Interview with Jay Bentley of Bad Religion conducted by Greg Svitil in Providence, Rhode Island at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on April 20, 1996.
Greg: What was it like writing this record knowing that you would have to do it without the person responsible for virtually half of the Bad Religion catalog?
Jay: At first, it wasn’t a question, but it was a “you’ve gotta tighten your belt” theory, tighten your belt one notch. And Greg knew full well that that meant that he was going to be writing everything. He asked me to help, and I said “I’m not that songwriter guy.” Brian stepped up and came up with four songs. So it was okay. I think, in losing a songwriter like Brett, we gained a guitarist like Brian. You know what I mean? We traded off a songwriter for a better guitar player, and in that sense he was able to take really small ideas and really blow them up into cool things.
Greg: I noticed that he (Brian Baker) had co-songwriting credits on four of the songs on The Gray Race.
Jay: Yeah, that’s right, and he does. I’m not sure which ones they were; they were “Streets of America”…what else did he do? I don’t know, “Ten in 2010,” he was kind of around, and did his job. He carried his weight.
Greg: Explain the concept behind “The Gray Race” as a song and as an album title.
Jay: It’s a metaphor for the human race, because as an animal on the planet, we’re the only animal who sees the endpoints of our actions in shades of gray. Any other animal sees, like “oh there’s food, I’ll eat it.” “Oh, there’s a female of this species, I’ll fuck it.” “Okay, now it’s night time, I’m going to sleep.” And there’s not really a lot of compassion or reason there, you just do these things because that’s what you do to survive, whereas we have the ability to show compassion, and not kill something to eat it if we don’t want to. We have the ability to believe in a higher power. All of these things are in between the endpoints of black and white- the gray area. So that’s us, the gray race.
Greg: Songs such as “Them and Us,” “Empty Causes,” and “Come Join Us” seem to offer some pretty constructive criticism of a certain type of resistance group. Where is the line drawn to determine between a genuinely beneficial cause and something that is harmful?
Jay: I don’t know. It’s one of those things where you just feel it’s gotten out of hand, where someone’s taken something too far. If you ask me, do I believe that it’s right to ruin tractors that are tearing up forests, yeah. Right? If you ask me if it’s right for 500 people to drink Kool-Aid because some guy says so, no, I don’t. So I don’t know where you draw the line. I don’t know. That’s something where it’s kind of subjective. It’s like “Them and Us.” I want to make that clear that whenever we say “them and us,” well who’s the “us” and who’s the “them”? That’s the whole point of the structure of the song. We’re always us’s or them’s. So you’re never on the right side, because you might think you’re right, but there’s other people who’ll think you’re wrong. The song isn’t really about us being right and them being wrong, it’s about the fact that there’s always going to be a “them and us.” There’s always going to be the “they’s,” and they will think that we are “them.”
Greg: I had interpreted it as more of an attack on the common punk rock dogma, where there’s “us” the ‘punk rock heroes’ and ‘them’ the governments or corporations.
Jay: No, if anything, it would be more along the lines of the punk polemic, the guys who sit around and just complain about everything that they don’t think fits the criteria of what punk rock is.
Greg: The ‘mohawk-chain-leather brigade’? (lyrics from “Empty Causes”)
Jay: Yeah, I have one word: fuck you, right? Because there is no rule for punk rock. Punk rock rule number one is there’s no rules. Rule number two? See rule number one. Right? So anybody that sits around and complains about that, or feels that they have a necessity to fly some flag about what’s right and wrong- and I don’t really care if people do that because I think that’s fine. I think when they physically attack people for their beliefs, I disagree with that.
Greg: Is punk rock, and music of resistance in general, a potentially harmful cause?
Greg: In the “Big Bang” video (home video available in Europe and Asia from Epitaph Records) a couple of the members of the band say that extinction is inevitable. The song “Cease” seems to reinforce that belief. Do you have any exact vision of how the human race will end?
Jay: It starts with “e,” it has “bol” in the middle, and it ends with “a.” How’s that?
Greg: Do you not want to talk about Brett?
Jay: I don’t care.
Greg: You don’t care?
Greg: Are any members of the band still in touch with Brett?
Jay: No, not really. I think I’ve talked with him once in two years, Brian’s probably talked with him two or three times, Greg’s talked with him once. But they’re not the conversations that you have with someone that you’re friends with for sixteen years, they’re the conversations that you have with someone who’s being confrontational with you, and has something mean to say. So, I’d rather avoid it.
