120 Reasons To Live: Bad Religion

Nothing did more to further the cause of Alternative Nation-building than 120 Minutes, MTV’s Sunday-night video showcase of non-mainstream acts. For nearly two decades, the program spanned musical eras from ’80s college rock to ’00s indie, with grunge, Britpop, punk, industrial, electronica and more in between. MAGNET raids the vaults to resurrect our 120 favorite and unjustly forgotten videos from the show’s classic era.

#42: Bad Religion “American Jesus”

Is there a Bad Religion tell-all/unauthorized biography yet? Frontman and evolutionary biologist Greg Graffin did get a book published last year, but something tells us it’s light on the drama endured by his long-running punk band and more about, well, evolutionary biology. A lot of that drama had to do with guitarist Brett Gurewitz’s substance abuse, recovery and—somewhere in the middle of all that—his impressive empire of indie record labels (Epitaph, Anti- and Fat Possum among them). Bad Religion played loud, fast and erudite punk rock; Graffin’s penchant for putting big words and ideas into song either sent you scurrying for a dictionary or scrambling to change the radio station. We suppose that 1993 major-label debut Recipe For Hate was Bad Religion’s shot at mainstream success, but all the band’s records pretty much sound the same. “American Jesus” isn’t the group’s best track—it’s just one of the only ones with an embeddable video on YouTube, and it’s got the added distinction of featuring Eddie Vedder as guest vocalist.

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