ON-AIR WITH SHELBY | AUDIO INTERVIEW | Rise Against's Tim McIlrath talks recording 'Nowhere Generation' at Fort Collins' Blasting Room, and dishes on where the best pizza in town is. 

Get our free mobile app

I had seven minutes to speak with Tim McIlrath, a musician I've admired since I was a teenage Rise Against fan, and we mostly talked about pizza. We covered some other stuff, too.

It's not unheard of to run into Chicago punk rockers Rise Against in Fort Collins. They've done several studio albums, and even an anniversary show, with The Blasting Room Studios here in town over the last couple of decades.

In fact, it was late February of 2020 when a group of friends and I saw McIlrath and guitarist Zach Blair at an Old Town bar one night (pictured above: actual photo of me nerding out). Though they didn't directly disclose why they were here, we did the math. Within a few weeks of that encounter, however, everything as we knew it was closing down, life was put on hold and live music went silent. At that time, McIlrath said they were wrapping up their album Nowhere Generation at the Blasting Room, adding that the band went into 'double time' as he was booted from one hotel to another, before eventually heading home for lockdown.

Nearly a year and a half later, the band released the record on June 4, 2021. Along with the release, McIlrath spoke with Forbes, attributing much of the band's success to the Fort Collins studio, namely one of its owners, Bill Stevenson of Descendents and Black Flag.

When I spoke with Blair in 2018, following the release of Wolves, he mentioned visiting local restaurants like Tasty Harmony and Big City Burrito. McIlrath, a man after my own heart, says you can find him eating the best pizza in Fort Collins at Surfside 7. And as for the early mixes of Rise Against songs? They get their first listens at Horsetooth.

McIlrath says that making an album feels like keeping a secret — and no one wants to keep a secret — so it feels good to have it in the hands (and ears) of fans.

Nowhere Generation was released this June, and you can hear the title track on 94.3 The X.

Kevin Winter, Ethan Miller, Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

5 Rock Bands You Didn’t Know Recorded Albums in Fort Collins