When they formed BR Brett and Greg just started contributing songs; they never agreed to write 50% each or whatever.
Jay Bentley on the Generator era: "The songs themselves were becoming more intricate, because Greg and Brett were both phenomenal songwriters. I've been in a lot of bands, so it's not just because I'm in BR".
"With the talent that Brett and Greg both had, it made for a healthy competition of songwriting against each other; if Greg wrote two songs, well Brett would write five. Greg would write one great song, and you'd just go 'Wow!'. And then Brett would go try to do one better. I thought his was great. I just sit back and let everyone else do all the work".
Brett: "(...) writing a song is like pulling a rabbit out of a hat. I never know if I'm going to be able to write another decent song. I always hope I'll be able to, but I'm always surprised when I'm able to write one more, I set really short-term goals for myself. I just try to write one more song. When I start to record a new record, which is immediately after finishing the last record l'll probably start writing for the new record in a month or something---but really all I do is maybe I'll have an overall feeling for what I think the spirit of the record should be. Beyond that I just try to write a song I haven't written ever before and if I do that each time, hopefully, the record itself isn't a repeat."
Jay has said he's very insecure about what he writes so most times he just scraps it. He also said he writes songs "but when I'm done with them, I knew they don't belong with BR. I'm not interested in a solo album; my songs are maybe too much Elvis Costello". [Source needed!]
Although the vast majority of the songs are credited only to one person (Brett or Greg) because this is how they decided they'd do it, Bobby often came up with the drum parts and Jay with the bass parts, as does Hetson, at least to some extent. More importantly, Greg often comes up with the vocal melodies, even for songs which will be credited solely to Brett because Brett wrote the lyrics and some musical basis (sometimes the guitar part, sometimes just a riff or a chord progression).
When asked why they don't experiment more as in All Good Soldiers, Brian answered: "I think it would be a little bit shallow to force something weird just because we don't have a weird song on the last record. What we put on records is just what comes out and perhaps the next record that comes out will be an entire album of "All Good Soldiers", as far as I know. It's not planned and it's not contrived, it's just what comes out". Brett: "Greg and I really don't discuss what we're going to write before we write. We don't even map it out in a general way. We don't say for next year's songs let's try to write in this general direction. We write the songs, then we listen to them and say, 'Hmmm, I wonder if we should play this in Bad Religion?'".
Hetson said in 1994 "We don't have fixed rules. Some albums saw a strong lyrical contribution on Greg Graffin's part, other works were more distributed between the components. Brett took a big responsibility for Stranger Than Fiction; he wrote an important portion of both music and lyrics. We tend to follow the moment's inspiration, the way we divide the work is substantially casual; things just happen".
Brett in 2004 (on Greg's song writing): "As we touch upon these timeless topics that we use every couple of years in the new record, rather than it getting stale, it almost feels like, at least in terms of Greg’s writing, he’s really refined it, made an art of it. If you have an "Atheist Peace" instead of a religious war, it’s quite brilliant. Who would have thought about it other than Greg?" 
Greg:"I’ve always said that the main reason that we have these good collections of songs is because Brett and I both know that the first person who’s going to hear our ideas is our partner. Brett knows I’m his number one fan and I think he’s a fan of mine. It puts a big burden of responsibility to try to impress him when I write something."
Brett: "When Greg writes some tunes and plays them for me, he usually doesn’t know which ones are great and which ones are just good. He’ll go, “Hey Brett, I've got three or four songs. I don’t really know what to think.” And he’ll play them for me, and I’ll go, “Greg, two of those songs kick ass! And the other two are excellent Bad Religion songs.” He’ll say “Really?” And I’ll say “Just trust me. That first one you played me is amazing. It’s some of the best writing you ever did.” And when I say that to him, I set his mind at ease. I could hear one of his songs with nothing but piano and him singing, and I’ll know from one hearing that it is a great Bad Religion song. I can play him one of my songs and he can do the same thing for me, because he’s picturing it with a background vocal arrangement, with a beat, the whole thing. That’s one of the reasons we need each other, because frankly, the other guys in our band----not all of them, but most of them----I’ll play them one of my new songs in demo form, and they’ll be like “Uh.” I’m like, “What do you mean?...It’s very well known that we have a healthy competition that helps the records. I think what’s less well known is that we’re a support group for each other. A group within a group. We support and encourage each other." 
Greg:"... having all those years where Brett was out of the band and I wrote numerous songs… I was very prolific, but I didn’t have this input, and that resulted in a far less streamlined approach to the Bad Religion album."
Brett: "He couldn’t bounce them off me anymore."
Greg: "Yeah. I learned a lot through that process, about the importance of A&R, and Brett is an expert at it. I’m not. You learn your shortcomings by doing. It’s weird, because I think I am a really a pretty good A&R person for Brett’s songs, because I think Ican picture myself singing them and I know how they’re going to be delivered. It’s usually when he knows it’s a good song that he wrote, that I just usually end up reinforcing that belief."
Brett: "I can’t tell it’s great until after Graffin sings the whole thing. I’ll sing along with my songs, but I absolutely detest my own voice. Greg will attest to this. When we finally get together, I put some of my guitar in his songs, and he puts his voice on my songs, it’s just a huge relief for both of us." 
Brian Baker: "The typical song writing process is I go to Brett or Greg's house and they push a button and I hear a demo with amazing vocals and ok guitars and a drum machine of what will be a song. From that point forward we take these songs into a room with actual musicians and we twist them and change them a little bit and more importantly add the personality of each band member. That's basically the process."
|05/12||added quotes; still needs organization - By Stinger66|
|05/10||added Brett quote - By Stinger66|
|08/03||added quote by Brett - By wrong planet|