Punk Paradox

A Memoir

Coming Soon


By Greg Graffin

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$24.99 CAD

From the legendary singer-songwriter of Bad Religion comes a historical memoir and cultural criticism of punk rock’s evolution.

Greg Graffin is the lead vocalist and songwriter of Bad Religion, recently described as “America's most significant punk band.” Since its inception in Los Angeles in 1980, Bad Religion has produced 18 studio albums, become a long-running global touring powerhouse, and has established a durable legacy as one of the most influential punk rock bands of all time.
Punk Paradox is Graffin's life narrative before and during L.A. punk's early years, detailing his observations on the genre's explosive growth and his band's steady rise in importance. The book begins by exploring Graffin’s Midwestern roots and his life-changing move to Southern California in the mid-’70s. Swept up into the burgeoning punk scene in the exhilarating and often-violent streets of Los Angeles, Graffin and his friends formed Bad Religion, built a fanbase, and became a touring institution. All these activities took place in parallel with Graffin's never ceasing quest for intellectual enlightenment. Despite the demands of global tours, recording sessions, and dedication to songwriting, the author also balanced a budding academic career. In so doing, he managed to reconcile an improbable double-life as an iconic punk rock front man and University Lecturer in evolution.
Graffin’s unique experiences mirror the paradoxical elements that define the punk genre—the pop influence, the quest for society’s betterment, music’s unifying power—all of which are prime ingredients in its surprising endurance. Fittingly, this book argues against the traditional narrative of the popular perception of punk. As Bad Religion changed from year to year, the spirit of punk—and its sonic significance—lived on while Graffin was ever willing to challenge convention, debunk mythology, and liberate listeners from the chains of indoctrination.
As insightful as it is exciting, this thought-provoking memoir provides both a fly on the wall history of the punk scene and astute commentary on its endurance and evolution.





“I told John go get gun. Graaaaagh, why did not John get gun?!” George was looking at me with welts forming on his cheeks, grabbing for my lapel to bring my face closer to his as he searched for an answer, bewildered at his condition. “Twenty people to jump on me, Grag, TWENTY PEOPLE TO JUMP ON ME!” George trusted me. He and his cousin John, both Russian immigrants with buzz cuts, John, short and stocky with a massive “unibrow,” George, slender, of average height, a boxer’s head with chiseled cheekbones, were both punk rockers like me. They were a tandem pair. Whether cruising the streets looking for action or slam dancing at a gig, they were inseparable and spoke to each other in their mysterious foreign tongue. But they looked at me as the sensible kid from outside of Hollywood. Unimpaired by drugs or alcohol, I was, to them, the one who had an answer for everything.

“I don’t know why John didn’t do what you wanted, George, but he’s driving the truck now, he’s right next to you, why don’t you ask him yourself?” But George was too pissed off, inebriated, and punch-drunk to be sensible at this moment. So he continued to harangue me. “Grag, those mutherfuckers! Kick me, stump my body. Gun in glove box!” “Just keep driving, John, until you get George out of here,” I said. “No shit, Grraeg. Wot dee faahck! I keep driving all the way to Okee dogck, back to home ground, yew dough?”

Even though I knew that George and John were likely packing heat somewhere in the vehicle, these guys weren’t hardened criminals and they sure as shit weren’t murdering types. They, like so many Los Angelinos, were first generation, blue-collar immigrants, whose families brought them there or shipped them off to work with cousins and extended families who settled in the Southland for the dream of a better life. They could be found every night outside any punk rock gig that was going on in the greater Hollywood region, looking for fun, girls, alcohol, or pills. They were just like all the other regulars of the scene at that time, in the fall of 1981. This night, however, was a slow night for punk gigs. No shows were going on in Hollywood or elsewhere, but as devotees of the punk lifestyle we had to hang out somewhere, and that meant the trusty safe haven of a hotdog stand on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood called Oki-Dog. Here, punk rockers were always welcomed. While every other fast-food hangout shunned us, the Oki-Dog proprietors greeted us with their Asian-accented hospitality: “Haaaaay my freyend! What you have?” Soggy french fries and chili dogs were the norm. But even if no food was purchased, they were ever tolerant of the chaotic punk antics in their parking lot each night. We felt accepted there, and we were always up for causing a stir nearby on the streets of Tinseltown or commencing an impromptu punk parade anywhere people might take notice. “Let’s head over to Westwood,” said someone in the Oki-Dog’s parking lot.