Greg: Have you heard the new Daredevils CD? (two songs from Brett’s new band, on Epitaph Records)
Jay: Only over the telephone.
Greg: Really? What do you think of it?
Jay: I couldn’t tell enough to know. I don’t know. I think he’s a good songwriter, so I’m not going to say “well, it has to be shit,” because that’s a really immature thing to say. I don’t know. I know he’s got the talent to play and write good music. I don’t know what it sounds like, I can’t really have any opinion of it.
Greg: I read an interview that you guys did with Thrasher around the No Control time, where he said that Elvis Costello was an influence. It seems like he’s allowed that to manifest itself.
Jay: Yeah. You know, Elvis and Nick Lowe, for me, bands like the Cure and the Jam were as big an influence as bands like the Sex Pistols, the Dickies, and the Clash. We’ve always been big fans of pop. It’s something that’s probably allowed us to be able to write music that we enjoy. That melodic, melody-core, or whatever the hell they want to call it- but it’s probably because we’re trying to be pop. We just don’t know how! (laughs)
Greg: Do you want to talk about a record that you had absolutely nothing to do with, “Into the Unknown”?
Greg: Superficially, Into the Unknown seems to be pretty different from other Bad Religion records. But there are a lot of people who really want to see it in circulation. Why has it never been re-released?
Jay: I don’t know. It’s something, for the band, I guess it’s the band’s albatross. It’s the thing that the band wears around its neck as a reminder of what arrogance can do to a band. And I’ve known band to have said “we can fart into a microphone and people would buy the record.” To that I say “fuck you.” That’s arrogance. That’s taking advantage of the people who like your band, thinking that people will buy whatever you put out. “Into the Unknown” was a good record from the wrong band.
Greg: I actually like it.
Jay: I do, too. I don’t mind it, but the album should’ve been titled “Brett and Greg Graffin: Into the Unknown.” It shouldn’t’ve have been titled “Bad Religion,” because it wasn’t a Bad Religion album. Lyrically? Yeah, there were some Bad Religion bits in there. There was some stuff that was very Bad Religion. Musically? Yeah, there was some Bad Religion stuff in there that’s very reminiscent of Bad Religion. As a whole? No.
Greg: Does anyone in the band ever see themselves, within the context of Bad Religion or not, experimenting with keyboards and acoustic guitars ever again?
Jay: Yeah, I know I do, and I know Greg does. I wouldn’t do it as something that I would want to put out. I do stuff just because I like doing it, and it’s so different than playing this (points at Lupo’s). You’re on your computer, and you just switch over and you play guitar for a while, and then you play keyboards for a little bit, and then you pick up Bobby’s violin and you go (imitating a violin) woo-woo-woo and then pull out the bagpipes and (imitates bagpipes) reeeeeeeee, there’s so much musical equipment all around us. It’s something that we all use. We did piano on “How Could Hell be any Worse?,” Greg actually had piano on that album. And I thought “that’s pretty cool,” because we weren’t afraid to use instruments, because they sounded good. We used a fuckin’ timpani drum. We brought in one of those big kettle drums, and I thought, you know, “this is great,” because we’re not pretending like “it’s just this.” We wanted to experiment with all sorts of different shit. I think we stepped too far out of bounds with the other album, because all of a sudden instead of experimenting it was more foundational. It was part of the whole album. It wasn’t like every now and then this cool little bit comes in. It was like Greg with a polyphonic one-sounded keyboard every night, I mean on every song it was the same sound. So to me, that’s no different than a guitar. And suddenly you’re saying “this is an integral part of the band,” and it’s not. That was the mistake. So I wouldn’t say “no, there’ll never be keyboards or piano or violins or something in another Bad Religion song somewhere in the future,” because that’s saying, you know, “we’re limiting ourselves to only what we can plug into.” I wouldn’t say that. I mean, I don’t think you’ll ever hear one of those instruments as a key part of the band, like an entire album that has keyboards through the whole album. But you might hear it as part of one song.
Greg: So was there a conscious effort made to return to the band’s original sound for “Back to the Known”?
