A-Z, 1-2-3: Bad Religion

Posted: 8th November 2010 by ed in Blogs, Ed
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I am a late-bloomer in all aspects.  I didn’t hit puberty until around 15, I was playing with Transformers until shortly after that.  I didn’t get to college until I was 18 and it took me an extra year-and-a-half to finish.  I will be one of the last of my friends to get married and have kids.  My introduction to punk was equally delayed.

Growing up as a middle-class suburban kid my impression of punk was scary dudes with boots and Mohawks who liked to beat people up.  I had just graduated high school when Stranger Than Fiction was released.  At one point or another MTV aired the video for “21st Century (Digital Boy)” and I happened to dig the song but thought nothing more of it.  That is until I picked up Goldfinger’s debut about a year later.  Goldfinger was clearly more pop and more accessible to a kid like me and on their song “The City With Two Faces” they name-drop Bad Religion and NOFX.  For one reason or another this thumbs-up gave me the inclination to check B.R. out.

One thing I learned quickly about B.R. was that I was going to need a dictionary to truly appreciate the lyrics.  I guess that’s what happens when you have a Ph.D. as your singer.

The sheer volume of Bad Religion’s catalog coupled with the quality of those songs made it hard for me to get down to 3 but I somehow managed and here they are:

Kerosene – This song came to me on a mix-tape from my friend Nathalie shortly after I finally embraced the band.  I was only really familiar with the band’s current (at the time) stuff so it was nice to have someone expose me to something from a few years prior. Fun Fact:  Eddie Vedder appears on this album, singing backup on “American Jesus” and the second verse of “Watch It Die”.

Do What You Want – After catching up on Recipe For Hate I had become a fan of the band and just had to get every record.  15 tracks that clock in at just over 26 minutes combined “Suffer” is hailed by many as B.R.’s best record.  While that might up for debate “Do What You Want” is on this list because it became a mantra of sorts for me.  As long as your shenanigans and stupidity don’t interfere with my happiness we won’t have a problem.

Suffer is the band’s 3rd record and has the distinction of following Into The Unknown, a record that upset most of B.R.’s fan-base and, until recently, was pretty much stricken from history.  You can stream it at the band’s website to hear why.

Los Angeles Is Burning – Not only is this a quintessential Bad Religion song but it reminds me of a great time in my life.  Released on The Empire Strikes First in the summer of 2004 this song was probably the one I played most for the next 8 months.  It became the soundtrack for weekend radio appearances at an ice-skating rink in Richmond, VA with Fletcher and for the good times of that summer.  Even now it makes me smile and want to tear around a giant sheet of ice while I sing along.