Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rise Against and Chess

You don't think chess is in the mainstream? Well, think again!

For those of you out of the loop, this bombshell came out a while ago, but I have been waiting for the rest of the International Chess News Corp to pick up on it. I figured this would have been a huge story! I guess I'll just have to report it myself...

The popular rock band, Rise Against, released their fifth studio album in October of last year. The name of the album is "Appeal to Reason" and it premiered at #3 on the Billboard 200. The album was immediately embraced as a critical and commercial success.

While this is all well and good, people seem to have overlooked the real importance of this album. It employs major chess imagery. Watch out Wu Tang! There's a new band on the block for chess players to desperately look to for validation on the musical landscape.

So without any further ado, I present what I am calling "See? It told you chess is cool #47 "...

What's that? You don't see anything? Well, look a little closer...

My high school years have been officially vindicated! I knew I was cool...I fucking knew it! I just didn't know I was ahead of my time. Here we have a successful band (but not too successful...we don't want to lose street cred) showing some heavy chess love.

So why does Rise Against have a bishop on their album cover?

No. I'm asking you, "Why does Rise Against have a bishop on their album cover?" Because I don't know. I have messaged them on Myspace, but haven't heard anything back. I'll let you know if there are any late breaking developments, but right now I need to go set the record straight with a few girls from high school that didn't understand what a visionary I was...

By the way, both the band and this album are great. And although it lacks the chess imagery, their previous album "The Sufferer and The Witness" is a favorite of mine.

16 comments:

prosephina said...

Dude! Nice discovery!!

But I've got some mixed feelings: So.. my rant:
This could be completely random. Or more likely, they're using chess as any non-chess players are using it -- denoting something of theirs is intellectual or has an air of sophistication, or logical. Whilst chess made its way through main stream onto music covers or movies, it's still much misunderstood or misinterpreted, or maybe more so, misused (?!). Chess is only accepted in small doses. Then it's considered eccentric ("eccentric" and chess player are almost synonymous). All things considered "cool" are in relation to the physical world; i.e. if a person can dance/sing well. But looks could trump that. And money trumps looks, sometimes. In other words, intrinsicality (word?), at least w/in youths, is not accepted widely (especially in the vicious High School circles). And doubtfully this'll change too soon. And, well, does any of this even matter? Umm, no. But I digress.

Back to the main point. Duuude, this is waaaaaaay cool!! You should get them to wear your chess shirts too!

John aka Endgame Clothing said...

Prosephina: Nice rant! The other reason that came to mind is the use of chess to denote strategic political moves...which would be in line with the band.

Anyway,I'm haven't heard back from the band...I tried their myspace and their main website. I'll keep at it...the chess world demands an answer!!

John.

Lara said...

nice post ^^ i really laughed, because I know what it means to play chess in school. and it's definitely not seen as the coolest thing one can do ;)

and you could be right with your theory, that the meaning of the chess could be their political attitude or sth like that. that fits with rise against ;)

however, one could also ask : why a dog ?? what does the dog stand for on this cover ?! no idea ;)

lol greets from luxemburg (although i'm pretty sure that you don't know which country luxembourg is (because no one knows ^^), but i'm always nice to rise against fans ;) ))

Lara

John aka Endgame Clothing said...

What's up, Luxembourg!!

Of course I know where your country is...I'm a well educated and cultured chess player who loves the small landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany.

Actually, I just stole that from Wikipedia...I'm very sorry.

However, I did spend a month in Europe a few years back, but sadly did not visit Luxembourg. But I do know where it's located.

Thanks for stopping by, Lara, and don't be a stranger!

John.

Anonymous said...

I know where Luxembourg is! ... but maybe that's because I live near Luxembourg :O I'm dutch u see:P
Does anyone here know a country by the name of The Netherlands (Holland)?

John aka Endgame Clothing said...

Hi Anon - Of course I know where Holland is...that is the land that makes Heineken :-)

Jo said...

Come on, it pretty simple... the correct answer for this is that they show the position of the people. We are the front line of the country. Being a bishop is like being meat shield. Why would a band like Rise Against (please read the band's name and understand) would put a bishop on their cover.... Just to denonciate ...

Matt "Fleece" Stephen said...

My most logical guess, being a huge Rise fan, and an owner of all their albums.. is.. it's a symbol (obviously). One of the songs on the album is actually called Kotov Syndrome. This is all used as a simile to the state of our world (being a punk band.. eh you know how that goes.)

John aka Endgame Clothing said...

Matt - I can't believe I didn't catch the Kotov reference! Something is definitely going on here...

Anonymous said...

hey everyone,im Nic :D.sorry this so late but i started to read some of this stuff and it got me thinking. i think that all of you could possibly be right. the chess peice could just be a symbol that we are all pawns in this world. or that because the bishop is a power piece in the game of chess (i think, sorry i dont play chess that much) it represents political power. Rise Against is my all time favorite band. their music has a point and it makes sense. there are many things this chess piece could represent but untill we here back from the band themselves we can only speculate

John aka Endgame Clothing said...

Hey Nic,

Thanks for commenting! I've tried briefly asking people in some Rise Against forums if they knew anything, but I haven't really gotten any response. The world may never know...

Dirt Whispered said...

It's in reference to Kotov Syndrome (one of their songs and an actual syndrome). The Kotov Syndrome is named after the CHESS player, Alexander Kotov. Its when you are in a tight spot (both in life and chess) and you try really hard and long to think of a way out. But once you realize you are low/ out of time you make a sudden move that was not analyzed at all, then leading to failure. It has alot of other symbolism but it would take a long time to record every other possibility. The pictures on the cover has reference to their songs in Appeal to Reason and what the album stands for. Oh and to answer lara, the dog is in reference to Re-Education Through Labour, and other symbolism. I hope i shed some light on the subject :)

John aka Endgame Clothing said...

Hey Dirt,

Thanks for the insight!!

John.

bob said...

I think the bishop symbolises control, maybe im wrong but hey ;)

Anonymous said...

Nahhhh broskis ur getting the message all wrong....its clearly a bong :)

brentonfoale said...

Is anyone else seeing the extreme ironic coincidence in the fact that their new ablum is called "endgame" .....