Jay: Yes. I wasn’t on that either! (laughs) I think so. It was Greg and it was Hetson and Tim and Pete, and I think, the thing was, ”Into the Unknown,” was the band had a lot more money to go into the studio and do something like that because “How Could Hell be any Worse?” had done pretty well for a bunch of fifteen-year-olds. So we kind of had bankroll of our own to go in and do this prog album. “Back to the Known” was probably done with $35. There was no money. Bad Religion was basically gone. Greg and Hetson were playing every now and then, and there was just no money to do anything, so it was go into Westbeach with Brett, basically do it for free. It cost nobody anything. It took a day and a half. So, you know, it was probably more along the lines of the necessity of doing things that way. And then you find out, “yeah, but isn’t that the best way?,” like when you do things out of necessity and you find that that’s enough, anything over that is kind of over-indulgence.
Greg: Let’s talk about some of the songs you guys have done over the years. On “Politics,” some of the lyrics are “the government you vote for is the one that you possess.” (Jay laughs) “(You Are) The Government” seems to fall along those lines as well. Do you think that, ultimately, it’s the people that control the government?
Jay: I believe that it should be that. Do I believe that that’s true? No. Do I believe that that’s what it should be and that’s what it’s supposed to be? Yes.
Greg: What about “(You Are) The Government”?
Jay: What about it?
Greg: It seems to…
Jay: I think that if people were unhappy enough, and decided to revolt and rise up against the government because they weren’t happy with the way things were going, they would be immediately slaughtered by the Marines. So are you really? The joke about “(You Are) The Government” is “and I make a difference too” is the more sarcastic thing that we’ve ever said.
Greg: More sarcastic than some of the lyrics on “Do What You Want”?
Greg: Really? Because I had always thought that is was serious.
Greg: Being the idealistic person that I am…
Jay: (Laughs) Yeah. That’s a little insight.
Greg: A lot of people have concluded that, in “The Answer,” the first verse is about Jesus Christ, the second, Galileo Galilei, and the third relates the two to modern day. How accurate is that?
Jay: That’s pretty damn close. I’d go with that.
Greg: Any insight you’d like to offer on that?
Jay: No. I think you’re right.
Greg: What is “Fertile Crescent” about?
Jay: “…and baby my humanity is too”? (laughs) The first Bad Religion song to include the word “baby”? Well, obviously it was written during the Gulf War, and as a scientist Greg can say that basically that’s the cradle of humanity. That region, that’s basically where homosapien is known to have walked out of. That’s where they came from. That’s what they’re thinking. As a scientist, he’ll say “yeah, that’s the area.” So he just found it ironic that, here we are, this many hundreds of thousands of millions of years later, and are we really better off? Right?
Greg: Was “Chimaera” inspired by Descartes’ Third Meditation?
Jay: (laughs) Maybe. I’m gonna have to ask Greg about that. I just saw “Chimaera” as Greg’s ode to scientific research. What he really got that out of…I’ll ask him. You should ask him that. That might be true. I know that when he wrote that song he was an undergraduate T.A. at Cornell in the biology department. So he spent a lot of time complaining about what he thought was the unfair angle that teachers took against their students who had original ideas. If the students didn’t seem to follow the traditional path that the teacher was trying to set, they got scolded, and Greg didn’t like that. So, he kind of thought people should be praised for having original ideas and not beaten into submission and agreeing with whatever the teacher says.
Greg: What is a Markovian process?
Jay: (laughs) The Markovian process is a mathematical formula. I can put it into rough terms that you’ll understand. Basically, the Markovian process says that there’s x amount of food, there’s x amount of people, x amount of people eat x amount of food per day; this is the amount of time before x amount of food runs out. That’s the Markovian process. So the Markovian process is about using up everything we have around us. Well, eventually it’s gonna run out. You can use the Markovian process to figure that out. Things like fossil fuels, they’re not replaceable. They don’t come back, they’re not continually happening. Things like fresh-water basins under the continental plates that are just dwindling because there’s so many people using it that nature can’t replenish fast enough. Same with forests and trees. All of those things can be used with the Markovian process, a mathematical formula amount when demand will exceed supply.
Greg: Is that also like some of the things that you wrote in “Unacceptable”?
Jay: Yeah, kind of. For me, that song was more about the absolute absurdity of them saying “well, insert this chemical here into your water system, and that’s completely acceptable with us.” It’s like, how could anything be acceptable? It’s unbelievable that it’s like “well, it’s okay if you have that much quinine in your water, you’ll be okay.” Well what about my kids’ kids’ kids? So, it’s like, fuck that. And the fact that there’s an ‘acceptable’ level of toxins that you can absorb into your body because the reason they say so is because there’s no way they’re gonna get rid of it. “We can’t make it go away, so we’re gonna make this acceptable level of what you can eat.” (laughs)
Greg: Do you listen to much modern punk rock?