Westwood, with its glimmering wide sidewalks, glamorous movie houses, high-end restaurants, corner stores, donut stands, and fashionable clothing shops, was a melting pot of affluence, youth, and academic culture. Bordered by Wilshire Boulevard on the south and Hilgard on the east, its roughly twenty-four city blocks served the needs of many Los Angelinos. Across Le Conte Avenue sat UCLA. Just a few miles west down Wilshire was the beach. In the other direction was Hollywood and central Los Angeles. All roads led to Westwood, which had neither the dark-and-dirty sleaze of Hollywood, nor the crime and violence that characterized the rougher parts of LA since it served as the college town for UCLA students as well as the preferred site of weekly world premieres for the big film studios. Westwood saw its sidewalks thronged with the pulse of students mingling about with the multifarious citizenry from other neighborhoods who had come in to grab some of the gusto of its highly active nightlife. On the wide avenues were “cruisers,” guys and gals of various ethnicities that made car culture a way of life. Some of them, like the punk rockers I associated with, were out for disruption of Westwood’s highfalutin, predictably upbeat evening tranquility, or worse, for violence.

I felt right at home in Westwood. UCLA was the reason the Graffin family moved to Los Angeles when I was only eleven years old. My mom had relocated from her job as an academic dean at University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee to take a deanship at UCLA in 1976. Occasionally she would take my brother, Grant, and me in to work and let us wander around on campus and into Westwood Village. This was no big deal. Even as little kids we roamed university campuses. Our dad too was a university man. He worked at the University of Wisconsin–Parkside and some of my earliest memories are going to work with Mom or Dad and being told to “get lost” for a while as they tended to a meeting or taught a class. The unique smells of classrooms, libraries, mimeograph (xerox) rooms, and professors’ offices are some of my most deeply familiar, comforting associations. Nothing, however, felt comforting or familiar this night. As we piled out of cars at one of the university parking lots, it was clear that this handful of punk rockers were heading into a gauntlet of hostility in Westwood’s festive environment. Tonight, we would be the entertainment.

I had been chauffeured that night by Greg Hetson, who was a notorious scenester, having played in two legendary bands—one, Redd Kross, no longer needing his services, and the other, Circle Jerks, already on top of the heap of LA bands, in the process of expanding their influence. Greg drove an El Camino and said: “Hop in, I’m heading home anyways.” He lived not far from Westwood, and we hung out together at his apartment regularly, especially as a starting point for an evening of adventure. I jumped in Greg’s passenger seat and stuck my head out the window as we cruised west on Santa Monica toward the intersection with Wilshire. “Maybe we’ll find some chicks in Westwood,” said Greg, confident that, besides punk rock music itself, that was one topic that motivated the two Gregs equally.

Hanging out with Greg Hetson was always an adventure. If you ever needed to know where the most happening parties were going on in Hollywood or any secret gigs in some warehouse in Hawthorne or any other of the myriad neighborhoods dotting the LA basin, Greg was your man. Always sweet and courteous, with an agreeable smile and intelligent wit, he nonetheless had his finger on the pulse of the sleaze and debauchery that made the punk scene legendary. Not that he partook in all the action, but being friends with him meant that we didn’t have to consult some anonymous taxi driver or something to find out where the fun was. Greg Hetson was our resident expert. Hell, he even had a German taxi for a while as his daily driver, a diesel Mercedes sedan just like the ones driven in Berlin. Hearing him expound from behind the steering wheel that always seemed too big for him, on details and microgeographic particulars about the hot spots in LA that were worthy of our attention on any given evening made you feel like you had your own in-house Rick Steves as your best buddy.

