US TOUR BEGINS!
The Bad Religion 1994-1995 tour is now in full swing. The six-week European leg was sold out in virtually every city, except one Wolverhampton, England. This city is near the heart of the Heavy Metal birthplace of the world. The people there are still slow to accept punk and hardcore unless the singer has a really high voice.
Following is a list of the US cities that Bad Religion will appear in the next six weeks:
11 Norfolk, VA The Boathouse
12 Atlanta, GA Masquerade
14 Washington, DC Black Cat
15 Boston, MA Avalon
16 Providence, RI Lupos
18 Philadelphia, PA Trocodero
19 New York, NY Roseland
20 Pittsburgh, PA Metropole
22 New Britain, CT the Sting
23 Montreal, QU Metropolis
24 Toronto, ON RPM
25 Cleveland, OH Agora
26 Detroit, MI State Theater
27 Indianapolis, IN Eastwood
29 Chicago, IL Riviera
30 Minneapolis, MN First Ave
03 Seattle, WA Moore Theater
04 Portland, OR La Luna
05 Vancouver, BC Commodore
06 Vancouver, BC Commodore
11 San Bernadino, CA "Arena"
13 Santa Cruz, CA Catalyst
14 San Francisco, CA Warfield
15 Bakersfield, CA ??guess
16 Santa Monica, CA Civic
17 Santa Monica, CA Civic
18 San Diego, CA Golden Hall
Resume the US tour, the southern tier and middle states of the USA. None of these shows are announced yet.
Also, it may be possible to see Bad Religion at certain other events that are planned in the near future:
Nov. 17 Conan O'Brian show
(bad sound, no audience, but
at least it's in the old David
Dec. 01 Q101 Christmas show,
Dec. 08 San Jose, CA KOME
Dec. 09 San Francisco, CA Live 105
Dec. 10 Los Angeles, CA KROQ
These Christmas shows are charity events. So if you show up to them, bring something to give. We are going to forge some new punk Christmas standards.
Hope to see you somewhere.
MR. BRETT, POOF!...
Many of you have already heard the news that Mr. Brett has decided to leave Bad Religion and spend full-time administering his company, Epitaph Records. All of Bad Religion were shocked at the abruptness of his decision. One day he was talking about the progress of the new album, the next day he wanted nothing to do with Bad Religion. It was sudden and unfortunate. We all respect his decision and the band is happy that he is taking care to administer the BR catalog of albums that form the cornerstone of Epitaph and preserve the heritage of Bad Religion.
There is a lot of confusion as to why Brett left, as always occurs when a rash decision is made. However, certain factors indicate that this decision was a long time in coming. For the last few years it was always difficult for Brett to leave for extended periods. Epitaph was doing booming business and where was the President? Far away from the office, on tour with Bad Religion. Any growing business demands full time attention and Brett was barely able to balance both touring and administering Epitaph and still remain sane. This showed visibly during the last two tours, Brett often looked like he would rather be elsewhere.
Also, Bad Religion's move to Atlantic records seems to have been a big personal conflict with Mr. Brett. On the one hand, he and the other band members voted unanimously to move to a major label to achieve better distribution and larger scale marketing and promotion. But on the other hand Brett now had to develop another band on his label to take the place of Bad Religion's sales and profile. This meant that his marketing sentiments must have been directed away from BR.
Whatever the convoluted reasons, one thing is clear. Brett would rather sell music than make music with Bad Religion. That is his decision, we respect it. Until he issues a personal, detailed statement, there will be a ton of questions.
The future......is Brian. Brian Baker who co-founded the legendary Minor Threat and Dag Nasty is Brett's replacement. He had to learn 50 songs in 3 weeks to prepare for the European tour. His first show was in front of 30,000 crazy germans at the Bizarre Festival in Cologne. He was flawless. In fact, the responses from the European audiences have been overwhelming. Many have said it was the best tour in 6 years over there. Brian is loving this newest challenge and BR is having as much fun as ever on the road.
A quick look back: Mr. Brett's career as a musician
Jan. 1980 Brett starts a new wave band called "the Quarks" with drummer and future Epitaph executive Jay Ziskrout. Most requested song (by their girlfriends) was "I wanna be with you" one of Brett's earliest tunes. They played a few party shows, including a free lunch-time concert at El Camino High School. In the audience, being a mocking asshole was a 15 year old punker named Greg Graffin.
August 1980 Brett meets Greg G. through an introduction by Tom Clement. Brett is wearing a shirt that says "Fuck you I'm a long-haired punk". Both amateur songwriters, they decide to begin practicing as a three-piece band. Greg singing, Jay Z. on drums, Brett on guitar, no bass! How punk.
