Foothill Technology High School

The Descendents: An explosive sound meant to be heard, felt

In the depths of Hollywood on the first of October, hundreds of people flocked to the Hollywood Palladium to enjoy a punk rock show. “The Descendents” read across the box office in bold black letters and outside waiting were hundreds of people, old and young, jostling to get into the venue.

From clean-cut kids to dirty punks, people from all walks of life formed an ecstatic mob to see their favorite band play live. The show had a vibrant energy and an aggressive overtone of testosterone, sweat and kinship. In the end people left battered, bruised, stoked, broke and dazzled by the famous and highly energetic “Descendents.”

Being inside the Hollywood Palladium is like stepping into a vivid dream-state in which you’ve wandered into a golden palace with vibrant blue lights and you suddenly realize your favorite band ever is about to go on. The first chords of the first song erupts into reverberance, fueling the storm brewing in the pit, as well the fanatics.

The mosh pit was as if a human hurricane of testosterone, muscle, fat and hair whirled through the audience, causing every human in the vicinity to be turned into a raging bulldog, biting and barking at everything that moves and breathes.

“A golden palace with vibrant blue lights,” the Hollywood Palladium was the perfect venue for The Descendents’ show. Photo Credit: Zach Castro / The Foothill Dragon Press.

From within the pit, the stage seemed large and was illuminated by ever-changing colors and strobe lights, only to add to the crazy effect of the flurrying show. With easily over 1,000 people stuffed into the general admission section, the floor eventually became littered with lost shoes, clothing, beer cups and a few wretched wigs by the end of the show.

In 1977, the band, from Hermosa Beach, was born into existence only to become one of the most influential punk bands of all time, and the creator of “pop punk” as we know it today. The Descendents since the 1980’s have changed their line up multiple times, eventually sticking with Milo Aukerman on vocals, Bill Stevenson on drums, Karl Alvarez on bass and Stephen Egerton on guitar.

With powerful distorted guitar, insane drums, a killer bass master and a lovable frontman, The Descendents have survived through the decades releasing seven studio albums, three live albums, three compilation albums and four music videos.

“The show had a vibrant energy and an aggressive overtone of testosterone, sweat and kinship.” Photo Credit: Zach Castro / The Foothill Dragon Press

The Descendents have toured the world multiple times and are currently back on tour after being on an extended hiatus since around 2004. In July of this year, The Descendents released a new album called “Hypercaffium Spazzinate,” putting an end to their hiatus and providing a follow-up to the 2004 album, “Cool To Be You.”

This is the first record they’ve released in 12 years and it’s the comeback they needed. This album has relied on truth, humor and personal experiences from each band member, just like most every album they have released before. Songs on the album talk about being fathers, having to restrict their diet in order to live, family and friends, and not politics. The album is personal and very heartfelt much like their previous album.

Since the early years of The Descendents, the band has focused on using humor, truth and personal experiences in order to create raw, powerful and humorous music. The band also grew up making fun of the macho-esque punk scene they were immersed in.

“I’m Not Punk” argues that the so-called nonconformists end up conforming because all they want is for people in the scene to be like them, “I’m not a punk; can’t you see? Show me the way to conformity. Try to be different but it’s always the same. End up playing someone else’s game.”

With witty remarks such as these and ironic undertones, The Descendents have outlasted many other punk bands through the decades, keeping their art, as well as the genre alive.

–Zach Castro