6 Reasons Why We Can’t Stop Talking About Descendents’ Drummer Bill Stevenson

Posted on Monday December 11th in

We can’t stop talking about punk rock icon Bill Stevenson. Not only is he a legend in his own right as the main songwriter and only constant member of the band Descendents, his work as a producer for today’s top punk bands and genuine nature commands the utmost respect. Here’s a list of a few of our favorite things about him, and why you’ll want to see him with the Descendents at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas on Saturday, December 16. 

  1. Stevenson is a producer extraordinaire who has produced 78 albums, including albums by newer artists such as Rise Against, A Day to Remember, Alkaline Trio, Puddle of Mudd, As I Lay Dying, and NOFX.  Stevenson enjoys working with newer bands because he loves that they keep the music scene interesting and fresh.  He is curious and wants to hear what the newest sound is, and believes people are more interested to hear new bands than they are in hearing the 20th album by a band that has been around for years.  He also loves that the newer bands he works with keep him updated on today’s music, and he has the bands he works with put 100 songs on a USB so that he can hear what’s new and get a sense of what they are inspired by.  He has always had an analytical, producer’s mind when it comes to music– He says that even when he was a kid, he would be dissecting and analyzing songs, thinking critically about each instrument’s role and every element of the song.
  2. The Descendents’ music was innovative and unprecedented, formed at a time where punk music was very young and it’s beginning stages.  Stevenson co-founded the band in 1977 at the age of 14 and laid the groundwork for more modern punk bands such as Green Day and Blink-182.  As there was not much punk music to draw from at the time when Descendents was formed, Stevenson cited his influences as music that carried the spirit of punk rock, including the Kinks, the Seeds, The Ramones, and even early Beatles music.

3. The man knows a good cup of joe and says that another powerful influence on his hyperactive drumming style is his caffeine intake.  Caffeine is Stevenson’s drug of choice, and he has never tried any drugs other than alcohol, which was later in life.  In his earlier days, he said he would drink a bunch of coffee, or eat 50 Snickers bars, before they played.  He has said that he can’t play that fast without coffee, and says that these days he needs to have the equivalent of eight espressos before he plays or the songs will be too slow.

4. Stevenson’s career was launched into superstardom after playing with Black Flag in December of 1981.  He joined the band after their original drummer, Robo, was detained in England after a tour there, and he went on to record with Black Flag on several of their albums until 1985.  Stevenson was young when he joined the band, and he said that he wouldn’t be where he was today without them.  Stevenson says that Black Flag were a huge influence on the Descendents’ music even before he played with them.

5. The Descendents definitely prefer quality over quantity when it comes to their shows.  They don’t get out and tour often, but when they do, it is because they genuinely want to play together.  Stevenson feels that bands who play too many shows because they are told they have to get burnt out, and they can only sustain that level of touring for a few years.  The band take their shows very seriously, and there is a lot of preparation that goes into each show.  The members practice just about every day and are afraid to get rusty and lose their talents. (Don’t miss your chance to see them in Las Vegas!)

6. Stevenson’s songs are meaningful and his songs and writing process are about major events that have happened in his life.  He has said that almost 100% of the Descendents’ songs are autobiographical, and that he only writes when there is something truly memorable that has happened in his own life—he is a self-proclaimed realist who almost wishes that he was more prolific and could make things up.  The writing process is therapeutic for him, and helps him work through difficult times in his life.  Some of his songs, including Without Love and Spineless and Scarlet Red, have helped him deal with recent issues regarding his health and his family.




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