Bad Religion is a punk rock band from Los Angeles, California, known for poignant, erudite lyrics, and biting social commentary. The band was formed in 1979 by high school students Greg Graffin (vocals), Jay Bentley (bass guitar), Jay Ziskrout (drums), and Brett Gurewitz (guitar). In 1981, they released their eponymous debut EP on their own newly-formed label, Epitaph, managed and owned by Gurewitz. 1982 saw the release of their first full-length album, How Could Hell Be Any Worse?, which gained them a sizable following. During the recording, Ziskrout left the band and was replaced by Peter Finestone.
Greg Graffin, the band’s frontman, holds a Master’s degree in geology from UCLA and a Ph.D. in zoology from Cornell University. His dissertation for Cornell was a comprehensive study of how modern scientists, especially those who believe in strict Darwinism, view theism and religion, and how their own religious beliefs, if any, affect their study and work. He has since published it for fans of the band.
In 1983, Bad Religion released Into the Unknown, a keyboard-driven psychedelic rock album that was enormously unpopular among the band’s core fan base. It is now out of print, and generally disowned by the band. However, in past years it has become a collectors item, and has gained some acceptance from fans. It now can be seen going for more than $100 on eBay, and is often pirated.
In 1984, Greg Hetson (Circle Jerks) replaced Gurewitz. Bad Religion returned to a somewhat mellower, rock and roll version of their original sound with the Back to the Known, but they disbanded soon after.