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Bad Religion
Jan 2002

Southern California punk stalwarts Bad Religion are in the radio.wazee spotlight this week with "Sorrow" from their latest release on founding member Brett Gurewitzís label Epitaph, "The Process Of Belief."

Bad Religion [ www.badreligion.com ] formed in their first incarnation in1980 in the suburban wasteland of the San Fernando Valley. Three disaffected teenagers, Greg Graffin (vocals), Gurewitz (guitar) and Jay Bentley (bass), met and formed Bad Religion, the name originating from their mutual distaste for organized religion. They added Jay Lishrout (drums), and began practicing in a small garage and playing live amidst the volatile L.A. punk scene. When the major record companies refused to sign anything resembling punk, Gurewitz decided they would simply start their own label to release the bandís music.

They soon issued a crudely recorded self-titled E.P. on the newly-formed Epitaph label. Following several appearances on local compilation albums, Pete Finestone took over as drummer in 1982, and Bad Religion produced a much better produced full-length album titled "How Could Hell Be Any Worse?," a record considered by many to be a milestone of Southern California punk music. Gurewitz eventually left the band and was replaced by Greg Hetson from speed punk pioneers the Circle Jerks. In 1984 there were more changes and Graffin was soon the only surviving member from the previous year, with Greg Hetson and Tim Gallegos taking over guitar and bass, and Pete Finestone returning on drums, while Gurewitz took time out to conquer his alcohol and drug problems. In 1986, Gurewitz opened a small recording studio in Hollywood called Westbeach. In 1987, he rejoined Bad Religion for a show that Hetson (working with former band Circle Jerks once more) could not attend. He was soon back in the line up, playing alongside Hetson.

The following years saw the band releasing almost an album per year, gaining international popularity and even landing a hit radio single ("Infected"). In 1993, the band moved to Atlantic records. A year later, Gurewitz again parted ways with the band to dedicate himself full time to his quickly expanding label, enjoying success with Offspring and others. Lead guitarist Brian Baker, previously of underground legends Minor Threat, joined the BR camp and they forged ahead, continuing to release records and tour. Gurewitz, on the other hand, found himself waging an agonizing battle with drug addiction that eventually landed him in jail. Most assumed he would be yet one more punk rock drug casualty, but Gurewitz managed to rally and slowly work his way back. Gurewitz and Graffin had always kept in touch, but as attractive as collaborating again seemed, there were logistical problems. The band still owed their label another record, and a revitalized Gurewitz was occupied with his work at Epitaph. In 1999, the path finally cleared and Bad Religion invited Gurewitz to rejoin the band he had helped to start. He agreed and, in turn, asked Bad Religion back to a label initially created to release their music.

The result is "The Process Of Belief," recorded with Suicidal Tendencies drummer Brooks Wackerman after Shayer was forced in to retirement following a rotator cuff injury that prohibits him from lifting his arm above his shoulder. "The Process Of Belief" is the bandís 12th studio album, and was released in October, 2001.



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