Upon reaching a parking lot off Gayley Avenue in Westwood, a score of cars, including Greg Hetson’s El Camino, emptied their contents of punks. Combat and engineer boots slapping on the pavement made a formidable thud as we hopped out of our vehicles and began parting the crowds outside Mann’s Westwood Theater. Greg always wore the same army surplus green jacket, jeans, and tennis shoes. I always wore the same motorcycle jacket, painted with a white Bad Religion crossbuster symbol on the back. The chains dangling from my leather jacket pocket zippers rounded out my wardrobe, and I felt elated to be parading around with my friends, some of whom were in famous bands, showing off to the world some of punk rock’s royalty and pageantry. In a few short minutes, however, these familiar streets of my youth would become literal stomping grounds. Our collection made a spectacle, and university jocks gathered in their own gaggle, their fraternity brothers mocking us and following us around. In addition, cruisers on the street honked their horns at us and brandished weapons. They would not be upstaged by a bunch of tatter-clothed, unwashed punks. They were there to be noticed and show off their automotive handiwork.

We were a loose conglomeration of kids from various walks of life. A lot of us didn’t know each other. Most were generally good-natured but some were addicted to alcohol or pills or something worse, like heroin. They were unlikely to hurt anyone except themselves. The gang violence that was overtaking a lot of neighborhoods throughout the Southland had gripped some of the punk rock community. Beach gangs and others from Orange County were violent and starting to make up sizeable portions of the audience at Hollywood clubs. But on this night our group was made up of various smaller “independent” collections of friends and acquaintances who were from various SoCal neighborhoods diffusely distributed throughout LA County.

In Westwood, as in our own neighborhoods and at school, we looked like easy targets of ridicule and mockery, whether we were by ourselves or in a group. Formidable we were not. But something was shared among all punk rockers outside of Hollywood: we were hated. There was a seething ire among non-punks that sought to destroy and bring harm to anyone who willingly tattered their clothing, altered their hairstyle into mohawks, painted “anarchy” on their leather jackets, or promoted bands that sang about fucking shit up. The violent reaction to punks was at its apex, and parading around in an otherwise peaceful part of the city was seen as an act of aggression. And we knew it.

Cars honked and George walked into the street shouting like a lunatic, “Faaach you!” raising his arms and flipping the bird as we all watched nervously, but with good humor. Other cars were starting to slow down, hit their horns, and shout expletives as they slunk by. “Punk sucks you faggots!” Greg Hetson and I lingered behind as the mob of punks edged closer to George, egging him on and blocking traffic. Some of them were carrying beer bottles and at least one was flung in the direction of the traffic. Within minutes a clutch of cars pulled over and a “gang” of maybe twelve bangers got out intent on brawling. Legends of “South Central,” African-American gangs were well known around the Southland, and whether or not these guys were affiliated with the Crips or Bloods we didn’t want to find out. As they poured out of their vehicles a few of them made a beeline for George, while the rest of us dashed in every direction. Being chased was no fun, but I quickly realized that my flight response was not necessary. I realized after about a block of sprinting that no one was chasing me. “What the hell am I running for?” I asked myself. I turned back, calmly walking to where the ruckus started and saw the action was getting hot. None of the punks were putting up much of a fight, but the ones who did were getting pummeled. High on liquid courage, George was the loudest and most brazen among us. He also was not much of a street fighter. By the time I got back to the corner, jocks and their frat brothers had joined in with the other fighters and the unlikely conjoined force geared up for another round of rooting out punk rockers and chasing them out of town. George was on the ground getting kicked by a mixed bag of punk haters as a big jock came charging toward me. He tried to grab me at full speed, but my own athletic prowess allowed me to avoid the tackle, stiff-arm him to the ground, and run off back toward the parking lot. Greg Hetson had already made it to his car, and John had parked the truck right next to him. “Get in!” John shouted. “Graaag, we have to go get Jshorge.” We drove over in two cars and found poor George abandoned and bleeding, but with no life-threatening wounds. I helped him into John’s truck and lay him across the bench in the cab. George grabbed my jacket lapel with two iron fists and looked into my face with wild-eyed bloodshot expression. “Did you see that, Graagh?” “Twenty people to jump on me.” He just kept rambling. “Why not John get gun? Chjaaaahn, why not get gun, mutherfaachar?”

