Punk legends Bad Religion formed in Los Angeles during 1980. At the time they were made up of Greg Graffin (vocals), Brett Gurewitz (guitar), Jay Bentley (bass) and Jay Ziskrout (drums). Shortly after, they recorded their first EP aptly named 'Bad Religion'. It consisted of six bad songs about the state of the world. To release this, they formed their own label, Epitaph. BR then decided it was time to record a full length album. During the recording of 'How Could Hell Be Any Worse?' Jay Ziskrout got very upset with his band and quit. He was soon replaced by Pete Finestone and 'How Could Hell' was released in 1982 with a little financial assistance from Brett's father. It had 14 short, fast and angry songs that were a step up from their first EP, but still had a long way to go before real talent would shine through. Graffin's garage was converted into a rehearsal room and dubbed 'The Hellhole'. 'How Could Hell' sold 10,000 copies in under a year and the band became more popular than they had anticipated.

Soon after, Greg Hetson who had been helping on the side joined the band as a fully fledged member and second guitarist. Later on, Brett bought Graffin a keyboard which Graffin then used to write songs for 'Into the Unknown'. That was when the band fell apart, everyone quit before or during production of 'Into the Unknown' and the lineup ended up being Graffin, Gurewitz, Paul Dedona on bass and Davy Goldman on drums. 'Into the Unknown' was released in 1983 to angry fans who saw the slow and keyboard filled album as a disgrace to the punk community. BR lost their followers and disbanded soon after.

In 1984, Greg Hetson asked Greg Graffin to start BR all over again. Together with Pete Finestone who also agreed to come back and bassist Tim Gallegos, the new BR recorded and released their second EP 'Back to the Known'. After this Gurewitz and Bentley returned and BR was a five piece once again. Gurewitz used BR to launch the return of Epitaph Records.

In 1988, punk history was made. Teaming up together, Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz (now going by the name Mr. Brett of the Legendary Starbolt), wrote the songs for one of the best punk albums of all time, 'Suffer'. From then on, it was the up and up for Bad Religion. They released an album every year until 1998. 'No Control' in 89, 'Against the Grain' in 90, '80-85' (re-releasing the earlier material excluding 'Into the Unknown' on one CD) in 91, Generator in 92 (Bobby Schayer had replaced Pete Finestone on drums for this one and for all albums to follow) in 92, 'Recipe For Hate' in 93 (their final album on Epitaph), 'Stranger Than Fiction' in 94 (their first on Atlantic and final for Mr. Brett), 'All Ages' (a compilation of their best from 'How Could Hell' to 'Generator') in 95, 'The Gray Race' (Brian Baker was the new guitarist for this one) in 96, 'Tested' (a live album compiled of shows throughout the world) in 97 and 'No Substance' in 98.

Now in 2000, Bad Religion have released 'The New America' and are still going strong, perhaps not with their older fans, but are still one of the greatest punk bands of all time.

Written by Starbolt
Against the Grain