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Bad Religion

Known for poignant, erudite lyrics and biting social commentary, Bad Religion is a punk band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1979 by high school students Greg Graffin (vocals), Jay Bentley (bass guitar) and Jay Ziskrout (drums), and high school drop-out Brett Gurewitz (guitar). In 1981, the band released their eponymous debut EP on their own newly-formed label, Epitaph Records, managed and owned by Gurewitz. 1982 saw the release of their first full-length album, How Could Hell Be Any Worse, gaining the band a sizeable following. During the recording of How Could Hell Be Any Worse, Jay Ziskrout left the band and was replaced by Peter Finestone.

In 1983, the band released Into the Unknown, a keyboard-driven psychedelic rock album that was enormously unpopular with the band's core fanbase. It is now out of print, and generally disowned by the band. In 1985, they returned to a somewhat mellower version of their original sound with the Back to the Known EP, but they disbanded soon thereafter.

They reformed in 1987 and released Suffer in 1988, which cemented their comeback in the punk community. No Control (1989) and Against the Grain (1990) further increased the band's popularity, followed by Generator (1992). Before recording sessions for Generator commenced, drummer Peter Finestone left Bad Religion to focus on his other band, The Fishermen, which had signed with a major label, and Bobby Schayer joined the band as his replacement. Recipe for Hate (1993) followed shortly thereafter.

With alternative rock breaking into the mainstream, Bad Religion signed Gurewitz's own Epitaph Records for Atlantic Records and quickly re-released Recipe for Hate on the major label. 1994's Stranger than Fiction followed, but right around its release Gurewitz left the band. Officially he cited the increasing amount of time he was spending at Epitaph's offices as the Offspring became one of the biggest bands of the mid-1990s (see 1994 in music), but it was well-known that the departure was not on good terms, as he later accused the band of selling out for leaving Epitaph for a major label and recorded a song with his new band the Daredevils entitled "Hate You," reportedly directed towards Jay Bentley. Gurewitz was replaced as a guitarist by Brian Baker, former member of bands such as Minor Threat and Dag Nasty. Previously Greg Graffin and Gurewitz had split songwriting duties, which left Greg as Bad Religion's sole songwriter.

What followed were a series of relatively unsuccessful albums, The Gray Race (1996), No Substance (1998), and The New America (2000) (though The Gray Race in particular was well-received by many fans). As their popularity was not what it once was, Bad Religion departed from Atlantic Records in 2001 and returned to Epitaph. Gurewitz rejoined the band in time to record The Process Of Belief (2002), and the band has a new album tentatively due out in 2004.


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