Aside from welts, bruises, and a few landed punches, none of the punks were seriously injured, and luckily no weapons were drawn in the Westwood scuffle. But it was a typical night of dodging hatred for punks in LA. I wasn’t ever attracted to the gang mentality. In fact, I hated violence, and I wasn’t a fighter. But I believed in the music and I felt an immediate kinship with anyone who appreciated it too. Unfortunately, at this point in time, it seemed that everyone hated punk rockers.

Police seemed to hate punkers as much as the general public did. I had witnessed evidence of this from two previous experiences. One was in East Los Angeles, October 24, 1980, around 9 p.m. Police showed up to Baces Hall in riot gear. With their shields set, jack boots cracking, they advanced on a crowd of mostly juvenile, taunting, silhouettes, darkened as much by their domestic disharmony as by the failing overhead streetlights in this part of the city. Assembled to raise hell inside, many of the punk rockers found themselves outside, prevented from entering the oversold Black Flag concert. Despite having just formed a band of my own, I wasn’t well known enough to be on any guest lists, so I was outside too. Just fifteen years old, and childish in many ways, I could nonetheless conclude that riots, while good for the adrenaline rush, were bad for the aspirations of a punk musician. If venues continued to get closed down like this every time a punk show was announced, how would Bad Religion ever get to play?

Among the punks, there was no doctrine nor prescribed behavior to follow during a police raid. Punk and I were both too young for such formalities. The “norm of reaction” punk rockers adopted may have been borrowed from the still-vibrant images of protesters to the Vietnam War or the fights for civil rights barely a decade prior. Whatever they were, our reactions to the police brutality in LA were completely unorganized, and we found no precedents in the punk scenes of London, New York, Detroit, or anywhere else we read about in fanzines or music magazines. Therefore, the disunity of the scattering crowd was to be expected. The flight instinct overtook me and, unlike some of my cohorts, who had more bravado than common sense, I fled the scene as the batons started swinging.

Just a month prior, on September 19, my new friend and bass player Jay Bentley drove me to a gig near Alameda and 4th, at a “club” called the Hideaway, near downtown LA. We were excited to see Greg Hetson and Keith Morris perform with the Circle Jerks. I had seen Keith play at a Huntington Beach venue called the Fleetwood. He was my favorite singer. He was fronting Black Flag at that gig. Little did I understand that the T-shirt he donned at the Fleetwood, a homemade job that read “Circle Jerks,” was a preview of his next band. That Fleetwood show was his last as the singer of Black Flag, and now Jay and I were stoked to see him in his new band at the Hideaway.

As was fashionable, we missed the opening band, the Descendents, but while the next band, Stains, was setting up, the police arrived outside the oversold venue. A guy from the Stains camp came on stage and grabbed the mic. “If everyone just takes a step backwards! The Man is outside and won’t come in. If we just mellow out we can party down.” At that suggestion, a crash was heard in the lobby space. The Hideaway was nothing more than an auto-repair shop whose front glass-paned garage doors were closed. When the police arrived in the hope of sending the loitering punks home, the sight of the squad cars sent everyone into a frenzy and the punks pushed an old Chevy right through the glass garage doors.

