Brett Gurewitz: Lessons In Independence

January 19, 2007
Founder Reflects On Epitaph's Rise
Todd Martens
Around the time Brett Gurewitz was launching Epitaph Records in 1981, his father was lecturing him to take guitar lessons. The Bad Religion guitarist and punk-rock entrepreneur never sat down for courses with a guitar instructor, although he did go to school to learn to be a recording engineer.

However, no amount of schooling could have prepared Gurewitz for the next 25 years of his life.

Epitaph Records brought a new era of punk rock to the masses in 1994 when the Offspring's "Smash" turned into one of the biggest rock records of the decade. The success of the label's roster, from Bad Religion to Rancid to NOFX, re-energized the punk genre nearly two decades after its birth and put independent music on the radio.

And when the mid-'90s punk trend fizzled out, Epitaph reinvented itself.
The label signed iconoclastic singer/songwriter Tom Waits, who became the centerpiece for the label's adventurous imprint, Anti- Records. Today, Anti- is home to arresting singer/songwriter Neko Case, cut-and-paste artist Tim Fite, political rap act the Coup and soul vets Bettye LaVette and Mavis Staples, among many others.

Epitaph also has a partnership with Rancid's Tim Armstrong in his Hellcat Records and a relationship with Sweden's Burning Heart Records that brought garage rockers the Hives to Epitaph's stable, albeit briefly. href="" target="_blank">Read More