These are atheist musicians and are in completely random order, they are not ranked in any way.
Greg Graffin Ph.D., is an American punk rock musician, college professor, and author. He is most recognized as the lead vocalist and songwriter of the noted Los Angeles band Bad Religion, which he co-founded in 1979 and is the band’s only constant member, even though it now features two other original members, guitarist Brett Gurewitz (who left and rejoined the band twice) and bassist Jay Bentley (who left in 1982, but returned in 1986). He also embarked on a solo career in 1997, where he released the album American Lesion. His follow-up album, Cold as the Clay was released nine years later. Graffin obtained his Ph.D. at Cornell University and has lectured courses in life sciences and paleontology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
He is best known for his musical comedy, which has featured in six CDs, three DVDs and a number of live comedy shows which he has performed internationally. He has also appeared on television in Australia, Britain and the United States. After growing up in Perth, Western Australia, he attended theUniversity of Western Australia and WAAPA before moving to Melbourne in 2002. His breakout show, “Dark Side”, launched him into the public eye, achieving critical success at the 2005 Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the 2005 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Minchin has a background in theatre and has appeared in various stage productions, in addition to some small acting roles on Australian TV. A documentary film about Minchin, Rock N Roll Nerd (directed by Rhian Skirving), was released theatrically in 2008 and broadcast by ABC1 in 2009.
Shelley Segal is a singer-song writer from Melbourne, Australia. Growing up in a musical family, Shelley began singing at age three. She started writing songs and performing from the age of eleven.
Shelley plays guitar and piano. She teaches vocals, music theory and song-writing and has been performing live, around Melbourne and internationally, for the last ten years. She completed a Bachelor of Applied Music at the Box Hill Institute of Tafe in 2010. Shelley has recently written and recorded a song with DJ Carl Cox. The track, ‘Chemistry’ spent two weeks at #1 on the techno charts in November 2011.
Initially having been brought up as a Jew, Shelley rejected her religion and became an atheist at eighteen. Over the last few years, Shelley has become involved in the secular movement and it is a cause that she sees as indispensable. In response to her views, this year Shelley has recorded and released, ‘An Atheist Album.’ The seven songs on the album are her thoughts on religion and related themes, through the prism of her secular humanism.
Shelley’s musical style is influenced by commercial, folk, jazz, blues and rock genres. As a songwriter, Shelley’s music is often biographical and story-telling in nature.
In 2012, Shelley will be releasing her second album, touring Australia and will be performing in June at the American Humanists Annual Conference. (copied from Celebration of Reason conference in Australia)
George Hrab is a drummer, guitarist, composer, and podcaster known for performing rock, funk, and jazz; and for exploring atheist, skeptic, and science themes in his work. He has released 6 albums as a solo artist.
Greydon Square is an American rapper. He is an Iraq War veteran and an outspoken atheist who promotes discussion on philosophical issues, as well as having studied physics full time before moving on to study computer science.
I am Dave the Happy Singer: The Abominable Showman! I’m British-born comedy, blues, and rock and roll singer-songwriter based in Sydeny, NSW, Australia. I’m fascinated by the concept of Happiness. I love being Happ and trying to make other people as Happy as I can. I am also a vocal atheist, skeptic, science fan and geek! My pinons are strong but not inflexible. Want to change my mind? All you need is a rational argument and appropriate evidence! Email me at email@example.com.
Michael John Burkett, better known as Fat Mike is an American musician, producer, lead vocalist, and bassist for the punk rock band NOFX, as well as bassist for the punk rock supergroup cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.
Justin Cathal Geever, best known by his stage name Justin Sane, is the lead guitarist and singer/songwriter of the United States-based musical group Anti-Flag, a punk rock band formed in 1988 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania known for its outspoken left-wing views. He holds dual US and Irish citizenship and lives in Pittsburgh. His stage name was bestowed upon him by friends in Pittsburgh’s punk scene.
