Bad Religion Approached Music Like It Could Be 'Taken Away,' Then It Was


Bad Religion frontman Greg Graffin isn't surprised that the world of live entertainment has come to a screeching halt due to a deadly pandemic virus, and it's not just because he's a scientist.

Cornell evolutionary biology professor and punk legend Dr. Graffin tells Q104.3 New York's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke, that as an artist he's always treated music as something precious.

"I still look at [academics] as sort of a side branch to my music career. I didn't always think that," he said. "I thought that music was a gift, which it is. I thought that at any time that gift could be taken away. And I thought that if that happened, I always wanted to continue my academic pursuits. I enjoy lecturing. It kind of feels the same as being a front man in many ways."

While the music hasn't been taken away, really, the live concert experience has been muted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of playing summer festivals, Graffin has been teaching classes online. He and his Bad Religion bandmates are looking back on their career with the new band autobiography, Do What You Want: The Story of Bad Religion.

It's been 40 years since Bad Religion got started. That time has gone by in a blink, Graffin says, because he's always been looking forward. Doing the book provided a rare opportunity to look back.

"Bad Religion has always been a creative pursuit, and I've felt like with that companion for most of my life, this friend — not only in the guys in the band but this otherworldly thing — Bad Religion has a life of its own, really," he said. "I've always felt like that has been a symbol in my life that means there's something more to achieve. There's a reason to get up today and share with the world some aspect of creativity. It's never been boring."

Watch the full conversation via the video player above! Graffin discusses his love of '70s prog rock, his first encounter with a young Eddie Vedder, what it was like to make an album with Ric Ocasek and more!

Order Do What You Want: The Story of Bad Religion here.

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Check out the official audio for Bad Religion's new single, "Faith Alone 2020":