Greg Graffin

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Greg Graffin
Greg Graffin-Starland BallRoom-2007.jpg
Greg Graffin on stage with Bad Religion in 2007 at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey
Background information
Birth name Gregory Walter Graffin
Born (1964-11-06) November 6, 1964 (age 49)
Racine, Wisconsin, United States
Genres Punk rock, folk
Occupations Musician, singer-songwriter, lecturer, producer
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica, synthesizer, drums
Years active 1979–present
Labels Epitaph, Atlantic, ANTI-
Associated acts Bad Religion
Website badreligion.com

Gregory Walter Graffin, Ph.D. (born November 6, 1964) is an American punk rock musician, college lecturer, and author. He is most recognized as the lead vocalist, songwriter, and only constant member of the noted Los Angeles band Bad Religion, which he co-founded in 1979. He also embarked on a solo career in 1997, when he released the album American Lesion. His follow-up album, Cold as the Clay was released nine years later. Graffin obtained his Ph.D. at Cornell University and has lectured courses in life sciences and paleontology at the University of California, Los Angeles and evolution at Cornell University.

Biography[edit]

Career with Bad Religion[edit]

In 1979, at the age of 15, Greg Graffin and a few high school classmates formed Bad Religion in Southern California's San Fernando Valley. After making a name for themselves in the Los Angeles punk scene, releasing two EPs and two full-length albums, they disbanded around 1985. However, Bad Religion reformed in 1986 with a new line-up, consisting of Graffin on vocals, Brett Gurewitz and Greg Hetson on guitars, Jay Bentley on bass, and Pete Finestone on drums. In 1988, they released Suffer, which was a comeback for Bad Religion as well as a watershed for the Southern California punk sound popularized by guitarist Gurewitz's Epitaph Records. The reunion line-up made two more records before Finestone left the band in 1991.

Bad Religion has been known for its articulate and often politically charged lyrics as well as its fast-paced harmony, melody and counterpoint. Graffin and Gurewitz are the band's two main songwriters, though Graffin wrote the bulk of the material on his own for a three-album period in the late 1990s. Gurewitz had left the band in 1994 to concentrate on the future of Epitaph.

After a stint with major label Atlantic Records ended in the early 2000s, Bad Religion re-signed with Epitaph and Gurewitz rejoined. They have since continued to co-write songs and recorded five records: The Process of Belief (2001), The Empire Strikes First (2004), New Maps of Hell (2007), The Dissent of Man (2010)[1] and the latest, True North (2013).

Solo career[edit]

Graffin recorded a solo album in 1997, called American Lesion, which consisted of softer, more pop-oriented folk songs. Most of this album was written during the breakup of his marriage, and the songs reflect this in lyrics and style.

In 2005, Graffin recorded his second solo album Cold as the Clay. The album is an amalgamation of new songs by Graffin and 18th- and 19th-century American folk songs. It was produced by Brett Gurewitz and released on ANTI- Records on July 10, 2006.

Academia[edit]

Graffin attended El Camino Real High School, then double-majored in anthropology and geology as an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He went on to earn a master's degree in geology from UCLA and received his Ph.D. from Cornell University. The Ph.D. dissertation was officially a zoology Ph.D., supervised by William B. Provine at Cornell.[2] The title of his dissertation is "Evolution, Monism, Atheism, and the Naturalist World-View: Perspectives from Evolutionary Biology".[3]

Greg Graffin returned to UCLA where he taught Life Science 1.[4] In a June 2008 interview with Bad Religion bassist Jay Bentley, he mentioned that Graffin would be teaching there from January to March 2009.[5] In April 2011, Graffin revealed that he would return to Cornell University that fall to co-teach a course in evolution for 14 weeks.[6]

Work as an educator of naturalism and evolution[edit]

In his book Anarchy Evolution Graffin writes that he is an atheist: "I’ve never believed in God, which technically makes me an atheist".[7] Although Graffin is not religious, he prefers to identify as a naturalist rather than as an atheist. "Naturalism is a belief system. A lot of scientists bristle at that. We all have to believe we can find the truth. Evidence is my guide. I rely on observation, experimentation and verification."[8]

Greg Graffin received the Rushdie Award for Cultural Humanism from the Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy in 2008.[9][10]

Greg Graffin of Bad Religion sings the National Anthem at the Reason Rally. National Mall, Washington, DC, 2012

Throughout 2003, Graffin was engaged in an ongoing email discussion with Preston Jones, a historian at the Christian John Brown University in Arkansas and fan of Bad Religion. The informal philosophical debate that resulted was published as a book titled Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant? A Professor and Punk Rocker Discuss Science, Religion, Naturalism & Christianity in 2006.[11][12]

In 2009 Graffin announced that he had co-written a book with American author Steve Olson entitled Anarchy Evolution, released on September 28, 2010 (the same day his band Bad Religion released their 15th album The Dissent of Man).[13][14] As of April 2011, Graffin is writing another book, entitled The Population Wars, which is said to be "a bit more in depth about the process of evolution." No release date has been set.

In 2009, Graffin filmed and co-produced a television pilot called Punk Professor. In 2010, he commented on the project, "It's sitting on someone's shelf waiting to be developed. I'm not actually pursuing it. I said, yeah, I'll shoot the pilot, then it's out of my hands."[15]

On March 24, 2012, Bad Religion headlined the Reason Rally in Washington, D.C., where Graffin performed the national anthem.[16][17]

Solo discography[edit]

For all his contributions with Bad Religion, see Bad Religion discography

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New album title revealed!". Thebrpage.net. Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  2. ^ Graffin, Greg. "The Cornell Evolution Project". Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "Cornell University Library Catalog". 
  4. ^ Feinberg, Paul. "Reading, Writing and Rock 'n' Roll". UCLA Magazine. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  5. ^ "Bad Religion looks ahead to 2009 album". Punknews.org. Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  6. ^ "UPDATE: Bad Religion to be playing the Punk Rock Holiday Festival". Thebrpage.net. Retrieved 2012-05-12. 
  7. ^ Graffin, Greg & Olson, Steve, Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science, and Bad Religion in a World Without God. It Books, 20 september 2010. ISBN 978-0061828508
  8. ^ Draper, Electra. "For punk rocker and professor, Greg Graffin, faith's in the fossil". The Denver Post. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  9. ^ "Greg Graffin (Bad Religion) talks about humanist award". Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  10. ^ "Greg Graffin's Lifetime Achievement Award Acceptance Speech". Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  11. ^ By tor on February 15, 2010. "Greg Graffin: Punk-Rock Ph.D.". Pastemagazine.com. Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  12. ^ "Preston Jones / Greg Graffin - Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant?". Punknews.org. Retrieved 2012-05-12. 
  13. ^ "Graffins new book | News from the front | The Bad Religion Page - Since 1995". Thebrpage.net. Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  14. ^ "Anarchy Evolution". Amazon.ca. 2010-09-28. Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  15. ^ Chaplinsky, Joshua. "The Naturalistic Worldview of a Punk Rock Professor". The Cult: The Official Chuck Palahniuk Website. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  16. ^ "Bad Religion in lineup for March 24 Reason Rally in Washington, D.C.". The Los Angeles Times. 2012-03-21. Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  17. ^ "The Reason Rally Official Schedule". Retrieved 23 June 2012. 

External links[edit]