Jay: Some. I listen to bands like Supersuckers, I don’t know if you consider them punk. I like Waterdog. I like that album they put out, I like that a lot, I don’t know if you consider that punk. So, I mean, I don’t listen to, like…Rancid (laughs)
Greg: So of the newer bands, those would be the bands that have impressed you the most?
Jay: The band that has impressed me the most recently? Oh, Phil, the guitar player of Dance Hall Crashers has this side project…what was it called? I can’t remember the name of it, and me and Brian talked him into playing his tape for us. And it was amazing! I mean, it was like Weezer times ten. It was like, everything about Weezer that you liked, without the things you didn’t like.
Greg: I like Weezer.
Jay: I do too, I love Weezer, I think Weezer is just brilliant.
Greg: Didn’t they break up or something?
Jay: I don’t know what the hell is going on with them. But anyways, Phil’s band was amazing. I really like the Supersuckers, as far as a band who’s doing something now. I’m a big Chieftains fans, Elvis Costello, Kate Bush, Jam, Clash.
Greg: I heard you guys soundchecking on “Tommy Gun.”
Jay: Yeah, I mean, the other day we were in Asbury Park, and we were soundchecking on every song Ric Ocasek had ever written. For some strange reason, we were just doing all these Cars songs. I don’t know why. We should’ve been doing Bruce Springsteen songs, but we don’t know any. (laughs)
Greg: So what do you think of some of the newer bands like Shelter, who have a more religious orientation?
Jay: For some reason, I have a lot of respect for them, and that’s just out of the fact that everyone knows who they are. I don’t know them personally, and I’ve never listened to it. But knowing that the people who I respect respect them kind of tells me that I have respect for them. I don’t really know if I should or not, but it’s one of those musical things where if someone that you like and respect his opinion says “oh yeah, they’re really good,” you kind of go “okay,” and you just accept it. And that’s probably really stupid. (laughs)
Greg: What kinds of books have you been into most recently?
Jay: I’m on like my last three pages of “Crime and Punishment,” and then I’m starting…what’s that other book I have? I don’t know, I grabbed another book the other day. I can’t remember what it was for the life of me. I’m a big Stephen King and Kurt Vonnegut fan. But I’ve kind of run out of that. When I started reading those two authors in particular, obviously they had a pretty good catalogue behind them, so I had a lot of catching up to do. But as soon as you catch up with an author, it’s like catching up with a band. You have to wait for releases, so in the downtime, I just said “well, I’m going to start reading some of the classics that I’ve never read before.”
Greg: Out of the members in the band, what are some of their favorite writers and philosophers of all time? What people, outside of musicians, have inspired Bad Religion?
Jay: I don’t know. Right now, Greg is having a pretty good discourse with Noam Chomsky. I don’t know if that would be someone who he would consider as having an influence on him. Greg is always reading scientific books, and I never know who the hell they’re written from, because they’re usually professors from colleges who aren’t the kind of writers you and I would think about. They’re not the classics. They’re just guys trying to have written a book that no one would ever know about except other scientists. You know, things like (imitating a ‘professor’ character) “W.G. Shepherd’s ‘Reason Why DNA Molecules Equal 3 Times Over X Pi.” and you’re like “yeah, I’m not into that book at all,” and Greg’s reading it. You’re going “okay, fuck it, whatever.” Brian’s kind of a PJ O’Rourke, satirical kind of guy. He reads about all the Hollywood stars and the Beatles and the Kinks and the Stones and the Sex Pistols and anybody who has ever died. And I don’t think Hetson’s read a book in his life! (laughs)
Greg: He plays Nintendo!
Jay: No, I mean, I don’t know what the hell he does now, but I don’t think he does much.
Greg: What does Greg Hetson think of the new Sony Playstation?
Jay: I know he doesn’t have it, because he would have told me about it. I don’t know, he still can’t work his fucking computer, and he’s got like a Compaq Presario, and he still can’t work that. Just give up, just go back to sleep.
Greg: I’ve heard that a lot of people in the band are into folk music and that folk music was actually a big inspiration on Brett for the songs he wrote on “Suffer.”
