I Want To Be Stereotyped.
I Want To Be Classified.
I just saw the trailer to Filmage: The Story of Descendents/All and couldn’t be happier that it exists, mainly for the memories I have of them, both live and recorded… and on a bathroom line at Irving Plaza.
Though I never dug too deep into ALL, my love for Descendents goes back to 1990. I listened to college radio all night and, like most weird art kids, wished I could have a radio show… mainly because they got to play all sorts of music that would never be played on MTV. Not helping the situation was a movie called Pump Up The Volume, which taught the dejected and rejected youth of suburban movieland that “Feeling screwed up at a screwed up time in a screwed up place does not necessarily make you screwed up.” More important than the affirmations that it’ll all be “ok,” was what was on the soundtrack… or at least the music played in the movie (all the good stuff wasnt licensed for the OST). Ice-T, Beastie Boys, MC5 and most important, The Descendents asked us what we’d like to order at Der Wienerschnitzel:
TWO LARGE COKES, TWO LARGE FRIES, CHILI-CHEESE DOG, LARGE DOCTOR PEPPER, SUPER DELUXE WITH CHEESE AND TOMATO!
It was loud, fast and just a fast food order, but it got me far beyond intrigued. So I searched. And searched. And finally found the Liveage cd at a Sam Goody 30 minutes from my house. It was $17.98, which was almost a full afterschool shift at the grocery store after taxes (?!). Played to death that Summer, I still have that cd.
Fast forward to 1996. I’m at a Henry Rollins spoken word show at Irving Plaza. My girlfriend at the time (who asked me out because I had Milo drawn on my griptape) was with me… until she did a breakaway sprint after spotting Stephen Egerton, who she HAD TO MEET, across the room. A few minutes later, I head to the bathroom before the show starts and who’s behind me in line? Karl Alvarez! We talked “best bass players ever” for 10 min, before he said “why don’t you guys watch the show with us?”
Us. The other part of “us” that I didnt know was at the event was Bill Stevenson. Black Flag/Descendents Bill Stevenson. The only part of “us” missing, to my dismay, was Milo (who I got to interview the following year).
My first NYC show, I stood next to the Black Flag drummer while watching the Black Flag singer talk about Life In The Van and touring with Black Flag AND got to hang out with one of my favorite (yet punk polar opposite) bands, The Descendents.
What will I be like when I get old? I hope my story brought back some good punk memories for you too.