All is one of my favouritegroups all time in and on the punkscene. The drummer Bill Stevenson phoned me up an late evening on the 28th of June. Here you can take part in what was been said. When he call me up he is in his home in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Since the last CD Mass Nerder they have been doing a awful lot of touring as Bill says and he guess itīs almost two years between the records. They use to tour and when the tour is ready they do a new record. The band is a full work thing for them. Stephen and Bill produce other groups and they do about 6-10 records a year as producers. Blasting Room is the name of their studio. But what gets them going on after all these years. - Yeah, I think we get into it originally for the different reasons. It was our interest in music and we didnīt become a part of this to become rockstars or have tons of chicks or whatever. We got into it because we enjoy music, that hasnīt really changed through the years so itīs not difficult to keep it going and we also have become really close as a family as a band and it makes it more rewarding you can say.
Karl,Stephen and Bill have been together in 14 years with Descendents and All and Chad has been for 8 years in the band. All as a group have been together for 12 years and Descendents and if you put it all together they have been together for 22 years. Descendents is going to record a new record at the end of the year. Descendents is kind of a hobbyband or a parttimeband and that has always been so. Descendents have never been a wholepartband and in the late 80īs when they reached the point that they wanted to do a fulltimejob with the band they have to split up a little. -Because Milo wanted to proceed his sciencecareer more and thatīs how All started out of that function. We got a different singer and we started to touring for full time. And Milo continued his sciencecareer.
They have been to some differents labels like Cruz, Interscope(major label) and now Epitaph. Itīs difference between them that can I understand but how is the difference shown. - Oh boy, thatīs a big question, SST/Cruz which we were started is our family. Gregg and I grew up on the same street when we were kids. Thatīs our beginning. Interscope was just an experience to see what they could do and what they couldnīt do. They give us a million dollars to make a record. We now is own that record too, we left Interscope and took the record with us. It serve the purpose ,you know we took that money and we build the Blasting Rom as our studio. Because at the time you have all the various bands that are highly influenced by us and they were in the Billboard Charts. You had Green Day, Soul Asylum and Offspring all in the charts, it was easy for us to use Interscope temporarily for our purposes and then we left Interscope bevause they ended up be more preoccupied with this criminalmusic where they were bail out criminals out of jail, murderers and rapist, and make records with these criminals and rapists. They didnīt promote Pummel very well so we left Interscope and went to Epitaph. And then again we have some friends and family. And they are extremely wellorganized label, theyīre a great label. There are many good bands there like Zeke, Red Aunts and there a couple of the NOFX albums that I like. And I like some stuff theyīre sedning me like Fat Possum and a lot of that blues stuff.
I saw them in Hultsfred festival 90 or 91 and they really look like theyīre having fun when they play. He remember that and he says that they have always fun when they play , the most important thing is that they got much sleep the night before. Sometimes when they drive all night(beacuse they do all the driving by theirself) and if you canīt get all the sleep they have to itīs no fun. They try to get so much sleep as they can. The Hultsfred Festival isnīt the only time that they have been to Sweden, theyīve been to Lund 3-4 times, Stockholm a few times. But Bill cannot say too much about Sweden and he is very sorry about that. Thatīs not so unusual. He donīt know any swedish bands and he didnīt know that Millencollin and No Fun At All was from Sweden. He laughs when I say their names. When I ask Bill about their strength as a liveband says Bill :- Visually we donīt have any strength ,you know weīre pretty unattractive and boring band comparing it to the MTV-standard and the lot of the fashionindustry which have polluted rock n roll. If you gonna compare us to that stuff I will say that weīre pretty boring live. But musically I think weīre very strong because we play every single day, practice every day , I would say that weīre the tightest punkrockband ever I will say.
A good gig for Bill is when the four in the group have a good communication , when they donīt think so much about what the audience want , itīs more that they want to do by themselves. So the best gig for Bill is when itīs the same feeling as when theyīre in the practisingroom by themselves. Is there any average fan to All, Bill says that he is 22 and he doesnīt really have a mohawk and he isnīt a total punker but he isnīt not a normal kid, he is a kind of nerd kid who canīt get layed. Is it any difference of the Descendents fans? -Because of the association of the early L.A.punk rockmovement , Descendents generic the punk rockers because that is it an old punkrockband. They donīt know about our music or they donīt care about our music. Again itīs the coolness or the fashion of it.
