Greg: Gregory Walter Graffin was born in Madison, Wisconsin. His parents were graduate students at the University of Wisconsin. They then spent 2 years in Evanston, Illinois before moving to Racine, Wisconsin where his dad Walter still lives in the house they moved to. By the time he was 7 his mom Marcella had left his dad and for the first 4 years after the separation Greg and his brother Grant commuted between Milwaukee and his dad's house. When he was 11 they moved very far away with their mom, who made very little money. Now he would only see his Wisconsin friends and dad in the summer and at Christmas. With his mom they moved to Los Angeles where 4 years later he began Bad Religion. He moved back to Madison to attend University there, but he was expelled because he was not a legal resident of the state. So he went back and did his MSc at UCLA. When Against the Grain came out he moved to Ithaca, NY to join Cornell University for his PhD program in evolutionary biology. At that point Hetson thought that the band was going to break up, and Greg assured him that it would be no different than when he was going to UCLA. Greg: "During my masters, I didn't see those guys that much, I was very busy, we only toured a couple of times, we made a record at Easter break. In fact, things only got better when I moved to Ithaca. Getting out of LA, I was able to write more clearly, focus on both academics and Bad Religion more". He got married in 1988 to Greta, whom he met in a course called The Intellectual History of the US. They lived in Ithaca with their kids (Graham (born in early 1992?) and Ella, who's two years younger) until Greta moved out. Greg still lives (as of April 1998) in the same house, which is brick, quite large, holds Greg's home studio in the basement and is situated in a rich neighborhood.
Academic History: When BR broke up in 1983, Greg moved back to his native Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He wasn't willing to say goodbye to BR but he started treating the band as a hobby. But when the administration found that he was no longer an official resident of the state of Wisconsin (he had just spent several years as a California resident) he was expelled. He went back to CA where he was a resident and started school at UCLA. In 1987 he got a master's degree at UCLA in Geology (he previously got a BA in Anthropology and his BSc degree in Geology there too, which was very field-oriented since he studied fossils). Then he did some field work in several places (North, Central and South America) and by the end of 1990 transferred to Cornell University (Ithaca) for a PhD. It'll be a Biology Ph.D, but he studies fossils. It's evolutionary biology-paleontology. The PhD is now on hold. He still has to write his thesis on bone tissue and take the "A" exam, which is the exam where Greg's committee (five people) sits in a room and asks him lots of awkward questions about bits of fossilized bones. He may do this in 1997. He was also a Teaching Assistant in the Evolutionary Biology department at Cornell University. He taught (TAed) mainly pre-medical students when they took a course in comparative anatomy. In 1989 he said "I get the same good feeling from people who like BR and students who like my teaching, but interestingly very rarely do the two ever mix". His PhD is in Evolutionary Biology but he says he will actually be a doctor of Zoology (it is vertebrate fossils he studies). The actual PhD is on bone tissue and he's been said to be one of the five leading bone tissue paleontologists in the world. He's given conferences and published at least one paper in a scientific journal. Both his parents were professors and he also intends to be involved in science for the rest of his life. He once said "If I could make a million dollars with Bad Religion, I would start an institute that would be for research on early vertebrates, that's what I study. Be able to fund research and stuff like that". But when asked to choose, he answers ""I'd probably choose music, because it gives me a lot more freedom to express myself."
He took his first semester off from university when they had just signed to Atlantic (so for the first time BR toured for more than two months in a year).
The Gopher server for the Cornell phonebook had the following for Greg: name: Gregory W Graffin / nickname: Aludensparglemein / department: Ecology and Systematics / title: lead singer, AR McCune, advisor / project: Investigations into the origin of bone tissue, and travelling the world whilst playing loud aggressive music / type: student - graduate. A picture of Greg can be seen in a board in the building of the Ecology and Statistics department of Cornell University listing all of the graduated students in the department.
