Greg Graffin

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Greg Graffin
2018 RiP - Bad Religion - by 2eight - 3SC6640.jpg
Graffin performing with Bad Religion in 2018
Background information
Birth nameGregory Walter Graffin
Born (1964-11-06) November 6, 1964 (age 58)
Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • evolutionary biologist
Years active1980–present
Member of Bad Religion

Gregory Walter Graffin (born November 6, 1964) is an American singer and evolutionary biologist. He is most recognized as the lead vocalist and only constant member of punk rock band Bad Religion, which he co-founded in 1980. He embarked on a solo career in 1997, when he released the album American Lesion . His follow-up album, Cold as the Clay , was released nine years later. His newest solo work is Millport , released in 2017.


Graffin obtained his PhD in zoology at Cornell University and has lectured courses in natural sciences at both the University of California, Los Angeles and at Cornell University.


Bad Religion

In 1980, at the age of 15, Graffin and a few high school classmates formed Bad Religion in Southern California's San Fernando Valley. [2] After making a name for themselves in the Los Angeles punk scene, releasing two EPs and two full-length albums, they disbanded around 1985. However, Bad Religion reformed in 1986 with a new line-up, consisting of Graffin on vocals, Brett Gurewitz and Greg Hetson on guitars, Jay Bentley on bass, and Pete Finestone on drums. In 1988, they released Suffer , which was a comeback for Bad Religion as well as a watershed for the Southern California punk sound popularized by guitarist Gurewitz's Epitaph Records. The reunion line-up made two more records before Finestone left the band in 1991.

Bad Religion has been known for its articulate and often politically charged lyrics as well as its fast-paced harmony, melody and counterpoint. Graffin and Gurewitz are the band's two main songwriters, though Graffin wrote the bulk of the material on his own for a three-album period in the late 1990s. Gurewitz had left the band in 1994 to concentrate on the future of Epitaph.

Graffin with Bad Religion in 2007 at the Starland Ballroom, New Jersey Greg Graffin-Starland BallRoom-2007.jpg
Graffin with Bad Religion in 2007 at the Starland Ballroom, New Jersey

After a stint with major label Atlantic Records ended in the early 2000s, Bad Religion re-signed with Epitaph and Gurewitz rejoined. They have since continued to co-write songs and recorded six records: The Process of Belief (2002), The Empire Strikes First (2004), New Maps of Hell (2007), The Dissent of Man (2010), [3] True North (2013), and their latest, Age of Unreason (2019)

Solo career

Graffin recorded a solo album in 1997, called American Lesion , which consisted of softer, more pop-oriented folk songs. Most of this album was written during the breakup of his marriage, and the songs reflect this in lyrics and style.

In 2005, Graffin recorded his second solo album, Cold as the Clay. The album is an amalgamation of new songs by Graffin and 18th- and 19th-century American folk songs. It was produced by Brett Gurewitz and released via ANTI- on July 10, 2006.

In a September 2015 interview, Graffin revealed that he had been working on his third solo album, on which he planned to continue the folk style of Cold as the Clay. That record, Millport, was released on March 10, 2017. It was co-written and produced by Gurewitz and features members of Social Distortion as backing musicians. [4]


Graffin attended El Camino Real High School, then obtained both his BA Biology, BS Geology and master's in Geology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He went on to earn his PhD in Zoology from Cornell University. [5] The PhD dissertation was supervised by William B. Provine. [6] After years of being out-of-print, the title of his dissertation changed to "Evolution and Religion: Questioning the Beliefs of the World's Eminent Evolutionists". [7]

Graffin returned to UCLA where he taught natural science courses. [8] In a June 2008 interview with Bad Religion bassist Jay Bentley, he mentioned that Graffin would be teaching there from January to March 2009. [9] In April 2011, Graffin revealed that he would return to Cornell University that fall to co-teach for 14 weeks. [10]

In 2011 the new type species Qiliania graffini of an extinct bird from the lower Cretaceous was named after Graffin "for his contributions to evolutionary biology, his public out-reach through music, and his inspiration to young scientists around the world". [11]

Work as an author and educator

Graffin received the Rushdie Award for Cultural Humanism from the Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy in 2008. [12] [13]

Graffin sings the National Anthem at the Reason Rally, National Mall, Washington, D.C., 2012 Greg Graffin of Bad Religion sings the National Anthem at the Reason Rally. National Mall, Washington, DC, 2012.jpg
Graffin sings the National Anthem at the Reason Rally, National Mall, Washington, D.C., 2012

Throughout 2003, Graffin was engaged in an ongoing email discussion with Preston Jones, a historian at the Christian John Brown University in Arkansas and fan of Bad Religion. The informal philosophical debate that resulted was published as a book titled Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant? A Professor and Punk Rocker Discuss Science, Religion, Naturalism & Christianity in 2006. [14] [15]

In 2009, Graffin announced that he had co-written a book with American author Steve Olson titled Anarchy Evolution, released on September 28, 2010 (the same day his band Bad Religion released their 15th album The Dissent of Man ). [16] [17] In his book, Graffin writes that he is an atheist: "I've never believed in God, which technically makes me an atheist". [18] Although Graffin is not religious, he prefers to identify as a naturalist rather than as an atheist. "Naturalism is a belief system. A lot of scientists bristle at that. We all have to believe we can find the truth. Evidence is my guide. I rely on observation, experimentation and verification." [19] He also filmed and co-produced a television pilot called Punk Professor.

In 2010, he commented on the project, "It's sitting on someone's shelf waiting to be developed. I'm not actually pursuing it. I said, yeah, I'll shoot the pilot, then it's out of my hands." [20]

On March 24, 2012, Bad Religion headlined the Reason Rally in Washington, D.C., where Graffin performed the U.S. national anthem. [21] [22]

Another book entitled Population Wars was released in September 2015. It had been in the works since at least April 2011 and Graffin spoke about it to be "a bit more in depth about the process of evolution". [23] In a November 2015 interview with PopMatters journalist J.C. Maçek III for Graffin's book Population Wars, Graffin stated "I've made a lot of mistakes, but you can't dwell on mistakes because life is about an adventure. It's about discovery. And you learn from your mistakes so unless you're completely shut down to improving your life, I believe you can continue learning until you're very, very old. You have to look at those past missteps as learning experiences." [24]


Bad Religion

Studio albums



See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bad Religion</span> American punk rock band

Bad Religion is an American punk rock band that formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1980. The band's lyrics cover topics related to religion, politics, society, the media and science. Musically, they are noted for their melodic sensibilities and extensive use of three-part vocal harmonies. The band has experienced multiple line-up changes, with singer Greg Graffin being the band's only constant member, though fellow founding members Jay Bentley and Brett Gurewitz have also been with the band for most of their history while guitarist Brian Baker has been a member of the group since 1994. Guitarist Mike Dimkich and drummer Jamie Miller have been members of the band since 2013 and 2015 respectively. To date, Bad Religion has released seventeen studio albums, two live albums, three compilation albums, three EPs, and two live DVDs. They are considered to be one of the best-selling punk rock acts of all time, having sold over five million albums worldwide.

<i>The Process of Belief</i> 2002 studio album by Bad Religion

The Process of Belief is the twelfth studio album by the American punk rock band Bad Religion. It was produced by its leaders Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz, and was released on January 22, 2002, through Epitaph Records. After touring in support of its previous studio album, The New America (2000), Gurewitz re-joined Bad Religion in 2001 after a seven-year hiatus. The band re-signed with Epitaph, and then began work on its first album for the label in over eight years. The album also marked the first album to feature Brooks Wackerman, who replaced former drummer Bobby Schayer.

<i>Generator</i> (Bad Religion album) 1992 studio album by Bad Religion

Generator is the sixth studio album by the punk rock band Bad Religion. Although the album was completed in the spring of 1991, it was not released until 1992; the band was not happy with the artwork and packaging, and went through several ideas that were eventually scrapped. Generator was the band's first release with drummer Bobby Schayer, who replaced Pete Finestone during the Against the Grain tour.

<i>Suffer</i> (album) 1988 studio album by Bad Religion

Suffer is the third album by American punk rock band Bad Religion, released on the Californian independent record label Epitaph Records on September 8, 1988. It was the first album that was both released and distributed by the label. Following the release of the EP Back to the Known (1985), Bad Religion went on a temporary hiatus, then reunited with its original members and went to work on their first full-length studio album in five years.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brett Gurewitz</span> American guitarist

Brett W. Gurewitz, nicknamed Mr. Brett, is an American musician best known as the lead guitarist of Bad Religion. He is also the owner of the music label Epitaph Records and a number of sister labels. He has produced albums for Bad Religion as well as Epitaph Records labelmates NOFX, Rancid, and Pennywise, among others. Gurewitz also had a project called Error, which also featured Atticus Ross, Leopold Ross, and Greg Puciato. He is also the co-founder of comic book and graphic novel publisher, Black Mask Studios.

<i>The New America</i> 2000 studio album by Bad Religion

The New America is the eleventh studio album by punk band Bad Religion. It was released in 2000 and is their last album on Atlantic Records.

<i>No Control</i> (Bad Religion album) 1989 studio album by Bad Religion

No Control is the fourth album by American punk rock band Bad Religion, released on November 2, 1989, through Epitaph Records. Bad Religion began work on the album while touring in support of their previous album, Suffer (1988). No Control is stylistically faster than its predecessor, owing more to hardcore punk. Additionally, it was the first Bad Religion album not to feature a lineup change from the previous album.

<i>Recipe for Hate</i> 1993 studio album by Bad Religion

Recipe for Hate is the seventh studio album by American punk rock band Bad Religion, released on June 4, 1993. It was their last album on Epitaph Records for nine years and the band had switched to Atlantic Records, who re-released the album several months after its release.

<i>The Gray Race</i> 1996 studio album by Bad Religion

The Gray Race is the ninth full-length album of the punk rock band Bad Religion, which was released in 1996. It was the follow-up to the band's highly successful 1994 album Stranger Than Fiction.

<i>Into the Unknown</i> (Bad Religion album) 1983 studio album by Bad Religion

Into the Unknown is the second studio album by Bad Religion, which was released on November 30, 1983. The album marks a distinct departure from the band's previous album; instead of featuring hardcore punk, the album is characterized by slower tempos, use of electronic organ and pianos, and a prog-influenced hard rock sound. Into the Unknown is the only Bad Religion album to feature Paul Dedona on bass and Davy Goldman on drums. Dedona was ejected from the band before their next recording and replaced by Tim Gallegos, while former drummer Pete Finestone returned to the band in 1986. The album also features Bad Religion's longest track to date, "Time and Disregard", which is seven minutes long.

<i>S&M Airlines</i> 1989 studio album by NOFX

S&M Airlines is the second studio album by the American punk rock band NOFX. It was released on September 5, 1989, through Epitaph Records. It was also the group's first release on Epitaph. A music video was made for the title track. The album was recorded and mixed in only six days at Westbeach Recorders. Bad Religion's Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz appear on the final track, a cover of the Fleetwood Mac song "Go Your Own Way". They also did harmonies on a few other songs. Bassist/singer, Fat Mike considers it to be the first real NOFX album. It was heavily inspired by Bad Religion and Rich Kids on LSD, and showed the band moving more towards a melodic and metallic sound. The album sold 3,500 copies upon its release.

<i>Against the Grain</i> (Bad Religion album) 1990 studio album by Bad Religion

Against the Grain is the fifth album by American punk rock band Bad Religion, released on November 23, 1990. It was the last album recorded with drummer Pete Finestone, who left in 1991 to concentrate with his new project The Fishermen. Following his departure, the band's music would take a different direction on their next album, 1992's Generator. Against the Grain was also the first Bad Religion album not to feature a lineup change from the previous two albums.

<i>Bad Religion</i> (EP) 1981 EP by Bad Religion

Bad Religion is the first official recording by the Los Angeles punk rock band Bad Religion. It was released in February 1981 by guitarist Brett Gurewitz's record label Epitaph Records, with the catalog number EPI 001.

<i>How Could Hell Be Any Worse?</i> 1982 studio album by Bad Religion

How Could Hell Be Any Worse? is the debut studio album by American punk rock band Bad Religion, released on January 19, 1982 by Epitaph Records. Released almost a year after their self-titled EP, it was financed by a $3,000 loan by guitarist Brett Gurewitz's father. Its success surprised the band when it sold 10,000 copies in under a year.

<i>Back to the Known</i> 1985 EP by Bad Religion

Back to the Known is the second EP released by American punk rock band Bad Religion. The name of the EP is a reference to the band abandoning the progressive rock influences of its previous album, 1983's Into the Unknown, and returning to its punk roots.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">21st Century (Digital Boy)</span> 1990 single by Bad Religion

"21st Century (Digital Boy)" is a song by the punk rock group Bad Religion. It was originally recorded in 1990 on their fifth full-length studio album Against the Grain and re-recorded on the 1994 album Stranger Than Fiction. The following year it was included on the All Ages compilation release.

<i>The Dissent of Man</i> 2010 studio album by Bad Religion

The Dissent of Man is the fifteenth studio album by American punk rock band Bad Religion, which was released on September 28, 2010. It was their first album in three years, following the release of New Maps of Hell in 2007. The band commenced writing new material in 2008, but would not begin studio work until May 2010. The writing and recording process spanned two years and was slowed down considerably by touring schedules. The album was finally finished in June 2010. Some of the material was originally performed live by Bad Religion on its 30th anniversary tour in early 2010. "The Devil in Stitches" was released as a single to accompany the release of this album, while "Cyanide" and "Wrong Way Kids" also received radio airplay. Clocking in at 43 minutes, The Dissent of Man is Bad Religion's longest album to date.

<i>Millport</i> (album) 2017 studio album by Greg Graffin

Millport is the third solo album by Bad Religion lead singer Greg Graffin, released on March 10, 2017.

<i>Age of Unreason</i> (album) 2019 studio album by Bad Religion

Age of Unreason is the seventeenth studio album by American punk rock band Bad Religion, released on May 3, 2019. It is the band's first studio album to feature guitarist Mike Dimkich and drummer Jamie Miller, replacing Greg Hetson and Brooks Wackerman respectively, and the first one to be produced by Carlos de la Garza, thus ending their collaboration with Joe Barresi, who had produced, mixed or engineered every Bad Religion album since 2004's The Empire Strikes First; Barresi did, however, mix "The Kids Are Alt-Right", which had already been released as a one-off single in 2018.


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  13. Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine : "Greg Graffin's Lifetime Achievement Award Acceptance Speech". YouTube . Retrieved June 23, 2012.
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  17. Anarchy Evolution. September 28, 2010. ASIN   0061828505.
  18. Graffin, Greg & Olson, Steve, Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science, and Bad Religion in a World Without God. It Books, September 20, 2010. ISBN   978-0061828508
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