Having been around for more than 25 years, people have all kinds of questions for the DESCENDENTS. We've listed some of them here along with answers from either the band members themselves, or someone else who knows the score.

    Got a question of your own? Email it to faq@descendentsonline.com.

Q: What band is the song "Thank You" about?
A: It's about a lot of bands. Any band that inspires, really. Karl wrote it and used to yell out different band names when they would play "Thank You." A few of the bands names mentioned were The Last, X, and Black Flag among others.

Q: What was the song "Iceman" writen about? It almost seems to reflect the mafia hitman Richard Kuklinski (aka the "Iceman") not only because of the name but much of the lyrical content except certain key phrases like "doesnt feel anger or pain" yet he was a very angry man with a quick temper. Along with that were a few other contradictory phrases but is there any relation or just mere coincidence??
A: "Iceman" isn't about any specific person. It's loosely based on the play by Eugene O'Neill.

Q: When are the new DESCENDENTS records coming?
A: An EP titled 'Merican was released on February 10, 2004 and a full-length, entitled Cool To Be You was released on March 23, 2004, both on Fat Wreck Chords.

Q: Will there be a tour to support the new albums?
A: There will be some shows, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet. Any show or tours will be announced on the main page of this site when the information becomes available.

Q: What kind of drumsticks does Bill use?
A: (Bill) - History of my sticks: '81 - 5b regal, '82 - 2s ludwig, '83 - 3s ludwig, '84 - '85 - dc 17, '86 - '97 - regal 3-s, '98 - 2000 - classic metal, '01 - present - Pro Mark "747B Super Rock". I am in a major Afro-Cuban study at present, and have been using "pencil" jazz sticks (Pro Mark - "Elvin Jones" model), since those beats/tempos sometimes are extremely fast, and I am just learning. But when Karl and I have been playing lately I am still on the "747B Super Rock".

Q: What is Bill's drum set-up?
A: For information on Bill's drum set-up, please visit his site at DrumOgre.com.

Q: Do you have any advice for how to deal with blisters from drumming too much? Does grip tape help?
A: (Bill) - I think the grip tape gives you worse blisters, but I mainly like it because I don't have to grip the stick so tight, so I can play faster without having to worry about the stick flying out of my hand (sometimes it still flies though). With the blisters, I usually just put neosporin, and a band aid over it, and they heal pretty fast, and duct tape the band aid on at practice the next day, then the day after they're gone. Maybe the first week after I start back up I always have blister. You just deal.

Q: Why did the DESCENDENTS get back together again?
A: (Bill)- From the outside, it may look like a reunion, but we were really all together, except for Milo. We've been playing as ALL since 1987 and Milo wanted to start playing again, and that seemed like a good idea, but we already have Chad as our singer for ALL. So, we decided that the best thing to do would be to sorta have two bands, that way we could make room for Milo without pushing Chad out.

Q: With Chad and Milo, is there any resentment?
A: (Bill)- No, no, no, no. Chad did all the backing vocals on Everything Sucks and a lot on the new ones too. They help each other out, like Milo did all the backing vocals on Breaking Things and Mass Nerder. No, it's all totally good, it's just that when we are playing, Milo couldn't be ALL's singer, cause Chad is ALL's singer. So, we decided that we could be DESCENDENTS with Milo, and ALL with Chad. It's not really a reunion, we've been together the whole time.

Q: What has Milo been doing since the DESCENDENTS break-up?
A: (Bill)- He's been doing bio-chemistry stuff; he's a bio-chemist and he does research. Right now he does research on plant DNA.

Q: What does "1420" in the song "Hürtin Crüe" refer to?
A: In high school, Milo's friend Roger scored 1420 on the SAT, which meant that he got in to West Point. So, he walked around school all day, gloating and singing this song that he made up that went something like:"1420 - I am better than you - You are a piece of poo - I am better than you - You are a piece of poo - 1420" Milo later inserted this song into "Hürtin Crüe"

Q: How do you distinguish between the songs you will use for ALL, and the songs you’ll use for DESCENDENTS?
A: (Bill)- Well, the way we did it for these two albums is we had a bunch of songs, and you know how at recess with the two captains and everybody lines up against the fence and the captains pick teams? Chad and Milo just picked from the 30-40 songs, and that’s how we came up with our two albums. Then there are some more that are going to be mainly instrumental.

