Music / Descendents

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/descendents_87.jpg

You want whale sperm with that?
NO!
—"Der Wienerschnitzel"

Thanks to modern chemistry, sleep is now optional.
—"Kids on Coffee"

Descendents are a punk-rock band from Hermosa Beach, California. They started in 1978, released their first EP Fat, in 1980, and their first album Milo Goes to College, in 1982. They went through many lineup changes and there's even an entire separate band that has three of their members. They continue to tour today.

Their sound was more melodic than most punk bands of their generation, and they sang about being losers, problems with girls, and other sensitive subjects, with a lot of nonsense and humor included. While nobody would mistake them for an emo band, they might be seen as a precursor for the genre – sensitive and melodic, but with edgier music. They're not as wangsty though, and a lot more fun. In addition to girls and other problems, the band sang occasionally about food and coffee, and in particular, not doing drugs (except for caffeine, of which they were fond). They even had at least one entire song about farting ("Enjoy").

The Descendents' original lineup was Frank Navetta on guitar, Tony Lombardo on bass, Bill Stevenson (presumably the Bill whose sperm is offered in "Der Wienerschnitzel", quoted at the top of the page) on drums, and Milo Aukerman on vocals. (Actually, Milo was not in the very first lineup, but he was added before the first album [which, to continue the digression, was actually an EP], and most fans would consider him one of the originals; some fans would even consider him the heart of the band.)

Descendents have had many lineup changes over the years, with Stevenson always on the drums. An unnecessarily detailed list of their lineups is below.

Three of the Descendents' members formed the band "All" in 1987. Currently, both bands exist as separate bands; however, they share three members and play each others' songs at concerts, so the distinction is less than complete.

Members:

Former members:

Tony Lombardo, bass, 1979–85
Frank Navetta, guitar, 1977–83
Ray Cooper, vocals/guitar, 1982–86
Doug Carrion, bass, 1985-86

Current lineup:

Bill Stevenson, drums, 1977–present
Milo Aukerman, vocals, 1980–present
Karl Alvarez, bass, 1986–present
Steven Egerton, guitar, 1986–present

I'm Not a Troper:

  • Author Appeal: Food, coffee, and the band being losers.
    • While he only wrote a handful of songs since he was only there for their earlier years, one can't help but notice a bit of a theme with Frank Navetta's "Parents" and "My Dad Sucks".
  • Breakup Song: "Pep Talk" and "Clean Sheets" both off of All.
  • Cluster F-Bomb
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Their debut single, "Ride the Wild" / "It's a Hectic World", had more in common with Surf Rock and New Wave than Hardcore Punk. Also, as already mentioned, Milo wasn't in the band yet - Frank Navetta sang the A-side and Tony Lombardo sang the B-side, these being the only times either would ever sing lead on a Descendents recording.
  • Emo / Pop Punk: Ur-Example. They definitely sang about stuff like their bad luck with girls and other teenage problems, but they generally sounded more fun.
  • Grief Song: "One More Day" dealing with the then-recent death of Milo's father. Despite the two's poor relationship, Milo had a lot of pent up emotion he released in the song.
    • "Feel This" deals with Bill Stevenson's mother's death.
  • Holier Than Thou: "Shameless Halo" makes fun of a peer of the band with sanctimonious beliefs.
  • Hidden Depths: Think the title Milo Goes to College was chosen because it was catchy? Well it turns out lead singer Milo Aukerman actually was going to college in order to be a biochemist. The band now tours around his work schedule.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: When playing the song "Descendents" live, Milo often deliberately sings the line "Don't even know how to sing" way off-key.
  • Iconic Logo: A caricature of Milo Aukerman appears on the cover of most of their studio albums.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Original bassist Tony Lombardo was 34 when he joined, twice as old as his teenage bandmates.
  • "I Want" Song: "Suburban Home" is a sarcastic one of these, opening with "I want to be stereotyped. I want to be classified."
  • Lead Drummer: As stated above on the members' list, Bill Stevenson is the only consistent member.
  • Nerd Glasses: Milo wears a pair.
  • New Sound Album: Part of the mixed reception to Enjoy! and All is that both albums feature a lot more slower, heavier, more experimental songs that border metal, no doubt a result of Bill Stevenson's then-recent work with Black Flag, a band that went through a similar change in style. Everything Sucks and Cool to Be You, however, return to the more straightforward punk sound.
  • No Medication for Me: "Limiter" is based off an argument between Milo and his son after the latter tried to not take his anti-hyperactivity meds.
  • Pep Talk Song: "Pep Talk"
  • Pun-Based Title: "Mass Nerder".
    • "Marriage" arguably counts. A lot of their songs (especially on Milo Goes to College) add the suffix "-age" to a word, such as "Bikeage" or "Tonyage", with "Marriage" being the only real word that ends in "-age" on the album. On a similar note, there's "Coolidge" from All.
  • Rockumentary: Filmage.
  • Shout-Out: The outro to "Mass Nerder" is a reference to The Germs. The "We must read" bit is sung to the tune of their song "We Must Bleed", and "Somebody get me a book!" is a variation on Darby Crash's famous "Somebody get me a beer!"
    • "Tonyage" name drops LA punk bands Fear and the Urinals. It also mentions Germs singer Darby Crash, along with Crash's previous Stage Name, Bobby Pyn.
  • Three Chords and the Truth
  • Vulgar Humor- Overuse of this got a rather icy reception for "Enjoy!", with the opening track and "Orgofart" both being particularly fart-obsessed tracks. The album still has it's fans regardless.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Music/Descendents