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BAD RELIGION
members present:
Jay Bentley
conducted on:
April 2003
by: Nevra Azerkan
extras:
official website
shout-out to PZO





 
 

PZO: As a band, what do you think your best qualities are?
Jay: The fact that we donít expect the band to make us happy as individuals as a band. We donít have a collective thought and we donít have a collective agenda. So I think the concept of a band is pretty much thrown out the window with Bad Religion because while we agree on what we say creatively we donít necessarily agree with each other personally. But thatís all okay because disagreement is how you resolve issues. If everybody just agreed then you would have a club or a gang <laughs> and I think thatís what makes us unique. We are always looking for answers even within ourselves as individuals.

PZO: After being in a band for so many years, looking back is there anything you'd change?
Jay: <thinks> UhÖno. [There were] a couple of bad records that we did, but thereís not really too much you can do about that. Thatís just like any other artist. Whether you are a painter or a writer you go through periods in your career that may not be as good as others. Youíre always learning. I have a strong enough believe, ďkarmiclyĒ, that if I were to go back and change anything--anything at all--then I wouldnít be sitting here right now and I like sitting here right now, so. Iím really happy.

PZO: As a band what is your main goal to accomplish that you haven't done already?
Jay: Wow, nothing. I think our biggest goal was to make a record. In 1980, we wanted to make something that was real; a viable product. The concept of having a record somehow or another solidifies your existence as a band. Now and days with CD burners everybody has a record. ďOh check out my new record.Ē ďReally, wow.Ē With that, Brett and I had discovered that really all that we had wanted was acknowledgement and respect of our peers; people that we liked. Over the course of 23 some odd years, thatís happened. Where everyone we grew up with--weíre still very good friends with and everyone seems to have respect for our catalog which is nice.

PZO: What was the last meaningful thing you did?
Jay: I told Dave Grohl that I was personally very happy for him. It doesnít happen very often. Band people donít talk like that to each other. They usually just nod their heads, ďHey, bro.Ē I saw the Foo Fighters play last night in Bakersfield on their first big rock tour. I was totally impressed with him and I thought about the first time I met him in í84 when he was the drummer for Scream and running into him at Hollywood and just eating out of trash cans. <laughs> So, watching him last night and the Foo Fighters-thatís his band, his career, he put that together. I just went right up to him and I said I just want you to know how happy I am for you and I mean that; I was really happy for him.

PZO: What is one of your best childhood memories?
Jay: Wow. Itís either my sister stabbing me with a plastic knife or me pushing my cousin down a flight of stairs on his tricycle.
PZO: Wow, is right.
Jay: <laughs> Both of them are kind of funny. I donít know. Me catching fish with my grandfather or playing golf with my dad.
PZO: Golf? Oh yeah, nice pants.
Jay: <whips out golf magazine/catolog> See? Iím already shopping.
PZO: Oh, I play.
Jay: I played yesterday.
PZO: What kind of clubs do you have?
Jay: Right now I play the Top Flite tours, but weíre looking into some new ones, right Tim?
Tim [Tour Manager]: He needs them.
Jay: Yeah, thanks. <laughs> I got the í95 Top Flite tours and I really like them a lot. They remind me of my older clubs, but in six years the technology has changed so much. Like the Callaway X16 is just a bullet proof club. When youíre hitting 6 irons-190. Thatís just so insane. I love it-anyway, my childhood was pretty damn fun Ďcause I donít think I really-I didnít worry about things. I grew up in a really nice and by nice I mean safe area. I grew up by Magic Mountain and at that time there was a Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Safe-Way and maybe 50 people. Now, itís crazy, but back then you were safe as a kid, so I never really had any-a lot of worries.

PZO: What is one of your favorite lines from one of your songs?
Jay: <laughs> ďDo what you want, but donít do it around me.Ē <laughs>

PZO: What is the worst advice you've ever been given?
Jay: UhÖ<thinks> Oh, wow. Probably to--<thinks> I gotta think about this one for a minute. I think about it a lot, but it seems so irrelevant now. Yeah, Iím not going to say that one. <laughs> I am trying to think of one that would makes more sense. You know, and I donít mean to be pompous on this, but I have always ignored people. People that are like, ďIíll give you some advice.Ē It just goes in one ear and out the other. Iím that kind of a person where I have to go see for myself. Donít touch that fence, itís electrified. <makes sizzling noise>
<laughter>

Jay: I just have to. I have to do it. I canít really think of anything that anybody ever told me that I actually did. That sitting down right here, I regret it. Nope, I donít have one.

