The official occasional newsletter of Bad Religion
WHAT IT IS: THE NEW TOUR, AND THE NEW ALBUM "NO SUBSTANCE"
The calm before the storm has passed us by and in a month’s time we are gone. Luckily, not extinct, but just gone from our peaceful domiciles to head out on the open road and roar through one hundred and twenty cities around the world. That’s right, our new album "NO SUBSTANCE" is set to be released May 05, 1998, and in April we begin our first leg of a tour that will be our longest and broadest ever! The first shows will be in the major cities of the USA. We are scheduled to play clubs and small theaters for this first leg. We decided that the New York shows last September were so meaningful and rewarding that we would forgo the option of playing large concert halls. Instead, we liked the intimacy of the smaller clubs and having the audience close provides for a much more exciting event. The only problem is that a lot of people who want to won’t get to see us because of limited tickets to these smaller venues. But we will be back a little bit later in the summer to play larger shows in those very same cities. So if you can’t make it to one of the club shows, you will have plenty of time to buy tickets for our next leg of the tour. After our three weeks or so in the USA we are heading to Europe for club and theater shows there. It is hard to believe that this will be our 10th anniversary of touring Europe. We hope to make a 10 year anniversary limited edition shirt that we will bring with us on the tour, as well as our usual assortment of shirts, stickers, sweats, and hats. As announced in the last newsletter, we will be headlining this summer’s most happening tour, THE WARPED TOUR. We have been busy planning some ideas for making it the most fun tour we have ever been a part of. The other bands on the bill are good friends of ours (NOFX, Rancid, Bouncing Souls, CIV, Unwritten Law, No Use for a Name, the Deftones, Reverend Horton Heat, and the Specials) so the atmosphere at the shows is going to be festive and communal. It is surely going to be the greatest gathering of American punk, hardcore, underground, and ska bands ever. We are going to do our part to make sure that the audience is treated to a real festive time.
There will be an official Bad Religion festival tent that will be at every show. Admission will be free to anyone attending the show. It will be a general gathering-place for bands and audience alike. In one corner of it we will have our barbecue grill where the band will be found every evening around dinner time. The audience can bring their own grillables and have dinner with Bad Religion and whichever other bands are hanging out. We are trying to work out a separate set of grills for our vegetarian fans. In another corner of the BR tent will be a pirate radio station that will be broadcasting constantly during the afternoon and evening. Aspiring bands in the audience will be able to bring in their demo tapes and have them broadcast to anyone listening in the tent as well as to those listening on their radios within a 3 mile radius. We will also be blasting our favorite classic punk records over the airwaves and in the tent throughout the day. There will be a separate Bad Religion Merchandise Tent where the new line of BR shirts and other swag will be found. In addition, three of the BR team will bring along their motorcycles on the tour (Greg G., Brian B., and Production manager, John Allan). We would love to hook up with local riders who know the area and have a group ride sometime before dinner each afternoon. All interested parties can contact our manager as soon as possible: Michele@badreligion.com So, if you ride, lets go riding!
All in all, we intend to make it a great summer and we will certainly be there to greet you if you want to hang out in the Bad Religion tents. The Warped Tour is set to begin June 30th in Phoenix, AZ. But before that time we will be busy playing special shows and making appearances all over the USA and Europe to celebrate the release of our new album called "NO SUBSTANCE".
NO SUBSTANCE IS RELEASED
Finally, after months of waiting, our new album is set to be released on Cinco de Mayo (that’s May 5th), 1998. We have never been so excited about a BR record. We know how good it is and can’t wait for you to sink your teeth into it and turn it up LOUD! It has a very familiar quality to those of you who have been fans since the earlier years. We recorded it in a similar style to the way we recorded Suffer and No Control (in our own familiar surroundings, without relying on demo tapes, just arranging the songs as we went along). This created a more natural, spontaneous style to the record that is easily recognizable to the older BR fans. This collection of 16 songs is perhaps the most catchy and socially critical work to date.
