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Nearly 35 years later, Bad Religion keeps the punk rock faith

For Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

Even after 34 years and 16 studio albums, California punk rockers Bad Religion still operate with a "Now what to do we do?" sensibility.

"If you stop questioning what you're doing, how you're doing it, why you're doing it, I think you start to regurgitate the same thing over and over again," says bassist and co-founder Jay Bentley. And that, he adds, is what led Bad Religion to start coming up with material for its latest release -- "True North," which came out in January -- while its predecessor, 2010's "The Dissent of Man," was still fresh.

"It wasn't that we weren't happy with ('The Dissent..'), but it didn't really reflect what the band wanted to reflect," Bentley recalls. "We started talking about having songs that weren't four minutes long. 'Let's have songs that are two minutes long and start cutting things that way -- just short, concise blasts, two minutes of angst. That was the direction we started heading in a couple of years before we event got in the studio again."

It certainly seems to have worked; "True North" debuted at No. 19 on the Billboard 200, a career high for Bad Religion. And, as far as Bentley is concerned, "if this is the last thing we do, I'm cool with it." But is there really a chance of that?

"Well, it's just an inevitability, nothing I worry about," says Bentley, 48. "It's something that's going to happen. I'm not sure how prepared everyone else is for it. Greg (Graffin, Bad Religion's frontman) and I talk a lot about it; eventually this is just gonna have to come to an end. We both seem to be OK with it.

"We've come close in the past, but it's still going. As long a we're having fun and are still relevant and feel like what we're putting out is our best foot forward, I'm sure we'll keep going. But it won't last forever -- and it probably shouldn't."

Bad Religion, The Bronx and Polar Bear Club perform Tuesday, April 2, at Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $27.50. Call 313-061-6358 or visit www.saintandrewsdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.saintandrewsdetroit.com

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