Brett Gurewitz

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Brett Gurewitz
Brett AP Glasses.jpg
Brett Gurewitz
Background information
Also known as Mr. Brett, Brett Religion, The Legendary Starbolt
Born (1962-05-12) May 12, 1962 (age 52)
Los Angeles, California
Origin Southern California
Genres Punk rock, Hardcore punk, Melodic hardcore, Digital hardcore
Occupations Musician, Guitarist, Producer, Record label owner
Instruments Guitar, Vocals
Years active 1979–present
Labels Epitaph
Associated acts Bad Religion (1979–1983, 1986–1994, 2001–Present)
Daredevils (1995–1996)
Error (2003–Present)

Brett W. Gurewitz (born May 12, 1962),[1] nicknamed Mr. Brett, is the guitarist and a songwriter of Bad Religion. He is also the owner of the music label Epitaph Records (which has handled many Bad Religion releases) and sister-labels ANTI-, Burning Heart Records, Fat Possum Records, and Hellcat Records.[2] He has produced albums for Bad Religion as well as Epitaph Records labelmates NOFX, Rancid, and Pennywise, among others. Gurewitz also had a project called Error, which also featured Atticus Ross, Leopold Ross, and Greg Puciato.

Gurewitz joined Bad Religion in 1979 at the age of 17, when he, Greg Graffin, Jay Bentley and Jay Ziskrout agreed to form a band. After releasing two albums and one EP, Gurewitz left Bad Religion in 1983, but rejoined three years later when the How Could Hell Be Any Worse? line-up (adding guitarist Greg Hetson as the second guitarist) was reuniting, and recorded five more albums with the band before they signed to Atlantic Records in 1993. Their Atlantic debut, Stranger Than Fiction (1994), was a breakthrough success, scoring their biggest hits "21st Century (Digital Boy)" and "Infected". However, he was overwhelmed by Epitaph's new popularity (including the unexpected success of the label's then-current acts The Offspring and Rancid) and decided to quit Bad Religion once again in 1994. Gurewitz continued working at Epitaph after his departure from Bad Religion, and released the "Hate You" single in 1996 with his one-off project Daredevils. During that time, he entered a period of drug addiction. By 1999, Gurewitz had successfully completed drug rehabilitation and reconciled with Graffin to co-write a song "Believe It", which appears on Bad Religion's 2000 album The New America. He eventually rejoined the band in 2001 to write and record the album The Process of Belief (2002). He remains with the band today, but only occasionally joins them live, such as when they are performing near his hometown or for televised appearances. Bad Religion has since released four more albums: The Empire Strikes First (2004), New Maps of Hell (2007), The Dissent of Man (2010), and True North (2013).

In the past, Brett has engineered several albums using the pseudonym "The Legendary Starbolt".[3]

Life and career[edit]

Gurewitz was born in Los Angeles, California and grew up in Woodland Hills, California where he was brought up Jewish.

Bad Religion[edit]

Then-17 year old Brett Gurewitz formed Bad Religion in Woodland Hills in 1979[4] with Greg Graffin (vocals), Jay Ziskrout (drums) and Jay Bentley (bass). All four attended El Camino Real High School. Soon after, they began writing songs and played their first ever concert, as warm-up for Social Distortion. In 1981, Bad Religion recorded a six-song self-titled EP, which was initially released in a 7" format, and soon afterward re-issued as a 12". Compact cassettes were also produced, but they are rare.

Bad Religion's first full-length album, How Could Hell Be Any Worse?, was released in 1982. When recording sessions commenced, Ziskrout soon left the band and was replaced by Pete Finestone. Cited as one of Bad Religion's most important works, How Could Hell Be Any Worse? was financed by a $1,000 loan from Gurewitz's father. Its success surprised the band when it sold 10,000 copies in under a year. The sound of the record was vastly improved from the self-titled EP. Although not yet credited as a member of the band, Greg Hetson (of Circle Jerks fame) did a guitar solo on "Part III".