THE CONCEPT: Today, we live in a world that has lost sight of life’s meaning. Our society is more superficial and un-informed than ever before. Most of this can be blamed on the media because more people than ever have the ability to turn on a TV or computer, or pick up a magazine than ever before. With the explosion of media outlets (more magazines, more TV stations, more computer networks for public viewing, more widespread news papers, these are the true fabric of our modern world) the accuracy and thus quality of our information sources has declined drastically in the last 20 years and have become devoid of standards. Because of this, most major industries have also compromised their standards and we are left with products and information that have no substance and hence a public that has a warped sense of value and a desperate longing for meaning.
Congratulations. There are more people hungry than ever before also, more people who work their hands off without receiving a fair salary either, and more people hoping and wishing for a better life instead of working together toward a more meaningful society. Much of this of course is due to the logarithmic growth of the world population. It is easy to generalize about the absolute number of desperate people because the world population has never been bigger, and we’ve never experienced such a disparity between the privileged and the needy. Those in the middle of these two groups, the working classes, have been declining in America and Europe because of cheaper labor in developing countries. Hence manufacturing, middle-class jobs are nowhere to be found in the countries that used to set the standards for working-class values. Interestingly, these are also the countries that have the most sophisticated mass media. So there are fewer jobs, but more and more cable TV channels and internet sites to choose from that pacify and hypnotize people into a dream state.
That is to say that our minds are thinking of ways to live better, but our bodies are inactive. So there is no way we will ever achieve our fantastic goals because we are forgetting how to work toward a better life. We have become a society of torpid dreamers that have not the means to live the privileged life we fantasize about while we slowly sink into a new style of poverty. Due to the sensational, absurd nature of most media and so-called "news", new standards are evolving that encourage selfishness, lookism, separatism, and above all else, profit. Whether you observe the most popular internet sites or the hottest TV shows, these values are constantly being reinforced.
By focusing our efforts on these we have become a hopeless, sad race. We shun the education and worldliness necessary to form meaningful social interactions. We fail to develop a sense of common good which is essential to maintaining a peaceful society during periods of runaway population growth. We have become a people with no idea what it means to be alive, a virtual race. Life has become all obsession with no substance.
How can we combat such a tragedy? Well, we can start by buying the new BR CD on May 05th, then we will talk. After that, we can spend less time pretending to be social in the internet coffee-shop chat rooms, less time watching Jerry Springer, less time listening to the Spice Girls and Madonna, less time on the psychic friends network, less time having phone sex, and less time reading pseudo-intellectual treatises on self-help topics and the coming apocalypse.
This could be coupled with spending more time interacting with real people, having real sex, reading scholarly works and discussing them in some sort of meaningful chat rooms or coffee shops, more time organizing people into work-groups for social action, more time protesting the low standards that the media industries are heaping upon us, and more time fighting for the benefit of the common citizen. These are just a few of the activities that need to occur in order to reverse the trend of the last two decades and gain back some of the lost substance in our society.
BAD RELIGION PROMOTIONAL CLUB TOUR: TICKETS ARE SCARCE AND GOING FAST
The first leg of our tour this year will take us back to the small, intimate clubs around the country that seem like home to us. They remind us of what it was like in the early years of Bad Religion. The small clubs are the best way to see BR, no doubt about it. You are totally guaranteed of a close-up, intimate show. You can’t escape from the intensity of Bobby’s drums, or the pounding bass riffs Jay is belting out. You can’t hide from Greg Graffin’s vicious stare, and you might actually get landed on after one of Hetson’s patented flying leaps. If you are too close to the stage, Brian Baker might swing-kick you inadvertently during his solo too. No one is exempt from the energy created by the audience/band melange at these shows. The band just feeds off the audience and the audience gets progressively more energized as the show goes on. If you can get a ticket, you will be in for a really special show. The only downside to this is that there are a very limited number of tickets sold. But luckily, BR knows how to carry that intensity over to a larger stage also. Anyone who has seen us play at theaters or concert halls will verify the energy and intensity of those BR shows as well. For those who miss the club tour, we will be back a little later in the summer for the Warped Tour. Or perhaps you will catch us at one of the in-store appearances we intend to make along this first leg of our tour. We will be stopping in at numerous record stores around the country and hope you will come out and say hello. In addition, Greg Graffin will play some local American Lesion shows in certain cities. Many of them will be underground or un-announced, so pay attention to local flyers and weekly advertisements. Here is a quick-list of the first leg of our 1998 tour (doesn’t include the Warped Tour Dates):
April 25 - Las Vegas, NV (on the 24th there will be an American Lesion show at UNLV)
April 27 - American Lesion at CSUN, Los Angeles
April 29 - Anaheim, CA
May 1 - Phoenix, AZ
May 3 - San Diego, CA
May 4 - Los Angeles, CA
May 6 - San Francisco, CA
May 9 - Seattle, WA
May 11 - Chicago, IL
May 12 - Ann Arbor, MI
May 14 - Cambridge, MA
May 15 - New York, NY
May 16 - Lancaster, PA
May 17 - Richmond, VA
May 18 - Philadelphia, PA
May 19 - Washington, D.C.
