Touring with Rancid this summer will be a dream come true for Rise Against, according to frontman Tim McIlrath.
"It's amazing just to tour with such a legendary band," McIlrath tells Billboard.com. "Without them paving the way for us, who knows where we would be. It's something we never saw happening; it was kind of like a fantasy idea, and I can't believe it all came together to happen. It'll definitely be an honor to share the stage with them."
McIlrath says landing Rancid as a tour partner grew out of a determination "not to bring out the same old kind of show where we headline and then have a band that's smaller than us open." Management and agents asked for a "fantasy idea," and Rise Against responded with Rancid.
"We were just completely shocked when they came back and said (Rancid) was interested in doing it," McIlrath recalls. "I didn't believe it at all, and it wasn't until Tim Armstrong came personally to one of our shows in L.A. and came to our dressing room and shook all of our hands and said, 'Hey, we are so excited to be going out on tour with you guys'...and I was still like, 'I can't believe this is happening.'"
Tour rehearsals are slated to take place next week in Vancouver for a June 4 kick-off there, and McIlrath says the two groups will likely talk about onstage collaborations at that point.
Meanwhile, Rise Against recently rolled out a video for its "Hero Of War," a track -- but not an official single -- from its latest album, "Appeal to Reason." Inspired by the 2006 documentary "The Ground Truth: After the Killing Ends," the song focuses on soldiers' Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after returning home from war.
"I think this is such an important song in our band's career," McIlrath says. "In a world that really tends to only listen to the singles and only skims (albums) this one hasn't seen enough of the light of day, but I just thought this is a story that needs to be told. So we're hoping that by doing a video it will bring some more attention, even if it's not an official single."
McIlrath says Rise Against will release another single from "Appeal to Reason" during the tour but would not confirm that "Savior" is the likely candidate.
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