I Killed The Prom Queen is an australian metalcore band which formed in 2000 with mainstays JJ Peters on drums and Jona Weinhofen on guitar. The band featured prominently on the australian live music scene and toured the US, Japan, and parts of Europe several times. They issues two studio albums, When Goodby Means Forever and Music for the Recently Deceased. The latter reached the top 30 on the ARIA Albums chart. The group split up in april 2007 when Weinhofen joined US band Bleeding Through and Peters joined Australian hardcore punk group Deez Nuts. I Killed the Prom Queenreforemed to play a farewell tour in mid-2008 and released a live album and DVD, Sleepless Nights and City Lights, which peaked in the top 50. In May 2011, the band reformed for the Destroy Music Tour and idicated plans to work on a third studio album.
Frank “Dave” Turner is an English folk/punk singer-songwriter from Meonstoke, Winchester. Former vocalist of the post-hardcore band Million Dead, he left the band in 2005 to begin his primarily acoustic-based solo career. He has released four studio albums to date. Check out the songs “I Still Believe” and “Glory Hallelujah” from his latest album, England Keep My Bones, which was released in June 2011.
Roy Zimmerman sings satirical songs – original songs about class warfare, creationism, same-sex marriage, guns, marijuana, abstinence, Republicans (a lot of songs about Republicans), ignorance, war and greed. In twelve albums over twenty years and on stages, screens and airwaves across America, Roy has brought the sting of satire to the struggle for Peace and Social Justice. His songs have been heard on HBO and Showtime. He has recorded for Warner/Reprise Records. He’s a featured blogger for the Huffington Post.
The Los Angeles Times says, “Zimmerman displays a lacerating wit and keen awareness of society’s foibles that bring to mind a latter-day Tom Lehrer.”
Tom Lehrer himself says, “I congratulate Roy Zimmerman on reintroducing literacy to comedy songs. And the rhymes actually rhyme, they don’t just ‘rhyne.’”
Architecture of Aggression is praised as South Africa’s heaviest and most brutal band. This two man demolition team consisting of brothers Van Zyl (guitars/vocals) and Anton (drums/vocals) Alberts was formed in 1995 and is respected/reviled throughout the S.A metal community. More infamous than famous, known for their outspokenness on subjects ranging from censorship, politics to matters of religion. They are well respected for their musical prowess and technicality as well as a strong sense of groove and have influences ranging from Death Metal through to jazz and progressive rock. Monsters on stage, their live shows are hectic and their mosh pits are legendary.
Dan Barker, Co-President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is a talented pianist and jazz musician. Dan used to be a fundamentalist preacher and wrote several religious children’s musicals for which he still gets royalties. Dan and his wife, Annie Laurie Gaylor do a weekly radio program called “Freethought Radio” where Dan often plays the piano. At FFRF conventions, Dan performs with Pulitzer Prize-winning atheist cartoonist Steve Benson in a production called “Tunes N Toons” where Dan provides the musical accompaniment for Steve’s political cartoons. Dan’s CD’s are available through FFRF’s website.
Gary Numan is an English singer, composer, and musician, most widely known for his chart-topping 1979 hits “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” and “Cars”. His signature sound consisted of heavy synthesizer hooks fed through guitar effects pedals. He recommends using a good quality guitar tuner pedal for the best effects. Numan is considered a pioneer of commercial electronic music. His use of themes from science fiction, and his combination of aggressive punk energy with electronics, have been widely imitated. In 1996 he was reported stating in an interview, ”I am not religious, quite the opposite. It would seem, particularly at the moment, that in certain countries to deny having faith is virtually to admit to being a worshipper of the devil. Such is the fear, hate and hostility created by the believers of this so called all forgiving God.” He focuses on his views in his 1997 album Exile.
