There are people out there who ask why the Descendents are more popular than All. For that matter, there are people who’d question how the band was able to build a more loyal and fanatical fanbase than any of their contemporaries. Bands like Bad Religion and NOFX released much larger catalogs, toured hundreds of thousands more miles and made a national impact that was orders of magnitude larger than the Descendents.
But it’s one of those questions that if you have to ask, you’ll never know. To be fifteen and live in the suburbs, driving around and goofing off and eating fast food- drinking 2 pots of coffee every day and get dumped on by girls and then hear Milo Goes to College is to fall in love with a band instantly and forever the way you only get to do once. For nearly every Descendents fan this was the first band that ever spoke directly to them… and one of the very few whose songs continue to resonate just as powerfully into adulthood.
Tomorrow the Ottobar will be presenting the Baltimore premiere of Filmage: The Story of Descendents/All. Needless to say we’re pretty fucking stoked about it. After being shot in 2010, Filmage has made the film festival rounds and shown at several screenings around the country but has yet to see wide release. When we heard that Celebrated Summer Records owner and Descendents/All superfan Tony Pence was determined to bring it to Charm City we bought our tickets immediately.
If we’re being completely honest here we’re almost more excited to see the movie than to see an actual ALL show at this point. After a long Summer of impossibly old bands coming through town (Dickies, Sonny Vincent, Tesco Vee, Angry Samoans, Flag, etc) it means more to us to glean a new look at what early punk meant when it was vital and new than to see them ‘play the hits’ one more time, take one more curtain call. Hearing Bill Stevenson explain in his own words what it means to achieve ALL! will do a lot more towards getting us there than hearing it yelled into a microphone for the thousandth time.
As Punk Rock’s original founders continue to get older than they ever thought they would, documents like Filmage, We Jam Econo, and Instrument become all the more important as part of the historical record, and all the more interesting with the added context and insight that age affords.