Bad Religion have been around longer than I’ve been on this planet, so getting a chance to speak to one of their members was an honour and a privilege.
Bass player Jay Bentley spoke with us about their new record and what it’s like being in a punk band 25 years into the game…
Interview w/ Jay Bentley of
By Cameron Chambers
Friday July 6th
Hey Jay, thanks heaps for speaking
with us today, we really appreciate it.
All good man! How are you doing
Really good thanks man, yourself?
I’m really good. Just getting
ready for Warped. It’s a long dirty tour, it’s going to be awesome.
Just a great tour to be on!
Where are you calling from
at the moment – your publicist said you’re currently moving between
I’m currently in Calgary getting
ready to watch Pennywise. The sun is shining and it looks like it’s
going to be an awesome day.
And how has the current tour
Well, we recently did one show
in Spain and then started this thing about a week ago, and it’s been
awesome so far.
“New Maps Of Hell” has
been out for less than a month– are you happy with how the record
Well, it’s not actually out
yet man! Ha ha, it doesn’t come out until July 10th.
Really, ha ha, it’s already
floating around down here in Australia!
Shhh, don’t tell anybody, ha
ha. But yes, we’re really happy with how it turned out and we’re
really excited to play it.
What’s the reaction to the
new songs been like at your recent shows?
Well, the way it’s always been
is people watch us to see if we like it – which we do – and if we
play a new song that we’re not into, then they don’t like it.
I don’t really know though.
The record is so new that we haven’t talked to anybody to see what
they think about it. We only really know the stuff on the internet at
this point in time, which has been all good so far.
This is your 16th
studio record – how has the writing
process changed over the years?
It’s hard to not get repetitive
so we are always looking for new ways to coin an old phrase I guess.
The one constant is trying to stay relevant – that’s what we really
The big changes are bringing in
people like Brooks who’s just a massive drummer so we can do some
things that we weren’t able to do previously which is great!
Bad Religion have been together
for more than 2 decades – have you found the band has become less
influenced by other people’s music and more by the world around you
– or was that always the case anyway?
Musically our influences are so
diverse and so random that it doesn’t fall into one category. I’d
say that at this point we are influenced by ourselves because we’ve
been together for so long. You know, we write a song and we’re like,
“that sounds like a riff from 12 years ago”, so we don’t use it,
I think the thing is that we can
stay current by understanding what the sound of the music is. As a band,
you don’t want to cling to some pre-historic song. At the end of the
day, we are Bad Religion and will always continue to be Bad Religion
but with new recording techniques and the introduction of the digital
ago, we can try things that we hadn’t been able to previously.
How does it feel knowing that
20 years later people still hold Bad Religion in such high regard? There
would be fans out there that heard you guys as kids and have grown up
and passed your music on to their own children!
Ha ha. Well, I’ve still got
friends that I’ve grown up with but I don’t really think about the
band. As soon as you start thinking about what you do and try to give
it some credibility things can get weird – and I just don’t want
to do that.
You guys are about to embark
on the Vans Warped Tour – is a 2 month tour in the summer heat as
appealing as it used to be?
Ha ha ha ha. The more you do it
the easier it gets because your expectations are so low, ha ha ha. We
just get out there and know what’s in store for us so it makes it
It’s just a great tour to be
a part of and it’s so much fun.
In the last few years the Warped
Tour has expanded from its more traditional punk line-up to include
everything from hardcore and metal to hip hop
and indie rock – how do you think Bad Religion will go down the crowd
So far we’ve played 4 shows
and people have been really excited to have us on the bill. I’ve caught
up with and spoken with some of the other bands and the response has
been really cool.
Some of the bands on the tour
we’ve known for years which is great but there are some other really
cool bands who we’ve just met.
At the end of the day, we’re
all out here to have a good time and so far so good. We’re not even
a tenth of the way through the tour yet though, ha ha.
I spoke with Nick from Tiger
Army last week and he was saying how excited he was to see you guys
That’s really cool! We’ve
played a lot of shows with the older bands on the tour so we definitely
have some old friendships out here. It’s cool because these are the
tours we couldn’t do on our own, but with the Warped Tour we can get
together with a lot of our friends and just hit the road and spend some
Are there any other bands on
the tour that you’re excited to see?
I’ve been watching The Gallows.
Sorry, not The Gallows, just Gallows! Ha ha, everyone always makes that
Yeah man, it seems everyone
is pretty siked on Gallows at the moment. They’re touring down here
Make sure you see them!
What touring plans have you
guys got once the summer is over?
We have some Fall touring organized
in the States. In October we’re hitting the East Coast and then in
November we’re hoping to hit Australia.
I was going to ask you about
that coz I’ve heard rumours…
There are rumours, ha ha ha ha.
We keep trying to come down to Australia so I’m definitely going to
be working a lot harder to make it happen!
Given Brett’s commitment
to Epitaph Records, Bad Religion hasn’t exactly been a
“full time” band in recent years
– what do you get up to in your downtime?
Just hanging out with my kids
man, ha ha.
Ha ha, cool.
I’m serious man! Ha ha.
I’m a dad, and I look at my
kids and just love spending time with them. I’ve got a lot of friends
who are just having kids now and they’re like, “oh look at my new
kids” but my kids are 16 and they’re just the funniest guys ever,
They’re always taking my car
though, ha ha, but hanging out with them is the funniest thing in the
Are they fans of your music?
Sort of, you’ve got to remember
that when you’re 16 you always think your dad is a jerk – even if
his band is kind of cool, ha ha.
Ha ha ha, when was the last
time you attended a show as a fan?
About 4 months ago I went to see
Circle Jerks and Pennywise in Vancouver and it was awesome. I got in
the pit and everything! Ha ha.
Ha ha, how’d that work out
It was awesome. The Circle Jerks
still put on such a great show.
Who are some bands you’ve
heard recently that people should be checking out?
Well, the last Bouncing Souls
record was fantastic!
For sure, that’s a great
And I’m not really sure how
big they are down there in Australia but the new Arctic Monkey’s record
was really amazing.
I’m still walking around the
campsite at Warped trying to find a new act to check out. My friend
told me to check out a band called Family Force Five so I’m trying
to suss them out. I’m not even sure if they’re a legit band or if
my friend is just pulling my leg but I’m trying to find them!
As I mentioned earlier, it’s
heavily rumoured that you guys are touring Australia at the end of the
year with Strung Out – any truth to this?
That’s the rumour man, ha ha.
I heard it too!
The only chance I’ve had
to see Bad Religion was in 99 on the Warped Tour and you unfortunately
had to cancel. We got the Suicidals instead which was
cool but I’m still hanging out to see you guys!
That was me. That was my fault
Yeah, in 1999 I cancelled us off
the Australian part of the tour because I had a nervous breakdown.
It was the first year that we’d
done the Warped Tour in the States and then we hit Europe as well –
so we’d been on the road for 6 months and then we were supposed to
go to Australia.
I got home and my wife was like
“I’m leaving, I don’t want this shit anymore” and I went crazy
and called Kevin and said I can’t tour anymore, I need to stay home
and salvage my marriage and I kind of went into a tailspin.
Family first man.
Yeah I guess, ha ha, but in retrospect
I wish we’d done that tour, ha ha.
That wraps it up Jay, anything
else you’d like to add?
Keep surfing, ha ha.
Ha ha, I’ll spread the word.
Take care man.
“New Maps Of Hell” is available through Epitaph/Shock!
Check out www.myspace.com/badreligion for more details!