Atheist and Agnostic Musicians  G - M

Liam and Noel Gallagher are members of the band Oasis. Noel's song writing and Liam's singing emulate John Lennon, who is their idol, musically and philosophically. 

Liam has said, "I live for now, not for what happens after I die. If I die and there's something afterwards, I'm going to hell, not heaven. I mean, the devil's got all the good gear. What's God got? The Inspiral Carpets and nuns.  Fuck that."

Noel has been described, in his own words, as, "a famous, wealthy, Irish, Catholic, working class, 'half an atheist and half a coward'" -- but with inspired musical craftsmanship

Visit Oasis at:

Bob (Sir Robert) Geldof,  is Irish musician and cofounder of the Boom Town Rats.  Moved by the horror of starving Ethiopian children in 1984, Geldof started a number of continuing humanitarian efforts.  With the success of his "Band Aid" song Do They Know It's Christmas?, he proceed to fund-raising concerts called "Live Aid."  He currently works on national debt relief and forgiveness for the poorest of third world countries in addition to touring and performing.

When asked if he was "an atheist... agnostic?"  Geldof said "yes."


Click here for Net Aid

Greg Graffin is the vocalist for Bad Religion, an American band that sets the standards for punk rock.  Graffin also studies paleoanthropology and has taught evolutionary history at Cornell University.  After a hiatus, the band is back together with excellent new material and a summer 2002 tour.

Many of Bad Religion's lyrics reflect atheist freethought 

Visit their site at

Lance Hahn, a guitarist, singer, and songwriter of a diverse blend of music and songs with a strong punk flavor.  He has played with a flux of others over the last 20 years, first starting in Hawaii. 

He currently lives in San Francisco but tours with  his band is J Church.

With the band Cringer (1985-1991) he recorded his wonderful atheist song, "Blasphemous."



Kathleen Hanna was a member of the band Bikini Kill and helped start the Riot Grrrl movement, blending feminism and punk rock.  After a solo album, Hanna formed the band Le Tigre, which mixes bubblegum, punk, and danceable beats with subversive lyrics. 

Hanna says, "I don't believe in God, but I believe God invented four-tracks".

Lou Harrison (b.1917) is one of the most original and important American composers of the 20th century.  He helped introduce Asian and other multi-tonal scales into Classical music performances.  Rhythm and tonality are central in his works, while harmony is not.  He helped to introduce the Indonesian gamelan, an orchestra composed mostly of  percussive musical instrument, to the United States.

"He is one of the first American composers to successfully create a workable marriage between Eastern and Western forms."  -- Ned Rorem

Lou Harrison: Composing a World (1998) biography
by Leta E. Miller and Fredric Lieberman.

Taylor Hawkins, is the drummer for the Foo Fighters, but he also plays piano, guitar, bass and sings.  Hawkins spent about two years on the road in Alanis Morissette's band before joining the Foo Fighters.  Earlier this year Hawkins was hospitalized for "overindulgence" but is now back working on the follow-up to their grammy-winning album.

When asked,  "What does God look like?"  Hawkins said, "God looks like a dollar bill."


Add: Tor Hershman

Paul Hester was a member of, among others, the bands Split Enz and Crowded House.  Hester plays drums and guitar and sings.

When asked, "Do you believe in God?" Hester answered, "No! My father used try to get me to go to Sunday school but I wouldn't."

Stephan Jenkins is the front man for Third Eye Blind.  The band was founded in San Francisco in the early 90s when Jenkins was a literature major at Berkeley University.  Music became the fulfillment of his love of storytelling.

In November 1998, Jenkins threw 1000 condoms into the audience at Siena College, a Catholic university whose administration had prohibited free condom distribution.

In an interview, Jenkins said that although neither he nor his mother believe in God, they'll attend Christmas Midnight Mass because "...I'm a big  believer in praying, and I'm a believer in singing. So it's an opportunity to sing and pray, and I like that a lot. [But] I think religion is a bunch of hooey..."


Billy Joel is listed in Celebrity Atheists as "ambiguous," though he has, over the years, repeatedly said he was "an atheist."  Still, he makes quasi-religious statements like, "God knows I've never been a spiritual man." 

