Why I Love The Descendents

One of the most influential punk rock bands and pioneers of what later came to be pop punk. Descendents are a band you can always relate to.

While a lot of bands in the 80s were heavily political, Bill Stevenson, Milo Auckerman, Frank Navetta and Tony Lombardo came through writing songs that spoke to everyone, with lyrics about eating food, drinking coffee, fishing, lame parents and relationships.

The Descendents are like best friends for broken hearted underdogs all over the world. I first came across the band when I rented Milo Goes to College (this was the way to do it in Brazil before Napster, Spotify or iTunes) in what I guess was 1999.  I instantly recorded a cassette with the album and must’ve listened to “Hope” and “Bikeage” a couple of million times each. Mind you, rewinding cassettes in a shitty Walkman takes a lot of determination.

Coming of age in the late ’90s with an attitude and changing schools a couple of times (along with a few teenage relationships), a band like the Descendents spoke to me. Milo screaming “Parents, why won’t they shut up?” in “Parents” and “I know someday I’ll be the only one!” in “Hope” was exactly what 16-year-old me wanted to say.

Full disclosure: albeit with age appropriate situations, grown up me felt similar a lot of times and found respite in different songs by the band. “Get the time” is such a silly love song – it’s perfect. And last year’s Hypercaffium Spazzinate gave us tracks such as “Without Love” and “Smile”; honest tales about life, failure, sickness and recovery. You see, Bill faced serious health issues and it reflects on his, and the band’s, writing style. Giving us a warm insight on how close friends deal with adversity and yet, somewhere, there’s always hope and coffee.

As the years progressed, Milo became a doctor in Biology and musicians came and went. Nowadays Karl Alvarez and Stephen Eggerton join Bill and Milo and they are still doing it, despite all the obstacles in their way to achieve “All”.

“All” in itself is a philosophy the band came up with. An oath to achieve greatness brought to them by the elusive bass master general. “Thou shalt always go for greatness” is one of their commandments. There is no doubt the band abides.

I could carry on writing about the Descendents, they were a major influence for bands like Blink 182 and NOFX, Dave Grohl practised the drums to their records and, while Milo was chasing science, Bill also had ALL (not to mention being the drummer for Black Flag). 

Listen to the music, I took the liberty of selecting a few tracks. It will speak louder than this text.

The Descendents play O2 Academy Brixton 04 June. Tickets available at www.ticketweb.co.uk/descendents 

Iggy is a skateboarding gamer and all round hyper guy. Born and raised in Southern Brazil, nowadays living in London. Lover of fast paced things, b-movies and useless knowledge. Oh, and he also promote gigs over at Strange Place.

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