“Somehow, I don’t think we’re gonna get to see the Circle Jerks,” Jay said. Within seconds after the crash, the police came in busting up the place, sending punks scattering. Jay and I scurried to his green Toyota truck and drove off, back to the serene monotony of our West San Fernando Valley neighborhood. He dropped me off at my mom’s house. “See you for school on Monday.” “Later,” I said, and entered my quiet domestic place headed by my divorced mom who worked hard to support me and my older brother, Grant.

Police rioting against suburban kids at music clubs may have been unique to this time and place, but my reaction to it was predictable: aversion. Take care of thyself, turn inward, and run! Protect the head so that later that night you might be able to reflect and learn from what just happened. Understanding and human reason took precedence in my world rather than effrontery, retribution, or obsessive rabble-rousing. Intellectualizing violent or emotionally disruptive events was a method of coping. It was also a family enterprise.

Back home in the quiet, suburban Los Angeles enclave of Canoga Park, that night, as the evening’s adrenaline wore off, I reflected on a tumultuous recent past. I had had enough emotional family trauma, and turning punk was supposed to help mollify it rather than add to it. I began to long for the simplicity of another lifestyle and the childhood pals I left back in Wisconsin. They were probably scraping together teams—minus me—for another epic neighborhood touch football game tomorrow. Here I was in a seemingly directionless household in the equally directionless San Fernando Valley, at home by ten o’clock, settling back into my discordant slumber, dreaming of a journey to a better future from a past, only three years distant, that brought me to this place on the edge of the continent where I felt like the last boy in America to watch the sun set and hope that the dawn would erase the trials of yesterday.



We were professors’ kids. They, in the other room drinking wine or spirits, playing Sheepshead, releasing sonic booms of laughter from incessant cynical quips about current affairs and the failures of humanity. We, in the TV room (den) trying our best to emulate the worldliness of our parents, watching Monty Python, understanding some of it, and secretly wishing for attention from the paternal gods in the other room that they might share little bits of their wisdom and provide us an edge over the philistines at our Wisconsin grade schools.

There was me, about eight years old, my brother, Grant, nine, Wryebo and his sister Katy, the same ages as us, whose parents went to college with our parents at UW-Madison, snagging PhDs in English before taking their lifelong jobs in the same department at a different campus, UW-Parkside in Kenosha. Some families, I suppose, are all about money, emphasizing its importance to the kids from the get-go. An old family saying in ours was, “You can’t have any fun-yuh if you ain’t got no mun-yuh.” That was the extent of our dad’s advice to us about money. But that came from our family friend, Dan Zielinski, also a professor, a lifelong bachelor who joined our multifamily gatherings each weekend where the grown-ups gathered in the kitchen or outside around the Weber grill to laugh about the week’s headlines or other worldly happenings. They never touched the discussion of moneymaking or other vulgar concerns because they wanted us to believe that such concerns suck the life out of you. The concerns of a professor were the stuff of adventure and excitement. In fact, the university provided tenure to professors so they could focus on the important things in life like Moby Dick, tennis, and Richard III.

The world was full of important higher-order knowledge, like the difference between truth and fiction, or the mechanics of throwing a curveball, and we were encouraged to never stop searching for it.

Wryebo’s dad sauntered past us on his way to the can. “You kids should watch that Peter Lorre flick on Night Gallery tonight.” We were expected to have good taste in film and music, understand things that other kids didn’t, be exceptions to the average schlubs who made up postwar, mid-century modern America. The early 1970s had no specific identity, so our parents knew that all the templates of their own upbringing could be rejected. What better gift, they thought, to give our kids than to make them worldly beyond their years? Wryebo and Katy had been to London and Paris by the time they were in third grade. They brought back card games with geographic themes, such as Mille Bornes, and they, in turn, expected that I knew its title reference was NOT some city in Australia.

Professors hadn’t much money, but they had treasure troves of knowledge, and that was what they could provide in spades. Wryebo and I would have preferred material goods to knowledge, any day of our youth. Grant and Katy got the particulars of our parents’ logic at a young age but had not the years to put any of it to use.

