Book Review: Do What You Want: The Story of Bad Religion By Bad Religion with Jim Ruland (Hachette Books)

By: Jesse Striewski

Alright, so I might be a little late reviewing this one (about half a year, give or take). But to be fair, book reviews take way more time than say, an album or concert review does. But I digress, this still semi-new biography on legendary punks Bad Religion is worth every page turn.

I was initially weary as far as what to anticipate here to be honest, half expecting this to be just another excuse for someone’s ‘timely’ political agenda to get across (which eventually does become the case about three quarters of the way in, unfortunately). But once I dove in, more than anything I realized this was a well-thought out, meticulous history lesson on the band that completely changed the punk landscape in California back in the early ’80s.

Along with the help of current and former members, author Ruland digs deep into every detail about the band starting from their humble beginnings, all the way up until now. Even more forgotten (and dare I say, mysterious) eras in the band’s timeline, such as the fallout that came after the 1983 Into the Unknown album, and how the band eventually put themselves back together, are finally given the light of the day.

Chances are if you were a suburban misfit during the ’90s like myself, punk music such as Bad Religion’s played a decent role in your growth. And if you’re lucky enough to have retained some brain cells, too, you can hopefully appreciate learning a thing or two about a band like Bad Religion’s backstory.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Album Review: Bad Religion – Age of Unreason (Epitaph Records)

Bad Religion

By: Jesse Striewski

Bad Religion were undoubtedly one of my favorite punk acts growing up, and many a summer was spent going to see them play at Warped Tour in my younger years. But with the current political climate, complete with hypocritical extremist groups on each side (including so-called, anti-fascist-yet-still-violent, far leftists), I was somewhat reluctant to even check out the band’s latest release (just to clarify, I’m a neutral person able to see flaws on both sides, I’m just not into bands who promote violence in any way), but after just one listen, I was instantly glad I gave it a chance.

Everything that’s ever made this band so great to begin with is still easily found here, seventeen albums in to their career. The thought-provoking (yet still not overly preachy), heartfelt lyrics, hook-laden guitars, and of course, the classic “Oohh’s” and “Aahh’s” the band is so well known for, are all present. Tracks like “What Tomorrow Brings,” “The Approach,” and the brilliant “Candidate,” are all perfect examples of what these guys still have to offer to humanity as a whole. Give it a listen with an open mind (something much of society has sadly forgotten how to do).

Rating: 3/5 Stars