Jay: No, I’d say more Greg than Brett. Brett was not so much into folk music, he was more into the Elvis Costello / Nick Lowe traditional style. And Greg has always been a big, big fan of bluegrass, traditional Doc Watson type flatpicking, you know (with a slow southern drawl) “this song is six hundred years old” (singing) dow-now-now-now-now. And you’re like, whatever. I don’t think Greg got into that until a little later when he started running out of ideas, and he had to draw in a new thing. So he found back that traditional style as something like on “Skyscraper,” and it started coming out there. So yeah, it’s the philosophy of traditional folk music which is that idea of sharing ideas. That the concept of folk is just some guy gets up and shares some ideas; (singing) “well, my dog bit me on the leg and my wife left me and I made some fried eggs,” and that’s kind of what the idea is about folk music. And we really embrace that in Bad Religion thought, like that’s kind of what we would like to do, is just share ideas with people and get feedback. So, it’s more of the concept of folk than it is the style.
Greg: Has anyone in the band ever experimented with vegetarianism or animal rights?
Jay: Brian is a vegetarian now. Animal rights? I don’t think we’ve ever done anything for them. No. No animal rights. I don’t know how the other guys feel about it. I have my personal philosophies about that. Obviously I don’t think that experimentation on dogs or cats or monkeys is necessary. Do I think injecting rats with cancer tumors to find out that you can actually reverse the process of cancerous growth by inserting cells that have a non-malignant type of cancer? Yeah, I think that’s important. Do I think it’s necessary to do it on the monkey? No, I don’t. I don’t know, it’s hard for me to draw the line on that.
Greg: Has anyone in the band ever experimented with theism?
Jay: (laughs) Probably just me. Yeah, probably just me. Well, Bobby was in Catholic school for twelve years, what the hell am I talking about? Yeah, he the direct result of twelve years of Catholic school. (laughs)
Greg: What plans are there in the near future of Bad Religion?
Jay: Tour, make another album in a year.
Greg: Have you guys started writing any songs?
Jay: About four and a half, four and three quarters for the next album already.
Greg: Are you playing any of those tonight?
Jay: No. No way. They’re so new they’re not even songs yet. They’re just really embryonic ideas. We just started writing basically when we got out here, and we’ve only been out for 21 days. And these songs are so really, really new.
Greg: I know you wrote a few songs for “How Could Hell be any Worse?,” and a couple of “Against the Grain.” How come you haven’t had more songwriting input in the past?
Jay: I’m not as prolific as they are. (laughs) I talked to Greg about that one time, and surprisingly I actually had a conversation with some people who commented on Eddie Vedder about being able to write music. Because I didn’t understand what it took. And apparently what it takes is an amazing amount of willpower to stay at the desk, and not get up and go turn on the TV, or go outside, or go do something else. You just kind of have to stay. And I don’t have that.
Greg: “The Positive Aspect of Negative Thinking” seems to be one of the most definitive songs of Bad Religion, ever.
Jay: (laughs) I didn’t want it to turn into anything, but I kind of just wrote it as, to me it was a self-explaining song, that made absolutely no sense.
Greg: You don’t think it made any sense?
Jay: I know it made sense because I wrote it, but I know that 99% of the people who read it just go “What?!!!” I just kind of put it as that, and the only people that I know that get it are Greg and Brett. And you’re the third! You’re the third person I know that’s gotten it (laughs).
Greg: Wow. So, as for Greg, is he still writing his dissertation?
Jay: If he is, he’s writing it at about one word a day (laughs).
Greg: It seems like he’s been doing that for a while.
Jay: Yeah, he’s actually stopped. I guess about 18 months ago he left Cornell, and said “alright, well, school will always be here, but this obviously won’t. I can go back and finish my school when I’m 60 if I wanted to, but you can’t always be in a band and have a good time and do all this.”
Greg: So he’s not involved with any sort of teaching at Cornell anymore?
Greg: Do you have any words of wisdom for the upcoming Presidential election?
Jay: Vote smartly. (laughs) Vote smart-assedly, I don’t know, I’m just kind of getting into it now. I don’t really think that it would really matter if people voted fuckin’ Rush Limbaugh in. I don’t think it would make any difference, because a president can’t really do much without Congress. Line-item veto is in now, so all that means is the president can fuck more things up, but he can’t really get anything passed. He can stop things from happening, but he can’t really start things happening.
Greg: With the large number of Republicans in Congress right now, that might be important, to stop things from happening.
Jay: Yeah. What’s the worst thing that can happen?
Greg: So do you think it matters who’s president?
Greg: Is it more important who’s in Congress?
Jay: No. It’s more important who your local representative is where you live. I mean, I don’t live in D.C., I don’t give a fuck what they do there.