How is punklife in USA right now. Bill is humming for a while and then says, thatīs interesting because you got a lot of popbands which are dressed up like punkbands and you see them on the MTV and you can hear them on the radio. No names mentioned. Anybody who turns on the TV can see them. Bill like many of the new bands like Wretch Like Me, Someday I, Tanger, Roofies. Punk means to do his own thing means Bill and he have been in the punkmovement for a long time. He got into it when he was very young and he was only a teengar. - When youīre a teenager youīre dumb in many ways and when I was a teenager I was dumb in a lot of ways. So I think Iīve really grown to appreciete what punk means maybe in the last, since I turned 25 or something. I was too young and stupid before to appreciate it.
Bill is 36 years old now and he doesnīt have and family.
Stephen and Karl is married but they havenīt any children. Bill is thinking for
a while when I ask him if they have good contact with their fans and he answer
me that he think that they have very good contact with their fans. They play
usually in places that are so small so they can talk to the people afterwards
and they can hang out with audience after the gigs. Sometimes theyīre ending up
sleeping on peopleīs floor. Theyīre sometimes using the new way to communicate
with email but theyīre donīt so good at it yet but they still learning. They
have an own homesite which is called www.allcentral.com
and it is a buddy to them who does it.
They have got some really good reviews on the new CD Problematic already and Bill is really happy to read them. -It seems that it have been received as one of Allīs best albums. That always nice to get some positive feedback. Particularly when you been together for that long time we have. It could be easy to ignore a band in our position. Because that All, noone is going to take attention to All. I donīt care about review directly and if someone is critisising our record he sucks, that doesnīt bother me. But what bothers me if theyīre writing that our record sucks and some kids are gonna read that and do think that we really suck. Some critics donīt really knows anything about music to be reviewing it. The only thing you have to have is the balls to say that a record sucks.
Bill says that sometimes some critic have point in what theyīre saying and they sometimes think for while to maybe change something in the music. All have come to that point that not any reviewers compare them to anything itīs most that other bands have being compared to All instead. Sometimes theyīve been called the fathers of SoCal punkrock. They have their own style and that is something which Bill agree about. -It took us about 10 years to experience with different things and some of the first All and Descendents records theyīre a kind of reaction to the record before. We were young and it took us time to find our own style.
All sell a whole lot of records and the average is 50.000 and itīs about 100.000 of a Descendents record. The Allrecord which have sold the most is Mass Nerder, Pummel and Allroyīs revenge. The song Problematic is not on the album Problematic ,itīs only part of the fantastic Punk-o-rama compilation nr 5. Why I asked Bill. -We really liked the title Problematic on the record, I think itīs a cool punkrock, kind of nerdy title. But the song Problematic it wasnīt thinked of being featured as a titletrack so we just decided to pull it out of the record, people would have say, oh yeah this is the title track and the important song. This is not the important song but it was a good title. The song Problematic kind of explains what is problematic in my life. I wrote the lyric and when you find problems in everything you do, because you compolsive and your analyse evrything ,you find problems en everything even if itīs not any problem, that what I mean with Problematic.
Everyone in the group is doing almost the same amount of songs and lyrics. It dependson which record you listen to. They donīt divide it up ,itīs only about which songs which are the best. I will say that they have the same music ideas all four of them but Bill donīt agree with me. -No, we have a lot of differences in the writing but when by the time we arrange them and play them I think theyīre being the same All stuff.
How is to live in America right now? Bill says itīs a very noticeable increasing class differences and it feels like itīs more and more rich people and more and more poor people, says Bill. The middle class is going away he thinks.- That can scare a young man who doesnīt really have a career, you canīt call the things weīre doing a career, and that can scare me and make me think of what Iīm doing when Iīm 55. I maybe play music in All , we have taken some interesting steps in that way, I have learned to play a banjo, and Karl have played the standupbass alot, and Karl and Chad plays in a countryband together in band called Drag the River. Cause I know ,if youīre older than 30-35 in rock n roll people kind of laugh at you. But in bluegrass or jazz none even takes you seriously when you that age. We maybe continue play music together but it maybe not become this music , it can be other music.
Bill Clinton? He seems to make the girls happy, say Billy and laugh. He thinks all the presidents do the same shit and he thinks that nothing have happened since Nixon had the power. He knows that evryone hates him and Bill is hating him too but it did happened something. Jello Biafra would be a good president maybe and Bill is going to vote on him if he is there. When Bill was small (it was a long time ago) he had idols like Lou Prima, he was a singer like Frank Sinatra. The first record he bought was Lou prima of course and the last record he bought was the new Steve Earle album. The worst thing to be in All is something he cannot say. - What is the worst.....hmmm.......I cannot think about anything worse. The best is just the kind of communication we have together like a family. We get very much out of doing a new record.
Theyīre going to tour USA in july and then in august theyīre going to South America for two weeks and then theyīre going to Japan for a week, Bill wants to go to Europe in the early spring. We hope ALL that thay come to Europe and Sweden in the spring.