.. NEVER DID A POPULAR THING... COULDN'T SELL OUT A TELEPHONE BOOTH... THE PROUD... THE FEW... THE DESCENDENTS
With that tongue-in-cheek battle cry, the nerdsome foursome declared their war against mediocrity. Fueled by the omni-ambitious doctrine of ALL (not ALL the band...that comes later. ALL the concept based on THE TOTAL EXTENT, the peak of pinnacles) and a series of caffeine binges, the essences of pop and punk were percolated together in a way that has yet to be recreated, though many have died trying. Ranks of sympathetic adolescents, previously excluded from the ferocious world of punk rock, followed the sound. They boldly strapped on their glasses, wiped their noses on their sleeves, and launched into the slam pit chanting the Descendents' refrain "I'M NOT A LOSER" like a mantra.
In 1978 the Descendents formed under their common credo of fishing, girls, and velocity. Existing briefly as a power trio, the LA-based group released the 7" single "Ride the Wild" before recruiting a certain crop-haired honors' class geek cum heart-throb (enter MILO--see ubiquitous illustration) on vocals. They released the "Fat" EP in 1981, the only record in the Descendents expansive catalog that does not contain a single love song. The quintessential Descendents album, "Milo Goes to College," hit local record stores in 1982. It's fusion of catchy melody with raw, spastic energy (henceforward known as "power pop", "melodic hardcore," or the ever popular "pop punk"), caused the Los Angeles Times to write "perfect for the little guy who was ever called a nerd and never got the girl. The Chain Saw pop combined with earthy humor conveys what is often an inarticulate rage."
In 1982, Milo was seduced by the fast-track lifestyle of biochemistry and left for college. Bill enrolled as full-time drummer with Redondo Beach punk founders BLACK FLAG on a global mission to play every town with electricity. For two lean years, the world was without Descendents. Then in 1985 Milo and Bill returned to again unleash the roar of the overstimulated, lovelorn dweeb. The band released the "I Don't Want to Grow Up" LP, replete with lots of mushy "girl-songs". Rigorous touring ensued. 1986's "Enjoy!" LP again broke new ground--not only as an archetype for the pop-punk genre, but more importantly as the first recording to make musical use of hi-fidelity stereophonic flatulence. Now available in full digital clarity! Each new Descendents record pushed further into the outer-envelope of ALL-ness: better, stronger, faster. The guitar/bass tandem of Stephen and Karl had what music teachers and Hit Parader Magazine refer to as "killer chops"--that is to say, they wailed. In 1987 the band released its magnum opus "ALL" album (including the All-O-gistics--a set of commandments useful in achieving ALL). Rigorous touring ensued. Two raging live albums were recorded, "Liveage" and "Hallraker." The Descendents became legendary on the underground all-ages circuit they relentlessly toured, but continued to fall below the mainstream radar. In case the 1980's are either a blur or a playground memory, here are a few highlights: Reaganomics, Rubick's Cube, Members Only jackets, Duran Duran, and Motley Crue. MTV and radio were clogged with glam metal and dancy new wave, while Punk Rock remained a strictly volunteer proposition. The Descendents were self-managed and produced their own albums on a shoestring budget.
It was an old jones for biochemistry that lured Milo away from the band. In 1987 he hung up his microphone cord to pursue further education. But much questing was left to do in pursuit of ALL-ness; they'd come too far to turn back. With Milo's departure came a sort of rebirth. Bill, Karl, and Stephen re-christened their entity under a new name, enlisting a new vocalist and renewing the eternal crusade. The only name that fit, of course, was ALL. Thus an alter-ego was created. The live albums, "Liveage" and "Hallraker," would stand as the Descendents' definitive and culminated sound, while ALL blazed onward, releasing eight amazing (and still self-produced) albums between 1988 and 1995. Fronted by singer Chad Price, the ALL touring machine left no continent uninvaded, spreading the tenets of ALL and at the same time introducing new kids to the Descendents legacy. The legend still grew and people were buying more ALL and Descendents records than ever.
On an undisclosed date in 1996, deemed by some as Science's Finest Hour, Milo hung up his lab coat and the Descendents began work on a new LP. Produced by Bill and Stephen at the band's own studio in Ft. Collins, CO (aptly dubbed The Blasting Room), "Everything Sucks" picks up EXACTLY where the Descendents left off. The tracks "Everything Sucks," "This Place," and "Coffee Mug" are classic Descendents, raging along at the speed of sound, while "I'm the One", "Sick-O-Me," and "She Loves Me" are anthems of the "girl-song" milieu. All new material, all original members. Milo and the boys sound stronger than ever.