As a child he was exposed to Judaism, Catholicism, and the Church of Christ -- but rejected them because of their exclusivity and guilt inducing beliefs. 

"...I still feel very much like an atheist in the religious aspects of things," Joel says. "But there are spiritual planes that I'm  aware of that I don't know anything about and that I can't explain..."  Joel believes music connects with these planes and he uses religious allusions in many of his songs.

Visit Columbia Records site:

Kirk "Sticky Fingaz" Jones a rap musician, gained fame with the group Onyx, but released a 2001 CD titled Black Trash: The Autobiography of  Kirk Jones.  In the liner notes he writes, "And don't think I'm on some old religious shit, cause I don't follow religion because it's an illusion, (made up, not real) just like everything else in this world; from politics to culture to law to the concept of time to
the language we speak. Everything is something someone made up and people continue to follow as if it's real."

Mark Knopfler best known for his work with the band Dire Straits.  In a 1991 interview in Australia,  Knopfler stated that he believes Elvis never came back from the dead, via reincarnation or other means.  He took an agnostic stance in regards to "fate," stating "I think what you're supposed to do is say 'I don't know.'  More and more things happen to me that seem to be more of a coincidence, more and more things happen where you're tempted to think that things are mapped out and you're tempted to think that there's a connection between seemingly disparate events.  You're not suppose to know because if you knew that for sure then you'd say er.. you'd say well then 'I believe in God' or whatever.. 
   " the universe came about. I don't think you'll ever know. I don't think you're supposed to know."

Knopfler Official site:

Kramer ws named Rolling Stone's Producer of the Year in 1994.  He founded Shimmy-Disc, a notorious record company, featuring some of the bands named to the right.

Kramer was raised in a non-religious Jewish home and describes himself as atheist and humanist.  His daughter Tess shares his views.

You can visit his website at:

 "My atheism is rocklike. Nothing touches it... Life is random."

Alvin Lee and Ten Years After are a British rock, blues band who are still rocking after 35 years! 

His song Religion on Rock & Roll Music to the World (1972) conveys Alvin Lee's views (click here for lyrics)

Keep abreast of Alvin Lee at:


Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) --  in addition to being a professor of math and musical theater at the University of California - Santa Cruz -- is a composer and performer of parody songs, many expressing social and political satire.  His humorous songs started at a young age, and while attending Harvard, he wrote enough songs to fill his first record album.  His social and political commentary led to his music not being played on the radio or TV.  Certainly his most notable freethought song is The Vatican Rag.
"...I firmly believe all religion is bullshit, but I don't think I would have gone and written a song expressing that, unless I could figure out a way to make it funny." - Tom Lehrer (1995)
An Onion (2000) interview with Tom Lehrer

John Lennon (1940-1980) was the composer of what has become an anthem for atheists around the world, "Imagine."  Lennon rejected religion and dogma, but he was not really an atheist - he espoused a sort of vague spirituality.
Some websites about Lennon

Jim Lindberg, is the singer for the enduring punk band Pennywise.  He counts among his ambitions:  "To save the world from the tyranny of political and religious megalomaniacs and apathy  through fast, positive, cacophonous power punk."

Visit their website at:

John Lydon, better known as 'Johnny Rotten' from in the infamous Sex Pistols is a recording artist who is still winning awards.  He writes in the liner notes of the 1992 single 'Cruel' -- "Where is God? I see no evidence of God. God is probably Barry Manilow."

Visit his official website at:

Barry Manilow is a performer, composer, arranger and producer of musical entertainment in many settings.  He's recorded over 30 albums. 

Responding to reader's questions in the November 18, 1998 issue of the UK daily newspaper, The Independent, Manilow said:

Q: Do you believe in God?
A: Yes. His name is Clive Davis, and he's the head of my record company.

Q: How important is your Judaism to you?
A: It isn't. My humanism is.

Find out more about Barry at:

Shirley Manson is the lead singer in the rock band Garbage.  According to a September 1998 Rolling Stone article titled "Spirit In The Sky," Shirley says she "grew up under Scottish Presbyterian schooling" and "my father was my Sunday school teacher."  At age 12 she announced her atheism at the dinner table, calling religion "bullshit."  This view she continues to maintain, though more tactfully.