September 1980 "We need a bass"...Jay Bentley, another El Camino Punker meets Greg G. at lunch. Greg says "me and my friend Brett have a band wanna join? Can you get a bass?....here's a tape of our songs Sensory Overload, World War Three, and Slaves". Jay quickly drives down to Sears and buys a $60.00 bass, learns the songs overnight. The name of the band is decided on the next week.
October 1980 The first BR E.P. is recorded. It's called Bad Religion. It needed a label name. Brett and Greg were mocking a song by ELP called Epitaph, the name stuck. Epitaph became merely a name that BR put on all their records to look like they had a label.
August 1983 After a successful LP release, Into the Unknown is released and is a commercial failure. Greg G. was at college in Wisconsin, Jay B. had quit the band, Brett decides to quit Bad Religion and start other bands. One of them, Elements of Color, contained Lucky Lehrer (former Circle Jerks drummer) and Jay Bentley. Unfortunately, the band lasted for only one gig, a drug party at Lucky's pad. New Wave Cocaine-disco music didn't have much of a future anyway.
September 1987 Brett, clean and sober, returns to BR, filling in for the current guitarist Greg Hetson (he had a show with the Circle Jerks that night). Brett remembers the songs as if on auto-pilot.
October 1987 Brett decides to start a new mission in life, make Epitaph a real label, and the best one in the world. Bad Religion of course was the featured artist.
August 1994 After a string of successful BR releases, Brett decides to call it quits and devote full time to developing other Epitaph bands.
TRAGEDY IN SAN SEBASTIAN
Bad Religion has a huge following in Spain. Our shows there always are big events. Unfortunately, public safety is not as high on the priority list as it is in most other countries. Therefore, going to concerts can be dangerous because you don't know whether the venues are safe places. It's strange how we take for granted such fundamental things.
Following is an account from the singer's perspective of a terrible occurrence at our last Spanish show this year:
On September 24, 1994, Bad Religion went on stage at about 10:45 pm local time in San Sebastian, Spain. As usually occurs at Bad Religion concerts in Spain, the audience was anxiously rambunctious as the band walked on stage, and the energy of the crowd was barely kept in check. When the first chord was played of the song "Recipe For Hate" the entire audience began churning and throbbing in a spontaneous slamming explosion. This anarchic enthusiasm was typical of a Bad Religion show. But before the song was over, the most atypical thing occurred which was both frightening and pathetic.
It is hard to describe the sight of people being swallowed up by the ground on which they stand because very few people have ever seen such a thing. However, on that night, near the end of the first song, the dance-floor of the venue simply collapsed and hundreds of people fell at once. At first it looked like a bunch of people simply fell down and others bent over to help them. But immediately thereafter crumbling floor supports and cross-beams could be seen from the stage and I realized I was looking downward into the lower level of the building and people were spilling and tumbling down uncontrollably. The first few hundred people who fell were about thirty feet in front of the left side of the stage, and that seems to be where the initial structural failure occurred. The structure continued to fail underneath the dancing audience before they could realize what was happening. People were tumbling into the vacuity like dominos. The anxious movements of the crowd actually made matters worse. A young female was clinging desperately to the floor's edge, kicking in panic, hoping she wouldn't let go. After a few seconds, she disappeared like the rest of the dance floor. The next areas to collapse were to the right and in front of the initial site of failure. The floor proceeded to cave in right up to the front of the stage. Everyone simply disappeared from view, falling instantly. Two lucky fans were all that remained in front of stage-left; they happened to be standing on a small ledge that was left intact. Everyone else around them had plummeted. I helped them up on stage and then quickly exited the back door.
The above events all transpired within a mere two or three seconds. The first song ended prematurely, and there was a strange mixture of noises from the audience. The right side of the venue was groaning because the song ended early (they had no idea why), while the left side was screaming in terror and pain. I was not in the venue to see the evacuation, but within about twenty minutes the first ambulances arrived. The last one left about two hours later.
When the building was empty of people, and all of the hideous dust had settled, I ventured back in to see an enormous cavern in the hall's dance-floor, five to seven meters deep. The diameter of the collapse was approximately seventy feet in one dimension and forty feet in the other. When the floor was intact, this area of 2800 square feet was totally occupied by people. If we figure three people take up about one square yard (9 sq. feet), it is possible that 933 people would have fallen into the pit when the floor collapsed. It was immediately clear that the structure was poorly designed. The supporting concrete floor-beams that remained standing were reinforced with steel, while the areas that collapsed were strewn with concrete rubble (without steel reinforcement). Vertical supporting columns were conspicuously absent from the collapsed area. This implies that non-reinforced concrete was the main supporting element of the dance-floor, and it spanned an excessive distance without vertical support. Apparently, building owners realized this and tried to cheaply rectify the problem because there were a couple of temporary "jerry-rigged" pole-supports still standing. All of this factual detail was captured on video camera by the members of Bad Religion and their crew.