Henry Rollins is an American singer-songwriter, spoken word artist, writer, comedian, publisher, actor, and radio DJ. Rollins performed with the short-lived band State of Alert in 1980 and fronted the California hardcore punk band, Black Flag from 1981 – mid 1986 before forming his own record label and publishing company 2.13.61 to release his spoken word albums. He also formed the Rollins Band which toured from 1987 – 2003 and in 2006. Since then, he has hosted a variety of radio and television shows, had a recurring role in the hit show, Sons of Anarchy, and roles in several movies. Rollins has also campaigned for various political causes in the United States, including promoting LGBT rights, World Hunger Relief, and an end to war in particular, and tours overseas with the United Service Organizations to entertain American troops. In a monologue on The Henry Rollins Show, he stated, “In the theory of evolution there is no talk of God and no Bibles are used. They’re not looking for higher powers, extraterrestrials, or anything else that could be found in the science fiction section, because they are not dealing with fiction.”
Robert Frederick Zenon “Bob” Geldof, KBE is an Irish singer, songwriter, author, occasional actor and political activist. He rose to prominence as the lead singer of the Irish rock band The Boomtown Rats in the late 1970s and early 1980s alongside the punk rock movement. The band had hits with his compositions “Rat Trap” and “I Don’t Like Mondays”. He co-wrote “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, one of the best-selling singles of all time. He starred as Pink in Pink Floyd’s 1982 film Pink Floyd: The Wall. Geldof is widely recognised for his activism, especially anti-poverty efforts concerning Africa. Geldof currently serves as an adviser to the ONE Campaign, founded by fellow Irish humanitarian Bono. A single father, Geldof has also been outspoken for the father’s rights movement. Geldof has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, was granted an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II, and is a recipient of the Man of Peace title which recognizes individuals who have made “an outstanding contribution to international social justice and peace”, among numerous other awards and nominations. In a live interview on October 19, 2001, Geldof confirmed that he does not believe in an afterlife on Irish national television.
William Martin ”Billy” Joel is an American pianist, performer, singer-songwriter, and composer. Since releasing his first hit song, “Piano Man”, in 1973, Joel has become the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States, according to the RIAA. Although Atheism is not a key subject in his music, Joel occasionally wrote songs about rebellion and being yourself despite what others tell you (“My Life“). See also “Only the Good Die Young” where Joel tries to convince a “good Catholic girl” to disregard how she’s been raised to behave and what she’s been told, and run off with him – expressing his nonreligious views, “they say there’s a heaven for those who will wait, some say it’s better but I say it ain’t. I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, the sinners are much more fun.” He explicitly stated his views and his deconversion story in interviews in 1982 and 1994.
Frank Vincent Zappa (1940 – 1993) was an American composer, singer-songwriter, electric guitarist, record producer and film director. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa wrote rock, jazz, orchestral and musique concrète works. He also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers. Zappa produced almost all of the more than 60 albums he released with the band The Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist. While in his teens, he acquired a taste for percussion-based avant-garde composers such as Edgard Varèse and 1950s rhythm and blues music. He began writing classical music in high school, while at the same time playing drums in rhythm and blues bands; he later switched to electric guitar. Throughout his career he expressed his anti-religious views in song lyrics and interviews.
George Roger Waters is an English musician, singer-songwriter and composer. He was a founding member of the progressive rock band Pink Floyd, serving as bassist and co-lead vocalist. Following the departure of bandmate Syd Barrett in 1968, Waters became the band’s lyricist, principal songwriter and conceptual leader. The band subsequently achieved worldwide success in the 1970s with the concept albums The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall. Although Waters’ primary instrument in Pink Floyd was the bass guitar, he also experimented with synthesizers and tape loops and played rhythm guitars in recordings and in concerts. Amid creative differences within the group, Waters left Pink Floyd in 1985. It is estimated that as of 2011, the group have sold over 230 million albums worldwide, including 74.5 million units sold in the United States. Waters’ solo career includes three studio albums: The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking (1984), Radio K.A.O.S. (1987) and Amused to Death (1992). In 1990, he staged one of the largest and most elaborate rock concerts in history, The Wall – Live in Berlin, with an estimated 200,000 people in attendance. In 1996, he was inducted into the US and the UK Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Pink Floyd. He has explicitly stated in an interview that he is an Atheist.
