Bad Religion Biography

Review The Artist (8)

Source: http://www.badreligion.com/badreligion/bandhis/bandhis.jsp
Bad Religion-photo
Greg Graffin - vocals
Greg Hetson - guitar
Brett Gurewitz - guitar
Brian Baker - guitar
Jay Bentley - bass
Brooks Wackerman - drums

The music has the furious beat and driving buzz saw guitars of classic punk rock, but when a vocal chorus cuts in, it is surprisingly harmonious and emotionally evocative, reminiscent of The Beatles or The Everly Brothers.

This is a sonic contradiction that works to stunning effect. It is also a sound that has come to define one of the world’s most original rock bands, BAD RELIGION. To call BAD RELIGION simply a punk band is akin to labeling the Who, a mod band, or Pet Sounds era Beach Boys, surf music. True, these bands were each defined by a time and a place – and you can definitely hear echoes of the Los Angeles punk scene in BAD RELIGION’s melodic and energetic music. But like the other bands, BAD RELIGION has both honored and yet completely transcended their roots. Their newest effort THE PROCESS OF BELIEF is no mere hardcore revivalism; it is, in fact, the complete evolution of punk music, a record that successfully redefines a genre the band helped to popularize. If you love punk rock, this disc will surely quench your thirst like no other, and if you’re simply looking for an incredibly vital and inspiring rock record, the same holds true.

The band’s songwriters, singer Greg Graffin and guitarist Brett Gurewitz are back working together after years apart. This renewed collaboration seems to have brought the band to the peak of their game. Unlike many veteran artists who seem to lose their way over the years, BAD RELIGION has instead deftly harnessed their mutual life experiences into an incredibly focused and inspired work. This is never more apparent than on the intensely intimate song “Broken,” with its compassionate portrait of deeply flawed souls. The chorus sings out plaintively against a backdrop of crashing guitars, “While I’m not the kind to insist, you couldn’t have missed, we must co-exist. So please listen to me, there is no such thing, as human debris. Broken? I said I’m not broken. A little cracked but still I’m not broken.” seeming an almost personal plea for forgiveness and acceptance. When the band kicks into overdrive on the hyper-fast new song “Materialist” one hears punk rock at its very zenith, with intelligent and thoughtful lyrics like, “THE PROCESS OF BELIEF is an elixir when you’re weak. I must confess at times, I indulge it on the sneak” set against frantic staccato drumming and bristling high-speed guitars. This juxtaposition of energetic music and insightful lyrics is a quality that, from their very inception, has set BAD RELIGION apart from the pack.

Set in relief against the faster songs on THE PROCESS OF BELIEF, is the stunning mid-tempo anthem, “Epiphany.” It builds from a lone contemplative bass line to an emotional and symphonic crescendo of thundering guitar chords and interweaving choruses singing the refrain, “Only to discover, that our values ran us aground, on the shoal in the sea, of what we could be. What’s right is wrong, what’s come has gone, what’s clear and pure is not so sure.” It truly sounds like nothing else on the current musical landscape -- both heartfelt and refreshingly original. BAD RELIGION began, like so many creative forces, as a reaction to an inhospitable environment. In this case, the heat baked Los Angeles suburbs of the San Fernando Valley, a sprawling smog infested dystopia of mini-malls and suffocating boredom. It was in this climate that three disaffected teenagers, Greg Graffin, Brett Gurewitz and Jay Bentley, met and formed BAD RELIGION, practicing in a small garage and playing live amidst the volatile LA punk scene.

When the major record companies refused to sign anything resembling punk, Gurewitz decided they would simply start their own label to release the band’s incendiary music. BAD RELIGION soon issued a crudely recorded self titled EP on a newly formed Epitaph label and quickly followed up with a much better produced full-length album titled “How Could Hell Be Any Worse?” a record considered by many to be a milestone of Southern California punk music. Gurewitz eventually left the band and was replaced by Greg Hetson from speed punk pioneers, the Circle Jerks. In 1986, Gurewitz decided to take another shot at the record business and opened a small recording studio in Hollywood called Westbeach.