Bad Religion released their second full-length, Into the Unknown, in 1983, but were less successful, due to the album's poor production. It was a major change from their previous style, delving into progressive rock heavy in keyboards. While recording one song, Bentley and Finestone left the band and were replaced by Paul Dedona on bass and Davy Goldman on drums. The album, Into the Unknown is out of print, but is included in their 30th anniversary box set.

After the release of Into the Unknown, Bad Religion broke up, but reformed (without Gurewitz) to produce the 1985 EP Back to the Known. The EP features the return of the band's punk rock roots, although also reflecting influences of then current acts such as Hüsker Dü and The Descendents. Soon after, Bad Religion went on hiatus again.

After the How Could Hell Be Any Worse? line-up (also including Hetson) reunited in 1986, Bad Religion released their highly acclaimed album Suffer in 1988. The album was a comeback for Bad Religion as well as a watershed for the Southern California punk sound popularized by their label Epitaph Records, owned by Gurewitz. The reunion line-up recorded two more highly acclaimed albums, No Control (1989) and Against the Grain (1990), before Finestone left the group in early 1991.

Bad Religion replaced Finestone with Bobby Schayer, then recorded their next album, Generator, which was already completed in the spring of 1991, but was forced to delay its release until a year later. For the album, Bad Religion also filmed their first music video "Atomic Garden", which was also their first song to be released as a single. In 1993, the band left their original label Epitaph Records and signed to Atlantic Records, who released their next album Recipe for Hate. While moderately successful, this was the first Bad Religion album to reach any Billboard charts and two videos for the album, "American Jesus" and "Struck a Nerve", were made.

Bad Religion rose to fame with their next album, 1994's Stranger Than Fiction, including their well-known hits "Infected" and "21st Century (Digital Boy)", which are also often considered concert staples. After the album was completed, Gurewitz soon left Bad Religion to concentrate on the future of Epitaph, citing 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. Gurewitz was replaced by Brian Baker during the Stranger Than Fiction tour and Bad Religion recorded two albums without him.

In 1999, after a five year hiatus from the band, Gurewitz reunited with Graffin and co-wrote the song "Believe It", which appeared on Bad Religion's 11th album The New America (2000). Two years later, after parting ways with Atlantic Records, Gurewitz was officially back in the band and Bad Religion resigned to Epitaph. Schayer also left the band during the time and was replaced by current drummer Brooks Wackerman. Now as a six piece, Bad Religion recorded and released the albums The Process of Belief (2002), The Empire Strikes First (2004), New Maps of Hell (2007), The Dissent of Man (2010), and True North (2013).[5]

Error[edit]

In 2003, Gurewitz was recruited by 12 Rounds member and Nine Inch Nails collaborator Atticus Ross and his younger brother Leopold to play guitar and bass in an electro-hardcore project called Error. Their only release to date is a self-titled EP, which was in 2004. Following the release of the EP, Error was reported to be looking for a full-time vocalist for touring and a full-length debut; however, the future of the project has been a topic for discussion on many internet message boards. In 2005, Error recorded one new song, "Wild World", that appears on a tribute album to The Birthday Party called Release the Bats: The Birthday Party as Heard Through the Meat Grinder of Three One G, which was released on April 4, 2006. Error has been on hiatus since and it is unclear whether the project will return anytime in the future.

Personal life[edit]

  1. Maggie, married in 1989, divorced in 1995 who is now living alone with Brett's two children in Hollywood, California[6]
    1. 1 son, Max, born August 12, 1991[7]
    2. 1 daughter, Frida, born March 14, 1994[8]
  2. Gina Davis, who had worked at Epitaph, married in 2003.[6] They currently live in Pasadena, California[9]
    1. 1 daughter, Nico Moon Celeste, born July 4, 2009

In 1997, he temporarily left Epitaph to undergo treatment for addiction.[10]

Selected discography[edit]