My dad, the English professor, loved music and discussed lyrics with me. How high’s the water, mama? Five feet and risin’. “You see, Greggo, when the water reaches the height of the levee, it’s going to overflow. So Johnny Cash is singing about their house on the floodplain of that river!” I wanted to impress my dad, so I couldn’t admit the truth: I didn’t understand fluvial mechanics. I had no idea what a levee was nor even how rivers could overflow their banks from time to time. Where would I ever have learned such a thing? We rode our bikes along the cement paths lining the Lake Michigan shoreline nearly every day; we lived in vast neighborhoods paved with concrete, nowhere near any floodplains. I just couldn’t understand the peril inherent in the lyrics because I didn’t know the words. Not knowing words was as bad as not knowing concepts. Our older siblings, my brother, Grant, and Katy, Wryebo’s sister, read much more voraciously than the average kid. They read novels, they read magazine articles, they even read the unabridged dictionary! Wryebo and I lagged behind.

Once Wryebo’s dad asked if the kids would like to go see a movie at Milwaukee’s art house theater, the Oriental. What a treat! To go see a movie with their dad. But there was a stipulation; they had to read a book first, because it was the original story that the movie was based on. There were still four days before the showing, so Katy and Wryebo agreed to the assigned reading. When I heard there was an assignment, I knew it wasn’t even worth trying. I had never read even a kid’s book by the time I was eight. I just couldn’t concentrate. The world had too much going on simultaneously for my senses to pause and focus on paragraphs. The title of the movie was The Stranger (à la Albert Camus), which sounded so cool, and I was sorry that I couldn’t go. Wryebo quit after chapter three, but Katy finished the book.

It turns out that the movie was subtitled and there was no way I would have been able to read that fast. Wryebo was allowed to go with Katy and he came home knowing nothing about the story except that he could verify to me that, indeed, some films have words scrolling across the bottom of every scene. What a pain in the ass!

Dad taught pop art as a part of his class on contemporary American literature. He took his students on ambitious field trips to New York City. Closer to home, he took me and Grant to exhibitions at the then recently established Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Peering at the huge canvases, some painted in solid colors, others with blended fields of orange, blue, whites, or yellows, Dad wouldn’t even try to explain what the hell we were supposed to be seeing. “Isn’t it terrific, kids?” “Wow, look at that one! Hahaha, all greens and yellows, chartreuse!” “Now boys, look at this next one, it’s Dada. Terrific, right?” I wanted to go along with his enthusiasm so badly. But secretly, I was in psychic torture. I saw no subject. I saw only color, no outlines, just blended borders fading into other colors, or cutouts of mixed media that formed patches or swatches in so many endless rooms of these canvases. “Is that all there is?” I asked about one of the dichromatic paintings. “Well, that’s partly the point,” Dad said. If that was the point, it certainly was beyond the comprehension of this eight-year-old. I just couldn’t wait to get an ice-cream cone Dad promised afterward, but I had to feign some interest first. There was so much more to see in this exhibit before that tasty reward.

“Here in this next hall, now these are really something!” “Oh, I get it, Campbell’s soup cans, right?” I said. “Right-o!” said Dad. I felt I had made great progress in impressing him. “These are from Andy Warhol,” he said. “Now this guy believes everyone in America will be famous for fifteen minutes. Isn’t that something?” I couldn’t wait to be famous! But still, I didn’t understand how that had anything to do with the huge image of Campbell’s Golden Mushroom Soup that was making me salivate with hunger. To me it all seemed like a big “fuck you” to the academic notion of what an artist was “supposed” to be. Artists, it has been said, are supposed to show society what is possible, to comment on human potential, even if they cannot put into words or symbols any means of achieving that potential. Artists are supposed to transcend the here and now, to reveal something beyond the utilitarian necessities of life, and depict the fundamentals of human experience. Here, among the masterworks of pop art and murals of modernism, I was starting to believe that any kind of bullshit could qualify as art. What was key to making it legitimate was how and where it was presented. If legitimate institutions, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, deemed an artist worthy, seemingly anything, even infantile canvases with a few lazy brush marks, or collages of cutouts, like we were doing in grade school, might be seen as fine art, and could be interpreted as reactionary protest works. I thought it was cool that Dad was excited by this anti-authoritarian tradition, but I had no perspective on what any of it meant at the time.