Nicholas Berkeley “Nick” Mason is an English drummer and songwriter, best known for his work with Pink Floyd. He was the only constant member of the band since its formation in 1965. Despite solely writing only a few Pink Floyd songs, Mason has contributed to some of Pink Floyd’s most popular compositions such as “Interstellar Overdrive”, “A Saucerful Of Secrets” and “Echoes”. He also competes in auto racing events, such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He was the only Pink Floyd member to be featured on every one of their albums. In an interview in 1995 he stated flat-out that he doesn’t believe in god.
Chumbawamba are a British alternative rock band who have, over a career spanning three decades, played punk rock, pop-influenced music, world music, and folk music. Their vocal anarchist politics exhibit an irreverent attitude toward authority, and the band have been forthright in their anti-racist, socialist, anti-war, and feminist social stances. They are best known for their song “Tubthumping”. Other singles have included “Amnesia”, “Enough Is Enough” (with MC Fusion), “Timebomb”, “Top of the World (Ole, Ole, Ole)”, and most recently, “Add Me”.
Check out their answers to these interview questions about their religious views.
Björk Guðmundsdóttir, known as Björk, is an Icelandic singer-songwriter. Her eclectic musical style has achieved popular acknowledgement and popularity within many musical genres, such as rock, jazz, electronic dance music,classical and folk. Her 1990s singles “It’s Oh So Quiet”, “Army of Me” and “Hyperballad” charted in the UK Top 10. Her record label, One Little Indian, reported that by 2003 she had sold more than 15 million albums worldwide. She has acquired a high level of critical acclaim. She has won four BRIT Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards, one MOJO Award, three UK Music Video Awards and in particular, she received, in 2010, the Polar Music Prizefrom the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, in recognition for her “deeply personal music and lyrics, her precise arrangements and her unique voice”. She was ranked number 36 on VH1′s “The 100 Greatest Women in Rock and Roll”, number 8 on MTV’s “22 Greatest Voices in Music”, and number 60 on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Singers”. She has explicitly stated in interviews that she is not religious.
Isaac Brock is the lead singer, guitarist, banjoist, and songwriter for the American indie rock band Modest Mouse, as well as his side project band, Ugly Casanova. As a songwriter he is noted for his clever wordplay and frequent use of metaphors, philosophical lyrics, themes of oppressive rural lifestyles, and certain phrases and sayings commonly used in the early to mid-20th century and in blue collar environments.
When asked if he considers himself an Atheist in an interview, he responded: “ Pretty much, but there are things that make me think. Like that guy who played Jesus [Jim Caviezel] getting hit by lightning during the filming of that movie? That just makes you think, “I can’t be 100 percent sure.” But I’m not going to change my game plan anyway. I don’t think I’m living wrong in the first place, so when the lights go out on me, and brighter ones come on and I have to talk to some guy with a big, bushy beard, or some big glowing blob, I think I’m going to be fine. I’m 100 percent on the whole Christianity thing being a crock of shit, pretty much, but I don’t give a fuck if other people are religious. Believe what you want. Whatever makes the day easier for you.”
Robert James Smith is a British musician. He is the lead singer, guitar player and principal songwriter of the rock band The Cure, and its only constant member since its formation in 1976. NY Rock describes him as “pop culture’s unkempt poster child of doom and gloom”, and asserts that his songs are as “sombre introspection over lush, brooding guitars”. His guitar-playing and use of flanging, chorusing and phasing effects put him amongst the forefront of the Goth and New Wave genres. He also played in the band Siouxsie and the Banshees. Besides guitar, Smith plays the 6-string bass and keyboards. He has stated in an interview in the 1989 issue of The Face magazine: ”….I used to lay myself open to visions of God, but I never had any. I come from a religious family, and there have been moments when I’ve felt the oneness of things, but they never last, they fade away, leaving me with the belief that it’s only fear that drives people to religion. And I don’t think I’m ever going to wake up and know that I was wrong.”
If you have any suggestions for atheist musicians please contact us so others can know about them too!