When in 1989 a promoter first called Epitaph and asked Jay whether they'd like to play in Germany, his answer was like "Are you fucking kidding me, man? We just lost money in America [they had lost $2000 on their first American tour], do you think we're going to fly halfway round the world to get out asses kicked, and not even speak the language?" But they went and loved it. Jay said "It was truly phenomenal how well the band was accepted there". So they played there in 1989, '90, and '91 (they'd still do some West coast shows, but there'd be no more American tours for a few years "thanks" to Europe and especially Germany). In '91 they actually played a festival with The pixes, Danzig, Stiff Little Fingers, The Alarm, 999, and Ride.
Germany is still by far the most badreligious country in Europe. Stranger Than Fiction (the album) was Top Ten. It went up to No.6, I think. The Gray Race was No.11 in the German charts and it was No.60 in the charts of the whole year. Punk Rock Song also was a hit, staying in the charts for more than 20 weeks I think. The German music television channel VIVA had a one-hour BR special on 11/6/96 with lots of interviews, videos and live footage. In the Lorelei Festival they were second to the top of the bill after David Bowie, but before Iggy Pop, Pulp, and a host of other Britpoppers. At first they thought it wold be a mistake, but no, they ARE popular.
Brian: "In the United States it's usually preaching to the converted and a bunch of kids who saw a video on MTV. Strangely enough, in Germany we found people to be much more in tune to the lyrics and to the message that is trying to be presented. And I find that especially hard to understand because of the language barrier. There are many Americans who cannot understand some of the lyrics that Greg Graffin writes, yet we fly to Germany and with the language barrier people seem to be able to respond and understand exactly what is meant. I still can't explain this phenomenon, I've been blown away by it for 2 or 3 years now and I still don't know how you people do it. The majority of the people, I believe, really understands what's going on, but there's always gonna be the people who are there for sport. And, uhm, what you're gonna do?".