Q: How are the DESCENDENTS and ALL different?
A: (Bill)- The difference between the bands, to me, is not something you can define. The differences are really song to song, not album to album. We don’t really put on the "ALL hat" and then change music. It doesn’t work like that, we change music depending on when we wake up in the morning, what we’ll be doing that day, or what songs we have. It doesn’t have anything to do with whatever band name we happen to be hiding under at the time. In other words, you could say "Clean Sheets" or "Silly Girl", which to me sound more like what may be considered stereotypical ALL songs, or that "Uncle Critic"; "Original Me" sound more like stereotypical DESCENDENTS, but it’s actually just the opposite. So there’s not really a pattern there. You could try to make one, but it wouldn’t be logical.

Q: How much coffee do you drink, between the four of you?
A: (Bill)- Someone asked us the other day, so when we counted and it was 18 pots.

Q: What are your favorite of the older DESCENDENTS records?
A: (Bill)- "Milo Goes To College" and "Everything Sucks".

Q: What's your favorite DESCENDENTS song to play live?
A: (Bill)- "My Dad Sucks".

Q: Who have been some of your favorite bands to play with?
A: (Bill)- I really liked Shades Apart, Sensefield, The Lemons, Hagfish, and the new band that the Hagfish guys have called Armstrong, which is on our label (Owned & Operated), Zeke, Judge Nothing, Monster Club, and Someday I is amazing. Those are the bands I’m into. I think it’s cool to play with younger bands, it would be kind of lame, if it were us and Leonard, The Dickies, or whatever out touring, that would be stupid.

Q: Would you say that tours get easier over the years?
A: (Milo)- It’s weird. The shows after Everything Sucks were a lot of fun - that’s what keeps you doing it. So, emotionally, it gets better, but now that I’m married and my wife can’t come out along with me on the tour, there’s half of my live that’s elsewhere and it makes it less of a party. It makes it more difficult. And another thing is that it doesn’t matter how good I get with my singing, I still fuck up my throat a lot; I still end up getting respiratory infections. I mean, you’re singing, you’re passing the mic out to the kids, the kids are yelling back at you, it’s charged. I spent the majority of the last tour, just sick - so, that’s a drag. But we were playing to 600 or 700 people a night and they just go nuts – that is not like what it used to be, when we would play to a little bunch of kids who didn’t know who we were, that’s different.

Q: Milo, why did you go to college?
A: (Milo)- Umm... good question. I guess when I was in high school, I had two passions. One being music, and the other being science. Stupidly, I thought I could pursue both. I’ve continued to pursue both, and at this point, I really don’t know what I want to do. Hopefully, someday I’ll decide which direction I’m headed in.

Q: Milo, are you glad you went to college?
A: (Milo)- Yeah, I’m glad I went. It’s like something that hasn’t really lived up to all my expectations as far as what I would get out of it. I thought that by majoring in Science, I might have gotten a career out of it.

Q: How do you feel about all the punk bands of today sounding similar with lack of originality, or is there no way around it?
A: (Milo)- Well, I think it’s a by-product of there being a lot of bands. That’s one thing about music now, everywhere you turn the corner there’s new bands popping up. I think it’s good that so many bands are around because they are bringing different styles with them, but at the same time, there is that tendency for bands to be generic. I think that more generic bands have the notion, that if one band makes it big, then that is the road that everyone else must follow, and that’s what makes people start to not appreciate the originality of that first band that started that sound.

Q: Whose idea was it to dress up in the condoms and go skateboarding in the video for "I’m the One"?
A: (Milo)- That was the idea of our director Dave Robinson. He kinda took the idea of "I’m The One" to mean "I’m gonna be your sperm, baby." When he told me the idea I thought, " Oh no, shades of Woody Allen!", but when I got on that skateboard in that sperm costume, I don’t know, things just started to work for me. Don’t forget, we spend a lot of our time being incredibly stupid and silly. (Karl: Don’t forget sophomoric and juvenile.)

Q: What was the deal behind the whole reunion thing with ALL meeting back up with Milo? Was it money?
A: (Milo)- It was really just my re-entry into the song writing, I had been away for so long and I just wanted to make music which is what I love to do.

Q: Are the '80s your influences?
A: (Milo)- I guess you could say that. A lot of our melody comes from the '80s.

Q: Who is "Eunuch Boy" written about?
A: (Milo)- "Eunuch Boy" is a fictitious song. We don’t do a lot of fictitious songs. "Eunuch Boy" is the first song I ever wrote, really. When we formed, Tony Lombardo, the original bass player said, "Dude- you need to write some songs," and I had never written a song before so I just wrote down some words and brought it to him. He made the music for it. But, "Eunuch Boy" is completely fake. We realize we’re kinda dissing the testicularly challenged. Probably Marshall Applewhite also.

