The Humanist Hour #74: Bad Religion

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A new episode of the Humanist Hour is available for listening. Keep reading to find out about the guests on this month’s show.

In this month’s podcast, Todd Stiefel and guest co-host, Scott Burdick, interview Bad Religion lead vocalist, Greg Graffin, and bassist, Jay Bentley backstage at the Reason Rally. Thanks to Scott Burdick for capturing and providing the Humanist Hour with the audio content for this month!

Segment 1: Roy Speckhardt at the Reason Rally

Roy Speckhardt is executive director of the American Humanist Association where he actively promotes the humanist perspective on progressive political issues. He’s appeared on CNN Headline News, Fox News, numerous national radio shows, and has spoken to dozens of local humanist groups across the country. He also serves as a board member of the Humanist Institute and the United Coalition of Reason and as an advisory board member of the Secular Student Alliance. He holds an M.B.A. from George Mason University and a B.A. in sociology from Mary Washington College. He lives in Washington DC.

Segment 2: Bad Religion

Bad Religion is a punk rock band that formed in Los Angeles in 1979. Their current line-up consists of Greg Graffin (vocals), Brett Gurewitz (guitar), Jay Bentley (bass), Greg Hetson (guitar), Brian Baker (guitar) and Brooks Wackerman (drums). Gurewitz is also the founder of the label Epitaph Records, which has released almost all of the band’s albums. They are often credited for being involved in the revival of punk rock and inspiring several subsequent punk bands during the late 1980s, as well as influencing a large number of other punk and rock musicians throughout their career. Bad Religion is also particularly known for their use of soaring 3-part vocal harmonies (which they refer to in their album liner notes as the “oozin’ aahs”), sophisticated and intellectual lyrics, and political or religious commentary. Their lyrics often relate to matters of social responsibility.

Greg Graffin, lead vocalist

Gregory Walter Graffin, Ph.D. (born November 6, 1964) is an American punk rock musician, college professor, and author. He is most recognized as the lead vocalist and songwriter of the noted Los Angeles band Bad Religion, which he co-founded in 1979 and is the band’s only constant member, even though it now features two other original members, guitarist Brett Gurewitz (who left and rejoined the band twice) and bassist Jay Bentley (who left in 1982, but returned in 1986). He also embarked on a solo career in 1997, where he released the album American Lesion. His follow-up album, Cold as the Clay was released nine years later. Graffin obtained his Ph.D. at Cornell University and has lectured courses in life sciences and paleontology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Jay Bentley, bassist

Jay Dee Bentley (born on June 6, 1964 in Wichita, Kansas) is the bassist and co-founding member of the punk rock group Bad Religion. He has played with the band through its whole existence with a small break between 1983 and 1985. Today, Bentley continues touring and recording with Bad Religion.
Jay Bentley grew up in Saugus, CA. and later moved to the San Fernando Valley suburb of Woodland Hills, CA. As with guitarist Brett Gurewitz and lead singer Greg Graffin, Jay was also a student of El Camino Real High School.
He has appeared on every Bad Religion release, with the exceptions of Into the Unknown (1983) and the Back to the Known (1985) EP. The band’s most recent studio album, The Dissent of Man, was released on September 28, 2010.

Scott Burdick, guest co-Host

Scott Burdick was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1967 where his mother and father early on encouraged his interest in Art. “I spent a lot of time in hospitals as a child and remember my mother showing me how to transform simple shapes like circles, triangles, and squares into objects like planes, helicopters, and fish. It seemed such a magical thing and made spending so much time in casts and on crutches much more bearable.”

In high school, Scott began taking life-drawing classes at the American Academy of Art under the legendary Bill Parks. “Though I’d always loved drawing, it was Mr. Parks who filled me with the enthusiasm and discipline necessary to improve my skills. His love of painting and creative expression infected us all.” After finishing the Academy, Scott continued his study at the Palette and Chisel Art club, where he met his wife, painter Susan Lyon. “It’s a wonderful thing being able to paint together all the time and grow as artists together,” Scott says.

Today, Scott and Susan live in a rural area of North Carolina. Surrounded by forests and the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, their house is a perfect resting place after the many trips they take throughout the world in search of subject matter to paint.

Promo for “In God We Trust?” Documentary

Links from this month’s episode:

Reason Rally

American Humanist Association

Bad Religion

Scott Burdick

Upcoming Event links:

Music from this month’s episode (in order of appearance):