US-Punkrock band formed 1980 in San Fernando Valley/Los Angeles, CA by Graffin, Gurewitz and Bentley.
Bad Religion is a punk band from Los Angeles, California, known for poignant, erudite lyrics, and biting social commentary. The band was formed in 1980 by high school students Greg Graffin (vocals), Jay Bentley (bass guitar), Jay Ziskrout (drums), and Brett Gurewitz (guitar). In 1981, they released their eponymous debut EP on their own newly-formed label, Epitaph, managed and owned by Gurewitz. 1982 saw the release of their first full-length album, How Could Hell Be Any Worse?, which gained them a sizable following. During the recording, Ziskrout left the band and was replaced by Peter Finestone.
Greg Graffin, the band's frontman, holds a Master's degree in geology from UCLA and a Ph.D. in zoology from Cornell University. His dissertation for Cornell was a comprehensive study of how modern scientists, especially those who believe in strict Darwinism, view theism and religion, and how their own religious beliefs, if any, affect their study and work. He has since published it for fans of the band.
In 1983, Bad Religion released Into the Unknown, a keyboard-driven psychedelic rock album that was enormously unpopular among the band's core fan base. It is now out of print, and generally disowned by the band. However, in past years it has become a collectors item, and has gained some acceptance from fans. It now can be seen going for more than $100 on eBay, and is often pirated.
In 1984, Greg Hetson (Circle Jerks) replaced Gurewitz. Bad Religion returned to a somewhat mellower, rock and roll version of their original sound with the Back to the Known, but they disbanded soon after.
The band reformed in 1987 and released Suffer in 1988, cementing their comeback in the punk community. Not only is this album considered one of their best by most fans, but it is often credited with "saving" the Southern Californian punk rock scene by fans and Bad Religion's contemporaries alike.
No Control (1989) and Against the Grain (1990) further increased the band's popularity, followed by Generator (1992). Before the recording sessions for the latter album commenced, drummer Pete Finestone left the band in to focus on his other band, The Fishermen. Bobby Schayer joined the band as his replacement. Recipe for Hate (1993) followed shortly thereafter.
With alternative rock breaking into the mainstream, Bad Religion left Epitaph for major label Atlantic and quickly re-released Recipe for Hate on the major label. 1994's Stranger Than Fiction followed, but shortly after its release Brett Gurewitz left the band again. Officially, he cited the increasing amount of time he was spending at Epitaph's offices as The Offspring (then a part of the Epitaph roster) became one of the biggest bands of the mid-1990s. But it was well-known that the departure was not on good terms, as he later accused the band of selling out for leaving Epitaph in favor of a major label. Gurewitz recorded a song with his new band The Daredevils entitled "Hate You," reportedly directed towards Jay Bentley. Gurewitz, moreover, was struggling more seriously with heroin and other addictions that had plagued him for years.
Gurewitz was replaced by Brian Baker, former member of bands such as Minor Threat and Dag Nasty. Previously, Graffin and Gurewitz had split songwriting duties, but Gurewitz's departure left Graffin as the band's lone songwriter.
What followed were a series of moderately successful albums, The Gray Race (1996), No Substance (1998), and The New America (2000). As their popularity waned, Bad Religion left Atlantic in 2001 and returned to Epitaph. Bobby Schayer left the band following a serious shoulder injury and was replaced by Brooks Wackerman (Suicidal Tendencies) and Brett Gurewitz rejoined the band in time to record The Process of Belief (2002). The Empire Strikes First was in June 2004. Both albums are widely regarded as a return to form for the band.
In 2004, the band released digitally-remastered versions of five of their early albums (How Could Hell Be Any Worse?, Suffer, No Control, Against the Grain, and Generator). The How Could Hell Be Any Worse? re-issue also contained all of their first EP, the Public Service EP (alternative versions of Bad Religion, Slaves and Drastic Actions from the self titled EP) and Back To The Known.
Bad Religion's fourtheenth full-length studio album, titled New Maps Of Hell, was released on July 10, 2007. It debuted at #35 on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling about 21,000 copies in its first week. It was originally intended to be released in 2006, but was pushed back largely due to the release of Graffin's second solo album, Cold as the Clay and Greg's work at UCLA.
Brett Gurewitz, who still heads Epitaph Records, still records with the band and plays local shows. He doesn't tour with Bad Religion, however. Greg Hetson can still be found at the occasional Circle Jerks show and helped open a bar in LA. Wackerman is working on a side project called the Kidneys. Graffin spends 10 weeks a year teaching two classes (Life Sciences 1 and Earth and Space Sciences 116) at UCLA. Jay Bentley keeps the Bad Religion MySpace page updated.
Bad Religion is an American punk rock band founded in Southern California in 1979 by Jay Bentley (bass), Greg Graffin (vocals), Brett Gurewitz (guitars), and Jay Ziskrout (drums). They are often credited for being involved in the revival of punk rock and inspiring several subsequent punk bands during the late 1980s, as well as influencing a large number of other punk and rock musicians throughout their career. In the 31 years since its inception, Bad Religion has had numerous lineup changes, and Graffin has been the only constant member, although the band currently features three out of the original four members.
To date, Bad Religion has released fourteen studio albums (with a fifteenth due out in the fall of 2010), two EPs, three compilation albums, two live recordings, and two DVDs. Almost all of the band's albums were released on Epitaph Records, started in 1980 by Gurewitz, who still runs the label today. Their 1988 album Suffer has been cited by some critics as one of the most important punk rock albums of all time, although it was not charted in Billboard. The next three albums, No Control, Against the Grain and Generator were also highly acclaimed. When they signed to the major label Atlantic Records, Bad Religion rose to fame with their 1993 album Recipe for Hate, which reached number 14 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart, marking the highest initial charting album in the band's career. Their next album, Stranger Than Fiction, featuring the band's well-known hit singles "21st Century (Digital Boy)" and "Infected", was also successful and became the only Bad Religion album to obtain gold status in the US. Following Gurewitz's departure in 1994, Graffin took over the majority of the songwriting duties, which lasted for the next three albums. Gurewitz returned to the fold in 2001, making Bad Religion a six-piece band, and contributed to their three most recent albums. The band has finished recording a new studio album, entitled The Dissent of Man, which is scheduled for release on September 28, 2010, and will also mark the first time that a Bad Religion line-up had not changed in four consecutive studio recordings.
They are particularly known for their use of soaring 3 part vocal harmonies (which they refer to in their album liner notes as the "oozin' aahs"), wide vocabulary, and political or religious commentary. Their lyrics often relate to matters of social responsibility.