Everynight Charley

Bad Religion at the Hammerstein Ballroom / October 29, 2021

Bad Religion formed as a punk rock band in 1980 in Los Angeles, California. In its first decade, the band struggled financially, breaking apart several times for short periods and reuniting to try again for commercial success. By 1990, punk in California had transitioned from experimental music to loud, fast, and polished pop. Bad Religion was part of this movement and enjoyed newfound popularity alongside fellow Californians Green Day, the Offspring, NOFX ,and Rancid.

Bad Religion is one of the best-selling punk rock acts of all time, having sold over five million albums worldwide. The band also authorized the publication of their autobiography, Do What You Want: The Story of Bad Religion, in 2020.

Decades later, Bad Religion is perhaps the most active of that wave of pop punk bands, touring more frequently even without new recordings to promote. Throughout the 1990s, Bad Religion released a new album every year or two. The band’s 17th and most recent studio album, The Age of Unreason, with its anti-Trump sentiments, was released in 2019. The current tour, postponed from 2020, does not focus on that album at all, instead playing one to three songs from a dozen albums spanning the band’s 40-year career. Even “Better Off Dead” from 1994 made its live debut on this tour.

Bad Religion presently consists of vocalist Greg Graffin, guitarists Brian Baker and Mike Dimkich, bassist Jay Bentley, and drummer Jamie Miller. Following well-received sets by War on Women and Alkaline Trio, Bad Religion performed a blistering set of pounding rock, featuring pop melodies feeding into frequent multi-part harmonies on choruses. Bad Religion hammered power chord after power chord, sometimes just two basic chords thrusting in rotation. This music was meant to be kept simple.

Despite the band’s moniker, the songs did not challenge religious beliefs, but instead spoke of various social ills, including political distress, societal conformity, bias in media, and the proliferation of hate. Although many of the angrier songs originated under Republican presidencies, the rather sophisticated vocabulary in the lyrics transcended time-locked periods by avoiding specific blame. The lyrics were not a call to respond but rather an ironic and often sarcastic commentary. As such, the band applied upbeat music to even the darkest of its topics. Bad Religion found a formula, and it has worked for decades.

Photo by Everynight Charley


  1. New Dark Ages
  2. Modern Man
  3. Recipe for Hate
  4. Los Angeles Is Burning
  5. Fuck You
  6. Chaos from Within
  7. Epiphany
  8. I Want to Conquer the World
  9. 21st Century (Digital Boy)
  10. Damned to Be Free
  11. Man with a Mission
  12. Murder
  13. Better Off Dead
  14. Candidate
  15. Do What You Want
  16. No Control
  17. Generator
  18. You
  19. Infected
  20. Sorrow
  21. American Jesus


  1. We’re Only Gonna Die
Photo by Everynight Charley