Music Preferences: In 1980 Greg's favorite bands were The Gears, The Adolescents, The Chiefs, Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, etc.("all the bands that were melodic and hard"). "I still love the bands that influenced me, like Elvis Costello, the Ramones, the Buzzcocks and the early LA music". He also loves Todd Rundgren ("studying his style at a young age made me learn about writing pop songs and still maintaining an image below the mainstream"); his fav Todd album is A Wizard, A True Star. And The Cars. "The first two Cars albums were very influential to me. They came out when I was 13 or 14 years old, and when I was 15, I started Bad Religion. Those two albums were the last thing I remember before becoming a punker. They had a tremendous influence on me, as did all the music I heard as a kid". "What was really the strongest influence was my mother's side of the family was very religious. They grew up in the Church of Christ, which is very musically oriented. The stuff that influenced my mom and my uncle were the early traditional guitar players. If you give me a guitar and a pick, I could probably put on an hour-and-a-half show of these old-timey tunes."
"I respect artists and bands that persist through long careers, who have very high standards of quality, and do good work, regardless of whether their music is the flavor of the month or not. For instance, Fugazi has been consistently good over the years, Neil Young has had his ups and downs, but generally high standards and good work over many years, Bruce Springsteen has had his embarrassments, but continues to be relevant and maintains his high artistic standards. Todd Rundgren, who was a huge early influence to me, also had very high standards, and great music, despite not getting much attention from the mainstream.....this didn't hinder his desire to make music. Stevie Wonder is a great example of this type of artist. Stiff Little Fingers, and Sham 69 are two notables from England that fit this definition, despite the fact that they haven't done much lately, same with Elvis Costello. Of course, the Ramones fit this definition, although I'm not sure what they're up to, also DOA would make my list. I hope someday BR will be recognized for our high standards, and longevity, regardless if we ever break the top 40".
On late 1996 his favorite BR song was Cease. On early 1996 it was The Gray Race and on summer 1993 it was The Answer.
Quotations: "BR is now writing songs that everyone can relate to (4/96)".
"How many punk bands thank you after every song? Just one".
Relevant to Empty Causes and Them and Us: "I try to stay away from causes and I try to stay away from political groups because I don't carry that much hatred around with me. I don't hate anything that much I don't think".
"the goal of BR is to make good catchy songs that are infectious but that make you think".
The Writer: In March 1997 he said he had been writing a book for the last 2 years on the music industry from a band's perspective and hoped to have it done in the following 8 months. He had then finished 160 pages of 1st draft text.
The Fucking Amazing Composer That He Is: Early 1997: "I am recording a lot of my own music (mostly songs on bass, drums, and piano). I don't know if any BR fans would like it, but maybe I will make it available with the expressed statement that it is not like BR in any way. Do you think anyone would be interested? Anyway, it is music that has been evolving over the last 10 years and never saw the light of day because BR was not appropriate. It is music I feel a strange compulsion to record however, and since I always am thinking of songs I think it is a good indication of who I am". In May 1997 he said some of the stuff he was composing was a lot like Runnin' Fast, except -he said- he is now a better composer, lyicist and recordist and so the material will be much better. When I asked him how he comes up with all the amazing melodies he said "I hear voices in my head; not many people do". The fact is most of BR's vocal melodies come from Greg's head, even on many songs credited only to Brett on the albums.
The Father: "Raising my son and daughter with the knowledge that nothing lasts forever or that everything might cease is actually very valuable. It gives them perspective and allows them to treat not only their fellow humans but rare commodities better and with more appreciation".
His children Graham and Ella love BR. Greg: "I'm not sure yet if it's because they genuinely like the aggressive beat or because every night at dinner I slam my fist on the table and say "God Damn it Kids......its BR that FEEDS you!".
Greg For President: During the Gray Race Tour Greg explained repeatedly that he's running for president even though legally he's not old enough. And of course, the rest of the band will be his cabinet. In at least one concert he seemed to be pretty serious when he said that he would run for president if he got on the ballot in all 50 states. And I know he's dead serious about it 'cause he's told me and several other people personally. A guy somewhere even printed a T-shirt with Greg's face and the motto "Greg for president".
Greg Greg: The side-project that Graffin and Hetson started just before the Into The Unknown apocalypse. Time And Disregard was originally a Greg Greg song, as was Runnin' Fast (released under the name Greg Greg on the Soundtrack to the motion picture Desperate Teenage Lovedolls) and three more songs which very very few people have ever heard 'cause they were never released or bootlegged. But they were recorded, in June 1982 at Paramount Studios. In 1989 Greg G said that "we just put it off for a while. Greg quit so now it's just Greg. But I use electronic doubling to it's still Greg Greg".
This information was found on: The Answer, and was used with permission. More information can be found there, as well.