There has been some discussion as to whether there were too many people in the building and if this could have caused the disaster. First of all, I feel that there may have been more than the capacity of 2500 people. Our crew counted the door-entries and found that 2968 people entered that night. Keeping in mind that those extra 400 people would have been spread out throughout the building, I feel strongly that the extra 400 people could not have caused such a travesty. The dance floor could have collapsed with fewer than 2500 people, I think, it was simply unsound. Also, the promoter insists that the building owners told him that they have numerous events in the same building with 3500-4000 people. It is hard to imagine how lucky they have been in the past if these figures are correct!
All of my conclusions about the structure of the building have evolved through hind-sight. It is now so clear to me that the venue was inadequate. Bad Religion had no idea that the building was unsound when we arrived. Structural integrity is something that the building owner must take full responsibility for.
The promoter has assured me that the audience will receive a reimbursement for their ticket purchases.
The members of Bad Religion extend their deepest apologies to all of the people who were hurt and frightened, as well as to those who waited to see us for so long and had to settle for a one-song concert. We would like to assure those fans of San Sebastian that we will return to play another concert in your area before too long, perhaps a free concert in the name of all those who were injured at Discoteca Erne.
If we were religious we would thank god, but since we aren't we are content to sincerely rejoice in the fact that no one was killed.
Incidentally, two weeks later a portion of the bleachers collapsed at a Pink Floyd concert in London. Only 50-100 people fell down, no one was hurt, and the show was cancelled. The next day the incident made massive headlines all over the USA and Europe. Our incident was basically covered up by the officials and press. To me, this is just another example of how punk music and punkers are not considered as having the same value as more "legitimate" forms of music and their fans. The Public should know what those punkers had to go through that night in San Sebastian, and the officials should be forced to assume full responsibility.
Here is a new section in response to so many of the letters we receive that ask: "What are the lyrics to.....I can't find them anywhere". In this and the following issues we will print some of the lyrics to older, hard to find songs. If some of them seem primitive, it's because they were written when we were 15-17 years old. Even after all these years I still believe that they still had good ideas in them however.
WE'RE ONLY GONNA DIE.....(from our own arrogance):
Early man walked away as modern Man took control
The minds weren't quite the same
To conquer was his goal
So he built his great empire
And he slaughtered his own kind
Then he died a confused man
Killed himself with his own mind
We're only gonna die
From our own arrogance
This isn't art this is suicide in a social way
I don't have the need and I don't have the time
I will tell you why
Because I think about it all the time
I think about what's true and what's lies
I used to think the things in my head were true
Sensory feedback from things like you
I don't know why this must be
The guitar's misleading me
I don't know why I've got this social suicide
From a sensory overload
It's a hell of a time
From a sensory overload
Tricky little mind
When I think about the quivering flesh
I think about this urban mess
It makes my brain begin to reel
I don't understand all the things that I hear
I just wanna hide from the things that I feel
ALONG THE WAY:
I refuse to abuse what is fine to diffuse
but it's there and it's happening to me along the way
As we go through the snow we cannot forget our foes but the dinner's always waiting at the table along the way
...along the way cont.
What you see, not for me, isn't what you plan to be but you'll have what you wanted in the end along the way
And we'll try as we cry and our brothers pass us by to be strong through the ages of our tears along the way
Now we grow as we show that the morales we must know can be shapen and mistaken by the falls along the way
But regret, don't forget, to find love and happiness unless you're willing to be strong when theyr'e gone along the way
My Tommy you are free and you will not follow me but we'll see each other once more on the path along the way
WET SUIT SHOPPING!
Brian Baker has a great metaphor for the current popularity of hardcore. Picture a huge wave, surfer's heaven, with Green Day and the Offspring riding high. Bad Religion is floating around somewhere in the intertidal, with wetsuits on and ready to enjoy a ride themselves.
