How Could Hell Be Any Worse? Suffer? No Control? How can I possibly pick just one?
Hello and welcome to the third installment of Desert Island Punk Month. I’ve been looking forward to this piece in the series honoring the four bands that will be gracing the stage at Terminal 5 in New York on August 4th and 5th. After last week’s Desert Island installment featuring 1995’s About Time from California punkers Pennywise, written by resident punk, Mr. Joshua Peters, I knew that this BR piece was coming. The thing about Bad Religion is that with the exception of the atrocity (Okay, maybe not an atrocity, but they’re Bad Religion, not Devo, so Into The Unknown had one too many synthesizers for my taste.) they dropped on the world on November 30th, 1983, Bad Religion really haven’t released a bad album; so, picking just one of their albums as a Desert Island disc was pretty tough. I mean come on now, How Could Hell Be Any Worse? Suffer? No Control? How can I possibly pick just one?
… I had the great fortune of interviewing the band’s kick ass bassist and all around nice guy, Mr. Jay Bentley.
Bad Religion was THE band that turned me on to punk rock; and, earlier this year I had the great fortune of interviewing the band’s kick ass bassist, and all around nice guy, Mr. Jay Bentley (and fingers crossed, I’ll get the opportunity to have a face to face interview the entire band when they’re in New York this summer). One of the questions I asked Jay during the interview was with the exception of their latest record, which was his favorite Bad Religion album; he said that it was 2002’s The Process Of Belief. Ahhh, I think we have a winner.
This was rocket fuel aggression hitting my eardrums.
The Process Of Belief (Bad Religion’s 12th studio release by this point) was released on January 22, 2002. It was the first album featuring the official return of founding member and Epitaph Records head honcho, Mr. Brett Gurewitz and it also introduced the Bad Religion’s multitude of fans to their then-new drummer, the beast that is Mr. Brooks Wackerman. The Process Of Belief kicks off with a blast of lightning that is the opening track, “Supersonic“. This was not Atlantic Records-era Bad Religion, folks. This was rocket fuel aggression hitting my eardrums. From “Supersonic” we’re catapulted into “Prove It“. By this point, it was quite evident that the healthy songwriting competition between Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz was in full swing. “Can’t Stop It” (Gurewitz), “Broken” (Gurewitz), “Destined For Nothing” (Graffin), “Materialist” (Graffin). My people, it was like the equivalent of watching Ali going up against Ali. The Process Of Belief came off more like a Bad Religion greatest hits album more so than just being a brand new one from the band.
Bad Religion called down the fire with The Process Of Belief.
Greg Graffin, Jay Bentley, Mr. Greg Hetson (1984-2013), Mr. Brian Baker, Brooks Wackerman, and Brett Gurewitz cranked it beyond 11 for this one and that’s why it’s one of my all time favorite albums. With the inclusion of B. Wack and with the return of Mr. Brett, Bad Religion called down the fire with The Process Of Belief. The album sounds as fresh now as it did when it was released twelve years ago. Bad Religion was already the premium standard of punk in my eyes before January 22, 2002 (I know, I know, being an East Coaster, saying that is a punishable offense, but fuck that, I can only call ’em like I see ’em, and these punkers from the San Fernando Valley are not legends for nothing.)
Move on and make way for fresh blood.
It’s 12 years later and with the exception of one notable change (long time Bad Religion guitarist, Greg Hetson made his exit last year. Mike Dimkich (formerly of The Cult ) has replaced Greg Hetson on axe duties and he’s proven to be a fine fit for the band.) Having seen Bad Religion live countless times over the years, it’ll be interesting not to see Hetson up on that stage at Terminal 5, with the rest of the boys, but hey, what do you do, right? Move on and make way for fresh blood. Welcome to the fold, Mike!
Whether you’re a lifelong fan of Bad Religion like moi, or, if you’re a newbie to the band, then you need to pick up The Process Of Belief right here. Also, to my fellow New Yorkers out there, I hope to see you at Terminal 5 for Punk Rock Summer Nationals Tour featuring Bad Religion, Pennywise, The Vandals, and The Offspring who will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of their hit monster album, Smash by performing it live for all of y’all!
Want more Bad Religion? Of course you do! Please check them out here:
Plus you can pick up your tickets to the big show for August 4th and 5th right here: