Bad Religion – How Could Hell Be Any Worse?


Bad Religion
How Could Hell Be Any Worse?
11/30/82 – Epitaph Records
Producers Bad Religion

Greg Graffin – vocals
Brett Gurewitz – guitars
Jay Bentley – bass
Pete Finestone – drums on tracks 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 13
Jay Ziskrout – drums on tracks 2, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 14
Greg Hetson – guitar solo on track 3

01 – We’re Only Gonna Die (Greg Graffin) 2:12
02 – Latch Key Kids (Greg Graffin) 1:38
03 – Part III (Jay Bentley) 1:48
04 – Faith in God (Greg Graffin) 1:50
05 – Fuck Armageddon… This is Hell (Greg Graffin) 2:48
06 – Pity (Greg Graffin) 2:00
07 – In the Night (Brett Gurewitz) 3:25
08 – Damned to Be Free (Greg Graffin) 1:58
09 – White Trash (2nd Generation) (Brett Gurewitz) 2:21
10 – American Dream (Brett Gurewitz) 1:41
11 – Eat Your Dog (Greg Graffin) 1:04
12 – Voice of God is Government (Jay Bentley) 2:54
13 – Oligarchy (Brett Gurewitz) 1:01
14 – Doing Time (Brett Gurewitz) 3:00

I remember when I first heard about this album, I was hanging out with my Uncle Rick at his work, Fallbrook Mann Theatre, one Saturday afternoon. He had come to work with his hair bleached-blonde, and one of his coworkers, a guy named Jay was asking Rick how he got his hair so blonde. So, Rick tells him “it’s simple, I bleached it.”

Well, I came back the next day, Sunday, and I’m hanging out in my Uncle’s office, and he tells me that this coming Tuesday, Bad Religion’s new record was going to be out. My Uncle was friends with some of the guys from LADS, and the guys from Bad Religion. If memory serves, he went to El Camino with Jay Ziskrout and Jay Bentley for a year or so.

Anyway, in the middle of this conversation, my Uncle’s coworker, Jay comes walking in, and he starts complaining about bleaching his hair. We both look up and Jay’s forehead, around his ears, and the back of neck were bright red, like he had been burned in a fire. Turns out Jay had taken my Uncle’s advice and “bleached” his hair – but with Clorox Bleach. He was in pain, and the bleach had only lightened the hair a bit. All pain and no gain.

I think I must have had the first side of this album on my turntable all the time. Because when I re-purchased this LP a while back, I knew all the words to all the songs on the first side, and not as much on side two.

I am a fan of Graffin’s lyrics. Graffin always had a way of delivering somewhat gloomy lyrics in a way that made you pay attention, and hold your interest.

How Could Hell Be Any Worse? is Bad Religion’s first full-length album, it was released in 1982. It was financed by a $1,000 loan by guitarist Brett Gurewitz’s father. Its “success” surprised the band when it sold 10,000 copies in under a year.

Bad Religion’s original drummer, Ziskrout, co-founded the band with Gurewitz in 1980. He performed on the EP, the Public Service compilation, and eight tracks on How Could Hell Be Any Worse? Rumor has it he decided to leave the band with only half of the songs recorded for How Could Hell Be Any Worse? due to a misunderstanding regarding the band’s new press photos (Rumor has it). Bad Religion found another drummer, Ziskrout’s drum-tech, Pete Finestone, who took over drums to complete the album.

Shortly after leaving the band, he moved to New York, where he worked for many years with Clive Davis as Vice President of Album Promotion for Arista Records. Later he returned to his punk roots by joining Epitaph Records in Amsterdam, where he served as Managing Director of Epitaph Europe/International working to break such artists as The Offspring, and Rancid. After Epitaph Records, Ziskrout returned to New York to launch two Latin Alternative music businesses, Grita! Records and From 2001 to 2004, he served as COO of The CMJ Network.

Ziskrout currently works as CEO of the music, marketing, and technology consulting company, Sonicvista, based in Vermont.

Finestone composed the soundtrack fro the soon to be released film The Still Life, along with members of Skid Row, and Guns ‘N Roses. The film also has a cameo from Jonathan Davis of Korn.

How Could Hell Be Any Worse? was released on CD as part of the 1991 compilation, ’80-’85, and was remastered for the 2004 re-issue of this album.

