Bad Religion

Published on September 2nd, 2019

Bad Religion

Bad Religion’s crossed-out cross is one of the most iconic and enduring band logos in rock history. Of course, it had to be created by angry L.A. teenagers who joined the punk rock ranks in the dying days of the disco decade. Along the way, they’ve had polarizing moments — missteps even — but they have remained true to their sound: influencing many and outlasting them all.

A little over 23 years ago, at the beginning of their major label years, Bad Religion performed at Revolution Live (then known as The Edge), bringing their erudite, melodic Southern California hardcore sound to a packed venue. Garbage cans were tossed from the second floor while singer Greg Graffin made jokes about Florida’s fresh water woes and lectured on global warming.

“This is great, at least I don’t have to work at Epitaph anymore,” bassist Jay Bentley told me afterwards about them signing to Atlantic Records. I’ll never forget how happily he said that and how enthused he was to just play music. Bentley, a founding member of Bad Religion and veteran of the LA punk scene, had by that point — April 11, 1996 — already put serious work into a project that showed what punk rock could be.

Bad Religion turn 40 next year. As their new album (their 17th), “Age of Unreason” indicates, they are not slowing down or pulling punches against the wanton stupidity they’ve been witnessing since high school.

The founding trio of Bentley, Graffin and Epitaph Records founder Brett Gurewitz is rounded out by longtime guitarist Brian Baker (who joined the band for that ’96 tour and has full Washington, D.C. punk rock pedigree via Minor Threat, Dag Nasty and Government Issue), … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead drummer Jamie Miller, and former Channel 3 guitarist Mike Dimkich.

On a recent episode of Damian Abraham’s podcast, Turned Out a Punk, Bentley reminisced, and it was clear the spark that initially drove him to punk rock is still very much alive and so is the impetus to play. Maybe this time around his bandmate Graffin will weigh in on beach erosion.

Bad Religion perform 7pm Tuesday September 17 at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale with Emily Davis and the Murder Police. ~ Abel Folgar

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