Tim McIlrath of Rise Against: Five Things We Learned from His Ernie Ball 'String Theory’ Episode

Today, GuitarWorld.com presents the exclusive premiere of the latest episode of String Theory, starring Tim McIlrath of Rise Against. Watch it above!

A web series created by Ernie Ball, String Theory explores the sonic origins of influential and innovative musicians. In the episode, McIlrath discusses his beginnings with music and guitar, his love of playing, and his relationship with Ernie Ball.

Below, you can find five facts revealed in the episode.

1. Discovering punk rock is what made McIlrath want to play guitar (1:42): “Once I heard punk rock, it made me want to really learn how to play guitar. ‘Cos when you heard—whether it was ‘80s hair metal or the big bands of the day—that stuff was on a pedestal…but when I heard The Ramones, Minor Threat, and I heard all of that, then I was like, ‘Wait, this sounds like something I can be a part of.’”

2. He never saw playing in a band as something he’d pursue as a career (2:59): “I never saw myself playing in a band or being a musician as a long term thing. I saw it as something I was doing because I couldn’t not do it. When I got home from school or work, it was the first thing I wanted to do.”

3. Ernie Ball are the first strings McIlrath remembers playing (4:07): “Yeah, I mean, I was probably playing Ernie Ball before I knew I was playing Ernie Ball. I was just buying the cheapest strings…back then, buying single strings was all you could really afford.”

4. Above all else, he uses Ernie Ball strings today for their dependability (5:16): “When we started playing them, it was something that you trusted. You trusted that they would sound good, you trusted that they wouldn’t break, you knew what to expect…they’ve never let us down. There’s never been a problem.”

5. McIlrath thinks of his band in the same way he looks at a college professor teaching a 101 class (10:24): “We are a nuts and bolts, four-guy punk and hardcore band. But that’s ok. Because if you’re a college professor and you’re teaching that 101 class every year, you’re teaching the same class. But the people that are coming in every year are different. The world still needs you to do that. The world needs you to introduce these ideas to an audience that has not yet heard them. That’s the way I look at Rise Against.”

Of course, these are just five facts pulled from the clip. Be sure to watch the entire episode above.

For the latest on Ernie Ball, visit ernieball.com.

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Guitar World Staff

Since 1980, Guitar World has been the ultimate resource for guitarists. Whether you want to learn the techniques employed by your guitar heroes, read about their latest projects or simply need to know which guitar is the right one to buy, Guitar World is the place to look.