Generator was released on 3/13/1992 on Epitaph Records, although it had already been completed in the spring of 1991. The reason for delay was the band not being happy with the artwork and packaging; they went through a few ideas and waited for a long time to get some finished ideas that they eventually declined. This resulted in a delay of the album's release.
Even before Generator was released, more copies were sold (in advance order) than Against The Grain at that time, which was out for more than a year already and had sold about 85,000 copies. In Germany, over 50,000 records were pre-ordered as an import. Within a week, close to 100,000 copies were shipped.
In order to get the 53,000 CDs to Europe the freight company had to charter a special plane for the 11 pallettes.
Brett: "It was time to change, I was bored (...) we did it in a different studio, but as far as the songwriting, it was a deliberate effort to try something different".
Brett on the lack of big words on Generator: "On Against the Grain Greg had it firmly planted in cheek. Greg used a lot of big words on Against the Grain and I didn't. And I think maybe he followed my example for Generator, or maybe he just decided himself to write them in a more down-to-earth fashion, I'm not sure."
Brett: "But with the past couple of records I've tried to stay away from that. Greg, too. With the exception of 'Chimera' on the new album, he's tried to lay off the sophistry! It's easier for him to sing, 'heaven is falling' than, 'the firmament is raining the euclivity'!"
Jay on the increase of tempo varieties on Generator: "I think that has a lot to do with Bobby. Seriously. Pete was a good drummer but he really had, like, fast and slow. And Bobby's got fast, slow, medium...medium-rare..."
The album was already recorded when the band decided on its title. Brett admitted he was thinking about "The Generator", but as Graffin put it, that was too Yes; Yes had an album called "Big Generator."
Generator was recorded in ten days in May 1991. It was recorded almost live in the studio, because Brett had moved Westbeach Recorders to larger premises, and for the first time ever, the entire band could play in the studio at the same time.
There was hardly any preparation or rehearsal before the band went into the studio. They would be playing a song until they learned it all the way through and would then start the recording. To learn it all the way through took an hour and a half. So each song on Generator is the first performance of that song in its entirety by Bad Religion.
Brett never taught the group his songs. Jay: "(...) you (Brett) never taught them. You just kept saying, we'll just learn them in the studio, and we did!"
Jay: "(...) Brett, myself, and Bobby recorded everything live. Whereas before we were recording bass and drums first, and then sometimes I'd even go back and do the bass again, with the drum track intact. But this time the three of us recorded everything just right off the cuff. What I'm saying is that my amp was in the room, and so was Brett's, so there might have been a lot more drum coming in through my and Brett's half. Because we were recording it live. If we went back and like did my bass over again without Bobby playing, then there wouldn't have been so much drum. So maybe in order to get my bass level up, he had to push it to a level where the drums came up as well. We were going for the spontaneity of the thing. In all sincerity, some of the basslines I played I had to go back and learn them because I just played them when I played them. That was the first time I'd ever done it. I would have to go back and go, okay, what did I play there? And I'd listen to it and go, "Fuck, how did I do that?" But I thought that was what was great about it. I really had a good time recording it."
To record his bass tracks, Jay used a Hiwatt SA212 combo into an Electro-Voice EVM12L speaker mounted in in a KK Audio closed back cabinet. The same method was used on all albums from Suffer through No Substance, except Against The Grain. In 2010 he again used the same gear on The Dissent Of Man.
The epigraphs (quotes) next to the songs in the lyric booklet were Greg Graffin's idea. Brett: "(...) I think it was pretty clever, and he thought it would be something that was thought-provoking. He has a lot of research materials at his disposal because he's a teacher, so I'm not sure how we found the ones for his songs. For me, I looked through a couple of books and then I came up with a couple that I had in my head already. I tried to add a little levity with mine because his were a little somber."
Brett was reading Stephen Hawking's book 'A Brief History of Time' and, since he liked it so much, decided to take a quote from him for the song Generator.
Brett said the picture of the blood on the door was cheesy.
According to Jay, one of the pictures in the insert is a bust of Goethe overlaid with an undecipherable spy code of World War II.
Brett's songs (which were also used for a 7" bootleg called "Generator Demos"):
On the back sleeve of the CD, track #5 is written as "Two Babies In The Dark". However, on the print on the LP it's just "Babies In The Dark".
Generator was re-released on 4/6/2004. This digitally remastered version contains two bonus tracks, the original recordings of "Fertile Crescent" and "Heaven Is Falling", which first appeared on the split 7" New World Order: War #1 with Noam Chomsky, released in 1991.
|08/06||fixed link - By wrong planet|
|07/26||Added Album title chapter - By Marty|
|06/03||Added details about why the album was delayed - By Marty|
|06/03||Added details about Jay's gear - By Marty|