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Publisher's Summary

From their beginnings as teenagers experimenting in a San Fernando Valley garage dubbed "The Hell Hole" to headlining major music festivals around the world, discover the whole story of Bad Religion's 40-year career in irreverent style.

Do What You Want's principal storytellers are the four voices that define Bad Religion: Greg Graffin, a Wisconsin kid who sang in the choir and became an LA punk rock icon while he was still a teenager; Brett Gurewitz, a high school dropout who founded the independent punk label Epitaph Records and went on to become a record mogul; Jay Bentley, a surfer and skater who gained recognition as much for his bass skills as for his antics on and off the stage; and Brian Baker, a founding member of Minor Threat who joined the band in 1994 and brings a fresh perspective as an intimate outsider.

With a unique blend of melodic hardcore and thought-provoking lyrics, Bad Religion paved the way for the punk rock explosion of the 1990s, opening the door for bands like NOFX, The Offspring, Rancid, Green Day, and Blink-182 to reach wider audiences. They showed the world what punk could be, and they continue to spread their message one song, one show, one tour at a time.

©2020 Bad Religion and Jim Ruland (P)2020 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Ruland serves up a heady, revelatory collaboration with the enduring punk band Bad Religion...his testament to the value of hard work and independent thinking offers a thrilling alternative to the conventional rise-and-fall rock narrative." (Publishers Weekly, "Summer Reads Staff Pick")

"[A] fascinating story...the band has overcome a lot of challenges over the years, and this sufficient narrative documents every one of them." (Kirkus)

"A breezy and enjoyable oral history of being in one of the most respected and enduring punk acts in American history." (A.V. Club)

What listeners say about Do What You Want

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Boring compared to Nofx book

It’s just kinda boring after just finishing the crazy Nofx book. This is very pretentious and the narrator is clearly a tool. Nofx read their own book. Interesting only due to the history. I still love BR just not this book!

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Are they really this big of D-bags?

If you’ve ever gotten the sense that Greg Graffin and the boys were a little arrogant and full of themselves, this book will confirm your suspicions.
If you want an honest portrait of what growing up punk and being in an band is like, read something else.
If you want to have a book speak down to you and then speak over your head for no purpose but to show how smart the writer is, read this.
If this book was purely biographical, it would read like fanboy obsessed glossed over tribute.
But because of its autobiographical nature, it comes of as arrogant revisionist history from people that have always that they were better than you.
Especially the explanations for there wary music.
I could be wrong, maybe Bad Religion is just better than me.

5 people found this helpful

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Cursory, pedantic, avoids the real story

A cursory look at this decent band-turned-chesseball Warped Tour shills. Why does this narrative gloss over or avoid the best stories, like Graffin getting busted for stalking 18 yr old punk girls in chat rooms and then whacking off to them over his web cam? These guys are dorks and creeps. They’ve made some cool records and a lot of crap. This book is mostly the latter.

4 people found this helpful

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Textbook Comprehensive

The story of Bad Religion is inherently interesting as a fan of the band, and by virtue of them being a punk band. I was disappointed with the reader though. Not that his performance was bad in any way, but after hearing NOFX’s Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories told by the members of the band, this didn’t feel as impactful on a personal level. It would have been an improvement to even have a forward by Graffin or Gurewitz. Overall, it was a great listen, gave all the stories and information you’d wanna know about Bad Religion, albeit seemingly written to please the band’s educated sensibility more than an average punk kid may appreciate.

3 people found this helpful

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Had to stop in the first chapter.

This is my first negative review of any book. Normally if I don't like a book I just stop listening/reading and keep it moving. But I love Bad Religion and I am assuming most who want to read this book do as well. As my title suggests. I had to stop listening towards the end of the 1st Chapter. The narration reminded me being in history class in junior high on video day. You know the feeling. Like it's cool that we get to watch a video, but the video is the most boring cinema ever created! Unfortunately, this is not solely the responsibility of the narrator. The book is just boring and pretentious on its own, and then the addition of the Ben Stein influenced narration gives it that extra ZzZzz hit of Sleepy Time tea. It is definitely a good insomnia treatment, so 1 star for that.
Although, my opinion may be skewed because I just finished “My Damage" by Keith Morris of Black Flag/Circle Jerks. That book was a wild ride. Not as wild as the NoFX book, but still, wild. It is so raw and Kieth is throwing shade the entire time while giving history lessons on the Los Angeles punk scene. He has an ongoing issue with the Circle Jerks guitar player putting Bad Religion first as he was in both bands, so I thought it would be cool to listen to this Bad Religion book next to do a little side by side comparison of the history. Bad idea. The Keith Morris book is like the little bump of coke that sucks you in and tricks into doing a whole bag in one sitting. It has short chapters, it is interesting, and it is over before you know it; much like many Black Flag/Circle Jerks songs, actually. The Bad Religion book is like reading a textbook for a class that you wanted to take because it seemed interesting, but the professor hates their job and thus teaches the class like shit and acts like they're above everyone in the room who asks a question.

Long story short get the Keith Morris book.

Thank you for coming to my TedTalk.

2 people found this helpful

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Great artist terrible story.

I wanted to like this book because bad religion was such a huge influence in my teenage years. The narration is terrible. The band should’ve done it themselves. It reads like the band is just patting themselves on the back. Couldn’t make it past the first 30 min. Such a shame.

2 people found this helpful

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I love bad religion, but not this book

This book is nothing more than a boring, linear, map of their albums. Real bummer.

1 person found this helpful

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Punk Rock!!

Bad religion is one of the reasons I love punk Rock!!! There music will never die!!

1 person found this helpful

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Eye opening. Even to a huge dedicated fan.

Since 2006, Bad Religion has been a staple in my life. From front to back, this autobiography not only captures the band's 40 year history, but to a huge fan like me, I took away a lot of things from this book that I never knew about them. Even their motivations for certain songs and albums were surprising. I now have an even deeper appreciation for Bad Religion after having heard this book. This book is a must read not only for fans of BR, but to those who want to have a thought-provoking experience.

1 person found this helpful

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A must-have for any music fan (not just punk rock)

One of the most unheralded bands of our time. This is their story. I couldn’t have been more excited when I saw this book and it most certainly did not disappoint. Loved every chapter.

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  • C M Perkins
  • 04-09-21

Great religion.

Came to listening to bad religion really really late but they’ve steadily become one of my favourite bands.

The honesty throughout this biography about the why’s and where’s of there history is engaging and eye opening throughout.

It’s well read throughout and all of the groups opinions come across clearly.

It’s really given me a new appreciation of the band.

Well worth listening to.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Eggman
  • 05-01-22

Phenomenal insight into the best punk rock band

As a huge fan of the band this delved into more than enough detail to keep me happy. A compelling story of four decades of punk rock supremacy

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  • Looby
  • 02-20-21

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction

A band formed the year I was born.

The book reflects the journey and growth of this highly influential group. There was so much I didn’t know about them and getting this insight makes me appreciate their music even more. The truth of individual struggles laid bare, it is a testament to their dedication to delivering their unique brand of intellectual lyrics, captured within their varied style, that allows them to still be lauded some 40 years later.

Here is hoping I am able to see them in June 2021!

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  • Corey Hanson
  • 05-07-21

Refreshing

Excellent story about an excellent band. It was refreshing not having every chapter about rehab and relapses. A hard working band with extremely talented musicians. If you’re into punk it’s a must!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-10-20

Great insight into a historic punk band.

You'll especially enjoy it if you're a fan and want deep insights into each record & the stories behind them.