“University cities are the best places to play,” says Jay Bentley, bassist for legendary Southern California punk band Bad Religion. “They’re full of students,” he continues, “and students are the best people.”
Bad Religion has been busting establishment chops since 1979. The band returns to Eugene in support of 2013’s studio record True North. Bentley says in addition to touring, Bad Religion has started writing a new record.
After so many years in the business, he notes that it’s easy to keep things fresh, and quitting has never been an option. “Never stop playing,” he says, adding that a catalog of 300-plus songs allows set lists to change on a nightly basis.
And with topical songwriting, inspiration is everywhere. “Open up the newspaper,” he says, and find inspiration for five songs.
Bentley does joke that if his younger self could see him now, he’d exclaim, “Get out of the way, old man!”
Over the years Bad Religion has been incalculably influential in rock ‘n’ roll in general and punk rock specifically. But Bentley describes Bad Religion’s sound in different terms. “We play fast folk songs,” he says.
Bentley sees Bad Religion’s populist, socially conscious themes as a continuation of the protest folk movement — a missing link between Woody Guthrie and Green Day.
Performing with Bad Religion is punk-hardcore super group OFF! — featuring members from Circle Jerks, Black Flag, Redd Kross and Rocket From The Crypt — as well as Wade Graham at 8 pm Wednesday, March 25, at McDonald Theatre; $25 adv., $30 door. All ages.