Friday, April 2, 2010

Bad Religions Vs. Daredevils

Every great, long-running band or artist has a terrible spell. Or two. Bad Religion first bottomed-out surprisingly early - 1983 - after just one seven inch e.p. and their debut album. Following the debacle known as Into the Unknown, the band made a religion of absolute musical consistency, so the next bad spell was harder to spot.

Still, the departure of Mr. Brett in 1994 almost hobbled the band. Graffin's songs - cheat notes for your science class set to a polka-punk beat - may define the Bad Religion sound but it's the melodic and lyrical invention of Mr. Brett's songs - "21st Century Digital Boy", "Skyscraper", "Atomic Garden", "Stranger Than Fiction" that keep the formula from getting drab.

So as a follow-up to the brilliant Stranger Than Fiction, the Brett-less album, The Gray Race from 1996 is as colourless as the name implies. Sure "A Walk" is an enjoyable tune but the lyrical angle is so banal ("I'm going for a walk/Not the after dinner kind/I'm gonna use my hands/And I'm gonna use my mind") that you suspect Graffin could pull this sort of thing off in his sleep.

Also in 1996 Mr. Brett, supposedly once again struggling with drug problems, released, "Hate You" the sole single by his band, Daredevils. "Hate You", a venomous sing-along purportedly about Bad Religion bassist Jay Bentley, exhibited exactly the sort of fire The Gray Race needed. Of course Daredevils sorely missed the guitar-power of Bently and Greg Hetson plus Graffin's voice just kills on this type of material. As well, the men of BR would've put some much-needed bollocks into the almost heartland rock-like, "Rules, Hearts". When a cleaned-up Mr. Brett re-appeared for a cameo on the excellent The New America before permanently re-joining the band for The Process of Belief (back on Brett's Epitaph's label!) it was time for a yet another new spell.

Daredevils "Hate You" link is in the comments.

Speaking of comments: Is "Hate You" a great punk rock break-up song?

If you like the songs buy them on iTunes

Support Bad Religion:
Epitaph Records


  1. If memory serves "Grey Race" was the last BR record the wife and I bought and the last time we saw them live. In hindsight that might communicate our distaste for the band then and since. We tried to get into some of the newer releases and they all just lack something.

  2. Brett (SuburbanArgyle)April 6, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    Also interesting is that the lead guitarist here is Gore Verbinski, who has directed films like all of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, The Ring, and The Mexican, among a bunch of others.

  3. convertido
    I do recommend the Process of Belief but it's true that post-The Gray Race things changed.

    That really should have made the post - thanks for reminding me.


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