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Profiles :: Bad Religion
This US hardcore band was formed in 1980 in the suburbs of north Los Angeles, California. Their first incarnation comprised Greg Graffin (vocals), Brett Gurewitz (guitar), Jay Lishrout (drums) and Jay Bentley (bass), with the name originating from their mutual distaste for organized religion.
The band have become well known for their articulate lyrics and social commentary. Frontman Greg Graffin has a doctorate in evolutionary biology and a masters in geology.
Their debut release was the poorly produced EP Bad Religion, on Epitaph Records, formed by founder member Gurewitz. Following several appearances on local compilation albums, Pete Finestone took over as drummer in 1982. The milestone album How Could Hell Be Any Worse? was recorded in Hollywood, creating a fair degree of local and national interest.
The subsequent Into The Unknown proved a minor disaster, disillusioning hardcore fans with the emphasis shifted to slick keyboard textures, though the record itself stands up well.
In 1984 there were more changes and Graffin was soon the only surviving member from the previous year, with Greg Hetson and Tim Gallegos taking over guitar and bass, and Pete Finestone returning on drums, while Gurewitz took time out to conquer his drink and drug problems.
A comeback EP, Back To The Known, revealed a much more purposeful outfit. A long period of inactivity was ended in 1987 when Gurewitz rejoined for a show that Hetson (working with former band Circle Jerks once more) could not attend.
New material was written, and Suffer was released in 1988 to wide critical acclaim.
Bad Religion's subsequent releases featured intelligent lyrics set against their compelling punk sound.
In 1993, in the wake of grunge, they signed to Atlantic Records and made their major label debut with the following year's Stranger Than Fiction. The move to a major precipatated a split - Gurewitz, unhappy with departing Epitaph and struggling with drug addiction, left the band. Graffin now took over songwriting.
The Gray Race, recorded by a line-up comprising Graffin, Hetson, Bentley, Brian Baker (guitar), and Bobby Schayer (drums), was an assured release that addressed famine, world disorder and politics. Tested collected powerful live performances from The Gray Race tour, but 1998's No Substance indicated a band struggling for new ideas.
Former member Gurewitz made a guest appearance on the Todd Rundgren-produced follow-up, The New America, their final album for Atlantic. The band returned to Epitaph and welcomed back Gurewitz as a full-time member on 2002's The Process Of Belief.
How Could Hell Be Any Worse? (1982)
Into the Unknown (1983)
No Control (1989)
Against The Grain (1990)
Recipe for Hate (1993)
Stranger Than Fiction (1994)
The Gray Race (1996)
No Substance (1998)
The New America (2000)
The Process Of Belief (2002)
The Empire Strikes First (2004)
:: badreligion.com - Offical Site
:: thebrpage.net - Fan Site
:: 2002 Interview with Mike Davies
:: 2004 interivew with Jay
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