Q: Who draws the picture of you on all the albums, Milo?
A: (Milo)- This guy named Roger Deuerlein use to make fun of me all the time in high school. I was like the school nerd and so this guy kept doing like a comic strip with me in it. He usually used me to make campaigns for people running for class office. I remember him making one that said "Don’t be a nerd like Milo, vote for Billy!" or something like that. When we recorded our albums, we had him draw that picture of me on the cover.

Q: Did he draw the covers for the newer albums?
A: (Milo)- No, luckily that’s an easy thing to copy. The kind people at Epitaph helped us out with Everything Sucks. Both of the 'Merican EP covers were done by Jeff Hagedorn. The Cool To Be You LP cover was drawn by Chris Shary. Ray did the cover for Enjoy under the pseudonym "Scoob Droolins", and Bill did the graphics for Somery and ALL.

Q: What would you say inspired you to start the band?
A: (Milo)- That’s kind of how I view that whole ongoing continuum. How you’re influenced by a certain other band or bands and how your band will influence others. We really liked Black Flag, of course, X, Germs, a lot of the LA punk bands in the ‘80s That’s exactly what an influence is, it’s not like ripping somebody off, it’s about being inspired. "Thank You" is a song Karl wrote. He refused to divulge what bands he’s talking about, I tried to beat it out of him but he won’t tell me. Obviously, that song is about a whole series of different bands and when we play it live, he’ll scream out a random name.

Q: What do you find more impressive about a band when you hear them: Words, or their musical abilities?
A: (Milo)- I think both, I can’t really answer for the rest of the Descendents but for me, I definitely look at lyrics.

Q: How do you feel about authority in general?
A: (Milo) When you have to deal with that it is the worst. At some clubs they have security there and they don’t really seem to realize that they’re really working for you and it can get a little frustrating. Then, seeing the whole LA thing with Rodney King is just a whole other thing. Everywhere you see that kind of disregard that the law has for human beings in general. Like one night we were in Portland, this kid came up beside the stage and one of the bouncers managed to get his ankle and then grabbed him by the neck and swung him around. The kid’s head landed right on the barricades between the stage and the audience and knocked him out cold. And I didn’t see it. I heard about it from our guitar player and that’s the kind of shit that happens. I’d want to be able to tell the bouncer to get out of the club because this is definitely not something we want to see at the shows. But literally, I can not see anything. I barely have the time to sing all the lyrics and I’m really focused on what I’m doing. I don’t have peripheral vision with my glasses either – which is a real drag because I hear about this stuff after the show and I would have liked to have said something. I have the mic. I could try to restore some order or whatever but it’s difficult.

Q: When you were younger, was your attitude towards the police different?
A: (Milo) when I grew up, I was a really introverted person. I actually got into punk rock because it was something very exciting and obviously, there’s the notion that loud and exciting music has some kind of unlawfulness to it, but we’d go out to the shows to see the bands – we didn’t even really have the time to be getting loaded or committing crimes. We were just suburban kinds who enjoyed seeing bands and that’s what we did. I don’t’ think I’d go about it differently – like, "Jeez, I wish I would have broken more laws…" I lived a fairly well sheltered life until I was about a junior teen and I was like fuck it all and I turned into punk rock, joined the DESCENDENTS and when you get an outlook like that, you join a band – things like drugs and crimes and that kind of stuff has very little force because you have an aim where all of your creative energy is going and it being used up.

Q: What’s your favorite subject matter to sing about or hear sung about?
A: (Milo) Probably relationships, and also good. I like simple music, like the Queers, The Ramones... that kind of stuff.

Q: Has punk rock changed much in your eyes? And do you think it’s for the better or the worse?
A: (Milo) I think two things have changed for the worse and one for the better. I think the thing that’s changed for the better is that there’s just so much more awareness about Punk, it’s so much more widely available and I think that’s great because it’s a form of music that’s very grass roots, that everyone needs to hear and before it was harder to find. There’s still much in the underground, you can still dig deep and get down there if you want to, though. The two bad things are when something gets popular, everything gets to be one certain way. They go out and find other bands that are kind of ground breaking and they’ll do it until all the bands sound the same – like, everyone wants to sound like Bad Religion and you end up with this generic sounding record.

Q: I heard there were about 9 songs that didn't make it to Everything Sucks. Are we ever going to hear those?
A: (Milo)- Some of them came out in other forms. On the European single for "I'm The One" we put two out-takes, "Lucky" and a song called "Shattered."

