Before it was released, Greg Graffin said a lot of it is a straight throwback to 1981.
At the show played in New York on September 26, 1997, he said they were making a new album and considering the title to be "The Hippy Killers".
Greg Graffin on (no) substance: "I'm not bitter, but if you are aware of our culture, which I think I am, then you see how it's becoming more and more superficial and I'm addressing that. The media and TV seem to take over people's brains, they don't want to see what happens in the real world. Their minds get corrupted by fashion, there's nothing wrong with enjoying fashion if it's just a casual enjoyment, but it isn't just that anymore, it has become compulsive. The increase of cosmetic surgery is a big indicator for me in that respect. People are too focused on the outside, on looks and they neglect everything else. If looks are all that matter to you, then you admit that other values like political awareness and social conscience carry no meaning for you, you focus too much on things that have no substance. If you base your whole life on looks, then remember that they're not going to last, they're only skin deep and what will happen if your will fade? More cosmetic surgery if you can afford it? Erasing everything that's characteristic and replacing it with a plain plastic Barbie-smoothness is not beautiful, it's a misconception of beauty, real beauty springs from within!".
Greg Graffin: "With No Substance, Bad Religion fans are going to recognize a very natural and spontaneous-sounding Bad Religion album that I think sounds better than any of them since Suffer. And even then it sounds a lot better than Suffer, in the way that Suffer really woke people up and made people rediscover Bad Religion. I think this will do the same thing for the Bad Religion fan. For people who have never heard us, I think they'll be pleasantly surprised that Bad Religion is so melodic and has such a good sensibility of what pop music is. There's something for them in that, too."
The whole album was recorded in Ithaca, New York. No Substance was the album which took the shortest amount of time when considering songwriting and recording. It was both written and recorded in the studio and virtually no pre-production was done. Mixing and mastering only took a few weeks.
Greg Graffin: "I wanted to bring it together like we did in the old days and have everybody just get in the studio and arrange the songs together as a group".
Brian Baker: "This time when Greg would have an idea in his head that he's never translated to instruments; we got to be there for that translation. That opens up room for a lot more experimentation and input from the rest of us. I'm proud of how it came out, musically. I still get goosebumps when the transitions come for 'Sowing The Seeds Of Utopia".
Greg Graffin: "I think the freshest thing about it is that we got out a lot of our old records from 1980 and listened to the music that inspired us. We listened our old records and Stiff Little Fingers, Sham 69 and X and what was going on in L.A. at the time with the Adolescents and the Circle Jerks. We were listening to those records thinking, 'Music has gotten so far away from this great stuff that inspired us. And even we, in our race to keep up, have gotten away from it. Let's make a record that's real natural and based on what we do best".
Greg: "This album, I think, is an example of [...] crisp and short songs in the punk tradition. But all in all, this album kind of strayed away from some of our more epic styles. Maybe it was because I only wrote one song [In So Many Ways, which is also one of his favorites from the record] on piano on this entire album."
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 cover photo is of actress Kristen Johnston (Third Rock From The Sun).
Late 1997 it was counted by Alternative Press as among the year's top 25 most-anticipated albums.
Jay: "You know, Brian and I did all those interviews with No Substance and The New America where we just kinda painted on a smile saying 'this is great; this is the greatest record we've ever done'. And I said: 'this is just fucked. I'm just going to be honest from now on. I'm tired of pretending. (...) I already had second thoughts when we were making them [No Substance and The New America]. When we made the record No Substance we had no material. We just walked into the studio saying 'let's write it right now'. It's Ok. It's not terrible. But I was always putting it in context with Bad Religion."
|06/03||Added details about Jay's gear - By Marty|