When Hetson couldn’t make a show one night, the band asked Gurewitz to fill in and he was soon back in the line up, playing alongside Hetson. In 1987, the band entered Westbeach and recorded a batch of energetic new songs for an album called “Suffer,” a stunning combination of high-octane punk songs and solid production values, which was a success with both fans and critics. Many would say it was also responsible for reinvigorating the entire punk rock genre. Punk was soon back with a vengeance and it was no coincidence that much of it sounded like BAD RELIGION with driving beats and melodic harmonies. The following years saw the revitalized band releasing almost an album per year, gaining international popularity and even landing a hit radio single with the song “Infected.” In 1993, the band moved to Atlantic records. A year later, Epitaph found itself experiencing a sudden growth as punk music finally exploded into mass popularity. This resulted in Gurewitz again departing the band to dedicate himself full time to his quickly expanding label.

BAD RELIGION recruited lead guitarist Brian Baker, previously of underground legends, Minor Threat, and forged ahead, continuing to release records and tour. Gurewitz on the other hand, found himself waging an agonizing battle with drug addiction that saw him eventually in jail, and most assuming he would be yet one more punk rock drug casualty. When all seemed hopeless, he managed to rally and slowly work his way back. Gurewitz and Graffin had always kept in touch, but as attractive as collaborating again seemed, there were serious obstacles in place. The band still owed their label another record, and a revitalized Gurewitz was occupied with his work at Epitaph. A year and a half ago, the path finally cleared and BAD RELIGION invited Gurewitz to rejoin the band he had helped to start. He agreed and, in turn, asked BAD RELIGION back to a label initially created to release their music.

The “Process of Belief” had begun. The band returned to Gurewitz’s Westbeach studios with the addition of a young drum prodigy named Brooks Wackerman, whose gifted playing has added a complexity and crispness to the new songs. The result is arguably BAD RELIGION’s best record to date. “There’s this tangible excitement amongst the band right now.” Guitarist, Baker says, “Brett is in heaven doing this. This is the only band that he’s been in. This is the only band Greg Graffin has been in. It’s like this is what they were put on fucking earth to do.” One of the songs on the new record is an urgent hook-filled romp called “Supersonic” that addresses the increasingly disposable nature of pop culture with the lines, “How does it feel to be outstripped by the pace of cultural change? My deeds are senseless and rendered meaningless, when measured in that vein.” An appropriate topic for one of the few enduring bands out there. Perhaps the key to their sustained relevance is their steadfast refusal to measure themselves by passing standards. BAD RELIGION, true to their punk roots, is a band completely guided by their own vision. The rest of us are just damn lucky that vision sounds so good. THE PROCESS OF BELIEF? Absolutely.
Greg Graffin
vocals Greg Hetson
guitar
Brett Gurewitz guitar Brian Baker
guitar
Jay Bentley
bass Brooks Wackerman drums

The music has the furious beat and driving buzz saw guitars of classic punk rock, but when a vocal chorus cuts in, it is surprisingly harmonious and emotionally evocative, reminiscent of The Beatles or The Everly Brothers.

This is a sonic contradiction that works to stunning effect. It is also a sound that has come to define one of the world’s most original rock bands, BAD RELIGION. To call BAD RELIGION simply a punk band is akin to labeling the Who, a mod band, or Pet Sounds era Beach Boys, surf music. True, these bands were each defined by a time and a place – and you can definitely hear echoes of the Los Angeles punk scene in BAD RELIGION’s melodic and energetic music. But like the other bands, BAD RELIGION has both honored and yet completely transcended their roots. Their newest effort THE PROCESS OF BELIEF is no mere hardcore revivalism; it is, in fact, the complete evolution of punk music, a record that successfully redefines a genre the band helped to popularize. If you love punk rock, this disc will surely quench your thirst like no other, and if you’re simply looking for an incredibly vital and inspiring rock record, the same holds true.

The band’s songwriters, singer Greg Graffin and guitarist Brett Gurewitz are back working together after years apart. This renewed collaboration seems to have brought the band to the peak of their game. Unlike many veteran artists who seem to lose their way over the years, BAD RELIGION has instead deftly harnessed their mutual life experiences into an incredibly focused and inspired work. This is never more apparent than on the intensely intimate song “Broken,” with its compassionate portrait of deeply flawed souls. The chorus sings out plaintively against a backdrop of crashing guitars, “While I’m not the kind to insist, you couldn’t have missed, we must co-exist. So please listen to me, there is no such thing, as human debris. Broken? I said I’m not broken. A little cracked but still I’m not broken.” seeming an almost personal plea for forgiveness and acceptance. When the band kicks into overdrive on the hyper-fast new song “Materialist” one hears punk rock at its very zenith, with intelligent and thoughtful lyrics like, “THE PROCESS OF BELIEF is an elixir when you’re weak. I must confess at times, I indulge it on the sneak” set against frantic staccato drumming and bristling high-speed guitars. This juxtaposition of energetic music and insightful lyrics is a quality that, from their very inception, has set BAD RELIGION apart from the pack.

