With live performances being almost the only way for bands to realistically make any money these days, it’s no surprise that the amount of bands that continue to tour endlessly seems to keep increasing. While punk rock is traditionally seen to be more suited to a younger crowd, there are a select few bands that originated in the early days of the genre that have showed no signs of slowing down or ending touring. Some are excellent and still on the top of their game, while some should have given up long ago and just stop embarrassing themselves.
Bad Religion: 1979 – Present
Apart from a two year absence in the mid-’80s, LA’s Bad Religion have been recording and touring consistently since the release of their 1982 debut How Could Hell Be Any Worse. Although still a strong headline draw and festival favourite, the band has always copped criticism for their music all sounding the same and their glory days being far behind them. While they are still capable of writing passable albums and can still play well live, the creative output of the band’s two most recent singles – specifically the atrocious ‘The Kids Are Alt-Right’ – has been near the bottom of the barrell. Should they give up? Unless they can bust out another album as good as 1990’s Against The Grain, then probably.
NOFX: 1983 – Present
Formed in 1983 as an unremarkable LA hardcore band, NOFX gradually came into their own as one of the most successful punk bands of the ‘90s to today. With a string of solid albums that decade and passable releases after that, the band has never really undergone any drastic style changes or dips in quality. Constantly touring, the band appears to either be excellent and tight live, or disinterested and sloppy. In my experience seeing NOFX many times, the current ratio of good to bad shows is about 1:1. Still, the effects of age and time haven’t really taken a toll on the band and they can still play well when Fat Mike is in a good mood. Should they give up? A couple more years might be alright but I can’t really see them getting better.
Cosmic Psychos: 1982 – Present
Arguably currently seeing their commercial peak with sold-out tours and a much younger fanbase, Cosmic Psychos continue to belt out their unique brand of yobbo pub punk. With the style experiencing a strong resurgence in the Australian punk scene, it’s reassuring to know that the originals are still revered and respected the most. Although lineups have changed (with vocalist/bassist Ross Knight being the only original member), the band continues to be on point live and in the studio. Should they give up? Nah.
Propagandhi: 1986 – Present
Undergoing rapid shifts from their early pop-punk sound to their current tech-thrash metal, Canada’s Propagandhi have been in a league of their own when it comes to innovation and forward-thinking. With the band still looking relatively young compared to other bands of the same era (the vegan diets probably help), Propagandhi somehow seem to attain a higher technical peak on each record. It’s rare to see a band play for such a long time and still manage to improve their sound. Should they give up? Although they would end on a high with no missteps, I think they’ve easily got a good 15 years left.