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Rise Against: Behind "Hero of War" and America's "Broader Disease"

May 20, 2009 3:56 PM ET

Political punks Rise Against have a lot to celebrate — a new video for Appeal To Reason single "Hero of War," a Fat Wreck Chords 7", an upcoming tour with Rancid — but success hasn't changed frontman Tim McIlrath's purpose or resolve. After a successful contribution to A Nightmare Before Christmas's soundtrack, Disney approached the band about doing a cover for High School Musical. "Needless to say, much to my daughter's chagrin, it was something that's obviously not us," McIlrath tells Rolling Stone. And despite the band's rep for being staunchly anti-Bush, McIlrath says Reason wasn't aimed at George W: "George Bush was merely a symptom of a much broader disease."

The band passed along some footage from their shoot for the "Hero of War" video — a powerful clip that examines the brutally personal effects of a young soldier going to battle. Click above to watch the band discuss the story behind the song, and for McIlrath's full Q&A — and a look at the final "Hero of War" video — click here:

Rise Against on the Power and Pitfalls of Political Punk

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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