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Rise Against on Mixing Politics and Mosh Pits at Lollapalooza

August 9, 2009 12:34 PM ET

Rise Against's fiery Saturday afternoon set at Lollapalooza looked like it could have gone down during one of the great Lollas of the '90s — mosh pit and all. Frontman Tim McIlrath tells Rolling Stone the show had special significance for the band, not only because it was their first hometown gig in a while (they skipped Chicago on tour with Rancid), but because Grant Park has so much historical weight: "To play the same place where Obama gave his speech, the same place where the riots of 1968 were, during the Democratic National Convention — this park has a lot of history to it." Catch some of the band's killer set and the rest of the interview, above.

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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