If you don’t own it, go and buy it, stop reading! Go buy it.

Rating: *** three out of three stars



Born Frustrated is coming, August 14, 2015:

Agent Orange, Symbol Six, Runman, Defects, Wolfgod, Unglued, Revelation – LIVE


Agent Orange, Symbol Six, Runman, Defects, Wolfgod, Unglued, Revelation
Malibu Inn, Malibu, CA
Saturday, July 23, 2011

OK, true believers, here’s the deal, this show took me about forty-five minutes to get to. I took the 405 to the 10 and take Highway 1 to Pacific Palisades to PCH and you’re there.

As soon as I got there the place was mobbed. All the parking was taken, I had to pay a few bucks to park across the street and make that mad dash across Pacific Coast Highway.

Once inside, the place it was literally a who’s who of Symbol Six fans from all the way back. Every person I passed was like, “I’ve known these guys since grade school,” or “We hung out in junior high.”

Once Mike Palm and the guys from Agent Orange started bringing in their equipment I was blown away to see with them an old friend from high school, Steph. I may have mentioned her before. Anyway, I look up, and go, “Steph?” She looked confused, it’s probably because I’m far more dashing than I was in high school, and with a bit of explaining she remembered me. Turns out she is Mrs. Mike Palm. Wild. Anyway, Mike and his family are really nice people. It was a class reunion for Symbol Six and me as well.

I was so busy talking that I ended up missing both Wolfgod and Revelation. At one point I walked outside for some air and met the drummer for Wolfgod (he complimented my shoes), and he explained the type of songs that Wolfgod does. One of the first he mentioned was a song about a guy picking up a zombie hooker . . . I was picturing Casey Kasem announcing that one, “Coming in at number five this week is a ditty from Wolfgod, it deals with a disturbing scenario, a man and his need for a woman, an undead woman.”

The first band I caught was The Defects. They were decent rapid fire hardcore. Imagine Keith Morris singing Red Tape for a half an hour. Throughout the entire evening the vocalist kept screaming “Fuck Malibu,” which got old real quick.

The second band I caught was Unglued. I enjoyed these guys. I can’t figure out how to describe their sound, other than they good old-fashioned punk rock. Just prior to going on stage they were nice enough to give a T-shirt.

The third band I caught was Runman. I enjoyed these guys. I can’t remember a bunch of their set, but they were good.

The sixth band of the night was the five-headed beast known as . . . Symbol Six! As I’ve stated in the past (I’ve never seen a band more times than I have these guys), when you see Symbol Six there is always the feeling that this is the show. And Symbol Six is always upping their game a few notches. Not to say the other bands aren’t good, I’m saying if the other band is playing a good set, Symbol Six will play a great set, and Eric Leach will howl the vocals while the pit erupts leveling the club. Side note: guitarist Mark Conway (also of Neighborhood Watch) was especially good on guitar and backing vocals.

There were a few guys from the start of the set that were bowing down to guitarists Taz Rudd, Mark Conway and bassist Evan Shanks, and it was odd. Then there was this hippie Jesus-looking guy that was doing this odd flower dance in the pit that was somehow pissing people off. Every time he passed by, more and more of his clothes were gone or torn. The vocalist from The Defects leveled him once or twice. Finally, security took out of the pit.

Symbol Six played classic tracks from the Posh Boy EP, Ego, Symbol Six, Taxation, and Beverlywood. The only downside to these tracks is that one of the vocalists that performed earlier grabbed a mike and tried to sing-along, he was about 20 seconds ahead and subsequently threw the band off a bit.

Symbol Six also played Generation Damnation, a new song that they had recorded the night before. Another all-star performance.

Agent Orange played a super-tight, great set. It’s hard to believe that it’s only three people on the stage, creating such a wall of noise.

My only complaints are that Mike Palm’s microphone was turned down too low, and on songs like Bloodstains I heard the audience singing, but not him. And secondly, I would’ve liked a few more of the older songs. Otherwise Agent Orange is still great.