Year Artist/Band Album Role
1981 Bad Religion Bad Religion Producer and guitars
1981[11][12] Bad Religion How Could Hell Be Any Worse? Producer and guitars
1983 Bad Religion Into the Unknown Producer and guitars
1985 Bad Religion Back to the Known Producer
1985 The Seeing Eye Gods The Seeing Eye Gods Vocals, all instruments, producer, engineer (credited as "Billy Pilgrim")
1988 Bad Religion Suffer Producer, guitars and background vocals
1988 L7 L7 Producer
1988 NOFX Liberal Animation Producer
1989 Bad Religion No Control Producer, guitars and background vocals
1989 NOFX S&M Airlines Producer
1990 Jughead's Revenge Unstuck in Time Producer
1990 Bad Religion Against the Grain Producer, guitars and background vocals
1990 No Use for a Name Incognito Producer, guitars and background vocals
1991 Bad Religion 80-85 Producer, guitars and background vocals
1991 Down by Law Down by Law Producer, guitars and background vocals
1991 NOFX Ribbed Producer
1991 Samiam Soar Producer
1992 Bad Religion Generator Producer, guitars and background vocals
1992 L7 Bricks Are Heavy Co-wrote "Scrap"
1992 Chemical People Chemical People Background vocals
1992 Down by Law Blue Producer and engineer
1993 Bad Religion Recipe for Hate Producer, guitars and background vocals
1993 Rancid Rancid Background vocals
1994 Bad Religion Stranger Than Fiction Producer, guitars and background vocals
1994 Rancid Let's Go Producer and engineer
1995 Bad Religion All Ages Producer, guitars and background vocals
1995 Pennywise About Time Producer
1995 Rancid ...And Out Come the Wolves Engineer
1996 Daredevils Hate You Guitars and vocals
1997 Pennywise Full Circle Mixer
1997 The Pietasters Willis Producer and engineer
1999 H2O F.T.T.W. Producer
1999 The Pietasters Awesome Mix Tape vol. 6 Backing vocals, additional percussion, producer and engineer
2000 Bad Religion The New America Co-wrote and played guitar on the song "Believe It".
2000 Millencolin Pennybridge Pioneers Producer and Acoustic Guitar on "The Ballad".
2000 Rancid Rancid Producer
2000 Voodoo Glow Skulls Symbolic Producer
2001 Pennywise Land of the Free? Co-wrote "Who's on Your Side"
2002 Bad Religion The Process of Belief Producer, guitars and background vocals
2002 The Distillers Sing Sing Death House Engineer and mixing
2003 Matchbook Romance West For Wishing Producer, engineer and mixer
2003 Rancid Indestructible Vocals, producer, engineer and mixing
2004 Bad Religion The Empire Strikes First Producer, guitars and background vocals
2005 The Unseen State of Discontent Mixer
2006[13] From First to Last Heroine Background vocals
2006 The Matches Decomposer Producer
2006 Greg Graffin Cold as the Clay Producer and background vocals
2007 Bad Religion New Maps of Hell Guitars and background vocals
2009 Rancid Let the Dominoes Fall Producer
2010 Bad Religion The Dissent of Man Guitars and background vocals
2010 Parkway Drive Deep Blue Guest vocals on "Home is for the Heartless"
2011 Heartsounds Drifter Producer (Vocals)
2013 Bad Religion True North Guitars and also a producer
2014 Rancid Honor Is All We Know Producer

References[edit]

  1. ^ A number of sources mistakenly list 1964 as his year of birth. According to Family Tree Legends, a "Brett W Gurewitz" was born on May 12, 1962 in Los Angeles County. [1]
  2. ^ Epitaph Records Wikipedia page.
  3. ^ Nicknames list at thebrpage.net
  4. ^ According to the booklet of the Live at the Palladium DVD, Bad Religion formed in 1979 in Woodland Hills.
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ a b Profile on thebrpage.net
  7. ^ Family Tree Legends site
  8. ^ Family Tree Legends site
  9. ^ LA Times article
  10. ^ MTV news article
  11. ^ http://www.thebrpage.net/discography/variation.asp?varID=2
  12. ^ http://www.discogs.com/Bad-Religion-How-Could-Hell-Be-Any-Worse/master/25526
  13. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/heroine-r821764/credits

External links[edit]