Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Bad Religion: No Control 1989 (Remastered 2004) + Stranger Than Fiction 1994

Punk/Rock band formed in 1980 in San Fernando Valley/Los Angeles, CA, US by Greg Graffin (vocals), Brett Gurewitz (guitar), Jay Ziskrout (drums), and Jay Bentley (bass). All the members were

teenagers when the band started. Only Graffin has remained with the band through every phase of its career, although Bentley and Gurewitz have participated for substantial chunks of time. Graffin and Gurewitz are the band's primary songwriters, with other members contributing occasionally. The band is known for their rapid-fire songs with a melodic edge and strong backing harmonies.

Bad Religion released their first record, a self-titled EP, in 1981 on Epitaph Records, a label Gurewitz started after borrowing money from his father.
The band released their first full length,

"How Could Hell Be Any Worse?", in 1982. Midway through the recording for the album, Ziskrout quit the band and the record was finished with drummer Pete Finestone. In 1983, the band abruptly shifted gears, issuing the keyboard-heavy, prog rock influenced "Into The Unknown", on which neither Bentley (who quit during the recording of the first track) nor Finestone appeared. The results were disastrous, with the band facing considerable backlash from fans and Epitaph immediately pulling the album off record store shelves.

For his part, Gurewitz blamed his participation on his increasing drug habit, although he was quick to point out that the sober Graffin had no such excuse to fall back on, and has disowned the album. With

Epitaph out of money and the band's reputation in tatters, Gurewitz quit and the band split. Graffin soon moved out of state for college, but returned to California in 1984 and was convinced by Circle Jerks guitarist Greg Hetson to reform Bad Religion with him on guitar. Recruiting Pete Finestone and bassist Tim Gallegos, the band issued a 12" EP, called "Back To The Known", with Gurewitz producing but not playing on the record.

Graffin and Hetson spent the next few years playing sporadically with various line-ups. Eventually,

Finestone and Bentley returned on a full-time basis. In 1987, a newly sober Brett Gurewitz returned to the fold and the band continued as a five-piece. In 1988, Bad Religion issued a new LP, "Suffer", to enthusiastic fans and critics. This lineup released 2 more albums before Finestone departed in 1991. He was replaced by Bobby Schayer. In 1993, immediately following the release of their 7th LP, "Recipe For Hate", the band jumped from Epitaph to Atlantic Records. Following the release of 1994's "Stranger Than Fiction", Brett Gurewitz left the group. Officially, it was said that his reason for leaving was to concentrate on Epitaph following the

huge commercial success of the album "Smash" by The Offspring, and he also expressed displeasure with the band's deal with Atlantic. However, it was later revealed the Gurewitz's primary reason for leaving was due to tension with Bentley (in 1996, Gurewitz released a single with his new band, Daredevils, whose A-side, "Hate You" was written about Bentley). Graffin and Gurewitz also publicly feuded for a short time after the departure. Gurewitz was replaced by Brian Baker (ex-Minor Threat and Dag Nasty).

The band would record 3 more albums for Atlantic with Graffin as the primary songwriter, although

1998's "No Substance" featured significant contributions from the other members of Bad Religion. However, the albums were met with largely mixed critical and commercial responses. Meanwhile, Gurewitz had relapsed into drug abuse and faced a number of personal and legal problems. In 2000, a cleaned-up and sober Gurewitz made a guest appearance on the band's LP, "The New America", prompting rumors of a reunion. The album was the group's last for Atlantic.

Following the release of "The New America", Bobby Schayer exited the group, as a shoulder injury barred him from playing drums. His replacement was Brooks Wackerman (ex-Suicidal Tendencies). In

2001, it was announced that not only had Brett Gurewitz rejoined the band, but that they would also be returning to Epitaph Records. It turned out the Brett's role would be mostly limited to songwriting and production, as his work with Epitaph makes extended touring impractical, although he would make appearances with the band when they performed in Los Angeles. It was also revealed that since the reunion, Gurewitz rarely actually plays guitar on the albums.

Most of the guitar parts are recorded by Brian Baker as he is the most proficient guitarist, although

Gurewitz does record parts if he wants to. The band has continued to record and tour steadily since returning to Epitaph. In 2013, Greg Hetson stopped touring with the group due to undisclosed personal issues. Guitarist Mike Dimkich stepped into fill the role and in early 2014, it was announced that Hetson had left the group and Dimkich would be a permanent member. In the fall of 2015, drummer Brooks Wackerman left the group and joined Avenged Sevenfold. He was replaced by Jamie Miller.



Fast, furious, catchy, thought provoking, and a whole hell of a lot of fun, “No Control” shows the band

maturing their punk style and writing some of their most consistent set of songs yet, all with raw and excellent composition, great production, good structure, and a decent amount of variety in tow. All of this makes for not only one of the best punk albums of the late ‘80s, but one where the band is at their peak, as it’s a ferocious, smart, and consistently enjoyable classic that you may have no control in loving if you’re looking for something hard, thought provoking, and fun, which this album nails near flawlessly.

