Bad Religion released their first record, a self-titled EP, in 1981 on Epitaph Records, a label Gurewitz started after borrowing money from his father. The band released their first full length, "How Could Hell Be Any Worse?", in 1982. Midway through the recording for the album, Ziskrout quit the band and the record was finished with drummer Pete Finestone. In 1983, the band abruptly shifted gears, issuing the keyboard-heavy, prog rock influenced "Into The Unknown", on which neither Bentley (who quit during the recording of the first track) nor Finestone appeared. The results were disastrous, with the band facing considerable backlash from fans and Epitaph immediately pulling the album off record store shelves. For his part, Gurewitz blamed his participation on his increasing drug habit, although he was quick to point out that the sober Graffin had no such excuse to fall back on, and has disowned the album. With Epitaph out of money and the band's reputation in tatters, Gurewitz quit and the band split. Graffin soon moved out of state for college, but returned to California in 1984 and was convinced by Circle Jerks guitarist Greg Hetson to reform Bad Religion with him on guitar. Recruiting Pete Finestone and bassist Tim Gallegos, the band issued a 12" EP, called "Back To The Known", with Gurewitz producing but not playing on the record.
Bad Religion is an American punk band, founded in Southern California in 1980 by Jay Bentley (bass), Greg Graffin (vocals), Brett Gurewitz (guitars) and Jay Ziskrout (drums).
They are often credited for leading the revival of punk rock and inspiring pop-punk bands during the late 1980s, as well as influencing a large number of other punk and rock musicians throughout their career.
To date, Bad Religion has released fourteen studio albums, two EPs, three compilation albums, one live recording, and two DVDs. Their 1988 album Suffer has been regarded by some critics as one of the most important punk rock albums of all time, although it was not charted in Billboard.
Many of Bad Religion's songs are about different social ills, although they try not to ascribe the causes of these ills to any single person or group. Greg Graffin believes that the current political situation in the United States can make it difficult to voice these concerns, as he doesn't want to feed the polarization of viewpoints.
Despite the name of the band, the members do not consider themselves antitheist. Singer Greg Graffin states that more often than not, the band prefers to use religion as a metaphor for anything that doesn't allow for an individual's freedom to think or express themselves as they choose. In this way, their songs are more about anti-conformity than anti-religion.