Maty’s Corner #20 Fuck Armageddon… This is Bad Religion (Re Mastered)

Maty’s Corner Issue # 20
Fuck Armageddon… This is Bad Religion (Re Mastered)

In the initial writing of this article it was kind of weak and I realized it could be much better. Without sacrificing the original content, here’s the re master of an article many of you enjoyed.
Bad Religion, the band that really got me into punk rock when I first bought 1998’s No Substance by pure happen stance. Bad Religion is into their 34th year of punk rockin’ it. They started up in 1979 in Los Angeles, CA. First show was November 11th 1980 in Burbank, CA. Back when the now widely known Epitaph Records was nothing more than a name and P.O. Box that Mr. Brett put on the album sleeves to say “yeah, we have a label.” Their music has been instrumental in shaping the sound of both the original hard core scene and the later melodic hard core genre. Greg Graffin himself who holds numerous advanced degrees in a variety of subjects and currently boasts 3 books covering religion, Anarchism, evolution and Naturalism has caused many a punk rocker to get educated whether by institution or self. It has definitely been instrumental in my own studies of varying subjects. They currently stand at 16 full length studio albums making them one of, if not the most prolific punk band along with 35 for years without any hiatus periods.


Bad Religion first graced us with a recording in 1981. This was their self titled EP. At only 6 songs it kicked in the door on what we knew of punk and hard core. This release set the precedent with punk that was both aggressive and the smartest thing we’d heard since The Clash. The playing was as fast as it was tight. It didn’t sound like teenagers with no real record label as of yet.


The following year, 1982, would bring us How Could Hell Be Any Worse? They were even more solid with an improved recording quality. At this point Graffin still had a raspy growl to his voice and they’d not started playing with harmonies yet. This record has been catching fire in the scene on a continuous basis since its initial release. It’s still as good 32 years later.

1983 was a… interesting year for the band. They released Into theUnknown. This was an apt title as it’s a weird keyboard driven album. Nothing like any of the band’s other releases. Still a great album, just unusual. It has become easier to find as time has gone on.


1985 gave us back the Bad Religion we all know. The well titled Back to the Known EP. This was the band back to hard core punk. Greg’s voice had changed for the better and it was the beginning of the “oozinahhs” that we’ve come to know them for. It was awesome to have this treasure of the scene back in the form we know and love.


1988 brought their next studio album. At a time when the punk scene had gone to sleep, this was a needed slap in the face to re ignite things. This was the real beginning of Bad Religion as we know them now. This was a 26 minute blast in the face of hair metal. Possibly the most necessary punk albums of the 80s. They had become a bit more melodic with multi part harmonies that only added more teeth to their sound.


1989 saw the release of No Control. This was faster and harder than Suffer without sacrificing the newfound harmonic ideas that had cultivated in Suffer. This contains a standout for me, the first Bad Religion song I’d ever heard, I Want to Conquer the World. I was 16 and this single song changed my life. This began my love affair with punk rock music and my quest to better understand a world I’d been developing opinions about.

Following this was 1990’s Against the Grain. This was more complex than any previous album. ATG was the first feature of the anthem like 21st Century Digital Boy. About half this album would fall onto a “greatest hits” comp.


1992 gave us Generator. BR was pushing their musical and lyrical complexity even further while staying the unrelenting punk maelstrom we’d com to know. Generator gave us BR’s first ever video single for the amazing track, Atomic Garden. The ideas expressed on the album would be the beginning of what we hear from them for the next 22 years.


1993 brought in Recipe For Hate which opened with one of the most aggressive title tracks in punk rock. Recipe also contained 2 video singles for American Jesus and Struck a Nerve. The blend of sonic and complex was becoming more apparent by now. The signature harmonies were fully solidified by this release. Recipe would be BR’s final pairing with Epitaph for nearly a decade.


1994 spat out a new album on a new label. Stranger Than Fiction appeared on Atlantic Records. It doesn’t sound at all like the major label boogey man had stolen any fight out of this unit. This put out 4 singles and videos, better unleashing Bad Religion on an unsuspecting world. There were some great collaborations with Wayne Kramer, Tim Armstrong and Jim Lindbergh. A lot of fans bitched about this album sucking; I think they just weren’t smart enough to get it.