PZO: You've traveled around the world, are there any trends that you'd like to see integrated into our country?
Jay: Yeah, all of them.
<laughter>
Jay: You know what? In traveling around what Iíve realized is that America as a country is too large; there are too many people and itís just too vast. Watching Europe kind of come together as a euro nation--you can see the problems they are having trying to just make it all happen and all thatís within the span of half of what the continental United States is. I find that that itís just overwhelming what America is. When you think of any trends that youíd like to bring back to America you look at the comments made by I think it was Rumsfeld who said, ďYouíre thinking of old Europe.Ē He was talking specifically of Germany and France. Those are countries that have been quote on quote ďsimonizedĒ for thousands of years. Theyíve pretty much been running since a thousand, <laughs> right, and now weíre 2003.

It shows when you go there, you can see that these civilizations have been through this already and they really understand preservation and conservation and all of the things that it takes to maintain sustainable growth. Even though as a species-Yeah, the Matrix is right, weíre a virus. Just as a being on this planet we just take everything that we can and move on to the next and then we take everything thatís there and move on to the next thing and the next thing, well eventually there wonít be another next thing and thatís the end of it. I think, if anything, the one thing that I would like the most from people that live in America is to kind of realize that time is short and resources are short and itís not quite as safe as they think it is.

When 9/11 happened and everyone was so shocked-this has been going on for thousands of years. Welcome to the real world. This is how it is outside of that bubble that is America. So maybe if people could just kind of step onto the 21st century and say, ďWhat can we do to make things better?Ē Iíd like to see that.


PZO: What keeps you grounded and optimistic?
Jay: My kids.
PZO: How old?
Jay: Nine and eleven.

PZO: What do you think of the war in Iraq and how the media is covering it?
Jay: Itís pretty much one-sided isnít it? I donít understand Arabic so when they show aljazeera I donít know what theyíre saying, but I know what Wolf Blitzer is saying.
<laughter>
PZO: Yeah, you know that guy really does look like a wolf.
<laughter>
Jay: Heís an idiot. Heís just lucky that he got trapped in wherever the hell he was in í91. They kicked everyone out, but me and Iím in a hotel with a satellite dish. Itís like: oh God, not you; of all people, you. Might as well have Jerry Lewis in there; would have been better. Itís one-sided and when I hear reporters using the term ďweĒ in reference to the coalition I am so fucking pissed off. ďWe, WeĒ Itís like whatís this ďweĒ? Youíre supposed to be a journalist? Thereís no ďweĒ. Thatís biased reporting right there. Obviously, itís now a video game itís something that people are bored of watching on TV already. ďWell, Iíve seen that already. Iím bored of it.Ē

They never show the people huddled in the corners crying. They never show the people that arenít happy with their coalition forces storming through Baghdad. All they show is what the 120 people raising an American flag and stomping on a picture of Saddam Hussein. That doesnít really seem like a country of people that are happy to have invaders. From what Iím reading in the news Iím pretty unfulfilled. I feel like this is biased journalism. This is the worst kind of thing they could be doing. What everybody knew would happen is like-well okay you have nothing in power so whatís going to happen? Well anarchy well reign for awhile- and anarchy isnít anything that will last because thatís just what Saddam Hussein was running: anarchy, but Iím the king. You canít beat me. The strongest always wins.

Itís such a cluster fuck what theyíve gotten themselves into and no one realizes that the UN forces are still in Eastern Europe and have been there for 10 years and theyíll be there for 15 more because they canít leave; if they leave all hell will break loose. The same is going to happen there and now they have 350,000 forces there because the fight against terrorism and they just turn the people from Afghanistan and say okay now march over to Iraq and weíll take them out. Well now theyíre going to take those 350,000 people and go, What do we do with these guys? March them up to Syria. Itís not going to stop and people donít realize that. They keep thinking bring our troops home. Why? Theyíre there.

Rumsfeld, Bush, all those guys have an agenda since Ronald Reagan which is control the Middle East. Itís not really about the oil. Itís a great slogan, itís a great sentiment, but thereís so much more to it. Itís so much more about control. Saddam Hussein is an evil sadistical mad man and doesnít deserve to rule a country. I agree with that. But he said something that meant more than anything thatís come out of George W. Bushís mouth which was: ďWho made you the police man of the world?Ē The UN said we donít want you to do that. Thatís the United Nations and Bush says I donít care. Fuck you, Iím going anyway. Wow, really. So now the UN has basically been rendered worthless and it will never recover from this. It canít because it has been proven to be weak and ineffective.

