We recently told you about Godfathers of punk, Descendents giving us what we want: A tour and an album!
First things first, Descendents have a rock-umentary that holds its own and speaks for itself. It is one of the best made rock docs ever made. That’s no joke, it’s a quote from Fletcher Dragge from Pennywise. Blink’s Mark Hoppus said “they were the punk rock Beach Boys!” Foo Fighters front-man Dave Grohl said “No other bands had the balls to do that!” FILMAGE: The Story of DESCENDENTS remains a must see and a benchmark that catapults us into the band’s next evolution.
After all, we have to know where we’ve been in order to know where we’re headed. And Filmage does just that.
Now, OC Music News in collaboration with TNN RADIO got you the scoop directly from Milo Auckerman himself. We talked about COVID life, their new album (“9th and Walnut”), and their upcoming shows.
While vaccines were being given by the millions, we were getting back into events like it was 2019. We have had a few months to enjoy the fruits of our patience and enjoy shows once again. Auckerman – who has a PhD in molecular biology – knows all too well the importance of our patience paying off to get the music world up and running again. He told us, “These vaccines are pretty amazing. The only reason why any band can play right now or how we can go on tour with Rise Against is because of the vaccine. I hope people are aware if things open up, it’s because it’s for one reason and one reason only (vaccines)… but to keep this light, get vaccinated, everybody! “
The new album, “9th and Walnut,” is named after the practice garage the Descendents kids used to jam at when they first got started in 1977. All of the songs on this album were written between 1977-1980, but never put on any albums.
Auckerman told us, “They were recorded in 2002. They were never recorded before that point. These are all songs written by Frank and Tony.”
Auckerman continued “by the time we recorded ‘Milo Goes to College’ a lot of these songs had been shelved. Fast forward to 2002, and Bill is in touch with Frank and Tony and said, ‘Hey, we really should record these songs for posterity.’ Then it took another 20 years because I was trying to be a scientist at that point and my head wasn’t in the game. Last year during COVID, I had all this free time so that’s why I started recording. These songs have been pushed along for 40 years.”
Auckerman was able to share with us that Bill Stevenson had a few health scares in the recent past, but he’s doing really well now. Since they are getting ready to tour, “He’s fit as a fiddle” right now.
Sadly, Descendents original guitarist and co-founder, Frank Navetta died in 2008. Since he was the author of half of the lyrics on those infamous shelved songs that make up “9th and Walnut,” Auckerman told us he was able to, in some way, commune with Navetta and his lyrics.
Milo explained, “I’m the singer, so I’ve got to interpret his words. It allows me to get into the head of a 17-year-old Frank that had some bitter vitriol flowing through his veins, if you read the lyrics. But there’s a couple songs that are heartfelt, like ‘To Remember,’ so you get to see both sides of this complex personality. It was great to look back on it and reminisce.”
Writing songs as a teenager in the beginning of your career doesn’t always sound the same as writing songs after being an accomplished musician for over 40 years.
We asked Auckerman if they had tweaked any of the music from when it was first written to match their musical ability today. He tsaid, “I sung half of these songs live back in the day. The other songs had already been set aside – my belief is that they set some of the songs aside because they thought, ‘Oh, he’s not going to be able to sing that’ because I couldn’t sing when I first joined the band. I couldn’t have sung the song ‘Nightage’ back then. It’s not a difficult melody, but it actually involves ‘singing.’ I would not have been able to give that the right touch.”
Auckerman continued, “That’s what’s so neat about doing these now. People say, ‘Oh you should have done these back in the day.’ Yeah, well, maybe not because I didn’t really know how to sing back then. That’s kinda how I feel about it. But basically, to answer your question, the songs I had done back then, those I did as-is, but the other ones I hadn’t sung yet, I kind of interpreted what Frank wanted to do.”
Now here’s the best news we’ve had come our way about our sonic heroes in some time. Descendents have been working on a new album with new songs that is due out sometime in 2022! You heard it here first my friends, a new Descendents album is on its way to our ears and we couldn’t be happier! While no information could be given about the new album, we know some tracks have been recorded!
Descendents are going on tour soon and plan on playing tracks off all of their records, including “9th and Walnut.” It’s great when a band plays songs we all love because each album hits fans differently and that’s the best way for everyone to enjoy a live show. “Suburban Home!” “’Merican!” “I’m The One!” They really know how to please us and they keep it up!
Local shows include a stop in San Diego at SOMA on August 20th. Then they’ll play August 21st with Rise Against at Five Point Amphitheatre.
No matter where you see them, their stage show is unforgettable. The core members remain intact, they are Milo Auckerman (vocals), Stephen Egerton (guitar), Karl Alvarez (bass), and Bill Stevenson (drums). Their sound has been described as agro-electric, whatever you call it, it’s a signature sound that is distinctively Descendents.
Seriously, no matter where you live, if you can catch them, I highly recommend it.