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Descendents: “We Drink As Much Coffee As We Can Stand Before We Play”

Written by Alexander Chisholm on January 7, 2013

It took thirty-two years for Descendents to visit Australia. No more than three years later the punk veterans are returning with their own headline tour. Drummer Bill Stevenson got us excited for this huge upcoming tour that is set to take place in the New Year.

Having survived over three decades in the music industry, Descendents are stronger than ever. Bill told us about the values of the band members: “Going back to the beginning, I think we started the band for the right reasons, which were because we loved music and we were good buddies. Here we are now, and we are all very good friends. We would all consider eachother to be our very best friends, outside the band completely. It comes natural for us to continue to play because we enjoy eachother’s company as friends and as musicians.”

Punk bands generally find it hard to make a living these days. Bill explained his opinion about the current scene: “I have several very different perspectives on it. Speaking from personal experience, if I were to compare my relative successes with Descendents and Black Flag to my relative failures with Only Crime and the band All, you get different opinions about how easy or hard it is to make a living playing music. With All, we found that we could not really quite make a living. If we could, it would be a very impoverished living. With Only Crime we would just lose money. Then with Descendents in the year 2012, we are able to do pretty well with it… You know, I can feed my family with it and that sort of thing. I guess it really depends on how good the band is and how much luck they have with respect to record labels – doing what they need to do. They can be a great band, but if people do not appreciate them, they will not be able to succeed.”

Descendents were last here for No Sleep Til in 2010. This time around they are performing four headline shows. He explained, “We really liked (No Sleep Til). We felt bad because on that particular trip, Milo had a lot of trouble with his voice, but we had a good time.”

This tour will be on a larger scale. Bill explained, “Other than the big pyrotechnics, the monsters and the blood squirting (laughs), we try and play a really good mixture of songs from all of the different records. Hopefully, we will not leave out anyone’s favourite. We do not have much of a strategy when it comes to the onstage shtick. We drink as much coffee as we can stand before we play, and we get out there and just rifle through the songs without stopping, unless something breaks. That’s how we’ve always done it and it is fun for us that way.”

Touring with Descendents will be none other than Bouncing Souls, Frenzal Rhomb, and Bodyjar. This really is a huge lineup not to be missed. Bill mentions his love for each of the bands: “Those are all in the family. I’ve known Cameron from Bodyjar since forever. I produced the newest Frenzal Rhomb record. They came to my studio in Fort Collins, Colorado. They were very well-prepared and able-bodied to come in and get the job done, but at the same time, they knew how to have a good time. That was a pleasant experience without a lot of hassle or bullshit. We had a lot of fun while they were here. We have a brotherhood with Bouncing Souls too, so it is all in the family.”

Descendents Australian Tour
Wednesday, 6 February – Eatons Hill, Brisbane
Thursday, 7 February – Big Top Luna Park, Sydney
Saturday, 9 February – Festival Hall, Melbourne
Sunday, 10 February – Metro City, Perth

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