Bad Religion, No Control

I bought this, way back in 1989, because Kreator’s Mille Petroza wore their shirt, which was simply a cross struck-through with a “no” symbol.

Didn’t know a thing about them, otherwise–  and it took many listens for this thrash-metal zealot to truly get No Control.

But get it I did. Every song, every lyric– which to this day I know backwards. As I like to say, it gets in, it gets out, and rocks out in the interim.

It’s 15 tracks of punk rock –average length of about a minute and a half– played as fast as possible, and as literarily as possible, by a PhD candidate in southern California, who isn’t afraid to include lyrics the average metalhead/punk rocker will have to look up– and which I still often do.

It’s fucking awesome, even 23 years and 5 degrees later.

This album is perfect.

Highlights: “No Control”  (An utterly Zen Buddhist testimonial– “There’s no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end… when we all disintegrate, it’ll all happen again–yeah!”), “Progress,” “Automatic Man,” “The World Won’t Stop,” and pretty much every other  track on this masterpiece from Epitaph records.

“His life is meaningful, because he gets things done… chalk up another triumph for our hero, the Automatic Man…”

It’s also catchy as shit– I’m amazed that none of this tunes has shown up in a Target ad campaign.

It’s reassuring, to me, an unapologetic intellectual and snob– these lyrics are unapologetically literate and philosophical: Greg Graffin, I fucking love you.

This is something I grew up with– thrash metal, which came from punk rock, with its political fury– and something that to this day makes me proud of what I listened to as teenager and what it made me, as an intellectual– how many Debbie Gibson fans from the late 80s can say the same thing?

Some track specificness:

“I want to conquer the world:”– dig these lyrics:

     I wanna conquer the world, give all the idiots a brand-new religion,
     put an end to poverty, uncleanliness and toil…
     Expose the culprits and feed them to the children,
I’ll do away with air pollution and then I’ll save the whales,
We’ll have peace on earth and global communion…
     I wanna conquer the world… promote equality with all of my decisions, with a quick wink of the eye, and a ‘God, you must be joking…!”

When was the last time you read literally anything that uplifting and forward-thinking…? In the whole of my navel-gazing life, only Krishnamurti, Jesus Christ (depending on the translation), the Buddha himself, and a select few others decreed something so forward-thinking…! Who says extreme music is stupid? Idiots!

Get in on this, you groundling bitches!!

[I’m kidding: I love you for your deliberate uncouthness.]


  1. This is great stuff! I vaguely remember Bad Religion existing but it never actually reached my ears until now.

    You can hear where the modern pop-punks took their influence but they don’t have that secret ingredient these guys had.

    It really reminds me of something (the vocals that is) and it’s driving me nuts but I can’t quite put my finger on it…

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