Rise Against's Tim McIlrath went back to school last year, and he recently explained how taking a midterm exam made him more nervous than opening for Metallica in front of thousands of concertgoers.

That's how the vocalist and guitarist put it to Alternative Soundcheck in an interview in October. Rise Against supported Metallica during the second night (Oct. 10) of this year's Aftershock Festival in Sacramento, Calif., where Metallica performed on two different nights.

Watch the video down toward the bottom of this post.

McIlrath says, "On Sunday night, this was just a few days ago, we opened for Metallica in Sacramento in front of 40,000 people. On Wednesday night, which was last night, I did a midterm in statistics and probability, and I will tell you I was absolutely more nervous last night ahead of that midterm than I was going on stage in front of 40,000 people — I was stressing so hard."

But that's not the only juxtaposition that resulted from the Rise Against rocker's academic pursuits.

"I was just looking at my schedule," McIlrath illustrates, "and I've got a test scheduled for the same night we play a show here in Chicago. So I'm already trying to figure out what I'm gonna tell this professor."

When the pandemic hit, McIlrath went to school for an interdisciplinary degree, he told Kerrang! in 2020, "so that way I can kind of pick from the whole buffet."

He added, "But it's mostly philosophy and sociology and political science. … It was something I'd always thought about doing, but the time never came. And then all of a sudden, this year happens and the lights go out and it's like, 'OK, it's now or never!'"

Last month, Rise Against released the Nowhere Sessions EP. It followed their album from June, Nowhere Generation. They'll be on tour next year.

In September, Metallica released a remastered reissue of their "Black Album." Around the same time, they suggested it was too early for a new Metallica album, though they've seemingly been working on one.

See McIlrath's Metallica comparison at 2:30 below.

Alternative Soundcheck's Casey McCabe talks with Tim of Rise Against about attending college, being back on tour, new song 'Talking to Ourselves' and the best place for deep dish.

Rise Against's Tim McIlrath Appears on Alternative Soundcheck - Oct. 14, 2021

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