Guitarist MR.BRETT and bassist JAY were interviewed by phone for Rockpool on 18 March 1992 by Jack Rabid.
transcribed by Richard Bensam
JR: So, is there anything else that you want to talk about?
BRETT: Um, let's see. Well, we've covered black holes, Southeast Asia, Persian Gulf...
JR: How about some personal things about the group? Is everybody now married and having children?
BRETT: No. We're all single and having children.
JAY: We're all independently wealthy.
BRETT: We're all married, but each of our wives is having babies from a different band member.
JR: Sort of like the Sugarcubes.
BRETT: Like, Greg's wife is having a baby from Jay...
BRETT: Jay's wife is having a baby from Hetson...
BRETT: My wife is having a baby from Jay...
JAY: HEY! Why am I the only one who gets around so much?
BRETT: Oh, it may be from Greg.
JR: Your reputation precedes you. And Bobby's standing around on the outside going, how come I don't get any of this?
JAY: HEY! I guess it's not known that we...it's kind of known that we all...that Brett and I and Greg Graffin have sons.
BRETT: All three of us have sons, and their names are...Greg's son's name is Graham, Jay's son is named Miles, and my son is named Maxwell.
JR: And their expected ages are?
BRETT: Well, Maxwell and Miles are six days apart, aren't they, Jay?
JAY: Yeah. So they're like seven months, seven and a half months. And Graham is a couple of months old.
JR: So all are recent additions.
JAY: Oh, yeah.
BRETT: Yeah. Brand nubians.
JR: How will that impact your ability to continue as Bad Religion?
BRETT: It'll just fucking make it easier 'cause now we have roadies!
JAY: That's right, as soon as they're old enough to lift equipment they're coming on the road! (general laughter)
JR: That's great.
JAY: Tote that barge!
JR: Have you ever heard of child labor laws?
BRETT: Watch it!
JAY: What are you talking about there, that's my kid!
BRETT: It's not labor, they're chores. (Jack breaks up) That's the difference.
JR: So instead of doing the dishes, they have to change strings.
BRETT: Tubes. Strings.
JR: Put your strap back on you mid-gig when somebody crashes into you.
JAY: Right. (laughter)
JR: Have you been getting much interest from people outside of the hardcore scene?
BRETT: Um, yeah, I think so.
JAY: You mean like artists?
JR: Just in general, from your mail and the people that come to your shows, are you seeing more and more people who have less and less connection [to that scene]?
BRETT: Especially in Europe.
JAY: I'd say, like, less, the fanatical hardcore people like the Mohawks and that stuff, you're getting a lot more people that have and idea of the ideology of punk.
BRETT: Do you know what the Ramones audience is like?
JR: No. I stopped going to see them about five years ago.
BRETT: Okay, I hate to...it's hard to explain, but in Europe that's kind of how our audience is. In other words, it's a good cross-section of the alternative music scene will come to see us. It's like in Europe we're almost like staples of underground music or something. Wouldn't you say, Jay?
JAY: Yeah. I'd say so. I'd say the same here.
BRETT: Well, here we get a pretty hardcore audience.
JAY: Yeah, that's true.
BRETT: Here we don't get a real broad swath, but there we get speed death metal kids, we get the Gothic kids, we get hardcore kids, we get squatters, we get industrial people, it's like they're all into us over there.
JAY: I guess the answer, Jack, is yes.
JR: You actually recorded a Ramones cover recently, didn't you?
BRETT: Live at sound check in Tijuana.
JR: Is that what that's from? "We're a Happy Family," right?
JR: Why'd you pick that one? (laughter)
JAY: It was the only one we all knew.
BRETT: Because we are.
JR: Which one of you is taking the Thorazine?
BRETT: I used to be.
JR: You actually took them once upon a time?
BRETT: Jack, if we're going to start getting into what I've taken once upon a time it's going to be a long interview.
JR: Tried everything at least once, huh?
BRETT: You said it, not me. You know what Thorazine does, don't you?
JR: It's a downer, isn't it?
BRETT: It takes you down off an acid trip.
JR: Oh really?
BRETT: If you're not too high to swallow Thorazine.
JR: (laughs) That's really funny.
BRETT: Thorazine they used for schizophrenics, and LSD is basically artificially-induced schizophrenia. So any of you kids out there experimenting, if you're having a bad acid trip get your friend to inject you with a little Thorazine and you'll feel all better. That's about the only thing that'll do it, though.
JR: Jesus. I'll keep that in mind.
BRETT: I feel like Mr. Wizerd here.
JR: (bravely making his way back to the subject) Now, did you know when you did the soundcheck that you were recording it for the Ramones tribute?
BRETT: Yeah, we did it to DAT. It sounds a little raw, but...you know how it sounds so cavernous? Be'cause the club was empty.
JR: Did you think about playing it with an actual live crowd?
