The lineup for the eighth annual FYF festival in downtown Los Angeles was announced today and if bloggers mean anything, it sounds like lots of people are excited. Bands such as Death From Above 1979, Explosions in the Sky, the Dead Milkmen, Guided By Voices, Broken Social Scene, the Weakerthans, No Age, Avi Buffalo, OFF!, Cold War Kids and Pink Mountaintops are just a few of the groups scheduled to perform.
That bill alone would attract plenty of attention, but fuck all those bands because the Descendents are playing!
I interviewed singer Milo Aukerman a few months ago regarding his group's show at the Long Beach Arena with Rise Against and Bad Religion. After the jump, a few notable quotes that didn't make my story.
We've been scheduling individual shows throughout the year because my
kids are now of the age when they want to see daddy rock out. I thought I
might be able to make that happen. I turned toward my wife and went,
'What do you think?' because, in the end, she's the one who has to stay
home while I'm out having fun. The other thing was was that Bill had a
really serious illness. He had a pulmonary embolism and the real root
cause was a tumor in his brain that he had removed last spring. To be
brutally honest, he had a lot of medical bills and we thought we might
be able to do some shows to help out in that regard. More than ever
before, I'm trying to take it a day — or maybe a year
— at a time. We have shows mapped out and now I'm determined to have
fun and take it where it goes. Especially from our experience in the
mid-'90s with Everything Sucks. It was fun, but we toured like
dogs and I thought, 'I could take a break from this.' We just kept
going. By the end, we were really a solid, tight unit but there was a
bit of a burn-out. That's why I don't want to make any predictions. We
also have kids and have our own separate gigs. The older we get, we
consider the band a fun thing to do that we can make a little money at.
At this late stage of our lives, no one's thinking we could make a go of
Have you ever turned down a show or a tour because you
didn't want to? Or has it always been your day job as a research
I've never refused for any reason of distaste. Anytime
I've refused, it's because I'm swimming in my science. Or drowning.
We've had the best friendship all along and I've tried to help out
whenever possible. I've always been able to re-insert myself and have
fun in the process. There's never been any bad blood or anything like
After having played a few times this year, what are your expectations for the future?
the '90s, I'd say our expectations were too high. Epitaph was head over
heels for us and we recorded a ton of great songs. I thought it was a
really good record and we needed to tour because that's what a band did
to promote a record. In the back of my mind, there was the possibility
that it would build up to where I could embark on a music career, which I
have no interest in now. Maybe we're destined to be a very popular band
in a very underground group. Now I have zero expectations. It's all
just gravy for me.
Are you able to sing right now or do you need to practice to strengthen your voice?
had to pass around karaoke versions of the songs, so the set list is
not as free-form as you might expect. I would be able to do it, but the
only issue would be, 'Do I have to do it tomorrow and the day after
that?' In Australia, I drank way too much coffee. I got offstage and was
quivering and didn't stop for the rest of that night. I had heart
palpitations, so I didn't sleep that night. The next day we flew to
Brisbane and woke up 30 minutes before the show. My voice was already
fragile and trying to warm up was a disaster. Lesson learned.
was a rumor that the original Descendents trio (drummer Bill Stevenson,
bassist Tony Lombardo and guitarist Frank Navetta) recorded new
material before Frank passed away. Any truth to that?
I know they
had some some recording and I wasn't involved in any of it. My
understanding was they were doing very old, pre-me, songs. We did some
of them at our first songs. They did them as a three-piece because
that's how they originally did them. I've heard two of them. Whether or
not they are deemed quality enough to release, I don't know. There are
songs I wouldn't mind taking a stab at.
What's it like being a bobblehead?
asked my kids and they told me to do it. I had a change of heart about
merch. In the '80s, I wasn't that behind it that much. I regret coming
down so hard on Bill about it. We designed the first Bonus Cup together,
but it gave me a distasteful feeling. I even wrote a song called
“Green” about it. I've come to appreciate being able to have the band be
represented in goofy, offbeat ways. The toilet seat cover is great
because it's an offbeat way of getting the band's name out there. These
are just other outlets for creativity for the band.
Was it it about your song “Hope” that resonates with so many people?
definitely one of my favorites. Having written it, I guess I can be
biased that way. It was one of the first songs I wrote and I was
discovering how to write songs. When that one came out, I thought I
could write about excruciating things. I didn't have to write about
'Reagan sucks.' I can write about my girlfriend leaving me and that's
totally reasonable and acceptable and that's what I want to do. It was a
watershed moment because I realized it was the kind of music I wanted
to make. I don't know if I have a good explanation for why other people
like it except that it melds the hardcore form with an extra level of
melody. There's even a country, folky feel to it.
It sounds like a very in-the-moment song.
We got into that mode at that point of writing a song about what just
happened and don't bother to filter any of it. A song like “I'm Not a
Loser” is completely unfiltered. That can come with some negatives too.
You mean the ending of “I'm Not a Loser?”
wrote that and at the time, it was the ultimate teenage rage. It was
targeting not gay people but the jocks at our school. The language is
the hot button. These days, I've altered that. I want to get across the
point of 'you suck,' but it's been misunderstood. We have a few songs
that we've come to regret how they've been interpreted.
Does the girl in “Hope” know it's about her?
We put the record out and as explained in the lines, she had this other
guy she was going after, so she pursued him. Maybe six months later,
that didn't work out so she came back to me and she's quoting the lyric.
It rolled back on me a little bit. She wanted the day to come and I had
moved on. I'm not sure if she ever saw us play it, but she saw us
record part of it.
Why is it that all these bands who say you are an influence don't sound anything like you?
dabbled in a lot of different sounds, so it depends on what songs they
are referring to. We have songs like “Loser” and “I Wanna Be a Bear”
that are ramped up that maybe someone like Pennywise would like, but
then we songs coming from a pop perspective. Blink-182 would probably
like “Silly Girl” and “Christmas Vacation” and for Pennywise it was
something else. We were doing emo back in the '80s, at least my vague
understanding of emo. There are certain things about emo I can get
behind and other things I can't. The whole singing sweet and then scream
— that too me is weird. That's a little too fabricated for me.