Born Frustrated is coming, August 14, 2015:

The Unseen – Internal Salvation


The Unseen
Internal Salvation
Released July 16, 2007
Hellcat Records

Mark Unseen – Lead Vocals
Scott Unseen – Lead Guitar, Vocals
Tripp Underwood – Bass, Vocals
Jonny – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Pat Melzard – Drums

1. Intro (The Brutal Truth)
2. Such Tragedy
3. At Point Break
4. Right Before Your Eyes
5. Torn and Shattered (Nothing Left)
6. Break Away
7. Let It Go
8. No Direction
9. In Your Place
10. Left For Dead
11. Step Inside…Take Your Life
12. Act the Part
13. Talking Bombs

I like the bulk of the Hellcat releases, but this one – not so much. A little too screamy.

Internal Salvation is the sixth full-length studio album from The Unseen. It was released on July 16, 2007 and is their second album released on Hellcat Records (a subsidiary label of Epitaph Records).

Whereas the themes of their previous album State of Discontent were heavily political, the lyrical themes of Internal Salvation focus on more personal and philosophical themes, as the album’s title suggests. Break Away is about breaking free of the destructive forces that shape the way we live, while Right Before Your Eyes suggests that the material world we value is disintegrating right in front of us.

Rating: * ** one out of three stars

On to the story . . .

Saturday morning my son and I went over to Lake Balboa in Encino. We were just going to hang out for an hour or so at the playground, then go back home.

So, we started at the jungle gym (why is it called that?), then walked along the lake and checked out the ducks. Somehow, while walking around we ended up at this stream that shoots off of the lake. We followed it until it ended by the Woodley Golf Course. Once there we found a trail that led down into a ravine that was, kind of, hidden behind trees, bushes and such.

Once the boy and I found a little opening we ducked into the clearing. We found a creek, but it was all dried up (thanks L.A. drought), but we did find lots of tagging (damn forest animals) and a few beer bottles and trash.

Once there I son wanted to go further. We climbed up a rather large mountain that seemed to be equal parts dirt and sand. My son was able to scurry up the slope like a sand crab. I on the other hand am not exactly light. So, I had to dig in with everything I had to avoid sliding down the side of said mountain.

Once over this hill we found a river. This one was full and moving fast. We stepped over stones and rocks to get to the other side. Midway over my son yells, “Hey Dad, check this out!” I look over and my boy is holding the jawbone of some type of animal. It’s about six inches long and the back hinge was about three to four inches tall with razor sharp teeth. My first reaction, as a dad, was, “Hey, put that down. You want kind of bacteria is on that?”

But fifteen minutes later I start thinking to myself that we should have kept it.

The rest of the day we spent trying to figure out what kind of animal the jaw was from. Finally, a short while before bed, my son had identified it on Wikipedia. It was most likely a possum.

It was fun, aside from discovering empty forties and the tagging of ancient civilizations.



Born Frustrated is coming, August 14, 2015:

Refused – The Shape Of Punk To Come


The Shape of Punk to Come
Released April 13, 1998
Burning Heart

Dennis Lyxzén – lead vocals
David Sandström – drums
Kristofer Steen – guitars
Magnus Flagge – bass

1. Worms of the Senses / Faculties of the Skull
2. Liberation Frequency
3. The Deadly Rhythm
4. Summer Holidays vs. Punkroutine
5. Bruitist Pome #5
6. New Noise
7. The Refused Party Program
8. Protest Song ’68
9. Refused Are Fuckin Dead
10. The Shape of Punk to Come
11. Tannhäuser / Derivè
12. The Apollo Programme Was a Hoax

With all the hype behind this album, I really expected to like it. But unfortunately, from the first track I was over it.

The Shape of Punk to Come: A Chimerical Bombination in 12 Bursts, often shortened to The Shape of Punk to Come, is the third album by Swedish band Refused, released in October 1998 through Burning Heart Records. The album’s title is a reference to a track on The Nation of Ulysses’ second album Plays Pretty for Baby, which itself was a reference and shares its title with Ornette Coleman’s 1959 avant-garde jazz album The Shape of Jazz to Come. The song title Worms of the Senses / Faculties of the Skull is an allusion to a line from Allen Ginsberg’s long poem Howl. Additionally, the song Refused Are Fuckin’ Dead is a reference to the Born Against song Born Against Are Fuckin’ Dead.

Although Refused broke up only months after the album’s release, The Shape of Punk to Come has since found an audience for the band and largely contributed to their posthumous fame, as well as inspiring many later artists in a wide range of genres. Kerrang magazine listed The Shape of Punk to Come at #13 on their 50 Most Influential Albums of All Time list in 2003.

