Bad Religion: 30 Questions for 30 Years
There are few bands in the history of rock to have hit the 30-year mark. In fact, you could probably count them on both hands. There are even fewer who have kept their mission as tightly-focused over those thirty years as Bad Religion. But the thinking man’s punk band, who formed in 1980, has been making music longer than many of their fans have been alive. To celebrate the milestone, the band is doing a series of shows around their home base of Southern California, which they will also record for a live album to be given away free to fans for a limited time beginning May 18. To register for the record, check out the band’s website. In honor of this achievement, we caught up with Jay Bentley, Bad Religion bass player, co-founder, and member for all but a handful of years, to answer 30 questions about the band’s 30 years together via email. Here’s what he had to say:
1 The key to surviving for 30 years as a band is… Tenacity + naivety x temerity = 30 years… (plus, don’t take it too too seriously. It’s not like it’s a cure for cancer or anything)
2 My first gig ever with the band was… Fullerton warehouse, 1980, opening for Social Distortion. We had 6 or 7 songs. Played ‘em twice!
3 Of these five films released in 1980 — “The Shining,” “Caddyshack,” “Raging Bull,” “Airplane!,” and “The Empire Strikes Back,” my favorite would have to be… “Caddyshack” is played to this day on every tour. I still watch it at home!
4 True or false: I can identify which shoe/boot belongs to which band member on the cover of “80-85″? True
5 The biggest crowd I ever played in front of with Bad Religion was… 100,000. Munich, Germany.
6 The song off of “Suffer” that I most enjoy playing live is… Tie between “Give You Nothing” and “Do What You Want.”
7 One Bad Religion lyric I particularly like is… “The process of belief is an elixir when you’re weak.”
8 One Bad Religion lyric I particularly dislike is… “It’s the way of the dodo.”
9 I like “Into the Unknown” because… Ummmm… it’s a progressive masterpiece? the Juno 6? I wasn’t on it?
10 My experience on a major label was… Sort of like taking drugs. The first hour was cool, then you just want it to end.
11 Of all the bands Bad Religion members have been in over the years, both pre- and post-Bad Religion, my favorite would have to be… Elements of Colour! Brett, myself, Frank Agnew and Scott Scrymgeour… yeah! The Young Lions!!! Or maybe it’s Brooks in Tenacious D … or Baker with Ric Ocasek in Used Cars, that was good.
12 True or false: We’re considering changing the name of “10 in 2010″ to “6.8 in 2010″ since the world’s population didn’t actually reach 10 billion this year? False. We want a second opinion on that census. We think some people weren’t counted.
13 From a Bad Religion sticker in the film “The Ring” to having a song in the finale episode of “Beverly Hills, 90210,” the Bad Religion media moment I take most pleasure in is… New York Yankees / Boston Sox ALCS 2004. They played “The Empire Strikes First” as the opening credits.
14 Since Bad Religion started in 1980, punk rock has… Been mocking itself and destroying its opponents and / or enablers… Much to it’s own enjoyment and detriment.
15 30 years ago I was… 15. High skool dropout. The smartest person that had ever walked the planet.
16 My favorite punk movie is probably… “The Decline of Western Civilization.”
17 My favorite Gurewitz song is… “All There Is.”
18 My favorite Graffin song is… “Parallel.”
19 My favorite Graffin-Gurewitz song is… “Suffer.”
20 True or false: I can name all of Bad Religion’s drummers? True
21 The toughest Bad Religion song for me to play live is… “Inner Logic” (chord orgy) / “Fields of Mars” (singing)
22 True or false: I can complete the Bad Religion tracks on the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games on my instrument of choice on the game’s hardest setting? False. I had to stop playing that game. It started to mess up my timing in the real world!
23 My favorite Bad Religion album is… A mix tape that I made myself.
24 Between Pac Man’s debut, CNN’s launch and John Lennon dying, the biggest cultural touchstone of 1980 was… What about Darby Crash dying?!?!?! I’ll take CNN.
25 True or false: I know what “inchoate beatitude” means? True!
26 Of the following celebrities born in 1980 — Zooey Deschanel, Christina Ricci, Conor Oberst, Jason Schwartzman, Eliza Dushku — I would most like to have dinner with… Hmmm. I hate my choices. Can I trade for a dinner with Elin Woods (Nordegren) to find out what the hell happened with the 6 iron?
27 The Bad Religion item I own that would likely fetch the largest sum on eBay is… A box (50) of “Into the Unknowns” in my mom’s garage (not for sale).
28 Looking back on my time with the band, the moment that looms largest in my mind is… Fucking up the chorus of “The Handshake” on stage last night.
29 Because of Bad Religion, I am… Far more qualified to have an opinion of nothing than I have ever been.
30 Can one be both a yuppie and a punk? Do yuppies still exist? I thought they morphed into metrosexuals. Anyway… one can be whatever one wants. There are no rules.