May 22 - Oslo, Norway
May 23 - Gothenberg, Sweden
May 24 - Copenhagen, Denmark
May 26 - Hamburg, Germany
May 27 - Berlin, Germany
May 28 - Bielefeld, Germany
May 29 - Nuremberg, Germany
May 31 - Nurburg Ring, Germany
June 1 - Graz, Austria
June 2 - Rimini, Italy
June 3 - Zurich, Switzerland
All summer long we will be out on the road making appearances and playing shows. After this first leg we will begin the Warped tour June 30 in Phoenix. It will wrap up in late September in Munich Germany. The dates are quickly getting confirmed and the next newsletter will include a list of all the Warped Tour dates.
BR RESEARCH FUND, PROPOSALS ARE IN. INTEREST IN FIELD-WORK ABOUNDS
The deadline of April 15th has passed and now, all of the proposals for the first annual Bad Religion Research Grant have been received. There are about 350 proposals from all over North America. We intend to spend the next six weeks reviewing them. We sent the guidelines for submission to Universities and Natural History Museums all over the country. There were also news releases that reached the general population, and MTV mentioned the Bad Religion Research Fund on the air (just to find out how many serious researchers spend their day watching videos). We are pleased to see the large number of applications. It verifies a fact that we suspected was true: that more people than ever are interested in Natural History investigations, but fewer and fewer agencies are sponsoring field work. Today, funding agencies would rather put their money into laboratory research, it seems. This is something we would like to try and reverse. Field investigations are the best way to understand larger-scale natural phenomena. We are excited and proud to help promote research in this important area. We will announce the recipient of the Grant in our next issue. Thanks to all the applicants who sent in proposals, and look for the next award flyers in the Fall.
NEW NON-FICTION BOOK REVEALS THE PAST AND PRESENT OF BAD RELIGION
In September of 1997, Jack Rabid, author and punk historian, began a comprehensive study of Bad Religion’s history and significance. Through tireless hours of interviews and reviews of past literature and media, he is now compiling the definitive work on Bad Religion. It is focusing on the history of the band and the mystery of how the band has continued to be relevant throughout its tenure. The book will be abundant with never-published photographs of the band through every era of its existence. From the earliest years as a Los Angeles garage band (from Canoga Park, just as Frank Zappa envisioned) to the most recent era as the leaders of the punk/hardcore music movement, this book will bring to life the intellectual depth and curious originality of Bad Religion. Hopefully, the book will be out by early 1999. We will keep you posted on its progress.
We are looking for more excellent quality photographs to include in the book. If you ever photographed the band at a show or other appearance, please contact our manager Michele@badreligion.com CIA Management 137 West 14th Street New York, NY 10011 If we use the photograph you will receive some sort of compensation and, of course, photo credit.
