'Finally, ... Complete Illumination!'
The third album from Chicago melodic punk quartet, Allister, Before the Blackout, is a triumphant shout from the back of the bar, a euphoric realization that, in a world overrun with despair, mediocrity and compromise, honest, energized rock music can still electrify and invigorate the soul.
It isn't just the band's shout-along choruses, foot-stomping beats or fist-in-the-air riffs. And it's not the yearning vocals, which are driven by pain, but motivated by the urge to persevere. The secret of Before the Blackout has more to do with the intangibles - the way a certain passage can leave a smile on your face and an ache in your heart; and how the right combination of notes can generate more power than an industrial generator.
And maybe more than anything, the disc is a defiant declaration from a veteran batch of road warriors who refuse to conform to trends and remain dedicated to touring endlessly and writing songs that remind them of the great rock they grew up on, be it the Ramones, Screeching Weasel or Green Day.
Chatting recently with guitarist and lead vocalist Tim Rogner, I first wondered where their band name had originated? "IT COMES FROM A CHARACTER ON THE OLD NICKELODEON TELEVISION SHOW 'YOU CAN'T DO THAT ON TELEVISION'."
What else could it so easily have been? "NO JOKE, WE WERE ACTUALLY CALLED FALLOUT BOY FOR A WEEK!"
And, while we're on the subject, why Before The Blackout as your new album title? "IT HAS TO DO WITH THE SOMEWHAT EUPHORIC, CONFUSING FEELING YOU GET BEFORE YOU BLACKOUT ... POSSIBLY FROM A LONG NIGHT OF DRINKING!"
Being an independent artist always has its risks, so what has been the biggest risk that you as a band have undertaken thus far? "YOU ALWAYS TAKE A RISK PURSUING YOUR DREAMS ... SO I GUESS JUST PLAYING IN A BAND AND TRYING TO BE SUCCESSFUL HAS BEEN A RISK."
With the writing for this new album having started in 2003, how easy was it to remain focused on the new stuff when you spent so much time on the road? "IT WAS DIFFICULT. WE HAVE A HARDER TIME WRITING ON THE ROAD THEN WE DO AT HOME, HENCE THE REASON IT TOOK SO LONG TO PUT OUT A NEW RECORD ... WE WERE ALWAYS ON THE ROAD."
What cheesy '80s song would you love to cover if asked ... and why?! "I LOVE CHEESY 80'S, BUT POSSIBLY ... 'AFRICA' BY TOTO. IT'S A GUILTY PLEASURE!"
If there were just 3 words that described Allistar, what would they be? "DO IT YOURSELF!"
If you were asked to record a single for charity, and had to choose 3 other KNOWN musicians to aid you in the project (but no one from your own band!), who would they be, what instruments would they play, and what would the name of the NEW song be?! "BUTCH WALKER ON GUITAR, MIKE DIRNT ON BASS, AND BEN FOLDS ON KEYBOARDS. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE SONG WOULD BE CALLED!"
Finally, I like Penguins, ... do you? "SOMETIMES!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Allister's brand new CD, just answer this easy question: Shortly after touring for their 2002 disc, Last Stop Suburbia, someone left the band to devote more time to his other group ... who was it and what was the name of that 'other group'?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before October 31st with your answer and the subject title 'ALLISTER SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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