  • LOUDER, "Best Music Books from 2022"
  • “Greg Graffin’s new memoir documents the endless trials and tribulations, as well as the colorful characters who come along with it, all taking place on the allegorical campus of Graffin U. Rather than focusing on elements like the now-iconic crossbuster logo or major moments in the band’s rich musical canon, PUNK PARADOX tells a compelling — and sometimes turbulent — tale of an artist and academic’s pursuit for understanding and (dare I say?) enlightenment.”
  • "There's much to commend in Graffin's thoughtful, thorough autobiography."—LOUDER
  • “Fascinating… Written with the nuanced detail for research of an academic, but balanced out with a punk rocker’s experience, Punk Paradox is a rock memoir unlike most…Greg Graffin knows how to tell a compelling story.” 
     —New Noise
  • “A captivating character study of someone pursuing his passions in seemingly contradictory fields and staying true to himself and his own inner compass. Ultimately being able to experience that journey in detail as a reader may be Punk Paradox’s greatest gift.” —Flood
  • "A well-crafted memoir and manifesto...  An entertaining, memorable look at 'the most intractable paradox of all: punk as a positive force in society.'"—Kirkus
  • "The hard-driven Graffin compellingly and eloquently describes the rewards and pitfalls of a career as successful musician and academic that will fascinate general readers."—Library Journal
  • "[A] thoughtful, deeply personal memoir... [Greg Graffin’s] descriptions of the natural world in relation to his emotional growth is as compelling as it is astute, and Graffin is passionate in his reminiscences of a time when punk rock was not distorted with the often deserved stereotype of violence and anger. Readers will discover a trove of insights into the music industry and living creatively.”

  • “Greg Graffin has been in the guts of the Punk Rock machine for literally decades. I would dare say there's not a lot you can tell him he doesn't already know. Any observation Greg makes is from the front line and worthy of consumption. In Punk Paradox, Greg meticulously lays out the evolution of Bad Religion not only as a band working to stay relevant but also as an entity that's had to carefully navigate great success and the myriad challenges that come with it. Good stuff.”—Henry Rollins
  • "Fearlessly pulling back the veil to show us the unpretentious, self-aware, deeply sensitive pacifist with a love for humanity and going against the grain, Greg Graffin shatters all expectations and assumptions of what it means to be punk rock, inviting us all to evolve."—Aimee Allen, lead vocalist of The Interrupters
  • “Before Nirvana ever recorded a note, Greg Graffin’s band, Bad Religion, was brilliantly fusing punk rock intensity with philosophy. Who else but Graffin would cite both Black Flag’s ‘Nervous Breakdown’ and Charles Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle as major influences? 

    With wit and brutal honesty, Graffin brings to life his unique journey: his  parallel paths as an academic with a PhD in Zoology and that of an internationally influential punk rocker. He offers insights into band dynamics, the creative process, the way that art and career intersect with personal lives, the Southern California punk scene of the ’80s and ’90s and the currents of the music business that artists deal with along the way.”—Danny Goldberg, author of Serving The Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain

On Sale
Nov 7, 2023
Page Count
384 pages
Hachette Books

Greg Graffin

About the Author

GREG GRAFFIN is the lead singer and a songwriter in the punk band Bad Religion. He obtained a masters and Ph.D. in Zoology at Cornell University and a masters in Geology from UCLA. He has lectured at UCLA and Cornell where currently he teaches evolution. He is also the author of Evolution (with Steve Olson) and Population Wars. When he’s not on tour, he's with his family at places he considers home: upstate New York, Southern California, or Wisconsin.

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