Since their inception Chicago’s Rise Against have played some of the biggest music festivals in the U.S. – from Lollapalooza to Riot Fest – and excelled on the rock and alternative radio charts with blistering songs such as “Savior,” “Prayer of the Refugee,” “Re-Education Through Labor” and “The Good Left Undone.” The guys deliver an anthemic, melodic hardcore and punk sound with galvanizing lyrics and social commentary.

From gig to gig, Rise Against guitarist Zach Blair and vocalist and guitarist Tim McIlrath rely on Gibson guitars.

“I’m a Les Paul and SG guy,” Blair told Gibson.com. “My first real guitar was a SG, and I knew Pete Townshend used that guitar, so it was always cool to me. For a while, when I started playing in punk bands and I would be the only guitar player, I would only use SGs. Then, with Rise Against, I found the Les Paul was better for me as a tool, because it has a bigger sound and a fatter sound.”

Blair added that “the Les Paul is the greatest rock ‘n’ roll guitar of all time. If you’re not playing a Gibson guitar and you’re playing this kind of music, whether it’s punk, metal or anything grounded in rock ‘n’ roll, you’re not really doing it right. I don’t think professionally I’d every play anything else. Gibson, thank you for making the greatest guitars ever.”

I photographed Rise Against live in concert this month. View photos right here.

Rise Against by Anne Erickson

Rise Against by Anne Erickson

Rise Against by Anne Erickson

Rise Against by Anne Erickson

Rise Against by Anne Erickson

Rise Against by Anne Erickson

Rise Against by Anne Erickson

Photo credit: Anne Erickson