Though they're separated by a couple of band generations, both Rise Against and Bad Religion share one very important trait: Though they've both enjoyed as much mainstream success as true punk bands could hope to enjoy, both acts have kept it real.
Here's a locally relevant case in point. Rise Against was slated to play the 2009 edition of the Buzz Bake Sale in West Palm Beach — until the band found out it was scheduled to play an Army-sponsored stage. The Chicago quartet has, in its past decade, been outspoken against military recruiting tactics (and war in general) and asked for a stage swap. When the Buzz wouldn't budge, neither would the band, so it canceled. Bam! Beyond that, even as the band has continued to score Billboard chart slots for its melodic, anthemic take on punk, its members have continued to write activist lyrics, which often touch on animal rights and a drug-free lifestyle.
Bad Religion, meanwhile, remains a veritable punk legend, now running some 32 years technically since its inception. Frontman Brett Gurewitz has been the only founding member in the group continuously since the beginning, managing to juggle that and positions as a paleontology and life sciences professor.
But the current lineup of the band again features two on-and-off lifers: bassist Jay Bentley, who took some time off from the act in the mid-'80s, and guitarist Brett Gurewitz, who, when not touring, runs a little label called Epitaph Records. Though Bad Religion briefly recorded for Atlantic Records in the '90s, it quickly went back to Epitaph, making it one of the most successful and longest-running independent bands ever, full stop. New albums even continue to appear at a steady clip, the latest of which was The Dissent of Man, released last year.