Formed in 1978 out of the common bonds of "rejection, food, coffee, girls, fishing, and food" by high school buds Frank Navetta, Tony Lombardo and Bill Stevenson, the Descendents became one of the best known punk rock bands in the 80s punk scene. Influenced by The Last, this "power-trio" out a 7 inch, Ride the Wild.
In 1980, the three went on a search for a singer, and lo and behold, along came Milo Aukerman. The Descendents finally had a voice. They then recorded several albums (listed below), with contributions from all four members of the band. Milo returned to school for a brief stint, with Ray Cooper filling in. In 1983, the band took a break while Bill Stevenson ran amok with Black Flag.
Reforming in 1985, after Bill understood how difficult it was to be in two bands at once, the band consisted of Bill, Milo, Ray (on guitar), and Tony. (This is making my head spin.) Tony was unable to tour with the band, and was replaced by Doug Carrion. More changes were afoot, as in 1986, both Doug and Ray left (Ray to the software development industry), replaced by Karl Alvarez and Stephen Egerton.
In 1987, Milo left (again) to pursue a PhD in biochemistry, and the band became known as All, with a new frontman Dave Smalley. But just when you think it's all over, Milo comes back for more, and the Descendents reconvened in 1996 to record Everything Sucks, after which Milo returned to the lab, to return at random intervals for recording new Descendents albums.
The Descendents have often been described as "caffeine punk," referring not only to the quick tempos found in their music and the tendency of listeners to start bouncing off the walls (this is my experience anyway), but also to the Bonus Cup. The Bonus Cup is probably best described by Bill Stevenson himself:
"We took 1/3 of a cup of instant coffee grounds, added some hot water, threw in about 5 spoons of sugar, and proceeded to play 10 second songs."
The Bonus Cup then led to many thing, including Descendents brand mugs, but more importantly, the Quest for All, which is best described as a religious devotion to fishing, food, and coffee. This Quest for All became the underlying motivation for the band (see All-O-Gistics).
For Love, not Lisa
Down by Law
Three Car Pile-Up
Members, past and present:
Bill Stevenson - drums 1978 - present
Tony Lombardo - bass 1978 - 1985
Frank Navetta - guitar 1978 - 1983
Milo Aukerman - vocals 1980 - 1983, 1985 - present
Ray Cooper - vocals 1993; guitar 1983 - 1986
Doug Carrion - bass 1985 - 1986
Karl Alvarez - bass 1986 - present
Stephen Egerton - guitar 1986 - present
Ride the Wild (EP), 1979 Orca
Fat (EP), 1981 New Alliance, 1989 SST
Milo Goes to College, 1983 New Alliance, 1987 SST
Bonus Fat, 1984 New Alliance, 1987 SST
I Don't Want to Grow Up, 1985 New Alliance, 1987 SST
Enjoy!, 1986 New Alliance, 1990 SST
ALL, 1987 SST
Liveage!, 1987 SST (live recording)
Hallraker, 1989 SST (live recording)
Somery, 1991 SST (best of)
Everything Sucks, 1996, Epitaph