Bad Religion has played and continues to play in Britain. However, it is not thier favorite place to play.
They have played Liverpool, Bristol, Wolverhampton, Edinburgh, London and Glasgow in the past. Their first concert was on the 4th of July of 1991 in London. During a subsequent concert at the London Astoria, they told the audience that they were cool but their country sucked. People there don't like (mostly are unaware of) BR, although their following is very loyal -two London shows sold out without even being advertised. Album sales are very minimal. Only the single for 21st Century (Digital Boy) sold 15,000 copies (twice the amount of Stranger than Fiction albums sold), because it was sold very cheap and the video was repeatedly shown on TV. Stranger than Fiction is the only album that got good reviews, presumably because the press was paid to do so.
During the Summer of 1996, the whole UK tour (consisting of three concerts: London, Birmingham, Glasgow) was cancelled. The excuse given in UK music magazines was that the band was "too busy tending to the media in Germany," where the band has a healthy and feverish fan base.
Here's a letter that Greg wrote to a British fan that was complaining about the lack of gigs in his country:
"I am well aware that there are a lot of devoted BR fans in the UK. However, there are a lot of devoted BR fans all over the world. It is very difficult each year to try and determine where we should play in the limited amount of time that we have. Here are some of the factors that weigh heavily against England in our considerations: 1) Poor record sales: this is probably because of the un-supportive SONY UK label. We have had awesome support from our labels in every other country, but the fact that we have sold 4 times the number of albums in Finland alone over the UK shows that we are not well-supported in your country. 2) Poor venues and promoters: we have had numerous problems getting decent venues, promoted properly. London seems to be the only consistent place to play with good venues and proper promotion. We have ventured outside of London on 3 separate occasions and each time saw very poor promotion and low ticket sales. The exception was Glasgow, where we will return when it is convenient, which had a wonderful reception and proper promotion. 3) Poor Press Coverage: the UK press is notorious for being arrogant and self-important. They have not ever represented BR in a favorable light (which is okay) nor in an accurate portrayal (which is not forgivable). We need a certain amount of accurate press if we are to do a proper tour. The USA leads the way in shortcomings in all of these categories. But we tour extensively in the USA because the payoff is so much more rewarding. There are a lot more people in the USA, a lot more BR fans, and therefore it is worth putting up with the shit from promoters, the record company, and the feeble press. The UK has a relatively low payoff. We could tour there for months and maybe increase our sales, but on a relative note.......the UK as a market is simply not important to us. I don't think highly of the British government nor the way the music industry is structured there. I cant think of a British music periodical that I would waste a moment of my time reading, they are riddled with inaccuracies and propaganda. (Incidentally, contending that the USA is no better is not a valid argument, it says nothing about the truth in what I am telling). In fact, the entire British music industry is riddled with old-school mentality, hype-and-bust ideology, and arrogant general ignorance of the way the rest of the world works. Sadly, this characterization also is pervasive in certain sectors of British society. The BR fans in the UK are important to us. They show surprising independence from the powerful compulsions of their society by liking a band as peculiar as Bad Religion. We would like to play shows for them, but given the current situation it is hard to imagine how we can do it. I could see playing a show in London, of course, and one in Glasgow, and I would like to play for our listeners in Ireland too. But I cannot see extensive touring in England, unless conditions change drastically. Thanks for your bluntness and concern. We do care about our UK fans and appreciate your intelligence. Sincerely, Greg Graffin".
Terry, a British member of the BRML, decided to start a "complaining campaign" against Sony UK and asked all British members of the BRML to write to Sony UK through him. He also explained the idea to BR and this is what they answered:
Michelle (band manager at the time): "Wow, that is great. I don't think it's complaining just asking for something you want and believe in".
Greg: "I think a petition would be very useful, but of course, I would want Sony UK to know that it was from the fans and that we had nothing at all to do with it. So please exclude us from any of your communications with them. I believe that a part of my ancestry is from good ole Blighty, but also from Germany".
Hetson: "Keep on bugging us to come to the UK. Get your friends to bug us too. The crap about the canceled dates last year was written by some lame publicist at the label. I guess we should be more on top of that but it's difficult during the middle of the tour when travel is hectic (...) We're down on the label who pressured us into the Brixton fiasco and wouldn't help with expenses so we wouldn't lose money, not our fans there".
The song "All Fantastic Images" from No Substance (album) is about the bands distaste for England. In an interview for Alternative Press in 1997, Brian and Greg explained themselves:
Ian Winwood deserves a mention since he is just about the only critic in the UK who likes BR. For example, his review of Generator in Metal Forces in 1991 said that the title track had "more ideas in it than most bands have in an entire career." He also gave positive reviews to The Process of Belief and True North (album).
|11/07||reworked - By Stinger66|