Q: Were you expecting more from your Ph.D.?
A: (Milo)- Definitely, it's been one of the major disillusionments for me. I knew that in Biology I had to do a post-doc. But I figured I would do that and automatically I 'd be in line for a faculty position and then ride off into the sunset. The post-doc was kind of slow moving and I didn't make as much progress as I would have liked. Also the field is particularly impacted right now in terms of the number of jobs that are available. At some point in the middle of it I experienced a real loss of confidence/ faith/enthusiasm for it. I am hoping to return to it with a more realistic perspective, and maybe a little more oomph.

Q: Has the transition of going back to the road been difficult? I know what it's like to be working in a lab all day. Then, being on the road, most of the time you are idle. I know that for a couple of days it can be relaxing, but after awhile don't you get you the jitters?
A: (Milo)- I do one of two things. I either read, and I 've brought a lot of reading material with me. Or I sleep. More often than not I try to sleep because sleep becomes so incredibly important on the road. If I don't get enough sleep, I get sick. I don't think there are many hours where I 'm totally hopelessly bored. If I 've got nothing to do, I 'll just jump in bed. But they are two totally different lifestyles, and never the two shall meet. I 've tried to juggle the two, but you just can't. I left the band and went to Graduate School. Within a year, I was like "Argh I gotta get in a band." I was actually in a band for a year and half called Milestone. But, inevitably I had to write a dissertation and things came to a head and I just had to focus. Of course my priorities had to be science at that point so I quit the band. The way that music works for me is that, especially given my experiences with the DESCENDENTS, if I do a band I have to be obsessed by it. It gets in my blood. I have to really focus my attention on it a lot in order to get my full satisfaction from it. The same thing is true of science, you can't do that half-assed either. So you have these two things, and you can't do either of them half-assed, so it's like fuck it, one of them has got to give.

Q: I notice that the Everything Sucks only mentions the concept of ALL once. Are you leaving that up to ALL?
A: (Milo)- I think that was just a matter of song selection. We didn't go out of our way to write a song with the concept of ALL in it. Bill had these words for Coffee Mug, and that's a very worthwhile topic of course, coffee. But we didn't go out of our way to promulgate it. We haven't been writing many, of what I would call, tongue in cheek songs; like the "ALL-O-GISTICS". I wrote a song called "Mass Nerder," that is on Cool To Be You. That's about the only funny song I've written in a long time. The rest of my songs are all "Oh, baby" love songs.

Q: What's the difference between the DESCENDENTS and ALL? Are they the same band?
A: (Bill)- They're 75% the same band at this point, no more, no less. The only real difference is that Chad sings for ALL, and Milo sings for DESCENDENTS.

Q: What does Stephen do to warm up?
A: (Stephen's wife Nat)- To warm up he does stretches (but that's just so that he can look rock), but he tries to specifically loosen his right wrist and warms up by playing different fast strumming patterns (an example he gave was the beginning of "Teresa" - he said that the chords don't matter, just the strumming). He also said that he never really worries about his left hand as it "usually always does whatever I want it to".

Q: What's Stephen’s equipment set-up?
A: Currently it's a 100-watt Marshall JCM 900 head, various Marshall cabinets, and Music Man Axis Sport guitars with DiMarzio Super Distortion humbuckers. At least one of the Marshall cabinets was previously owned by Uriah Heep.

Q: What do you think of the TonyALL record?
A: (Bill)- Special to me is one of my all time favorite songs of Tony’s. He was so sad about all that with his younger girlfriend, and I swear nothing has ever been more heartfelt. I get teary just thinking about it. It’s so positive and so negative - when it goes into "and I love you, even though I know, too...", it's like the saddest thing I’ve ever heard. But there really was a tremendous age difference.

Q: How do you get your snare drum sound?
A: (Bill)- Start with a deep drum - at least 6 1/2". With a thick head (those emporer x things work real well - but with alot of deadening - I guess Aquarian makes one similar too), medium tuned, not too tight, some deadening - so it's not too boingy. Either tape here and there or maybe even go so far as to use one of those ring things (not a real thick one though), bottom head medium tuned. Hit it real hard and always use a rim shot. Mic with a Shure 57 on top, sort of aimed going across the drum, about 1 1/2 inches off the rim. Use whatever on bottom, positioned so it's not miking the snares themselves - usualy directly below the top mic. Maybe add some upper treble (maybe 12 k and up), and quite a bit @ about 150 hz.

Q: I heard that with Everything Sucks, you paid Tony Lombardo his share with studio time for the Spiffy recordings. Is any of that true?
A: (Bill)- No, we just did Spiffy for free because we are friends. There is a whole formal way of accounting royalties. Who wrote? Who played? Who produced? It’s all kinda standardized.

