Why the Hell Did Bad Religion Make a Christmas Album?
Every winter our mailbox overfloweth with Christmas albums, from exceedingly unlikely sources.
Courtesy of Epitaph Records Bad Religion
But a disc of traditional Christmas songs, on Epitaph, from L.A. punk icons Bad Religion? That's downright bizarre.
After all, the group has pointedly critiqued organized religion; vocalist Greg Graffin, an atheist, even wrote a book about it: Anarchy Evolution.
But, wouldn't you know it, Graffin is also a former choir boy at school, with fond memories of these songs.
Bad Religion first tackled Christmas covers at KROQ's Acoustic Christmas event in 1993. Their rousing rendition of "Silent Night" was the hit of the evening and is still heavily played on the station during the holidays.
This year, the group took to the studio to record other classics including "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." They got the full punk rock, Bad Religion treatment.
While band co-founder and guitarist Brett Gurewitz grew up in a Jewish household, he still has fond memories of Christmas.
"We always celebrated Hanukkah in my house," Gurewitz says. "But on Christmas Day I would still get a present from Santa Claus. My parents told me that even though we weren't Christians, Santa Claus still gave presents to all of the little Jewish boys and girls.
"I was always jealous of the Christmas songs," he goes on. "Most of the Jewish songs were crap."
Gurewitz says the idea of performing these songs was "hilarious. Clearly, it's a satire. We were rolling on the floor a lot of the time...it felt like a Monty Python skit to me."
This is not so clear in the songs themselves, however...