Brett Gurewitz, founder of independent powerhouse labels Epitaph and Anti- and guitarist/songwriter for the venerated Southern California band Bad Religion, will be awarded the prestigious National Association of Recording Merchandiser's (NARM) Independent Spirit Award today May 9th at a ceremony in Los Angeles.
"I'm flattered and honored to receive NARM's Independent Spirit Award and to be recognized for my work in the independent music business community that means so much to me," Gurewitz said of this honor.
Established in 1958, NARM is a nonprofit trade association for the business of music, spearheading the implementation of initiatives to promote music commerce, and advocating for common interests. Past recipients of the Independent Spirit Award include Rachelle and Joe Friedman, founders of J&R Music & Computer World in New York; Don Van Cleave, formerly the President of the Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS); and Tom Silverman, Founder and CEO of Tommy Boy Entertainment.
Gurewitz co-founded seminal punk band Bad Religion in 1979, playing guitar and writing some of the band's best-known songs, including "Infected" and "21st Century (Digital Boy)." The band's acclaimed albums How Could Hell Be Any Worse? and Suffer are widely considered among the best punk albums of all time, and their Atlantic Records release Stranger Than Fiction has been certified Gold. Bad Religion continues to record and release albums, their latest The Dissent of Man , reaching #35 on the Billboard 200 chart.
In 1987, Gurewitz established Epitaph Records, envisioning it as an artist-friendly label in which bands would maintain complete control over their music. The label was soon selling more than 1 million records a year, but really took off in 1994 with the release of The Offspring's Smash, which has sold more than 11 million copies, followed by Rancid's Out Come The Wolves which was certified platinum as well as gold records by Pennywise and NOFX. These successes established Epitaph as one of the most prominent independent rock labels in the U.S. In 1998, the label signed the iconic artist Tom Waits. Inspired by the move, Gurewitz formed Anti-Records, an imprint of Epitaph dedicated to serving a more eclectic and less classically punk roster. Anti has since released Grammy-winning albums from influential musicians such as Booker T. Jones, Mavis Staples, Solomon Burke and Tom Waits, who has also achieved Gold status with the 2006 release of Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards and the 1999 release of Mule Variations.