Iraq went to the UN and said please stop them from invading my country. We canít, weíre powerless to do anything against this giant country. Great. So now, basically the US has just said we are the kings and we tell everyone what to do from now on. Chinaís not too happy about that. North Korea isnít too happy about that and for what? This war, itís the tip of the shittiest iceberg out there and it should have never happened. It was something that could have been solved with the weapon inspectors. That would have never fit the agenda that Rumsfeld came straight out of Reaganís evil empire list. Thatís been running now for 15 years. This was something that theyíve had written down on paper for so long that they gave Dick Cheneyís Halliburton company the contract to rebuild Iraq before the war had even started. <laughs> You have the contract already written up? Well how did you know the war was going to start? Oh, well we had inside information. If people would just look into it theyíd realize how insane this all is and how unbelievably unlike what everyone says it is.

The fact when polled, 51% of Americans said Saddam Hussein was directly responsible for the terrorist attacks on the world trade center on 9/11. Fifty-one percent of Americans believe that Saddam Hussein was directly responsible. Iíll bet 100% believe that Saddam Hussein would give weapons of mass destruction to al-Qaida and other terrorist networks, but what they donít know is that al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein hate each other passionately. Saddam Husseinís mission in life was to wipe these Islamic fundamentalists out. He hates them because their not into his party, theyíre into their own thing. So if he gave them weapons of mass destruction theyíd use them on him. Itís was just bull shit that was being said. Theyíre trying to connect these people. Thereís no connection. There never was. There never will be. Theyíre fundamentally apart from each other. Just because they live in the same region doesnít necessarily make them all the same.

Thatís why I got so frustrated with George Bush because he said this is whatís happening here and no one ever questioned it. No one ever asked if thatís true? No one ever looked into it because no one wants to bother. Itís too much hassle, itís too old school. Itís been a war since Biblical times. Well yeah, so you would think youíd look into it because I donít think 18 days of the coalition forces attacking Iraq is going to change twenty-five hundred years of history. Itís not. Theyíll leave and it will all start up again in some other way, shape or form. But now instead of America just being isolated from that and just being considered the Western evil now American is right in the middle of it, stirring up the pot. Why? Why did you have to involve yourself in all of this? Thereís the threat of terrorism. I didnít see you attacking Northern Ireland. Right? Weíre talking about the war on terror. Fine. Letís see the warships go into Northern Ireland. Then Iíll believe itís a war on terror. For right now itís a war on the Middle East and its people and no one will admit that. So thatís my take. Sorry. <laughs>

PZO: If you could pass a law, what would it be?
Jay: That George Bush couldnít be president. <laughs> I would eliminate guns. I mean all of them. The whole, but then only bad people would have gun and no I mean all of them. This is the new law. Hereís the deal: You get caught with a gun you go to jail forever. Thatís just the bottom line. I donít care what anybody says. Guns kill people period. You could maybe slide the argument saying well bullets actually do the damage. Okay, then weíll just outlaw bullets. You can carry guns around with no bullets. Youíd just get no bullets. Yeah, thatís what I would do.

PZO: Given the opportunity, who would you kidnap for a day?
Jay: <thinks> HmmÖcan they be dead? <laughs> I guess that wouldnít work very well. I donít really want to kidnap a dead person. Thatíd be kind of morbid. Let me think about this one for a second. This is a hard one. One person, huh?
PZO: Yep.
Jay: Wow, Iíve never thought about that. Iím a firm believer of never meet your heroes because youíll always be disappointed. So Iím trying to think of someone that I donít necessarily see as a hero, but I would actually just like to talk to them. Maybe: Einstein or Stephen Hawking. Everyone else is a lunatic. Probably Stephen Hawking because he seems to have a better handle on the physics of what we are and why we are here. Unless I could actually go farther back and kidnap Jesus and get into that. That would be okay too. Itís not like a blind-foldy way, right? Itís like a cool thing.
PZO: Right, hang out.
Jay: Okay, yeah I do believe-well I donít know what to believe because itís only written documentation and itís so old that you just-I know I canít get the words ham sandwich around the room before it comes back. Hand job? No, I said ham sandwich. Have you ever played that game?
PZO: Yes.
Jay: So after 2000 years of things being written down Iím fairly certain that some things have changed along the way. But yeah, I could probably do that. Thatíd be the one.

