This is probably the most bizarre news we’ve ever published. There have been reports that Greg Hetson didn’t play with Bad Religion on their latest European tour, including this year’s Groezrock Festival in Belgium; instead the band played as four piece. Bad Religion have not yet made a statement whether or not Hetson is out of the band, but a blog page called Ont Road Fanzine posted the following statement:
“We’d heard a rumour earlier that day from their German tour driver that Greg Hetson was not with the band. This was confirmed when they stepped onto the stage as a four piece, leaving Brian Baker to take on the whole of the guitar playing duties. This situation didn’t sound good on paper, yet we we’re soon proven wrong. This rare opportunity to see them as a four piece brought a whole new dimension to seeing the band live (something that @Vegetauren and I have done on way too many occasions). It felt and sounded like Bad Religion of the past: the songs sounded more urgent as they weren’t able to let the songs be carried by the usual depth of rhythm and melody, and this resulted in a purer punk sounding Bad Religion, akin to their sound we’ve all heard on the bootlegs from the earlier days. Brian Baker was hitting note for note, and holding it strong, and Jay Bentley owned that stage, moving around like a punker is his twenties, not forties. Thankfully they’d also mixed their set up a little since their last visit, so as well as playing the usual classics, we were treated to seven songs from the latest album True North (which is testament to how much of a great record it is), none from The Dissent of Man (!), and a plethora of rarely played live songs, such as Beyond Electric Dreams, Against the Grain, and Submission Complete. Greg Graffins’ usual dose of dry humour between songs was also on fine form, when he was teasing the crowd about the rain, finishing with the words, “the easiest thing to do, is say fuck you”, a line from their last single that was specifically released on the day of the US presidential election. By the time they had finished their 90 minute set with the ‘Department of False Hope’ I was shattered, yet full of faith that Bad Religion still are and always will be the best punk-rock band of all time. And if you don’t believe me you’re a schmuck, because the trend won’t die out without any luck.”
Hetson has been a member of Bad Religion since 1984 and has appeared on many of their seminal albums such as Suffer (1988), No Control (1989) and Against the Grain (1990). The band’s latest album, True North, was released last January of this year on Epitaph Records.