You want whale sperm with that?
Thanks to modern chemistry, sleep is now optional.
—"Kids on Coffee"
The 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 they're 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 unnnecessarily 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.
Bill Stevenson, drums, the only member who never left
Tony Lombardo, bass, 1978-86
Frank Navetta, guitar, 1978-83
Milo Aukerman, voice, 1980-82, 1986-98
Ray Cooper, vocals and guitar, 1982-83 and guitar 1985-98
Doug Carrion, bass, 1986-98
Karl Alvarez, bass, 1987-current
Steven Egerton, guitar, 1987-current
The current lineup of the Descendents: Karl Alvarez, Steven Egerton, Bill Stevenson
With vocalists: Dave Smalley, 1987-1989; Scott Reynolds, 1989-1993; Chad Price, 1993-Current
- Author Appeal: Food, coffee, and the band being losers.
- Cluster F-Bomb
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Nerd Glasses: Milo wears a pair.
- Old Shame: They regard "I'm Not A Loser" from Milo Goes to College as this. In particular, the last verse which has blatantly homophobic lyrics like "You fucking homos!", "You suck, Mr. Buttfuck!" and "Go away, you fucking gay!" claiming that they were dumb, ignorant kids. In their defense, information regarding homosexuality was somewhat limited at the time the song was written.
- 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!"
- Three Chords and the Truth
- Vulgar Humor