"Mike James Rock Show" conducted an interview with guitarist Brian Baker of acclaimed Los Angeles punk rock band BAD RELIGION prior to the band's performance at this year's Slam Dunk festival at Hatfield Park in Hatfield, England. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On BAD RELIGION still playing new songs live:
Brian: "You don't want to be a heritage act. That, to me, is you're going to supply a soundtrack that reminds the audience of when they were young and cool. I think we've kind of tried to establish a little higher bar than that. I think it's the nature of the things BAD RELIGION has always written about. When you're talking about global strife, it's not quite the same as that GTI Mark 4 you had and how much fun you had with a Strongbow. It's a little different."
On addressing the world's issues in BAD RELIGION's lyrics:
Brian: "There's no end to being able to write about religious persecution and people in high places doing the exact opposite of what they're supposed to do. It will be this way for time immemorial."
On whether BAD RELIGION has plans of "slowing down" anytime soon:
Brian: "We don't overwork. We do this because we like it. It's still a great time. And we play maybe at the most, a hundred shows a year. And the thing about being a band with our long history is that we don't really need to put out records. They come out organically and so we're not bound to an album cycle, like, 'Here's your new album. Now you're going to develop new markets in the Midwest of the United States.' It's, like, 'No, I'm not. I'm not trying to develop a new market. I'm trying to have a great time and play to people who are moved by our music.' So that's a great place to be, but it means that we tour as we please."
On the era of bands essentially giving their music away for free in order to generate an audience:
Brian: "I would hate to be a new band trying to make a dent. Our band is kind of — we're not really susceptible to that sort of thing. We're not really being marketed. We're an institution, so we kind of don't have to worry so much about that, but god, the competition must be so difficult. It seems a lot of people listen with their eyes rather than their ears. That's just the way things are now, so that's going to be a whole different dynamic. There's a lot of music that I've seen somebody and was, like, 'Okay, that person looks cool. I wonder what that is?' Then the music is terrible because the music is not important, it's about the look, it's the SoundCloud rapper. It's that kind of thing. Your name and the combination of face tattoos and things tied in your hair is more important than the music. That's great for people who enjoy that."
On the band's 2019 plans:
Brian: "We're going to spend some time in the U.S. We haven't been there in a while. Characteristically, we play shows in Europe in the festival season pretty much every year because it's awesome. We love it. It fits the timeframe of how long we can be away, but we haven't done a proper U.S. tour since 2016 and we're, like, 'We need to go. We're having some problems over there. We should probably go play.' We're going to do some extensive touring in the U.S., then we're going to Australia at the end of the year, then next year, it all begins again. We'll be back over here for sure. We're going to do a proper U.K. tour. We'll hopefully get to Ireland again. We've only been there one time. I find that amazing to me."
BAD RELIGION's summer North American tour kicked off June 2 in Thornville, Ohio.
The band's latest studio album, "The Age Of Unreason", was released May 3 via Epitaph.