Greg Graffin biography
Born on November 6, 1963, in Racine, Wisconsin, Greg Graffin is the frontman and co-founder of the punk band Bad Religion. The band's self-titled debut album and 1982 follow-up, How Could Hell Be Any Worse?, were both well-received. Their third album, Into the Unknown, however, met with less success. Bad Religion officially disbanded in 1984. In 1997, Graffin recorded a solo album, American Lesion. Graffin holds a Ph.D. in zoology from Cornell University, and has taught life sciences at both Cornell and UCLA.
Greg Graffin, punk rock’s professor emeritus, was born Gregory Walter Graffin III on November 6, 1963, in Racine, Wisconsin, and raised by parents Walter and Marcella. In 1976, his family moved to the San Fernando Valley, where the self-described "average Wisconsin kid" quickly found himself an outcast among the local mix of pot fumes and rock 'n' roll.
One Sunday night during his youth, Graffin got his first ear full of punk courtesy of the Los Angeles-based KROQ's "Rodney on the ROQ" show. The irreverent lyrics and stage-diving electricity captured Graffin’s imagination immediately. At age 15, while attending El Camino Real High School, he helped form the punk band Bad Religion with friends Jay Bentley, Brett Gurewitz and Jay Ziskrout.
From the start, the young garage band showed a knack for self-reliance that stood out in the grass-roots punk scene flourishing around them. The teens fashioned together posters and flyers to promote their gigs. With a $1,500 loan from Brett Gurewitz’s father, they rented studio time in an abandoned office building in Hollywood and recorded their first album. In 1980, Bad Religion was featured on KROQ, and it was Greg Graffin’s clear vocals and erudite lyrics that announced their arrival to Los Angeles' hardcore punk scene.
Bad Religion's self-titled debut album sold out quickly and their 1982 follow-up, How Could Hell Be Any Worse?, was also well-received. Their third album, Into the Unknown, however, met with less success. The band had taken a different approach for the album: A 1970s progressive-rock style built around a Roland Juno 6 synthesizer. While Graffin felt that the new direction fell within Bad Religion's artistic values, their fans disagreed. Jay Bentley quit the band while recording the album and, in 1984, the group officially split.
During his time away from the band, Graffin enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles, graduating with degrees in biology and geology. In 1987, he and his bandmates reunited and began a prolific career that has included worldwide tours and a string of more than 14 albums. In 1997, Graffin recorded a solo album, American Lesion.