It seems everywhere you look these days people are trying to associate themselves with punk/hardcore. People who never had anything to do with it in the past. To us these people are looking for their wetsuits and trying to make it to the beach where this huge wave is breaking. In most instances we feel totally embarrassed for these folks. I mean, the music hasn't changed all that much, why the sudden attempt to claim allegiance to it? This is not a jab at the folks who have suddenly realized that they like the music. It's good that the music is gaining a wider audience. Rather, it's a jab at people who are trying to capitalize on the image of punk, people who had nothing to do with creating that image and who look silly trying. Here are a few examples I have witnessed recently:
October, 1994....at a Green Day show in Paris. Who should show up and start chatting back stage but Mick Jones of Big Audio Dynamite. Here's a guy who was at the beach many years ago but lately moved so far inland he doesn't remember how to find the ocean. He must have lost his wet suit in the move. But if he could associate with the "new punks" maybe BAD could sell a few albums......oh well, not to me.
October, 1994....at an Offspring and Rancid show in NYC. Who is that blonde woman chatting with Lint from Rancid for over 20 minutes? Oh it's Madonna! This woman never knew where the beach was. She never showed any interest in surfing at all. But now that this huge swell is coming in she feels she has to capitalize on it. So she's wet suit shopping...big time.
October, 1994.....the new Queensryche video comes on MTV. The lead singer (yeah that guy with the long hair and girly voice) all of a sudden looks like Mr. Brett and every other punker with a goatee beard. He's just begging for the punk fans to buy his newest LP. I don't think it will work.
September, 1994......the new Cult album and video is released. The singer is desperate. The trademark that established the band (long feminine flowing black hair) is out of fashion now. So he decides to chop it all off and pray that some punkers will get into his new music. It definitely won't work.
I guess the lesson to be learned from this is simple. Punk is not about looking cool. It's not about being popular, it's not about fashion and marketing scams. It is a heartfelt movement of relevant music that comes from determined musicians who question the prevailing dogma. It's also the fans who feel that music in their hearts and are provoked by that music to do something positive for themselves. No amount of cosmetic changes nor association with punkers can validate you. It is simply personal, fuck what others say.
JOHNNY MORE PUNK THAN YOU
Here's another new section we'll have to continue because it is so comical. Every month we get hundreds of letters and e-mail messages. There is at least one every month that we put into the "Johnny More Punk than You" file. These are people who think that they define what punk is and they prescribe how others should act in order to be punk. In short, they are the opposite of what BR considers punk. We do get a kick out of these letters, but we will preserve the anonymity of the writers.
From Jeff, Langhorne, PA:
......I smell a sellout.....you'll soon be playing for masses of fake, trendy, assholes who haven't got a clue about anything......When you play in Philadelphia I'll be there to piss on your new legions of fans. Oh yeah, thanks for destroying "digital boy".
Wow! Jeff should know that BR can't prescribe what sort of fans like the band. All we can do is remain true to our heritage and write vital, meaningful songs, and hope that others hear the meaning in them. If they don't then I think theyr'e missing something, but it's better than them listening to the Spin Doctors. Maybe they will come around, don't pre-judge people. As for Digital Boy, let's get one thing straight Jeffry, it is not your song, it never was, if we want to destroy it, we can. (By the way most people like the new version).
Until next issue, remember, it's no fun being "Johnny More Punk than You".
Luckily most of our mail is more upbeat!
Brian F. from Michigan writes.....
....I won't stop listening to you guys just because someone in the Punk Bible (maximum rock and roll) screamed sell-out. In fact I don't give a shit about your reasons for signing to Atlantic. As long as BR is playing music with a meaning and getting some kind of message out, then I shall remain a devoted listener.
Chris J. from Georgetown, Indiana writes....
.....I have been a BR fan for quite a while. I like Stranger than Fiction as much as Suffer. I don't care what the trend-master punks have to say about "sell-out" shit. The reason I love BR has nothing to do with what label you're on. It has to do with the lyrics. ... I wish I could get more people to read BR lyrics...
We feel the same way as these guys.
Iosu from San Sebastian was in the disaster at our show there. He fell 10 meters into the hole. He writes about the show....
......I think I will never forget it. I should thank god, but I think he's a stupid. There was not dead people, but I've learned that if you are alive, you could die at any time. Maybe the solution is not to be alive. Maybe there is no solution, but now I know how hell could be.
Iosu had to go back into the hospital for chest contusions. Rehabilitation will take about 1 month. Buena Suerte!
We thank all of you who write us. We try to respond to as many as possible but it is almost a full time job. That is why we now have e-mail. Those who have tried it realize that it is much easier to get a direct response promptly.
We also want to stress that all of your comments are meaningful to us. Many people have found that if they have a comment or criticism it's better to let it be heard so that they can get a meaningful answer. Be prolific in your letters, but be patient in your expectations for a response.
955 S. Carrillo Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
PO Box 4416
Ithaca, NY 14852