|Category:||Interview - Newspaper||Publish date:||9/28/2007|
|Source:||El Paso Times, September 28, 2007||With:||Jay Bentley|
California band hasn't lost its punk edge
by Adriana M. Chávez
El Paso Times, September 28, 2007
Bad Religion bassist Jay Bentley can make the most mundane household tasks seem punk.
"I'm really aggro when I wash the dishes," Bentley said during a telephone interview from his Southern California home, just after he fed the dogs, took the kids to school and washed dishes. "I kind of skank. Sometimes I throw a cup down on the ground just because."
Bentley and his bandmates, the forefathers of modern punk, may get a bit aggro when they play Sunday at Club 101.
But all kidding aside, Bentley said today's punk is more of a way of thinking than a style of music.
"I don't think (punk) is something you actually do," he said. "I just think it's the way you think about the things you do. Maybe the punkest thing in the world is like Avril Lavigne. It almost would make sense in the dichotomy that is punk rock. By definition you're not supposed to like her if you're punk, so if you want to be a punk, you should like her, because you should never listen to what anybody says."
Bentley, along with vocalist Greg Graffin, guitarist Brett Gurewitz and then-drummer Jay Ziskrout, formed Bad Religion in Los Angeles in 1980 while they were in high school. A few years later, the group was credited for leading a rebirth in punk rock with its 1988 album "Suffer," one of the highest-selling punk albums.
Gurewitz later founded Epitaph Records to release Bad Religion's music. Now the label releases albums from a number of punk-rock acts.
In 1993, the band left Epitaph for Atlantic Records and Gurewitz left the band. In 2001, the band, with Gurewitz rejoining the ranks, returned to Epitaph. Bentley himself left the band for a while in the 1980s, but returned in 1986 after agreeing to play one show.
Through 27 years of lineup and record label changes, Bentley said, the band's longevity doesn't seem quite real.
"Even looking back, I can totally see practicing in Graffin's garage, and it doesn't seem like it was 27 years ago," Bentley said. "It's kind of been a blurry roller-coaster ride."
The band decided to return to its roots with their 14th studio album, "New Maps Of Hell," which was released in July. The return was more a necessity than a calculated plan.
"What really happened was (current drummer Brooks Wackerman) took a job playing drums for Tenacious D. The time frame for us to be in the studio just went out the window, and I had already told (Warped Tour creator) Kevin Lyman that we would be on the Warped Tour for the summer with a new record," Bentley said. "Brett had already kind of set a release date, and we were all stoked. By the time we got into the studio in February, all of the planning for like 'we're going to make this really great record this way' went out the window, and we had to make this record, like, right now. That urgency was something that came out naturally, and the record, in retrospect, was kind of like how we made records like 'Suffer' and 'No Control.' "
Show promoter Bobbie Welch said she decided to bring the band, one of her favorites, to El Paso because she missed it on the Warped Tour.
"I couldn't see them because I was working," she said. "They're wonderful and amazing and they've had a long career but have always managed to stay very vital and cutting-edge to the genre. They're really good and a really vital component of the alternative punk scene and they just keep on going. They're so down-to-earth and funny, and they're devoid of that rock-star attitude."
By the time the band went on the Warped Tour, it had a new group of fans who discovered the band from the inclusion of its song "Infected" on the "Guitar Hero II" video game.
"When we went on the Warped Tour and played 'Infected,' you can see every body singing, and it's like 'Yeah, they've all got 'Guitar Hero',' " Bentley said, laughing.
But can Bentley play his own song on the game?
"My kids have 'Guitar Hero' and they're like, 'Dad, you got to play 'Infected.' I tried to play it for like an hour and I said, 'This is all wrong,'" Bentley said. "I look down on my guitar and there's no colored buttons on my guitar anywhere, so this whole red-blue-yellow thing just isn't gonna work. After about an hour, I said I have to stop playing this because it's gonna mess me up. I'm gonna be on stage going 'This isn't right! This isn't how the video game goes!' "
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Article image(s) added: Metal Hammer February 2002