PZO: What is the most memorable bumper sticker you've ever seen?
Jay: The one on my wifeís car which says: My other car is a broom.
<laughter>
Jay: Or Only users lose drugs. <laughs>

PZO: What band or artist would you like to see call it quits?
Jay: Me. <laughs> Iím just going to say it because I am tired of biting my tongue, but I would like to see Good Charlotte stop. I donít care about bands when they get popular or whatever, but I just happened to catch a snippet of that new song [The Anthem] that they have where-I could be wrong, but what I got from it was something about I donít want to go to a university and learn the things like you, I donít want to be like you. So okay what youíre saying is that you want to be stupid for the rest of you life. So youíre just going to dye your hair black and wear eye makeup and get tattooed and be dumb. So when youíre forty why donít you give me a call and tell me how thatís going. That really made me mad. Thatís something that we take fairly seriously. I have no problems with bands talking about teen angst and getting immature and having fun with that stuff. I just seem to have a problem when a band reaches a certain level of popularity I do believe they have a responsibility to the people that listen to them. I think if youíre sending out a message that being stupid is okay Iím just going to stand up and say I have a problem with that. I donít think being stupid is okay.
PZO: Itís great that you donít hate them for being a pop punk band, but actually for what they profess.
Jay: It has nothing to do with that.
PZO: Exactly.
Jay: I know most of these people. I know Good Charlotte too. I just spent the Warped Tour with them and that just really set it in stone for me. I canít abide by that because you sell too many records. If youíre in a band and youíre punk rock and youíre selling 10,000 records and you say, ďFuck universities!Ē Weíll all have a good chuckle and a laugh, but when youíre selling 7 or 8 million records and kids that are impressionable are looking up to you, and the same thing with the rap people, if they are knowing full well that their fan base is impressionable youth and youíre talking about hurting people or using terms for people-little kids donít need to know that. Youíre abusing your privilege, your privilege of being an artist and selling that many records is, in my opinion--its irresponsible and thatís something weíve talked about.

Brett and I talked about this. At what point does a band get to a point in popularity where it gets responsible for its lyrics? How easy is it for a band to say you want to solve the problems of the world? Pick up a gun and shoot 15 people around you and then shoot yourself. The problems are us, but you canít say that Ďbecause thatís not okay. Thatís obviously a very extreme example, but I really believe when you become a mainstream artist you become responsible for what you say. If people want to claim that I am a censor, thatís fine. Itís okay for me because I turn it off. I donít like people that donít like my band. I donít like your band. Donít listen to it. Thatís totally fine. I donít care, but because I am also apart of this entertainment industry I do look at what other artists are saying when they reach a certain level and itís not okay. All theyíre doing is selling records and saying things for shock value and thatís not really healthy.

PZO: What's one slang word that you can't stand?
Jay: <laughs> Something that I use or that people say?
PZO: Either or.
Jay: I canít tolerate racial slurs and slang like that. It bothers me immensely. Thatís really about it. I think adding the ďz.Ē I think thatís cool, thatís great. I just donít like racial words people tend to throw at each other. I understand the concept of it which is well maybe for some people by using those words you give them less power. But I still think that they hurt people, so I donít think thatís ever okay.

PZO: What is the best insult or would be insult you've heard or used?
<laughter>
Jay: I have to go back and think about this one. <laughs> <thinks> I canít even answer that one. Thereís been so many. I donít know what it is, but Iím sure Brian Baker has said it at some point in his life because he is the king of that. Iíd have to think about it for a minute. I actually think he works on them. I think he sits at home and thinks about, ďWhat would I say if someone did this?Ē and then he comes up with them because heís so fast thereís just no way that itís not-yeah I donít know.

PZO: If you could have your own 1-800 number, what would it be?
Jay: Do you mean who would answer it or what would the numbers be?
PZO: The numbers/words.
Jay: I donít know. Do I have to come up with a name or just a reason for the number? See my whole thing with that-when we were kids the big thing was if you could put an ad in the back of a magazine that says: ďIíll tell you how to get rich. Put $1 in an envelope and send it to this address.Ē Then you send back a letter that says: ďGet people to send you $1.Ē So the 1-800 number would be like just call me and itíll cost you a quarter and Iíll tell you how to get rich.
PZO: Thatís a good idea.
Jay: Of course it is. Then you go to jail for mail fraud.
<laughter>

PZO: What questions are you tired of being asked in interviews?
Jay: ďHow did you come up with the band name?Ē
PZO: Is that the biggie?
Jay: Yep. ďHow did you get the band name?Ē ďWhat are your influences?Ē ďWhen is Greg getting his PH.D?Ē Heís tired of that one. ďWhere is Greg?Ē those four. That seems to work for me.

PZO: What question would you liked to be asked?
Jay: I donít know. I wouldnít know it until someone asked it. Every interview is different. There were some great questions in this one that we talked about that I never really talked about with people which is cool. But what is the one all being great question that I secretly longingly wait to be asked? There isnít one. Iím a long winded conversationalist. Thatís me. So when I sit down to talk with people doing interviews I just talk.



 
 
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