Bad Religion – No Control 1989
Label: Epitaph – 86702-2
Format: CD, Album, Remastered, Reissue
Country: US
Released: 2004
Genre: Rock
Style: Punk


01. Change Of Ideas    0:55
02. Big Bang    1:42
03. No Control    1:47
04. Sometimes I Feel    1:34
05. Automatic Man    1:40
06. I Want To Conquer The World    2:17
07. Sanity    2:45
08. Henchman    1:07
09. It Must Look Pretty Appealing    1:22
10. You    2:05
11. Progress    2:14
12. I Want Something More    0:47
13. Anxiety    2:08
14. Billy    1:54
15. The World Won't Stop    1:57

MP3 @ 320 Size: 61 MB
Flac  Size:  196 MB


And progress is not intelligently planned
It's the facade of our heritage
The odor of our land
They speak of progress
In red, white and blue
It's the structure of the future
As demise comes seething through
It's progress 'til there's nothing left to gain
As the dearth of new ideas
Makes us wallow in our shame
So before you go to contribute more
To the destruction of this world you adore
Remember life on earth is but a flash of dawn
And we're all part of it as the day rolls on

And progress is a message that we send
One step closer to the future
One inch closer to the end
I say progress is a synonym of time
We are all aware of it but it's nothing we refine
And progress is a debt we all must pay
It's convenience we all cherish
It's pollution we disdain
And the cutting edge is dulling
Too many folks to plow through
Just keep your fuckin' distance
And it can't include you!

It's progress, 'til there's nothing left to gain
It's progress, it's a message that we send
And progress is a debt we all must pay



[AllMusic Review by Jack Rabid

The opening "Incomplete" features some of the most intense verse singing by the ever-soaring Greg Graffin, behind a muscular, punishing sound helped by guest guitar from the MC5's Wayne Kramer. Almost as storming in the same vein are philosophical songs such as "Leave Mine to Me," "Individual," "Tiny Voices," and the powerhouse "Marked," all uptempo barnburners, pulverizing in their rapid passion. The biggest gratification, though, is that a few songs do seem more in line with the maturity of the previous two LPs. "Handshake" is the album's summit, thanks to an oven-hot chorus and an outro-coda that has to rank among their ten best moments. "Slumber" is a slower show-stopper, with a pleading barrage of harmony vocals, while the title track builds on Generator's "Atomic Garden" with an unusual Beatles/Jam singsong melody. On the negative side, "Infected" into "Television" are the two least effective songs of their 15 years, the former a third-rate "Sanity," the latter bereft of hooks. In any case, it is not to be missed and it will haunt you in your sleep.]

Bad Religion – Stranger Than Fiction  1994
Label: Dragnet Records – DRAGNET 50, Dragnet Records – DRA 477343 2
Format: CD, Album, Reissue
Country: Europe
Genre: Rock
Style: Punk



01. Incomplet  (Lead Guitar – "Brother" Wayne Kramer)  2:29
02. Leave Mine To Me    2:06
03. Stranger Than Fiction  (Organ [Hammond Cheese] – Andy Wallace)  2:20
04. Tiny Voices    2:37
05. The Handshake    2:49
06. Better Off Dead    2:38
07. Infected    4:07
08. Television  (Voice [Grunts, Growls & Snarls] – Tim "Lint" Armstrong -
Words By, Music By – Brett Gurewitz, Johnette Napolitano)  2:03
09. Individual    1:58
10. Hooray For Me...    2:49
11. Slumber    2:41
12. Marked  (Backing Vocals – Jim Lindberg)  1:48
13. Inner Logic    2:57
14. What It Is    2:08
15. 21st Century (Digital Boy)    2:47
16. News From The Front  (Music By – Bobby Schayer, Brett Gurewitz, Jay Bentley - Words By – Brett Gurewitz)  2:22
17. Markovian Process    1:29

MP3 @ 320 Size: 97 MB
Flac  Size: 196 MB


[Verse 1]
Mother, father
Look at your little monster
I'm a hero, I'm a zero
I'm the butt of the worst joke in history

I'm a lock without a key, a city with no door
A prayer without faith, a show without a score
A bad word, a wink, a nod, a shiver
An untold story, sex without purity
A creeping gray memory

I am...
Incomplete, incomplete
Incomplete, incomplete

[Verse 2]
Doctor, cure me
What is the cause of my condition
This madness shoots me
Like bullets smashing glass in a silent movie

I'm a trap without a spring, a temple with no god
A jack without an ace, the tip of your tongue
I'm a promise, an unmailed letter
An unbuilt motor, deck without a joker
A creeping gray memory

I am...
Incomplete, incomplete
Incomplete, incomplete

[Guitar Solo]

Tell Saint Peter not to bet on
Me, yeah
I got a naked obsession
A good intention gone bad

I am...
Incomplete, incomplete
Incomplete, incomplete
Incomplete, incomplete