Visit the official Garbage website at: and see also

Nick Mason has been the drummer for the band Pink Floyd throughout its various incarnations. 

In an interview with Q Magazine, when he was asked, "Do you believe in God?", he replied, "No I don't, though I quite often wish that I did.  I believe in God Dylan."

Visit the Pink Floyd website at:

Dave Matthews and the Dave Matthews Band have had tremendous success since the early 1990s by combining jazz and rock into a uniquely popular sound.

In US magazine (June 1998) Matthews said, "I'm glad some people have that faith. I don't have that faith. If there is a God, a caring God,  then we have to figure he's done an extraordinary job of making a very cruel world."

And in the Boston Globe (March 4, 2001) he said, "'It would be safe to say that I'm 'agnostic.'  However, I do feel as though we owe a faith to the world and to ourselves. We owe a grace and gratitude to things that have brought us here... Maybe the real faithful act is to commit to something, to take action, as opposed to saying, `Well, everything is in the hand of God.'"

From the album Every Day, song What You Are he sings:
"Hoping to God on high is like clinging to straws while drowning. ... Oh, realize what you are!"

Visit the Dave Matthews Band official website:

Sarah McLachlan - is a Canadian singer / songwriter who has performed for the Pope, though she regards herself as agnostic.  On the 1996 XTC tribute CD, A Testimonial Dinner, she covered their song Dear God.

In the same year she is quoted as saying, " I don't follow any organized religion, but I do believe in the idea of god as a verb -- being love and light, and that we are part of everything as everything is part of us."

Visit her official website at:

James Miller best known as "Ewan MacColl" (1915-1989) was the Scottish folk singer, social commentator, and playwright.  MacColl was a major force in the revival of folk music in the 1950s and 60s and influenced political and social awareness and change.  In addition to playing traditional Celtic and other folk music, he wrote ballads that range from savage political satire to tender love songs.  He married and performed with Peggy Seeger (half-sister to Pete Seeger).

Mike Mills is the bassist for the group R.E.M. Mike is the only one in R.E.M. still living in Athens, GA, where he is involved in the local politics and funding community building preservation. 

When Q Magazine, a British music publication, gave Mills a questionnaire that asked him if he believed in God, Mills replied, "No."

Visit REM's website at:

And visit this Mike Mills fan site:

Momus is the creation of Scottish born musician, essayist and wit Nick Currie.  In one essay he writes, "This, then, was the sound of humanism.  It shone like an exit sign in the palace of mirrors."

When asked in the September 6, 2000 edition of The Onion A.V. Club "Is There A God?"  Momus replied, "Umm... Uh, I'm an atheist."

Visit Momus at:

Mötorhead is a heavy metal, head banger rock band.  Formed in the mid-1970s, Mötorhead has gone through a number of member changes, and for a time, had no original members. Such is the spirit of their music. Founded by bassist and singer Lemmy Kilmister, guitarists have included Larry Wallace, "Fast" Eddie Clarke, Brian "Robbo" Robertsonon, Phil Campbell, and Wurzel. 
Drummers included Lucas Fox, Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor, and Pete Gill. 

The last album by the vintage Mötorhead was Iron Fist (1982), which includes the great song: Don't Need Religion.

Visit the official Mötorhead website at

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791) began composing at age five and conducted a Mass he'd composed at age 12.  While the concert master to the Archbishop of Salzbury he began losing his Catholic faith.  He joined the Freemasons, which was banned by the Church, and turned to writing opera.   Leading biographers give further evidence of his rejecting Christianity.  On his death bed he refused the priest sent for by his wife and was buried without a service in the common grave of the poor.

Visit the Mozart Project at:
and the Mozart Society of America at:

Frank Mullen is a lyricist and vocalist the brutal death metal band Suffocation. The band was together through the 1990s and disbanded in 1998.  Some fans hope the rumors of a reunion are true. 

In an interview conducted by Doug Folden, Mullen said, " religious views are on, I guess, an atheist point."