Saturday, Milwaukee will play host to a punk rock legend, a noted Ivy League scholar, a respected author with a newly published book and a cult hero who just so happens to be a Southeastern Wisconsin native. And while the presence of each of these in a single place has all the accoutrements of an exciting and unconventional Milwaukee Saturday, the fact that each of these accomplished figures is encapsulated in just one man makes it all the more amazing. Bad Religion front man Greg Graffin will make his triumphant return to town, where he will impart his wisdom, sign his new book and play a show.
For the five of you out there who’ve somehow managed to evade the music catalogue, the social activism and the published work of Greg Graffin, allow Music Notes to get you up to speed in lieu of his arrival.
Greg Graffin – Wisconsinite:
The tale of the Southern California punk icon has a unique and altogether unappealing place of origin – Racine. Here, Graffin spent his first seven years. He later moved to Milwaukee, before ultimately moving to California at age 12. We can only speculate to the formative impact Racine’s beloved Danish Kringle and its, uh … possibly other redeeming qualities (if any) had on Graffin’s career path.
Greg Graffin – Musician:
In 1979, at the mere age of 15, he formed Bad Religion. Fronted by Graffin, Bad Religion addressed numerous political, religious and social issues while inspiring countless other musicians to follow the band’s lead. Some 31 years, 15 full-length albums, 14 members and an immeasurable legacy later, Bad Religion still exists today – with Graffin as the only constant member. As Kevin mentioned earlier this week, Bad Religion will play at The Rave Saturday night, alongside fellow punk royalty The Bouncing Souls.
Greg Graffin – Academic:
Somewhere between albums and world tours, Graffin found time to hit the books. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from UCLA. He then went on to obtain his Ph.D. at Cornell University. From there, Graffin plied his background in the fields of anthropology, geology and zoology into essays that found their way into scientific journals. Presently, Graffin serves as a professor at UCLA.
Greg Graffin – Author:
In addition to lyrics imprinted in liner notes and his journal dissertations, Graffin’s words have recently found a place in a new medium – a book. On Sept. 28, Harper Collins released Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science and Evolution in a World Without God, which the crooner co-wrote. Graffin describes the book to be, “[His] view of how you can be a more interesting atheist than has been advertised by the popular books of the last three years by calling yourself a naturalist instead. This will be a worldview that’s informed by evolutionary biology as well as a life in the creative endeavors.”
Milwaukee is one of just five cities Graffin will visit in his abbreviated book tour. He will sign copies of Anarchy Evolution at Boswell Books (2559 N. Downer Ave.) at 6 p.m. Saturday.
(Graffin photo courtesy Epitaph Records.)