60 Seconds With . . . Greg Graffin
It’s startling to hear that Greg Graffin, founder of the L.A. punk institution Bad Religion and a UCLA biology professor, doesn’t believe in strict Darwinian evolution. Turns out, the tweedy frontman has a more chaotic explanation for life. Look for Bad Religion performing around SoCal in the coming weeks, starting with Friday’s House of Blues show in Anaheim.
BAD RELIGION HAS ALWAYS USED WONKY SCIENCE TERMS IN ITS LYRICS. . . .
I’ve always been on a quest to use science in an artful way. The words we choose are a little easier than the early days, but they’re just as analytical.
DO ANY STUDENTS TAKE YOUR CLASS BECAUSE THEY LIKE YOUR BAND?
I get a few students who ask if I can get them backstage, but you’d be surprised how few. Most of them are serious medical students who aren’t into music.
DO OLDER FANS BRING THEIR KIDS TO SHOWS?
Bruce Springsteen brought his kid to a show in New Jersey. Bruce and I had common ground -- he put out a folk record when I did -- but his son was just stoked to be backstage. The shows in L.A. are star-studded events, and for whatever reason, their kids like Bad Religion.
BAD RELIGION’S “LOS ANGELES IS BURNING” WAS A RECENT HIT, AND THE COVER FOR “NEW MAPS OF HELL” SHOWS AN APOCALYPTIC HOLLYWOOD. ARE YOU MORE INTERESTED IN L.A. AS A WRITER NOW?
Lately I’ve been more sentimental [about L.A.]. Every place has its own punk flavor, but they all borrowed ideas from SoCal. It’s still a vibrant scene creeping into every crevasse of youth culture. When you hear grunge, you think of the ‘90s, but when you hear L.A. punk, it’s timeless.
ANY OTHER SOLO PROJECTS, LIKE A FOLLOW-UP TO FOLK ALBUM “COLD AS THE CLAY”?
I’m trying to write a book that takes over from where [staunch evolutionist] Richard Dawkins left off when he said that God or natural selection are the only two choices when we think of the big questions. I counter that there’s another option . . . a much more chaotic way that suggests every level of biology is pretty much anarchic.
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