Bad Relgion was formed by Brett Gurewitz, Greg Graffin, Jay Bentley and Jay Ziskrout in 1980. The band released a few ep's and an album, then it suffered many line-up changes.
Though they released the ep "Back to the Unknown" in 1984, the band wouldn't release another album untill 1987. After the release of "Suffer" the band re-established their importance in the punk underground.
The band released quite a few albums, but in 1994 Gurewitz left the band to run his label Epitaph, which had recently had a hit with the Offspring's Smash. "Stranger Than Fiction" was the last album Gurewitz would be on untill 2002. It was also the first album that Bad Religion would release on a major label.
Bad Religion released four albums on Atlantic, but with the release of "The New America" Atlantic dropped the band.
Bad Religion signed onto Epitaph again, and Gurewitz rejoined the band in 2001. The band's last release was The Process of Belief in 2002.
The Bands Influence and Sound
Much of the punk from the 90's was influenced greatly by the melodic sound of Bad Religion. Very few punk bands in the 90's haven't been influenced by Bad Religion or the So-Cal bands on Epitaph.
This is mainly because Epitaph sort of formed a collective whole, even more so than say Dischord or even Sub Pop. All the bands on Epitaph sounded a lot like Bad Religion, which is easy to understand because Bad Religion has been around for more than 20 years. There is also something about the area in which they came from that seems to create more melodic bands. Even if they are hardcore bands.
Another thing which is notable about Bad Religion is their smart, and often political lyrics. Unfortunatly, most bands who were influenced by Bad Religion don't pick up that part of the band. Here's an example:
"Turn on the Light" From "Against the Grain".
"I had a friend who kept a candle in his pocket,
he used to touch it when the wind was blowing high,
I guess it made him feel like he could buck the system
and when it flickered out we laid him down to die,
turn on the light,
turn on a million blinding brilliant white incendiary lights,
a beacon in the night,
I'll burn relentlessly until my juice runs dry
I'll construct a rack of tempered beams and trusses
and equip it with a million tiny suns,
I'll install upon the roof of my compartment
and place tinfoil on my floor and on my walls,
then I'll turn on the light . . .
and I'll burn like a roman fucking candle,
like a chasm in the night,
for a miniscule duration,
Much of this song could almost be a poem, and could stand on its own. Combined with the band, it gains even more power.
The only criticism I can think for Bad Religion and also for punk as a whole, is the fact that every song and record of theirs sounds exactly the same. I'm sure if you're a hardcore Bad Religion fan you'll be already writing in your /msg to me about how stupid I am, but for somebody who is really a punk fan, just not the largest Bad Religion fan it seems to me that they haven't changed their style that much for the past 20 something years (however I am generalising the make a point, Bad Religion have changed their sound, but only slightly, look at their ealry hardcore stuff, which changes into a more melodic style by Against the Grain, which is now back to the more hardcore/melodic style they made famous and millions of bands copy).
I'm sure this is probably the reason people like them, much like Ac/Dc Bad Religion is very stable in their sound, buy one Bad Religion cd and you've pretty much got them all. However this does nothing to dampen their importance and greatness in the punk scene, Bad Religion's lyrics remain the main reason to pick up new cds, and their music is important when you look at the progression of punk through the 90's.
So in the end will people still be talking about Bad Religion in another 20 years? More than likely, if you're a punk or are into punk music, most people who aren't punks or don't care about punk music probably won't give a shit.
1982 "How Could Hell Be Any Worse?"
1983 "Into the Unknown"
1989 "No Control"
1990 "Against the Grain"
1990 "80-85" (comp)
1993 "Recipe for Hate"
1994 "Stranger Than Fiction"
1995 "All Ages" (comp)
1996 "The Gray Race"
1998 "No Substance"
2000 "The New America"
2002 "The Process of Belief"
"Bad Religion" (1981)
"Back To The Known" (1984)