Bad Religion on The Lock Up
[Transcript of BR's interview on BBC Radio 1 (UK) on 7th January 2002 ]
Mike Davies talks with Brett Gurewitz and Greg Graffin from Bad Religion - some might say 'the godfathers of Punk Rock'... Mike does: he kisses their ass...
They play first UK gig for 3 years in Feb 2002.
You've been gone for six and a half years - how was it recording this album?
'Actually is was easier than the last record... 'The Process of Belief' which is the new one really felt like good old times, more along the lines of the mood we were in when we wrote 'No Control'
Who is playing on this album?
Brooks Wackerman (ex-Suicidal Tendencies) is on drums - ...'he played one song in the practice and we knew he was the right guy'
What do you think of UK crowds as opposed to American Crowds?
'We love 'em. The London audience is more like a NY audience who get to see shows every day so it's not such a big deal...they seem to have some kind of a funny accent as well...'
Do you get noticed walking down the street?
'Only if we are near the entrance of a popular punk rock show where there's a line going round the block... but put it this way, it's not really cramping our style... we ain't Brad Pitt'
Who are some of your influences?
One of my main influences in punk rock was Derby Crash from the Germs, his lyrical style... and as a songwriter Elvis Costello's one of my big heroes' 'also obviously the Ramones and the Buzzcocks and when we started out I wanted Bad Religion to have the same relationship to their audience as Sham 69 had to theirs...'
What can kids who've never seen you live expect from a Bad Religion show?
Were not much glitz and glamour... no pyrotechnics... we try very hard to deliver the song the way it's supposed to be played and that's sometimes a lot harder than it seems 'cos these are not easy songs to recreate... and also you're going to hear a good sampling of all our best songs from our entire career, were not one of those groups who go out and only play the new record and the kids get all bummed out that they didn't hear the classic songs that they were hoping for...'
What do you think about punk music now, as a whole - Blink 182, Sum 41?
I like it. It's very good for the kids. It's not like a religion where you have to bow to the almighty, so I don't really care where they got their inspiration. There's some great pop punk out there but Bad Religion's not a pop band... we're a punk rock band.
What is this album about?
It's not a concept album, you'd have to really ask what each songs about. There is something that runs through it about celebration of Brett's coming back to the band, the band being back on epitaph.. and I think the sprit of the album is very optimistic and hopeful. For a number of years there Brett and I were not writing songs together and I found those three albums I made in his absence were very difficult times to be creative...'
How to you find bands for Epitaph Europe?
We have about 25 people at Epitaph Europe... I trust their decisions...
How does if feel being back on Epitaph, I know your boss is sitting right there?
MY BOSS? Let me get one thing straight, Brett and I do not see ourselves as employee and boss...
What's the story of Brett's 'Rancid' Tattoo?
I really didn't do it as a ploy (to keep them on the label).
Let's talk about the diversity of Epitaph...
Let me clarify for a second - on Hellcat Records we release street punk and Ska and a bit of psychobilly, and the anti-label is for things completely outside punk rock... on that label we have Tom Waits, Tricky... great bands with artistic integrity who aren't necessarily punk rock
The Bad Religion research fund: is that still going on?
We've been criticising religion for 20 years and we thought that it's a good idea to offer a positive solution when you make to many critical judgements, and this was a way of promoting research in the field of naturalism... we're thinking of opening it up to international students.
You've a masters degree in geology at UCLA - did you used to lecture at UCLA as too?
That's right - as I was working on my masters degree I was teaching comparative anatomy, then I started working on a PhD at Cornell where I was teaching evolution and comparative anatomy... actually I haven't finished my PhD yet...
What's coming up for you?
Coming to the UK first week of February, we'll be doing a few shows around Europe, and then I think late summer we'll be back for a proper tour... we're also doing the Warp tour in America this year which is a good chunk of the summer...
(Thanks to The Lockup at BBC Radio's website)