Over the last couple of decades I’ve chatted with Bad Religion. In my archives there’s interviews with Greg Heston (we spoke on a shopping trip to Costco); Jay Bentley (while on Warped tour); and Greg Graffin on several occasions since the late ‘90s. I’ve been listening to them since I was a teen, 20+ years ago. I’ve always loved their soaring three-part harmonies—mmm the oozin’ and aahs! How Could Hell Be Any Worse? is one of my all-time favourite punk records. Truth be told, I also love their (not so popular) 1983 release Into The Unknown; BR with keys, yes please! I believe Mr Brett once said ITU was a “misstep” ha!
The following is an extract from a conversation Greg and I had for my book, Conversations with Punx (more info here).
Do you think it’s important for people to believe in something?
GREG GRAFFIN: I would go further and say that it’s not a matter of being important, I would say that you have no choice but to believe in something. Belief is a biological process that is natural for all of us. We can sometimes get bamboozled, if you will, in thinking that someone else has the prescription for our beliefs. We always maintained in Bad Religion that you have to come up with those beliefs yourself. You basically have to construct a world view based on information that you have gathered, not based on some doctrine based on what some authority is handing you.
I have lived my life sharing my beliefs with an audience in a band called “Bad Religion”. The punk music scene is a great place to wear your beliefs on your sleeve and share challenging opinions.
How are you personally similar to your music?
GG: I’m personally similar in the fact that I can get really pissed off about things, which I’m not proud of by the way. There’s a side of me that gets really angry and then I get really intimidating; I’ve never beat up anyone in my entire life, I’ve never even swung my fists at anyone. I’ve only recently coming to understand it’s this look in my eyes that’s really intimidating to some people. I kind of regret that part of me. We have a lot of fun on stage and I like to be part of a big celebration. So that’s also a part of me, I love to have fun… there’s a really awesome guy other than that weirdo that fronts the band.
When I started out Bad Religion as a band, personally I had this hope: I wanted to show the world that you can be in a popular band and also be an intellectual. I had to evolve my own personal style to do that. Since that time I’ve found a lot of intellectual people in a lot of different bands. I don’t think you can have any lasting success without some degree of intelligence.
Read the full interview in my forthcoming book. In the meantime you can read more extracts by clicking the links below! AAAH! I get more excited each day I work on the project and it gets closer to manifesting into finished book form!!:
Go rule your day guys!! PMA all day!
*Images: original GG photo used for collage + live pic by Natalie Lorenz (she’s RAD, check out more of her work here); 30 Years of BR feature from a national glossy I wrote.