Bad Religion aren’t your typical punk rockers. Their buzzsaw guitars are straight from the Germs or Black Flag textbook but their chorus harmonies are surprisingly evocative – pure Beatles or Everly Brothers. This contradiction has come to define the group as one of history’s most successful and celebrated, but also as one permanently evolving.
It also goes some way to explain why, of all the Southern Californian hardcore bands of their period, Bad Religion have lasted the longest. Since 1980 they’ve maintained their underground credibility without resorting to churning out formulaic records or compromising their roots. Inflections of progressive rock, psychedelia and metal have crept into their core aggressive punk sound, but their boundless energy and erudite, righteous lyrics have stayed constant throughout. If that wasn’t enough for their credentials, guitarist Brett Gurewitz is founder of Epitaph Records and the iconic label has released the majority of the band’s records since their 1983 debut album.
Even mainstream recognition, which came in the early 90s after years of prominence on the US underground scene, failed to change them. They’ve continued challenging complacency – both musical and moral – ever since, over the course of more than 5 millions records sold.
Add to your festival schedule.