JAY: We thought about playing it in front of the crowd, but then we said, screw it, we don't have time to mess around with this stuff, we've got 98 Bad Religion songs to play.
BRETT: And we've never done a cover live.
JAY: We've never done a cover live, so why start with this one?
BRETT: Well, we never have with the band as it is now.
JAY: We did covers in like, '82, but...
BRETT: Back in the early days, we did, and we've done "Give Punk a Chance."
JR: What? "Give Punk a Chance"?
JAY: You know "Give Peace a Chance"?
JR: Yeah, that thing Yoko Ono and Lenny Kravitz did? (laughs)
JAY: Whatever. It's not bad, it was the same idea but we did it at the Palladium.
BRETT: And it wasn't "Give Peace a Chance," it was "Give Punk a Chance." "All we are saying is Give Punk a Chance."
JAY: "All we are saying." And that's all we said.
BRETT: With good harmony. We did that like four times and then went into "Heaven is Falling."
JAY: [something] A quarter of a cover song.
JR: What covers were you doing in the old days?
BRETT: There's a bootleg out of the band when Jay wasn't in, a configuration of Bad Religion that included myself, Graffin, Paul Dedonna, and a guy named Davey Goldman. And on that bootleg we played "Rock and Roll" by Led Zeppelin. And "Louie Louie," which was a tried-and-true-punk cover song.
JR: By Richard Berry.
BRETT: Yeah. With the audience doing the appropriate growls, barks, and chortles.
JR: I hope it was as funny as the Stooges' version.
BRETT: It was pretty hilarious, because I had just gotten this digital delay and it was all over everything. And that's out on bootleg, that's the only reason I can't deny that we've ever done covers. Or else I would be more than happy to deny it.
JR: Anything else?
BRETT: In '82 we used to do "American Band" by Grand Funk Railroad.
JR: Oh yeah.
JAY: We used to do "We Gotta Get Out of This Place."
JR: By the Animals.
BRETT: That was in '82.
JAY: Yeah, that was a good one.
JR: Were you familiar with the Angelic Upstarts' version when you were doing it?
BRETT: Yeah, we had learned it because we were about to go play Chino Prison.
JR: You should have done "San Quentin" by Johnny Cash and just changed it to "San Chino."
BRETT: Yeah, well anyway, we never even went there.
JAY: We ended up not being allowed to go.
JR: At the last minute they thought you'd wind up the inmates too much?
BRETT: Who knows?
JR: So, okay, we can wrap this up now if you want to. There must be something else that you wanted to address, though.
BRETT: Um...let me think. Vote for Jerry Brown. Let's see, what else?
JR: Do you think of "California Uber Alles" every time you see Jerry Brown on the TV these days?
JAY: I do.
BRETT: I'm for Jerry Brown.
JAY: I can't help it. Every time I see his face I hear that bassline: (demonstrates) dudududu...I can't help it!
JR: (laughing) Me too!
BRETT: Well anyway, I'm still for him, so I don't care.
JAY: I can see Jello just strangling him.
BRETT: I bet Jello's going to vote for him, though.
JAY: (dubiously) Maybe. Jello probably won't vote.
JR: Well, it's better than voting for Tsongas; he's pro-nuclear power.
JAY: Oh, great.
JR: That's great for a Democratic candidate, isn't it?
BRETT: Not only that, but he's practically a Republican. Let's face it, man. The guy's got no new ideas whatsoever. At least Brown...
JAY: Don't ever vote for a guy with a silent letter in his name.
BRETT: Exactly. Why's it there. At least Brown wants socialized medicine and has some interesting ideas.
JR: And Clinton is an idiot.
BRETT: Actually, Clinton's pretty intelligent, but he's just...he's playing the game, he's not any different from anyone else. Did you read that letter he wrote during the Vietnam war?
JR: Oh, yeah, sure I did.
BRETT: I thought that was pretty intelligent.
JR: Even then he knew his career was on the line.
BRETT: Yup. But I mean, he's well-spoken and he's smart. Sharp. But I...
JAY: It's just that his sexual prowess precedes him.
JR: I thought it was more his opportunism precedes him, as well.
BRETT: His opportunism and his wishy-washiness.
JAY: But that's what everybody's saying about Brown as well. They're saying five years ago the guy was just off-the-wall-tightass, and now he's walking around in a turtleneck and a sportscoat, going like, "Vote for me!"
BRETT: He's been born again, man! He was fucking in India with Mother Teresa [ I beg your pardon? -- R] saving dead people.
JAY: I'm totally into him being born again.
BRETT: Fucking living in a fucking monastery in Japan. He freaked out, got new ideas, came back, and he's fucking PC, man.
JAY: I'm into him,
Only 1/3 of the interview is displayed here. The rest of the interview can be found in The Big Takeover #33 (1993), which is available as a back issue.