Set in relief against the faster songs on THE PROCESS OF BELIEF, is the stunning mid-tempo anthem, “Epiphany.” It builds from a lone contemplative bass line to an emotional and symphonic crescendo of thundering guitar chords and interweaving choruses singing the refrain, “Only to discover, that our values ran us aground, on the shoal in the sea, of what we could be. What’s right is wrong, what’s come has gone, what’s clear and pure is not so sure.” It truly sounds like nothing else on the current musical landscape -- both heartfelt and refreshingly original. BAD RELIGION began, like so many creative forces, as a reaction to an inhospitable environment. In this case, the heat baked Los Angeles suburbs of the San Fernando Valley, a sprawling smog infested dystopia of mini-malls and suffocating boredom. It was in this climate that three disaffected teenagers, Greg Graffin, Brett Gurewitz and Jay Bentley, met and formed BAD RELIGION, practicing in a small garage and playing live amidst the volatile LA punk scene.

When the major record companies refused to sign anything resembling punk, Gurewitz decided they would simply start their own label to release the band’s incendiary music. BAD RELIGION soon issued a crudely recorded self titled EP on a newly formed Epitaph label and quickly followed up with a much better produced full-length album titled “How Could Hell Be Any Worse?” a record considered by many to be a milestone of Southern California punk music. Gurewitz eventually left the band and was replaced by Greg Hetson from speed punk pioneers, the Circle Jerks. In 1986, Gurewitz decided to take another shot at the record business and opened a small recording studio in Hollywood called Westbeach.

When Hetson couldn’t make a show one night, the band asked Gurewitz to fill in and he was soon back in the line up, playing alongside Hetson. In 1987, the band entered Westbeach and recorded a batch of energetic new songs for an album called “Suffer,” a stunning combination of high-octane punk songs and solid production values, which was a success with both fans and critics. Many would say it was also responsible for reinvigorating the entire punk rock genre. Punk was soon back with a vengeance and it was no coincidence that much of it sounded like BAD RELIGION with driving beats and melodic harmonies. The following years saw the revitalized band releasing almost an album per year, gaining international popularity and even landing a hit radio single with the song “Infected.” In 1993, the band moved to Atlantic records. A year later, Epitaph found itself experiencing a sudden growth as punk music finally exploded into mass popularity. This resulted in Gurewitz again departing the band to dedicate himself full time to his quickly expanding label.

BAD RELIGION recruited lead guitarist Brian Baker, previously of underground legends, Minor Threat, and forged ahead, continuing to release records and tour. Gurewitz on the other hand, found himself waging an agonizing battle with drug addiction that saw him eventually in jail, and most assuming he would be yet one more punk rock drug casualty. When all seemed hopeless, he managed to rally and slowly work his way back. Gurewitz and Graffin had always kept in touch, but as attractive as collaborating again seemed, there were serious obstacles in place. The band still owed their label another record, and a revitalized Gurewitz was occupied with his work at Epitaph. A year and a half ago, the path finally cleared and BAD RELIGION invited Gurewitz to rejoin the band he had helped to start. He agreed and, in turn, asked BAD RELIGION back to a label initially created to release their music.

The “Process of Belief” had begun. The band returned to Gurewitz’s Westbeach studios with the addition of a young drum prodigy named Brooks Wackerman, whose gifted playing has added a complexity and crispness to the new songs. The result is arguably BAD RELIGION’s best record to date. “There’s this tangible excitement amongst the band right now.” Guitarist, Baker says, “Brett is in heaven doing this. This is the only band that he’s been in. This is the only band Greg Graffin has been in. It’s like this is what they were put on fucking earth to do.” One of the songs on the new record is an urgent hook-filled romp called “Supersonic” that addresses the increasingly disposable nature of pop culture with the lines, “How does it feel to be outstripped by the pace of cultural change? My deeds are senseless and rendered meaningless, when measured in that vein.” An appropriate topic for one of the few enduring bands out there. Perhaps the key to their sustained relevance is their steadfast refusal to measure themselves by passing standards. BAD RELIGION, true to their punk roots, is a band completely guided by their own vision. The rest of us are just damn lucky that vision sounds so good. THE PROCESS OF BELIEF? Absolutely.