1996 brought about The Gray Race, a more aggressive album than Stranger. Mr. Brett had left the band to solely concentrate on Epitaph. Filling his spot was Minor Threat’s Brian Baker. Much like the entirety of their Atlantic years, this was met with a lot of negativity that I don’t understand. Guess that’s what happens when people listen to the punk police instead of deciding for themselves. Fuck the rules and just be punk! This continued the formula of being pure amazing expressed through music.


1998 saw No Substance, the first BR album I bought. This is a front to back solid album. Still my favorite from the Atlantic years. It features a weird spoken word track, State of the Union at the End of the Millennium. It still rings as relevant today as it did in ’98. This was their least successful album, yet again, people just didn’t get it.


May 9th 2000 at punk fifteen in the morning Bad Religion’s final album on Atlantic was released. The New America was Bad Religion’s most personal album, some politics, but more sonic introspection. Mr. Brett was even coming back in as he co wrote a track. From here the crew would head back home to Epitaph.


2002 brought us BR’s most anticipated album in years. Mr. Brett was back and the band now had 3 guitarists. The Process of Belief is as amazing of an album as was expected. The Greg and Brett formula picked up as though it had never left off.


2004 Bad Religion released an album that pushed the boundaries and complexity even further. Empire Strikes First was a politically charged blast that showed even an overture can be punk rock. The 3 guitar attack had fully come into its own creating a wall of sound not previously heard in the genre. The hills of Los Angeles are still burning.


It would be a 3 year wait until New Maps of Hell arrived in 2007. This album was solid enough to be worth it. The band had made it to the 27 club. It features the most intricate guitar work of the band’s career and pulls it off without sounding the least bit bland.


In 2010 their 30th anniversary brought an album reminiscent of their older material, The Dissent of Man. It rocks similar to Generator. It was a breath of fresh air to see this punk monolith getting back to basics.


2013, exactly 11 years after Process of Belief Bad Religion released their most back to basics album, True North. It flows like No Control. This is the blast from the past it’s been hailed as. Sadly, Greg Hetson has had to leave the band following this due to personal problems. The Bad Religion story doesn’t end here as they’re working on a new album. 34 years isn’t enough!

As far as I’m concerned every album by these guys has been great. Even their “dark period” as Graffin calls it when Mr. Brett had temporarily left the band. My favorite album is still the All Ages compilation. 2nd album I got from them and it just blew my mind. Still hits me just right all these years later. This band has been attached to some of the best times in my life and been a soundtrack to getting through some of the worst. Other than the impact of the band themselves, Epitaph has been a force for putting punk on the map with a number of seminal releases in the 80’s and 90’s scenes. Also their sub labels of Hell Cat and Burning Heart have done the scene a lot of good. BR has been a driving force in my constant effort to keep up on the increasingly fucked world we inhabit. So, if you don’t know this band, research and hear now! If you’ve not listened in a while give ‘em another spin and see if the magic is still there.

-Maty Almost

Keep up

https://punxinsolidarity.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpWith Bad Religion

http://www.badreligion.com/

https://www.facebook.com/badreligion

Learn Something

https://punxinsolidarity.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/fast-food-and-the-music-industry-by-greg-graffin-2/

https://punxinsolidarity.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/web-surdites-by-greg-graffin/

https://punxinsolidarity.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/a-punk-synopsis-by-greg-graffin/

https://punxinsolidarity.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/a-comment-on-responsible-voting-by-greg-graffin/

https://punxinsolidarity.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/punk-manifesto-by-greg-graffin/

Maty’s Corner #17 DFL: Proud To Be Dead Fucking Last!

Maty’s Corner #17
DFL: Proud To Be Dead Fucking Last!

Coming out of LA with a teeth kicking sound as aggressive as the name is Dead Fucking Last. This hard core unit led by Crazy Tom has consisted of Mike D and Ad Rock of Beastie Boys, Brian Baker of Minor Threat/ Bad Religion and AWOL of Suicidal Tendencies. More impressive than their past line up is their hard core you can break a skate ramp to. They sound like an older band, reminiscent of the 80’s hard core of the South Bay area.

Their first release, My Crazy Life came out on Grand Royal records. It is informal recording sessions which sound more like a decently produced live album rather than a studio effort. This release set them up as a sound that punches you in the face from the first note and just continues beating till the end. They quickly establish a signature lo fi muffled sound which I’m not sure was an accident.

1994 brought DFL to Epitaph Records and the Release of Proud To Be. The first release I came across and what I think may be their best known. The recording quality is slightly better on this. The pace is even more break neck than their debut. It was a classic to play at skate sessions when I was younger. This one has a stand out for me, the title track. At 20 tracks, this long runner of an entirely bad ass hard core album will keep you going from session through hospital or police station trip.

In 1997 they put out Grateful. Their most recent studio album to date. This continues the fashion of sounding more like a live show and fast paced teeth knocking hard core. The band sounds more solid than their previous two efforts and somehow louder.
In 1999 DFL went on Hiatus. Crazy Tom was working on GFP which consists of Tony Alva of… (if you don’t know I’m sorry you lived under a rock), Greg Hetson of Circle Jerks/ Bad Religion and AWOL from Suicidal. As of 2013 DFL has reunited and is playing shows and will, at some point, have some music for us. Better dead last than fucking never. Check them out and stalk them at https://www.facebook.com/proudtobedfl

-Maty Almost

Maty’s Corner #12 Keith Morris

Maty’s Corner #12

Keith Burned a Black Flag, Got a Midget Handjob, Won The Circle Jerk and Got OFF!

 

                        This well known voice of our scene came screaming in 1976 as a co-founder of Black Flag.  Before all this though, he had gone to high school with Greg Ginn and Raymond (Pettibon) Ginn. Also worked in his dad’s bait shop with Bill Stevenson of Black Flag and ALL.  In ’76 Black Flag was known as Panic, thankfully that changed.  Keith’s time in Black Flag was short lived but did garner the seminal Nervous Breakdown Ep.  In ’79 he split off citing creative differences and his intense use of stimulating drugs.

            From here he formed the Circle Jerks with Red Kross members Greg Hetson and Lucky Leher.  This original line up also included Roger Rogerson on bass.  The first Jerks shows were where a lot of the stage dives and slam pits that are now commonplace started up.  Their beginnings were at a place called The Curch which was a burned out shut down church in Hermosa Beach.  This is also were Black Flag and The Descendents started out of.  The Circle Jerks would go on to release 3 seminal albums.  Being Group Sex (1980); Wild In the Streets (1982) and Golden Shower Of Hits (1983). Shortly after they released Wonderful (1985) and VI (1987). They weren’t as great, but pretty good.  Then they released their absolute abortion known as Oddities, Abnormalities and Curiosities. In all fairness I feel the same way about Black Flags most recent offering. Outside of their releases, the Jerks were in Decline of Western Civilization and Repo Man where they met Zander Schloss who would become a later bassist of the band.  After more than 30 years the Circle Jerks are “on Hiatus” as of 2010.

            In 2000 Keith had a project called Midget Handjob. They released one album named Midnight Snack at the Poodle Factory.  It was a strange mix of jazz with really weird spoken word by Keith.  I think it’s pretty cool and worth a listen.

            As of 2010 Keith has been active with OFF!  This band is a bit of a super group as it consists of Keith along with members of Redd Kross, Rocket From the Crypt and Burning Brides.  They have released 2 albums to date with a third on the way 08 April 2014.  These guys are a hard core kick in the teeth like the Jerks old days.  Definitely worth getting to know if you haven’t already done so.

            Outside of OFF, Keith has teamed with some prior members of Black Flag to form Flag.  This presently is a strictly touring unit that plays old Black Flag songs.  I don’t know that they’ll ever record as they do not currently illustrate any intention of doing so.  Flag spent most of last year in some strange legal conflict with Greg Ginn.  That issue is currently dead in the water.  So to those who read this not knowing about this unstoppable scream of the scene, get to know the recordings and turn others on to this favorite of mine.