presented in the form of literature at shows, and talked about from the stage. What’s kept me involved is seeing how things that were marginal 15 years ago have become mainstream, like the environment or sweatshops, so activism is working. You were a nut to talk about the environment fifteen years ago, but now people have a better grasp on why we need to preserve it. That’s encouraging, and I see a light at the end of the tunnel. Rise Against and Action for Animals have both been on several summers of Warped Tour. Do you see Warped Tour as a good medium for activism? In what way(s)? Anything that has as much access to people as the Warped Tour is a great medium for activism. From my own experience, Warped has such a diverse crowd of people from all walks of life. Warped is a pretty good mirror reflection of youth cultures, for better or for worse! But people who are looking to make a difference will find outlets for their passions at a tour like Warped. What’s it like to be vegetarian on tour? Favorite vegan tour food? It’s really easy, especially nowadays. If it’s a big tour, then we hire a catering company and everything is veg. We play lots of the same cities, we have our favorite restaurants that we seek out and new ones we like to explore; it’s awesome. It makes us look forward to each city. When I think of a city I think first of what venue is there and second where my favorite place is to eat. My favorite backstage food is fake jerky, like that Captain Stonewalls stuff. We rarely get it, but when we do, I love it. The video for your song “Ready to Fall” makes a strong statement for animals. What did you hope to accomplish with that video? What indications of its impact have you seen? All we wanted to do was take the images that provoked our own decisions, documentaries like Meet Your Meat or Earthlings, and play them to a wider audience of people who might not otherwise check out those documentaries. We figured that, as long as our label was going to give us a budget to make a big video that would subsequently be pushed to get airplay, we wanted to inject that video with something that could really affect the viewers. In a way, we got to hijack the airwaves for about four minutes at a time. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and that video changed lives and I’m really proud of it. We receive tons of feedback from that video still; it’s incredible. [Watch the video for “Ready to Fall” at riseagainst.com/media or on YouTube.] Why do you choose to use your position in a band to speak out for animal rights, as well as being a voice for change in general? It’s all I know. It’s the only reason I want to be on a stage and write music. I didn’t get into this to be a rock star. I didn’t look up to giant rock bands. I looked up to hardcore kids with microphones telling me about things that my teacher and parents weren’t telling me about. I knew that if I ever got that microphone, I would carry that torch to the next generation. We’ve heard from many people that you/Rise Against inspired them to be vegetarian/vegan and/or to be involved in activism. What does it mean to you to know that you make such an impact? If even only one person changed their lives because of something we did, that makes it all worth it. The fact that there are many people, well that’s overwhelming and it’s great to have so many incredible fans. The more I meet our fans, the more I realize how cool the people that listen to Rise Against are. We’re very lucky in that respect. What do you most want to tell the world about animals, animal rights, etc.? Dog-breeding has got to stop. This is an issue that, too often, animal lovers and even people into animal rights have not thought about enough. Fortunately, I think it’s an easy one to put an end to. Mainly because people who are breeding animals or buying bred animals consider themselves animal lovers. Four to five million un-adopted animals are euthanized every year while breeders bring more puppies into this world for profit. Animals for profit is wrong. If you know somebody who wants a pet, encourage them to adopt. Puppies and even purebred animals (if that’s your thing) are available in your area for adoption right now! Friends don’t let friends buy from breeders. What do you tell your daughter about animals? Very simply, I tell her that they are our friends. When she’s older, I’ll tell her more. In the meantime, I want her to understand that they don’t belong behind bars or on our plates. Luckily, in a child’s mind, that is common sense. I feel bad for the parents that have to explain factory farming to their children, or more realistically, the parents that are lying to their children about where their meat comes from. Because if you told them the truth, even kids know it’s wrong. ■ Visit our website to request free information about helping animals and going vegan!
Our Summer on Warped Tour
Animals. We take advantage of nearly every opportunity to bring the animals’ plight to people at street fairs, festivals, and concerts. We find that direct, one-on-one outreach is a very effective ...More information