BAD RELIGION with THE BRONX and POLAR BEAR CLUB at Kool Haus (132 Queens Quay East), Sunday (March 31), 8 pm, all ages. $29.50. RT, SS, TM, UE. See listings.
Jay Bentley might be a member of one of the longest-running punk rock bands, but that doesn't mean the Bad Religion bassist has run out of things to be angry about.
"What I see happening in America is people clinging to the idea that the solution [to our problems] is to return to 1950, and that's not the answer at all," says Bentley during a press junket at the Metropolitan Hotel. "You look at something like Sandy Hook and say, ‘Well, that's just as shitty as people can get.' I'm not really a person who spends a lot of time crying. I tend to kick and punch."
True North, the band's 16th album, was recorded over eight days late last year. Greg Graffin's lyrics were influenced by the trials and tribulations his 20-year-old son was going through, which caused him to reflect on being that age. Bentley also has two sons in their early 20s, and easily relates.
"I guess the question is, how far have I come since then? And maybe the answer is that I've just gotten a little better at understanding what I'm so angry about. Not much has changed [on the] outside."
Bad Religion have never been shy about expressing their world views, though Bentley insists they've never been politically motivated.
"I try to stop people from trying to give us the political flag, because we're not a political band," he says. "We talk more about human nature, and not about whether you live in America or Canada or are a Republican or a Democrat. The fact is, you're a human who can do incredibly inhumane things to other people."
The L.A. band's influence on young punk groups is undeniable, though Bentley doesn't mince words about the majority of those playing recent Vans Warped tours. "If you're not going to speak your fucking mind, take the word ‘punk rock' out of your resumé and find another term," he says.
And despite the fact that most in the six-piece are pushing or have reached 50, aging hasn't meant slowing down - their current tour is their longest since 1994 - or understanding the secret to their success.
"If I could figure out how all this works, I'd write a book and tell other people how to do it and become a bajillionaire. There is no secret to this. You just get lucky."