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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)

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What listeners say about Do What You Want

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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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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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  • Tabitha
  • 18-09-20

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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  • Dave Archer-Kiefer
  • 21-10-20

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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  • Ben Dover
  • 20-03-21

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!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Keenan
  • 23-08-20

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.

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  • ghos7fire
  • 23-08-21

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Andrea Nunez
  • 23-10-20

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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  • Terrif Baydoun
  • 20-08-20

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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  • 84cash
  • 30-11-21

BAD RELIGION!

If you’re a fan of Bad Religion this is a must!
If you’re a music lover of all music and it’s history this is a must!
If you’re a Lifetime listener or newbie to the band this is a must!
I purchased the hard cover and the audio version and I’m definitely glad I did. I 100% enjoyed all of it.

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  • Abiggerfish
  • 17-11-21

fantastic content

you don't need to be a fan to love it! there's so much in depth content you couldn't find anywhere else.


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  • Paul
  • 10-11-21

Very informative and entertaining!

What a great book. a must must listen/read for any Bad religion fan, or punk fan in general. I enjoyed it thoroughly!