This album marked a sharp and conscious departure from Refused’s earlier work. The philosophy of the album, expounded in the ample liner notes and encapsulated in the song New Noise, was that punk and hardcore music could not be anti-establishment by continuing to package revolutionary lyrics in sounds which had been increasingly co-opted into the mainstream. The sound of the record challenged existing punk sensibilities; it was punk at a fundamental level, but thanks to bold and experimental combinations of post-hardcore, post-punk, techno, and jazz sounds, it was worlds apart from pop punk bands such as Green Day and Blink-182, and even more traditional punk rock bands such as Bad Religion and Pennywise.

The album also includes “political interludes” between some songs. The use of more technological sounds or drum and bass music, particularly on The New Noise Theology E.P. which followed the album, is a tactic that various members of Refused have credited to the influence of Philadelphia punk band Ink & Dagger.

Rating: * ** one out of three stars

On to the story . . .

The other night, after I got home from Disneyland, I got a frantic text from a guy I know. He was anxious, “He said, “Somehow you are an admin on my page. I need you to remove yourself.”

It was 11:30 at night, I was in bed, I spent all day walking around between Disneyland and California Adventure, so I was trying to figure out how I could be an admin on someone’s page and he wasn’t able to remove me.

So, I replied with, “Remove my articles from your site and I’ll remove myself from your page in the morning.”

It went back and forth for another hour:

“Here’s the link to remove yourself.”

“How come I wasn’t informed of your articles before tonight?”

Then the kicker:

“Since I don’t talk about you behind your back, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t talk about me.”

At this point in my life I don’t even deny this shit. You know why? Because any and everyone that knows me knows well enough that if I have anything to say I say it. If I don’t like you, some jerk-off across the country isn’t going to know what I think of you before you do.

So, I just replied with a, “What’d you hear?”

The response was” “Nothing.”

Absolutely no reason to continue this, it’s making my ass hurt.

So, I removed myself as admin and got a text that said “No hard feelings, call me if you want.” If this was handled more on the up and up I would, but it went sour within 5 lines of text.



Born Frustrated is coming, Summer 2015:

Social Distortion – Prison Bound


Social Distortion
Prison Bound
Released February 1988
Restless Records

Mike Ness – lead vocal, lead guitar
Dennis Danell – rhythm guitar
John Maurer – bass guitar, backing vocals
Christopher Reece – drums

1. It’s the Law – 2:38
2. Indulgence (Danell/Ness) – 4:34
3. Like an Outlaw (For You) (Danell/Ness) – 5:21
4. Back Street Girl (Jagger/Richards) – 4:22
5. Prison Bound – 5:24
6. No Pain, No Gain – 3:42
7. On My Nerves (Danell/Ness) – 4:23
8. I Want What I Want (Danell/Ness) – 3:02
9. Lawless – 3:21
10. Lost Child – 4:18

Prison Bound is the second studio album by Social Distortion, was released in 1988. This is the first album with bass guitarist John Maurer and drummer Christopher Reece. It expands upon the punk sound of the band’s highly regarded, but commercially unsuccessful first album Mommy’s Little Monster, 1983, by adding elements of Johnny Cash-style country.

Today, Prison Bound is looked upon as a turning point for Social Distortion, paving the way for the commercial success they achieved on their next album, Social Distortion, which would be released two years later.

After this album, Social Distortion left Restless/Enigma Records in 1989 and moved to Epic Records for their self-titled album.

The first track, It’s the Law, is a remake of Justice for All, which appeared on the 1981 compilation album The Future Looks Bright (and later on the 1995 compilation album Mainliner: Wreckage from the Past). The fifth track, Prison Bound, was only released as a single on KROQ-FM. The album contains a cover version of Backstreet Girl originally recorded by the Rolling Stones. The album’s title track contains a reference to Johnny Cash’s I Walk the Line. The band went on to cover Cash’s Ring of Fire on their next album.

Rating: ** * two out of three stars

On to the story . . .

I was walking into a club about a week ago. The guy in front of me, shook hands with the bouncer/doorman. And they exchanged names and pleasantries.

So, I assumed I should do the same. I held out my hand and the bouncer said, “My name is Apache.” I maintained a straight-face, but wanted to laugh.

I looked at him and said, “You can call me Cobra.”



Born Frustrated is coming, Summer 2015:

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