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Epitaph Records

From Academic Kids

Epitaph Records is a Hollywood, California based independent record label owned by Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz. The label was originally "just a logo and a P.O. box" created in the 1980s for the purpose of selling Bad Religion records, but has since grown into one of the largest indie record labels. Most of the bands on Epitaph are punk rock and hardcore groups, but several sub-labels exist, such as ANTI- and Hellcat Records that have signed other types of bands. A few of the first bands signed include Bad Religion, L7, The Offspring and NOFX.

In 1987, Epitaph released its first record as a proper label. It was the band L7's self-titled album, and it was distributed by Chameleon. The first album that was both released and distributed by Epitaph was Suffer by Bad Religion.

Recently in 2003, Epitaph has sparked some controversy among its fans by signing noted alternative rap artists Atmosphere and Sage Francis and noise/grindcore band The Locust, leading to many heated online debates about what constituted the true nature of "punk" music, but so far the new groups seem to feel at home on the label. Merle Haggard has also released material on the Epitaph label (If I Could Only Fly (2000) and Roots Vol. 1 (2001)).

Although Bad Religion, as the founding "band" of Epitaph released their first records through Epitaph, they switched over to Atlantic in 1994, with Stranger Than Fiction being their first record outside the label. During the following two years, a lot of inter-band drama occurred, mainly between Greg Graffin, the band's main vocalist and co-songwriter and Brett Gurewitz, founder of Epitaph and the other songwriter for the band. This ended up with Brett Gurewitz leaving the band in 1996. However, in 2001, Brett returned to the band and Bad Religion once again signed under Epitaph Records, releasing The Process of Belief in 2002, and, most recently The Empire Strikes First (2004).

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