It took five weeks to record. As far as the song selections, Jay says "That was an ordeal! we choose the songs, but man did we fight. The songs that were left off the U.S. release were voted off by a majority. you should've seen the lobbying!".
Jay: "We were deciding what songs we were gonna put on there, and Brett really wanted to put Digital Boy on there. I was like 'We already have a version of that on another record, lets go with News From The Front, it’s a great song.' Then Brett said something that you can’t really argue with; 'Well I wrote both of them', and I can’t argue with that, it's your song."
To record his bass tracks, Jay used a Hiwatt SA212 combo into an Electro-Voice EVM12L speaker mounted in in a KK Audio closed back cabinet. The same method was used on all albums from Suffer through No Substance, except Against The Grain. In 2010 he again used the same gear on The Dissent Of Man.
There were four B-sides for Stranger Than Fiction:
Brett Gurewitz: "[Stranger Than Fiction] is one of our best records and I am very proud of it. I still think “Infected” should have been the first single. Maybe we would have sold a million copies instead of 500,000, but so it goes."
Atlantic Records regrets not having picked Infected as the first single. Danny Goldberg (2004): "When it comes to picking what song should be a single from an album, it's usually better to listen to what the marketplace wants. We had an idea on what the single would be from Bad Religion's new album at Atlantic, and KROQ, a Los Angeles station, had another in mind; it kept playing "Infected." I said: "We're not going to pick what one station likes. We pick what we like." In retrospect, I wish I had done what KROQ suggested."
On March 3rd 1998, Stranger Than Fiction officially became Bad Religion's first gold album (over half a million copies sold in the US).
All the images in the booklet and on the front/back cover come from issues of Popular Science magazine. Atlantic Records didn't have a say in the album cover. The band just chose it because they couldn't agree on anything.
The booklet also thanks a number of notable musicians and relatives:
Tim Armstrong of Rancid provided the vocals to the song Television. In the credits he was called Lint, his name when he was the guitarist of Operation Ivy. Rancid were also labelmates with Bad Religion for a very brief time before Bad Religion signed to Atlantic
Wayne Kramer of the MC5 played lead guitar and supplied backing vocals for the opener Incomplete.
Suburban Voice Issue 36 (Spring 1995):
“You always know what to expect with a Bad Religion album, though they have mixed things up on their last few albums. ‘Stranger Than Fiction’ is a significant return to form, after the moderately-disappointing ‘Recipe For Hate.’ Fast, catchy and hooky and the clear production doesn’t dilute the band’s power. ‘Television’ features a charming, ratty guest vocal from Rancid’s Lint. ‘Stranger Than Fiction’, ‘21st Century Digital Boy’, ‘Inner Logic’ and the Buzzcocks-sounding ‘The Handshake’ slow the tempo down to enhance the stinging, melodic flow. Even if they’ve signed with a major (and destroyed their ‘punk cred’ with some folks), there’s no artistic or lyrical compromise. And no Eddie Vedder this time, either!”
|06/03||Added details about Jay's gear - By Marty|