Brett: "My lyrics are art and therefore I can't 'explain' them to you any more than a poem or a painting can be explained, or a sunset for that matter."
In 1989 the band was asked about the importance of lyrics in BR.
Jay thought that music is as important as lyrics because if the music wasn't good and melodic, you wouldn't listen to the lyrics. Pete on the other hand said that the lyrics were more important in BR because they "can't really play that well". Hetson said the lyrics were the most important but the music was good too. Brett had the same opinion: "The music is the vehicle for the words".
Greg: "There is a number of Bad Religion fans who've followed us through all these years who really love us for our lyrics and that's a personal committment I feel when I write a song, it's a committment to them - the people who really understand the lyrics." He also said that to be super popular, your music has to be more fun and less thought provoking.
Greg: "No, I don't read, get pissed off and then write a song. Look, when I read, I'm reading. When I write, I'm writing. I draw on everyday experiences and of course our consciousness is shaped by what we read." Greg said that ever since he listens to music lyrics have been what he focuses on, because "it's very difficult to show differences in bands but one source of sophistication that you can get from a band is, 'How do they think?'". Brian: "I think Greg especially has become a lot more of a philosophical lyricist and a lot less literal. It's turning more into a more of a human and global concern rather than individual concerns as reflected on earlier records. You know, 'They're all beating me down', that type of attitude is reflected less and less as the band progresses." Hetson said that no label or person has ever asked them to dumb their lyrics down a little for market purposes.
Hetson: "As far as I'm concerned, my contribution to the lyrics is minimal, sometimes I insert a line in some song, but nothing more."
Hetson said he agrees with 98% or more of what Greg says in his lyrics.
So far, only one song had been vetoed (by Hetson) for lyrical content. But Jay and Greg had to talk about some issues regarding The Handshake, and one may also not agree with the sentiment (not the lyrics, though) of some song, as Jay did with Hooray For Me....