And everything inbetween

You know what? We’re still going to claim him.
Greg Graffin was born in Racine, Wisconsin. Sure, he’s known as the eloquent, didactic front man to Bad Religion, one of Intellipunk’s elder statesmen bands, and as such is entrenched in the SoCal environment he moved to at a young age. Who cares, he’s Wisconsin born, and we’re claiming him.
Now, Bad Religion is a bad whose sound reminds one of Martin Luther King, Jr driving a monster truck: social and political issues that are going to railroad you, and sound wicked awesome (oops, little east coast there) jast grayt, doncha know…you betcha…I give my kids retarded names…oops, now we’re in Russia, er, Alaska. Sorry.
Anyway, Bad Religion is known for hard-hitting issues and even harder hitting musical styles, a musical far cry from the tear-jerking life stories of Mike Ness or the wild emotion of Greg Attonito (wow, I just realized I have two Gregs and a Mike…weird). Bad Religion is the George Bernard Shaw to Ness’ almost melodramatic poetry and Attonito’s work that flirts with the avant-garde at times; Bad Religion is a band that doesn’t let you leave the show without pondering deep questions and tough issues. Allow me the hubris, but I’m rather proud to have a Midwesterner leading that charge.
I truly believe that it is the Midwestern influence on Mr. Graffin, no matter how small, that gives him the insight into issues that the surly eaterners and sun-drenched westerners don’t quite have. Midwesterners take things slowly, are less selfish, more polite, even more empathetic, and as such Graffin puts his great empathy for the human race into a tough-love approach through punk music. The songs say “you’re doing something wrong, America, so shape up and fly right,” while subtley adding “because I know you can do it” with all the earnestness of a fretful mother. Midwesterners are the ones who worry about the fate of people. Westerners worry about the fate of whales. Easterners worry about their own fate. Generalizations are fun.
All that pontification aside (and most of it was done with tongue firmly in cheek), Greg Graffin is a very intelligent man. In fact, Dr. Graffin teaches at the University of California in Los Angeles, also known as UCLA. It is his legitimized smartypantsness, along with his upbringing in California, that earns him merit on both sides of the country, but one really can’t doubt just a little of that Midwestern influence about the man. No matter how many Cornell-level words or California punk rock riffs he uses, Greg Graffin will always be a man that cares, who writes music that cares, and to me, that says the Midwest.

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