We don't delve into Albuquerque very often, but when a band like Descendents comes through (7 pm Friday Nov. 16. $27. Sunshine Theater, 120 Central Ave. SW, Albuquerque, 505-764-0249), we throw caution to the wind. It's been 36 years since the release of seminal punk album Milo Goes to College, which makes the excellence of 2016's Hypercaffium Spazzinate all the more impressive. The band's been ramping up the tours in the wake of that record, and visits New Mexico for the first time in who knows how many years. We caught up with drummer Bill Stevenson to see how what's what, and we swear we only gushed a little bit.
Descendents has been touring pretty hard for a couple years now. How's it feeling to be back into it so regularly?
It's comfortable. We do it often enough to where we can be good at it, but not so often that it becomes a grind or a job. This kind of happy medium we found, it makes it so when we got off the plane we're happy to see each other. We ask each other about the kids ask about what kind of chile Karl [Alvarez] is growing in his garden. I think the only reason we're still together after 40 years is just that we try to not overexpose ourselves to each other, because that's no fun.
Are the new songs playing well with the older songs?
Surprisingly well. Not meaning that the new album shouldn't be received well, but meaning that so often, a band's later albums are kind of pushed to the side. You see it happen with almost every band, so the fact we released a record that people enjoy—and a lot of our fans are saying it's in their top two or three of their favorite albums of ours—that's really an unexpected surprise that people really still care. I know as a fan, I don't want to hear the 10th record by some band I'm into. I mean, it's not that I don't want to hear it, but you know what I mean. The fact that we can do something where people say the new Descendents record is pretty great … even if they dismissed it, because we do this for us, not for them, it's better if they like it.
What's in the future for Descendents?
We’re heading toward recording a new record. We’ve already started on it a little bit. What I was doing before you called was reviewing my drum parts. Today I’m working on five of Milo [Aukerman’s] songs. Those are the ones that are in front of me right now. In our band, each guy writes the songs, and I have a little small studio in my basement where I’ve been playing along with his demos. In three weeks I’ll maybe record drums on 10 or 15 songs. Some of the guys have a lot of songs ready, but I don’t yet. For some reason, mine always come at the last minute, I don’t know why. We don’t have a window, we kind of intentionally never have one, just so it’s done when it’s done. We start recording when we’ve got the makings of a ton of good songs. We don’t put any artificial stress on that. There’s no pressure for us or this, what is this, a two-month album cycle? That’s for new bands. I think it’s for marketers, really.