Here are a couple classics that a lot of people ask for the lyrics to:
DAMNED TO BE FREE
Death and the shadow that it casts on life
Scares me little or none
People tell me of the divine right
And the happy, chosen ones
I’m a freak ‘cuz my morals clash with others
In my world
I go home while they work hard
Then they say I am wrong
There’s only one place to be
While living with tragedy
If their sins affected me
I’ve gotta be damned to be free
Freedom is responsibility
Pay more than it’s worth
Instinct tells us not to die
Hazy myth since birth
Learn their rules and play their game
Deceive yourself in haste
Turn your own brain into dust
It’s not theirs to waste
There’s only one place to be
While living with tragedy
Extract the nectar burn the tree
I gotta be damned to be free
Thinkin’... this world it ain’t so bad
Dyin’.... it’s just another fad
Workin’.... 8 hours its not for me
Dyin’..... It’s just your destiny
IN THE NIGHT
In the city the day is too hot
And youre looking for relief
‘Cuz your heart is filled with pain
But you get no relief ‘cuz the night is the same
In the night
In the night you see through jaded eyes
In the night
In the night you feel barely alive
Your head is filled with darkness
You’ve got pennies on your eyes
But you say that it’s alright, because you never Lived a lie
As you crawl back to your womb-like existence In the night
In the night
In the night you see through jaded eyes
In the night
In the night you feel barely alive
You can’t see any light, and you hear those Heavy footsteps,
and the little man inside twists Your tormented mind
palms are wet With sweat
limbs are bound and tangled in a Fatal net
There are two things you can do
one is turn And fight
the other is run headlong into the Night.....
The breathing at your side, is it yours
or is it goodbye
BAD RELIGION HOCKEY CLUB CHARITY GAME IS A FIRST OF MANY (HOPEFULLY)
Hockey has been a passion for three BR members (Greg H., Jay B., and Greg G.) for many years now. Through our many travels, we have met numerous other bands who also love to play hockey. We always dreamed of starting a musicians hockey league that could be open to fans, musicians, and the media people. I mean, what better way to get back at that guy who wrote a bad review of your last album than to crash his head into the boards? Or if you are a fan, what better way to show the lead singer your displeasure that he refused to play an encore last night than to trip him up on a breakaway? All of this could be done to benefit local charities while we on the ice exhibit our talent and frustrations. Last month in Edmonton, we had the first game in what we hope to continue as a tradition along these lines. There is a league in Canada to which some of our friends belong. SNFU, and the Odds, are a part of the Musicians Hockey League, or MHL. We started the BRHC, the Bad Religion Hockey Club and the two sides clashed. There were 600 paying fans who came to cheer us on and the local food pantry benefitted from their donations and admission fees. The people in the audience were as raucous as any collegiate hockey crowd. They made banners with BR lyrics such as "We’ve got the American Gretzky" and "Recipe for Skate". And they were treated to a very competitive contest as well. Jay Bentley tended goal for BR, tallied an assist, and only let in 3 goals during regulation, Hetson played wing, and Greg G. lead the team in scoring with an assist and a game tying goal with only 01:30 left in the game. Jay said at that moment he looked up into the crowd and saw everyone standing on their feet screaming! As children, we dream about moments like this! This sent the game to an overtime shootout where the canadians scored two more goals to win it. The next day in the Edmonton Journal there was an article about the money raised for the food bank and the details of the game. The writer was on the other team and started off the piece by saying "honest to god, it was the most fun we ever had playing hockey.... it was like we had won the freakin’ Stanley Cup". It was a wonderful event and we hope we can have more of them throughout our touring cycle. Our friends in Germany Die Toten Hosen also play hockey as do our friends in Finland, The Leningrad Cowboys. We plan on crushing them both in the months to come. We are always looking for a good game, so if you have a local club that would like to play, please get in touch with us through our manager email@example.com We also are selling the BR Hockey Club jerseys on tour.
FROM THE MAILROOM
The amount of mail we have been getting is staggering. This has increased dramatically in the last three years probably because of the increased usage of computers and email. Whereas in 1991 we received only about 50 letters a week, today we are getting over 100 letters a week, and about 350 email messages. Because of this, it is hard for us to answer all of it, but we do read it all and we really appreciate it. Sometimes, if we can’t answer, but it seems particularly entertaining or relevant we will publish them here and respond in the newsletter.
I would like to know if the song Part III was inspired by the revelations of Nostradamus who has predicted the upcoming World War 3. Josh Lewis, via e-mail
The song Part III was inspired by the idea of a coming world war, but Nostradamus, having been born in an earlier age probably thought of it first. We didn’t use him as a resource when we were young and don’t forget that Part III was written when we were only 16 years old. With H-bombs being used against humanity in World War II it is not a difficult proposition to establish that it is likely when the next world war occurs we may become an extinct species. This isn’t book-learning.
