For several generations of punks, Dr. Greg Graffin is somewhat of a folk hero. As a founding member of SoCal punk icons Bad Religion, Graffin has been the epitome of reason. His vigorous pursuit of academia didn’t dilute his punk ideals. If anything, it cemented them. In this APTV interview, he briefly discusses his band’s history and their recently revisited track, “Faith Alone.” And while everyone is trying to make live performances work in the age of coronavirus, Dr. Graffin has some theories about the return of shows.
2020 has proven to be an interesting year for Bad Religion and Dr. Graffin. Jim Ruland‘s recently published biography, Do What You Want, is a well-rounded history of the band. Graffin recalls his dismay at forgetting certain events, complimenting bassist Jay Bentley on his ability to remember things with laser-pointed accuracy. On the music side, he discusses the prescience of the recent “Faith Alone 2020” track and what that song means to him today.
Sure, strolls down Memory Lane are almost expected from bands of a certain age. But Graffin has some thoughts and perceptions regarding the future now. Specifically, the fate of gatherings and live entertainment events. Graffin’s time in the rock trenches is well-documented, although he claims he’s only focused on the business aspects in the last 15 years. His PhD doctorate is in zoology and has included research on pandemics. (Wouldn’t Animal Reservoirs be a great band name?) He addresses the pathology of both business and biology for us in terms we may both understand and consider.
Dr. Greg Graffin is essentially a totem. The thought and consideration he puts in his art and interviews is paramount. Liberty spikes, Mohawks, leather jackets, skateboarding and the like are all cool. But if you’re really going to mark yourself outside of mainstream culture, you need to properly articulate the deep problems you have with it in the first place. It’s how we keep moving forward. Thanks, Dr. Graffin.