Greg: So it’s a “think globally, act locally” kind of thing.
Jay: Yeah, I want the guy who I vote for my neighborhood…you know, you vote in a guy who represents 2,000 people, that’s the guy who you better be right about, because he’s representing you as a fucking individual in Washington. Senators and Presidents and Congressmen, fuck them all. They’re just out there making money. All they do is just fuck with each other. What the hell is Strom Thurmond, he’s 963 years old. What does he know about reality? Nothing (laughs)
Greg: On all the live recordings I’ve heard of “Stranger than Fiction,” Greg replaces the line “I want to know why Hemingway cracked” with “I want to know why Gurewitz cracked.” Any comments?
Jay: Yes, he does! And we do.
Greg: You would like to know why Gurewitz cracked?
Jay: I just think it’s something funny. Actually the first night he did that was in Amsterdam, and Brett was actually at the show for some reason, and we were with SNFU, and they have a soundman, and his name is also Brett, and he looks just like Brett. He looks like Brett, his name is Brett, but he’s an SNFU soundman. So, (laughs) during that song, (laughs almost uncontrollably) he came out on stage dressed as Brett would dress, and I don’t know how they rigged this, but Greg sang that, “I want to know why Gurewitz cracked,” and Brian kicked him in the ass and his pants fell down. And he was kind of standing on stage with his pants around his ankles, and then he ran off stage, and I don’t know how they organized all that. And so it just kind of started from there, I don’t know, it just kind of exploded, and Greg has just said it ever since.
Greg: Brett seemed to have gotten into more imagery and more poetic devices on the lyrics on that record, and he makes the references to Kerouac. Is Jack Kerouac a big influence on other members of the band?
Jay: Well, I’ve read a lot of Kerouac, and I don’t know whether he’s an influence or just something to read on a 12-hour plane flight. A lot of it is just garbled jibberish, and it’s like “okay, how drunk were you when you wrote this?” Sometimes the idea and the image of a person is larger than their body of work. They’re actually cooler than anything they’ve ever done.
Greg: Do you feel that way about a lot of the beat generation?
Jay: Yeah, and a lot of the hippie generation. They had this fairly communistic viewpoint, that as everyone will say, works well on paper, but it never worked in reality. It just can’t. It is a truly dog-eat-dog world. Like you’re sharing everything with your neighbor, and pretty soon he’s fucking your wife. So a lot of those things just don’t work. I think a lot of the imagery of the beat generation and of the 60’s and the 70’s, and even some of the imagery of the 80’s is just bad. People say “oh, wasn’t it the good old days in the 80’s?” No, it sucked. I got the shit kicked out of me every day because I had blue hair. Yeah, that was really great. You know, I was one of a hundred people who looked like me in a city of seven million. Yeah, that was great. No, it wasn’t. But the imagery is cool. You know, “oh, it must’ve been so cool back then.” So? You stood behind it because it really pissed people off.
Greg: What were some of the earlier punk rock bands that were big for Bad Religion when Bad Religion first started out?
Jay: For me it was the Clash, for Brett it was the Ramones, for Greg it was…he got into a lot of English punk really early, Graffin did. He got into Sham 69, UK Subs. He got into a lot of that stuff really early. I’d go to his house and go “what’s that?”, “Angelic Upstarts,” “cool! What is it?” But the local bands, it was bands like the Adolescents and the Circle Jerks and Black Flag, TSOL. Those were the bands we hung around with and that we played with. So they kind of had an influence on…I don’t know how we presented ourselves as a band, because they were the bands that we were playing with, so we kind of watched them figure out how you did what you do.
Greg: Wasn’t Brett in a band that played at the school and Greg Graffin was making fun of them?
Jay: That would’ve been the Quarks.
Greg: They made a song called “I Wanna be With You”?
Jay: Yeah. I believe that would’ve been the Quarks, Brett’s original punk band that was not. But hey, you know what? What were you doing at fifteen, what was I doing at fourteen? I was in a band playing in the school, and I was, “I was gettin’ stoned” (laughs).
Greg: Has anyone in the band ever experimented with abstinence from alcohol or drugs?
Jay: I’m on seven years right now.
Greg: So you consider that your own personal thing or a collective thing?
Jay: It’s my own personal thing, it has very little to do with anybody else. I did it because I had three choices: die, go to jail, or stop.
Greg: Do you have any final comments or thoughts for the readers?
Jay: Be nice to aliens. They’re people too.