Brett said one of the main reasons for choosing Atlantic from all the labels the band met with was that the president is a pretty cool guy and seemed to be genuinely enthusiastic about them, their lyrics, their politics and so on.
Jay explained when they were looking for a label that people from certain labels were telling them in meetings that Epitaph and BR had credibility, but what they really meant was that they sucked and so BR needed to gain some credibility. The contract talks with labels were simple: BR presented interested suitors with their Epitaph contracts from Generator and Recipe, and demanded an advance equal to what Recipe had already sold. When they signed to Atlantic, that was 180,000 records in the US alone. Brett didn't license BR; he sold them outright. At first Jay couldn't believe it, but Brett made him realize what they had to believe, realistically, was that Epitaph could never do the job that Atlantic and WEA (Warner, Elektra, Asylum) could do.
At the time of signing, Atlantic promised to give BR complete creative freedom. Jay said Danny Goldberg (Atlantic manager) told them he didn't want to know, he just wanted to hear the final album, and everybody else just told them to go, have a good time and make a record. Brian explained that having been in major label situations where there was a lot of pressure for the band to change, he's amazed at how Atlantic seems to understand the value of not screwing with anything. Brian: "No one is sitting in their office going 'this one's gotta be a hit'. Or at least they don't say it to us." Jay said that "if Atlantic wants to play indie they better do what the fuck the band wants."
Brian: "You get to a point where Epitaph and Bad Religion are both too big for five guys to run. You make a choice. Sub Pop wasn't interested...". Greg: "I thought we would bite the bullet together and show people that it was possible to transition to a major and still make great music, and be true to our original intent. But Brett leaving made me realize he had his own agenda... I'm still not sure what it is though." Brett also voted to leave Epitaph but he claims the reason he did so was that the move required an unanimous vote and he didn't want to be the one who was later accused of "holding them back" for selfish reasons being that he owns the record label. He adds that "playing in the band, writing, engineering, producing and running the label all at once presented many delicate conflicts of interest."
Greg: "Brett's goal will be to show how much BR needed Epitaph. Our goal is to show how much Bad Religion supported Epitaph." In 1996 Hetson said they've never regretted leaving Epitaph.
Jay in 1997: "I wouldn't say that moving to Atlantic was the right move, but moving off Epitaph was. It became difficult for Brett and I to be out on the road, because while there we'd have to have meetings with distributors and record store people. You're out on a tour and having all these business meetings, and your going, 'This sucks'. Personalities started to evolve, because that's what success does to people. Success makes people have to kind of put their hand up and say, 'I did that.' And all of a sudden, you start running into conflicts of saying, 'Look we can accomplish this', and it gets a lot more difficult when certain people begin to believe that they're the reason for everything good happening [he's talking about Brett]. I'm not going to say any one person, because we were all doing it. A lot of that had to do with being on our own label (...) and it got to the point of saying maybe we need to have someone else doing this, so we can go back to being BR, a band, and not necessarily be responsible for whatever the version of success was for the individual." Jay also explained that while they were on Epitaph, for every 10 calls 8 were for BR. They were trying to sell other band's albums but all that the guy on the phone wanted to talk about was BR. So him and Brett thought if they got BR off Epitaph the other bands could thrive.
Brett said he would have made more money if he had kept Recipe For Hate in Epitaph, but the band asked him to turn it over to Atlantic.
In early 1994 Brett said that "if it comes down to a vote, everybody probably has their own motivations. I did it strictly for the money" and that he's not sure Atlantic could promote them better than Epitaph.
Greg G. in 1996: "That was done to get out music more widely distributed, because we feel we have something relevant to say. At the time of the signing, our label, Epitaph, did not have such good distribution."
Jay: "I don't have more money in my pockets since we are with Atlantic. I made great money on Epitaph. We sold 250,000 records worldwide on a small label. We walked into Atlantic and said 'we sell 250,000 records worldwide. Here's our contract with Epitaph. Match it and we'll go with you because we don't want to deal with the everyday minutia of 'gee, I don't like that 8x10 as much as I like that other one." That's work. 'Can Bad Religion come play at my prom?' 'No!' We needed someone else to do the everyday shitwork and let Bad Religion make music and make records".
Jay: "It took 2 phone calls and me meeting with Andy and Dave. Once our deal with Atlantic was up, I was like “Let’s call up Fat Mike, I’ll go on Fat Wreckords, he knows more to do with us than any other label other than Epitaph. It seemed like there was a little bit of apprehension about going back to Epitaph from certain members of the band, but me even having worked there and having been involved in that, at least I was smart enough to know that they knew how to work with us better than any other label on the planet. I kept saying, 'Even if we hate each other there is no way we are gonna be worse off than we were on Atlantic'."