In the midst of an election, despicable disenfranchisement reigns supreme. It is tempting to give up altogether, pack our bags and move to an island so remote that silence becomes the new governing body. For many Americans, casting a vote on Nov. 8 will feel pointless, like screaming into a fucking vacuum.
Thankfully, legendary punk-rock powerhouse Bad Religion is coming to town, and wants to remind you that your voice matters.
“[We’re] traveling all over the country right up to election day,” says guitarist Brian Baker (of Minor Threat fame), who’s been with the band since 1994. Baker says the current North American tour — named “Vox Populi” for obvious reasons — is an attempt to “agitate and motivate people to participate in the electoral process.”
“The songs we are playing in our sets have been carefully chosen,” he says. “They are all thematically relevant to the current American political landscape.”
Nearly four decades into their tenure — with 16 albums under their belts — it’s hard to imagine a group of musicians that continues on so passionately, staying crazy after all these years. Since 1979, Bad Religion has preached the same message: You alone have the power to change shit. Whether critiquing religion, encouraging political discourse or simply pushing the amps to 11, the band refuses to dilute itself.
Bad Religion’s latest record, True North, released in 2013, packs all the same punches and all the urgency of its predecessors. This is more than your run-of-the-mill, skanky, eyelid-piercing bullcrap. It’s a call to arms — a throbbing, blood-stained musical fist hurtling toward a splintered glass ceiling. And perhaps consistency of message means stasis, but Baker assures us it’s no big deal with all the nonchalance and self-deprecation of a true punk legend.
“We haven’t really evolved much,” he says. “Guitars are in tune now; we can kind of sing the backups live these days. That’s about it. And we are still inconsistent. Just ask our sound guy.”
So it’s good news and business as usual for Bad Religion’s thronging fans, who know exactly what to expect and are never, ever disappointed. Here’s hoping the next four years don’t see them all (you included) ground into radioactive dust.
As Baker says, it’s up to you to make your voice heard.
“Citizens of Eugene,” he implores, “please register to vote! And to those who do and those who already have, please exercise your right to vote in this absolutely pivotal presidential election. This is one for the ages.” ν
Bad Religion plays with Against Me! and Dave Hause 7:30 pm Monday, Oct. 24, at McDonald Theatre; $25 adv.,$30 door. All ages.