Q: Who wrote what songs on the Enjoy! album?
A: "Cheer", "80's Girl", and "Kids" were written by Bill. "Sour Grapes" and "Green" were written by Doug and Milo. "Days Are Blood" and "Enjoy" written by Doug, Milo, and DESCENDENTS. "Get The Time" and "Hürtin Crüe" written by Milo. "Orgo 51" And "Orgo Fart" written by DESCENDENTS.

Q: Who's the other singer on the song "Green"?
A: (Bill)- Me.

Q: How did Stephen and Karl end up joining the band?
A: (Stephen)- Karl and I had first met Bill in '84 on the My War tour. We had been huge DESCENDENTS fans for years before this. I was living in D.C. in '85 and '86, and Karl was playing in a couple of bands in Salt Lake. He was doing a show in Boise, Idaho with one of the bands he was in, and Bill called a guy who Karl's band was staying with, to see if he was interested in playing bass. This guy was unable to do the bass thing due to family commitments, and hooked Bill up with Karl. Karl went to LA and he and Bill played for a while, and Karl joined then. A couple of weeks later I called Karl to congratulate him on joining, he told me they needed a guitar player. I went to LA, and we jammed for three days in late August '86. I joined then, and moved to LA in October '86. We left on tour six weeks later and did a few shows that were the end of the Enjoy! tour.

Q: Whatever happened to that one guy who used to be in the band?
A: Frank Navetta burned all of his equipment and went to Oregon. He and Tony Lombardo played on a couple of songs from Everything Sucks and at the 'STOCKAGE festival in 2002. His current whereabouts are unknown, but it's suspected that he may be on a walk-about. Tony got a "real" job with the post office and is still there. He's had a few bands over the years including Nuclear Bob, Boxer Rebellion (with Scott Reynolds), Spiffy, and Launch Pad. Doug went to Doggy Style and then ended up in Dag Nasty until they broke up. He's also been in quite a few other bands including Six Degrees of Right, For Love Not Lisa, Ultrahead, and Kottonmouth Kings. There's a comprehensive discography for Doug over at the Dag Nasty website. Ray Cooper headed up north on some sort of hot romance. He was in Spiffy with Tony Lombardo back in 1996/1997.

Q: What’s with the primer gray equipment?
A: (Bill)- Frank, Pat and I used to do a lot of fishing. Our boat, Orca, was gray, so it sort of came from that.

Q: What was your first musical instrument?
A: (Stephen)- The first instrument I had I built myself...it was supposed to be a guitar, but when I put the single string I had on it, the "neck" bowed from the tension, and the only way to play something on it was to bend the "neck" back and forth, and make these twangy sounds. My mom finally said, "Okay, we'll get you a guitar".

Q: Are the DESCENDENTS straight edge?
A: (Karl)- Descendents were around before the song "Straight Edge" so it's really a moot point. The answer to the question is no, though Bill's never done any drugs at all.

Q: Why is the guitar so damned loud on Ride The Wild?
A: (Joe Nolte, The Last)- David (Nolte) produced & mixed Ride The Wild. They recorded at mixed at Media Art, two doors down from the Church. I was drinking beer & walking by while they were mixing on a Sunday afternoon and thought the lead guitar on Ride The Wild should be louder so I reached over & bumped it without asking. They kept it. It's all my fault. They knew I did it; they watched me do it.

Q: What did David Nolte, from The Last, have to do with the beginnings of the DESCENDENTS?
A: (Joe Nolte, The Last )- "David Nolte and Frank Navetta were surfin' buds, hangin' out at the beach and listening to Led Zeppelin, etc. Clearly, something had to be done. I moved back to Hermosa in September 1976 and introduced David to the wonderful world of punk rock, which in those pre-"Anarchy" days meant Ramones, Pere Ubu, Dictators & Modern Lovers. He was instantly hooked, and turned Frank on to the stuff. In '77 they began playing (2 acoustic guitars) & writing together, calling themselves The Itch (which I had thought I thought of but I think David may have come up with that name). Frank subsequently came up with The Descendents, which kinda stuck. They hadn't gotten any more band members by the end of '77, and The Last suddenly found themselves with a bass player about to bail, so brother John gave David a bass for Christmas and David joined The Last, effectively relegating the Descendents project to the back burner. In mid '78 a schoolmate of theirs named Bill Stevenson began playing drums in an attempt to join another local band called Panic (later Black Flag). That didn't happen, so Bill and Frank joined forces, subsequently hooking up with Tony. David stayed in the newly revitalized Descendents as vocalist, and sang with them at a few early gigs, including the famous San Pedro thing with Black Flag and the Reactionaries (later Minutemen). By spring '79 The Last were getting pretty busy (recording the first album, etc.), and David ended up leaving the DESCENDENTS.