I hope Greg Hetson’s readin’ this e-mail or he’ll be told ‘bout the stuff. I just wanna know if badreligion will come here (turkey) for a live shit. Cuz we really need a live stuff. You’ve (badreligion) got over 20 thousand fans waitin’ 4 u ere. Pleeze take it important and come here... Fat Mike, via e-mail
First off, I know that this isn’t THE Fat Mike from NOFX. Second, this was addressed to Greg Graffin so Hetson will indeed have to be told about the "stuff". Third, out of 20 thousand fans, only one of them has ever written to us from Turkey... what’s up with that? We love getting mail from our fans who speak other languages. Their english is often fun to decipher and we use some of the expressions we hear. We will always think of playing in Turkey now as having a live shit.
....(there is) a rising number of people using the internet and it maybe one day will take over this kind of handwritten mail, which, I personally find more human and personal. Just to take an example, the Bad Religion Merchandise Page is only accessible to those who are on the net. Why not make a catalog of all the great stuff in BR newsletter. Carsten, Denmark
The Bad Religion Merchandise Web Page is not up yet. (The hell it isnt!!! -ed.) It will be up by June, 1998 for sure this time. But I don’t think the internet will take over because, like you pointed out, there will always be those who don’t have access to a computer and also, written mail is more fun to receive. But keep in mind, catalogs are very expensive for us to print and send out. The internet site is much, much cheaper. Eventually we will have a catalog available to people at our concerts, but it is too expensive to mail out all around the world. Greg G
..... you are in service of the US-government as a professor but is it punk to sing against the government and also being paid by the government? Sebastian Pietsch, Friedberg Germany
One great thing about universities is that they encourage critical reasoning and skepticism. In fact, there are laws that say you can’t fire a professor after he is hired. They were created to protect their freedom of speech. Morally I feel one should not keep their mouth shut if they see something wrong with their government. Criticisms of one aspect of government don’t always reflect a general disgust of the entire system. There are many disgusting aspects of the US government, but one great freedom is granted in the right to criticize. If this is done constructively it becomes the only way to form a more perfect union, and that is why we should all do it. (By the way, I am not a professor, although I have taught for many years at two universities. I am very fond of academia and will likely spend more time in it as I get older). Greg....
I used to refer to the Bible for guidance, but after I discovered Bad Religion I no longer do. What do you really think about God and the universe? Amal, St. Louis, MO
Don’t forget, "no Bad Religion song can make your life complete". We cannot guide you, but we can educate you. Educate comes from the Latin root to ‘educe’ or bring out. Good education only brings out what someone already knows. That is the difference between higher education which brings out knowledge and primary school which indoctrinates, and teaches, and puts in information. The question of God and the universe is immense. I can’t stress the importance of thinking skeptically. This means taking nothing as fact just because someone said it, but rather, finding out for yourself. I think it is not likely that there is a God, even more unlikely that there is a devil or angels in the mythological sense. But that is because I haven’t seen any evidence. All people who could be used as examples of the devil can better be understood as mixed-up, evil people with an awful set of values. All wonderful people who might be called angels are great to be with, but cannot save a sick and dying person without medicine. I do think that every individual is tied to all other living beings in a mysterious sort of way. Whether it is due to chemical reactions that occur in our bodies that also are found to occur in the most primitive sorts of organisms, or maybe because we are all energized in the same way by the life-giving force from the sun, or maybe it’s because we are part of an evolving organic continuum that has been a part of this planet for a billion years. Whatever the reason, I think all life is connected, and there is good evidence to support this assertion. But the mystery behind why we evolved, or why we are connected, or what created it is not necessary to understand in order to feel whole. The process of understanding the interconnections is a lifetime of observation, refinement, and learning. Those who don’t want to do the work and need a quick answer just invoke God as a way to explain all the mysteries.
BAD RELIGION Addresses
Manager: Michele Fleischli 137 W. 14TH STREET NEW YORK, NY 10011