By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
Even though they're separated by a couple of musical generations, Rise Against and Bad Religion have had similar careers. Specifically, they've both enjoyed as much mainstream success as true punk bands could ever hope to score while still keeping it real.
Here's a locally relevant case in point: Rise Against was slated to perform at the 2009 edition of the Buzz Bake Sale in West Palm Beach — until the punk crew found out it was scheduled to play an Army-sponsored stage. Over the past decade, the Chicago quartet has been outspoken against the military's recruiting tactics (and war in general), so the band asked for a stage swap. When the Buzz wouldn't budge, neither would Rise Against, and the gig was canceled. Bam! Beyond that, even as the band has continued to score Billboard chart slots for its melodic, anthemic take on punk, its members have continued to write activist lyrics, which often touch on animal rights and a drug-free lifestyle.
The men of Bad Religion, meanwhile, remain veritable punk legends even after 32 years in the game. Frontman Greg Graffin is the only founding member to serve throughout the band's three-decade existence, somehow juggling the life of a full-time punker with a position as a paleontology and life sciences professor. However, the current Bad Religion lineup features two on-and-off lifers: bassist Jay Bentley, who only took some time away from the act in the mid-'80s, and guitarist Brett Gurewitz, who, when not touring, runs a little label called Epitaph Records.
Yes, for a brief period in the '90s, Bad Religion recorded for Atlantic Records. But the group quickly went back to Epitaph, making the band one of the most successful and longest-running independent outfits ever, full stop.