Greg gave a presentation at Cornell on "Punk Rock & Society: Growing Up In Bad Religion." The presentation was, quite simply, amazing. The speech was in a small auditorium, and there were maybe around 50 or 60 people there; it wasn't advertised very well, for some reason. Greg was in fine form, cracking jokes about Britney Spears from the moment he first came out. He started by giving a brief history of BR in the form of a few videos. The first was a live performance from 1980, on a television show called "New Wave Theater," where they played "Bad Religion," "Slaves," and "Obligarchy." Greg would pause the video every once in a while to explain something or point things out--like Brett's "Smut Monger" shirt or the reason why Jay Bentley always scowled back then (he had braces). Greg seemed to be really enjoying it, cracking up at various parts of the video. Especially funny (to the audience and to Greg) was the interview that came after the performance, where Greg basically goofed around making wise cracks while Brett said things like, "I think we're Zen Anarchists." It was classic.
After that, Greg showed us the music videos for "American Jesus" and "21st Century (Digital Boy)," telling little anectdotes about the making of each. When he had finished this, he opened up the forum to a question & answer period, where he fielded all kinds of questions from the audience. He defended BR's tour with Blink 182, saying that he had done it because Blink respected BR and asked them on to the tour, and Greg just wanted to open up new fans to their music. He also trashed Napster, saying that the company didn't do anything to help artists, and was a selfish organization. He finished that response with, "Fuck Napster." He also commented on a possible new direction for BR's music, saying that he wanted to return to the fun atmosphere of their earlier years (which he felt was represented by the "New Wave Theater" & "American Jesus" videos) rather than the more corporate atmosphere of their major-label days (which he felt was less fun, pointing at the "Digital Boy" video as being a crappy experience to make). This tends to back up recent rumors that BR might head back to Epitaph, although he didn't specifically say anything about that.
After the Q&A period, Greg stuck around to sign autopgraphs and talk to people. It was overall a great presentation, very well done, especially considering that Greg hadn't prepared anything ahead of time. It was all very spontaneous, just him interacting with his fans. Definitely something I'm glad I saw.(Thanks a lot to Ed Howard for this report.)
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