Thanks to daw26 for submitting the biography.

Please click here to submit the latest Bad Religion biography

Give Me Hope | Reviewer: Dr Tania | 3/24/12

As others have said, it is difficult to describe how far-reaching the impact of a band like this has, but in my own life, they are absolutely speaking my experience and expressing my outrage, feelings and thoughts on the issues they address whether that's our evil political machines, emotional distress, suffering and how we can be our own worst enemies. They are contemporaries of mine (same age) and it gives me so much hope when on bad days, amidst a sea of corporate sell-outs with their BMW's, I am feeling like we are doomed. Thank you Greg, Brett, et al...

One of the Most Significant Bands on Earth | Reviewer: Someone else's fool | 7/13/10

Listen to Bad Religion.ANY ALBUM WILL DO.Never mind the genre,just listen to it just as you do with your favorite bands,these punks will educate you bout things not taught in school,all you have to do is figure out what the hell are they singing about.Other bands might be better in instrumentation,but hell nothing else write lyrics like Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz do! with a great sensibilities to heart-felt melody and harmonies they incorporate in their music,this band could be the soundtrack of our lives or at least mine.

Bad Religion | Reviewer: Dan | 10/28/09

People who claim that musicians have no need to get involved with politics are terribly mistaken. In my opinion Graffin is more educated and informed than half the suits in Washington "representing" us. I couldn't think of a more qualified role model.

you pretty well summed it up! | Reviewer: joni | 10/29/07

To the person who submitted the comment about how no review can some this band up....I'll just say you pretty much did, Bad Religion is the most kick ass band, and has the most meaningful lyrics to me, in history...and only the people who are die hard Bad religion fans can understand how truley amazing they are.

Untill you have sat down and become one with their lyrics, and have really listened and understood what they created for us, you will never know how brilliant these kickass dudes really are!!

No review can sum this band up! | Reviewer: Jon H | 12/28/05

There are great reviews already here but like them, this review is just a understatement (keep up the reviews though!). Bad Religions impact on lives and the punk scene cannot be expressed in words other than those wonderfully crafted lyrics in their songs! They are not just a part of the punk scene... they are THE Bad Religion scene, advancing and transforming the pitiful landscape and creating space for the punk scene to follow.

I'd like to thank them for changing lives, opening eyes and just being the best band ever. Though some albums stand above the rest every single album is brilliance.

Rock on.

bad religion rock out | Reviewer: cc | 8/30/05

my god, bad religion for me were simply life changing. i have listened to punk/hardcore for years but nothing in my life has ever come close to bad religion. they opened my eyes to a whole other world, and they gave me a voice. they prove to purist punk assholes that you can do what you wanna do, prove your point, get your message across, do it well, and still be 'punk' these guys wrote the goddamn book on punk. you can also be smart as all hell (like greg graffin) and still rock out.

onya boys.

nothing comes close | Reviewer: smashed | 4/18/05

The combination of fast furious music and soaring heart-felt harmonies and god damn amazing lyrics make this band a must for anyone with an ounce of taste. Some may find that a dictionary may be a good idea whilst listening to this band as some of their lyrics are pretty complex and take you by surprise. I own over ten of their albums and know every song of by heart and i just got 'Against the Grain' which i have already memorised, it's easy to relate to the lyrics if you're actually interested enough to listen to what they say. So if you like punk, rock anything at all in fact check out this band you won't regret it, in fact you'll probably regret not checking them out sooner. Oh yeah in the bio it say's their latest effort was 'the Process of Belief' but they have in fact released 'The empire strikes first' on epitaph in 2004 check it out its already a classic.

GREAT!!!! | Reviewer: James | 4/17/05

Bad Religion definetly is one of the bands with the greatest lyrics I've ever heard. The lyrics have a great subject about the point of view of the god, the way we live, etc... and the most important, very strong music!!!... 10 of 10!!!


The following area is only for review,
Your Name:
(Notes: Your name will be published if you input it)

Review about Bad Religion

Please enter a title for your review:

-------- 11/26/2014
Type your review in the space below: