I had dinner with Greg Graffin and Greg Hetson last night in L.A., following the American Lesion show in Hollywood. The show itself was phenomenal, regarding the performace, and detestable, regarding the audience involvement and seeming lack of interest. Greg was the opening act for a band called "Nickel Bag", whose singer is purportedly a backup singer for the Rolling Stones. There developed a ludicrous buzz on the street that the Stones were going to perform at the Viper Room (which holds 250 people) unannounced. Needless to say, the place was packed and nobody was there to see Greg's acoustic set. Those who did participate in the show enjoyed it thoroughly, despite the disinterest of the other patrons. I sat with Peter Finestone during the performance, who was thrilled to see acoustic renditions of "Get Off" and "God Song". Peter's eager to do an interview for the page, some time in the next week or so, forthcoming. Keep your eyes peeled.
Recording has been completed on the new album. Greg is returning to New York this weekend to continue mastering and mixing the 15 tracks. He anticipates all 15 tracks to make the final release. Michele (their exceptional manager) will be getting us some autographed t-shirts, cd's and other material for giveaway contests here. Sometime during the next tour, or beforehand, I'll conduct a more formal interview with the band.
We discussed a number of issues during the quiet after-show dinner. Chiefly, Greg has the masters to "Into the Unknown" in his basement at home, and could remix it anytime he felt like it. Maybe someday, he'll actually feel like it. For now, it's BR-forward, with the band producing the new album themselves. Greg favors "a more guitar-oriented" approach this time, "like older BR records, instead of bass and kick like Gray Race." When asked why Ocasek was absent from the production staff, he replied, "we never felt it was more than a one-time thing." As for Brett, he's back in rehab and apparently losing top control of Epitaph.
Dinner was shared by Michele Ceazan, Hetson's wife, Graffin's date, his brother, Jack Rabid (Publisher and Editor of ssThe Big Takeover), and myself. I ended up driving Jack from and back-to the Viper Room, where we had much time to chat about Bad Religion, interpretations of "God Song", and life in general. The entire evening was much fun for all. --chud
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