On October 31st 1980 at 6 a.m. my asshole father wakes me up saying “your friend Tony Henderson is on the phone going on and on about watching someone record an album today, Get up and answer the phone”!
I jump up and grab the phone and Tony tells me “Brett Gerwitz and I were talking and he said it’s cool if we meet him at Greg Graffins house this morning”. “Then we’ll all ride with them to the studio and we can watch them record their New Album: How Could Hell Be Any Worse”.
I got dressed in a flash, and skate boarded over to Tony’s house and then we skated over to Greg Graffins house.
When we get there Greg is really cool. We sit down in the living room to wait for Brett to arrive. Greg sits at an upright piano and goes through a series of vocal exercises using the piano. It was pretty cool watching him, he was a really good singer.
Brett shows up in a blue VW van and we all cut out together in the van to pick up their drummer Jay Zisckrout. We load up his drums and then head over to Jay Bentley’s house. Jay comes running out with his bass and jumps in the van and Mother Fuckers I’m rollin to the studio with Bad Religion!
We get to Track Record Studios and load out the equipment. It’s certainly not work in my mind, not at all. Once everything was moved in and introductions were made with the engineers and people working on the album Brett showed Tony and I around the Studio. They hooked up two guitar amps in the guitar room, one a Music Man the other a Marshall. With the volume slightly varied it created a sort of stereo guitar sound…very sweet.
Here’s the funny thing… As everything is about to kick off Brett realizes that he has not one guitar pick on him, not one! I reached into my pocket and sure enough I had a medium Scotty’s guitar pic. I whipped it out and gave it to him. He looked at me shocked and then relieved and then… The Music began!
Tony and I watched it all happen that day and it really was an amazing experience. At the very end that night although people had come and now gone just Tony and I were left because hell, Bad Religion was my ride back home to the valley. The band came into the control room and asked Tony and I if we would sing backup vocals with them. We jumped up ready to go, hell yeah! So, when you’re listening to Bad Religions song The Voice Of God Is Government and when Greg goes into the chorus The Voice Of God Is Government you can still hear us sing “In God We Trust, Sinners Repent” with all the guys.
Note: As we were in the control room that day Tony Henderson mentioned to me after he went to the restroom that “The Lads” were in the lounge area. I remember taking a trip to the restroom too and I noticed Arnel wearing his leather perfecto with the skull & bones on the back sitting on the couch with some people around. I said hey in passing and they acknowledged my presence but they were all obviously fucked up on something…droopy eyes all around.
*** I received a cassette tape from Tony of the studio recording shortly after it was recorded and I remember going over to another friend Tony Cimo’s house to make duplicates because he had a double tape deck. It took two long years before they would release the album and tour but in the meantime my friends and I were enjoying the music exclusively within our own little group.We knew all the music and all the lyrics before seeing them at Godzillas in 1982***