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Bad Religion touring on new album

Courtesy photo Bad Religion

Bad Religion guitarist Brian Baker admits he has no clue as to the status of punk music in 2013.

"I'm in a punk band and I play punk music, [but] I haven't been punk since I was 18," said Baker by phone from a tour stop in Atlanta. "It's a young man's game."

He added that his youthful angst has been distilled into that of an adult.

"What I can do is really, really, really love the music and continue to play it," said Baker, 48.

Bad Religion with the Bronx and Polar Bear Club
» Where: 9:30 Club
» When: 8 p.m. Friday
» Info: Sold out, though tickets may still be available through resellers; 202-265-0930; 930.com

Bad Religion performs at the 9:30 Club on Friday.

While Baker may confess to a middle-age mind-set, what he and his bandmates can also proudly lay claim to is their new studio album, "True North." The January release is the group's 16th full-length effort, a blistering 16-track assault of musically fast and lyrically poignant tunes.

Pure punk.

"I think the metaphor's pretty big," Baker laughed. "It's sort of a thought-provoking, geopolitical Bad Religion standard that people have been enjoying for lo these many years."

Baker said Bad Religion benefited from two scenarios in 2012. Earlier that year, the group had no plans, allowing for the writing process to evolve. Second was the presidential election, easy fodder for punk ethos.

"We've never had anything close to a year off to do anything," Baker said. "It's not like some preconceived hiatus."

Highlights from "True North" include the title track, a song with a title that can't be printed here, and a scathing attack on the Republican presidential nominee called "Robin Hood In Reverse."

"Bad Religion topically is usually feeding off what's happening in the world, and there's nothing better than an election to get the pen scratching on paper," Baker said.

Bad Religion formed in Los Angeles in the late 1970s. Baker is a D.C. native and founding member of hardcore band Minor Threat. He joined Bad Religion in 1994.

While Bad Religion has had a long career and a handful of hits, including "21st Century (Digital Boy)" and "Sorrow," "True North" is the band's first top-20 album.

"I really have no idea," Baker said when asked why the new album has done so well. "I learned long ago that when I think a record won't do anything, it does well; and when I think it's fantastic, it sells a copy. In this case, the only thing I can say is I thought it's a really good record. Surprisingly, other people did too."