Back To The Known
11/30/84 – Epitaph Records
Produced Brett Gurewitz and Greg Graffin
Greg Graffin – vocals & acoustic guitar
Greg Hetson – lead & rhythm guitar
Tim Gallegos – bass
Pete Finestone – drums
1. Yesterday – 2:39
2. Frogger – 1:19
3. Bad Religion (Theme Song) – 2:10
4. Along The Way – 1:36
5. New Leaf – 2:53
“As the title suggests, the band eliminated all the hints of psychedelia and keyboards that flowed throughout the previous album, concentrating on relentless punk rock. While it’s a stylistic retreat, the band’s strength is blistering hardcore punk, which is something Back to the Known delivers in spades.”
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AMG
I didn’t end up getting a copy of this EP until twenty-three years after its release. When I popped it on, initially, I was surprised by the sound. Over the course of three years (since their first EP) Bad Religion had changed their sound drastically. Now, I can comment positively, or do like every other punk would have done back in 1984, and screamed of selling-out, or becoming heavy metal, but I choose to go with the positive. Bad Religion evolved, it had to happen. I don’t know if this is what I would typically call “punk.” It’s good, but different.
A little less than ten years ago a band called Dynamite Hack came out with a cover of the Eazy-E song Boys In The Hood. Track three of this EP hit me the same way the Dynamite Hack song did. You say “Damn, this is familiar. Do I know this song?” I would have sworn it was a cover. The way Graffin sang on the first EP, How Could Hell Be Any Worse? and the tracks from the Public Service compilation is completely different here. Graffin had a higher pitched, kind of, screaming sing-song voice. The screaming is now gone. So, track three ends up sounding like a cover, not the guys that stomped this down your throat a mere three years early.
In 1984, Greg Hetson of the Circle Jerks, who had played guitar on “Part III” on How Could Hell Be Any Worse?, joined to replace Mr. Brett, who had gone into rehab. In the meantime, the band’s lineup underwent some more changes. Greg Graffin is the band’s only original member on this EP. In addition to Graffin, this incarnation of the band also featured the previously mentioned Hetson, bassist Tim Gallegos, and returning drummer Pete Finestone. Finestone also drummed on How Could Hell Be Any Worse?
I remember my Uncle Rick telling me stories about Jay Ziskrout, and Pete Finestone. My Uncle was friends with both guys, and whenever he’d talk to them they would both insist that they did the bulk of the drumming on How Could Hell Be Any Worse?
Back to the Known was Bad Religion’s fourth release. They abandoned the progressive sound of their not-so-popular 1983 album, Into the Unknown, and instead returned to their roots. Back to the Known was originally released in a 12″ format, with only one side of the vinyl containing all five tracks. The B side contained no music, it was grooveless, and smooth. It was re-released as part of the 1991 compilation ’80-’85, and again on the 2004 reissue, How Could Hell Be Any Worse?
Bad Religion formed in the Woodland Hills section of the San Fernando Valley in 1980, with guitarist Brett Gurewitz, vocalist Greg Graffin, bassist Jay Bentley, and drummer Jay Ziskrout. Gurewitz established Epitaph Records, to release the band’s music. Between their self-titled EP, and their first full-length record, Pete Finestone replaced Ziskrout as the group’s drummer.
All in all out of the EP’s five tracks three of them are definitely strong. If you get a chance to pick this up check out Yesterday, Bad Religion, and Along The Way. Graffin came back with some more interesting lyrics; this is from Along the way:
“I refuse to abuse what is kind to the Muse,
But it’s there and it’s happening to me along the way.
As we go through the snow, we cannot forget our foes,
But the dinner’s always waiting at the table ‘long the way, yeah.
What you see, not for me, isn’t what you planned to be,
But you’ll have what you wanted in the end along the way.
And we’ll try as we cry and our brothers pass us by,
To be strong through the ages of our tears along the way, yeah.
Now we grow as we show that the morals we must know
Will be shapen and mistaken by the falls along the way.
But forget, don’t regret, to find love and happiness
Unless you’re willing to be strong when they are gone along the way.
Like Tommy, you are free, and you will not follow me,
Until we see each other once more on the path along the way.”
Give this one a listen!
Rating: ** * two out of three stars
LIFE WON’T WAIT is out now, grab a copy today: https://www.createspace.com/4019318