In 1996, the punk explosion was about 2 years in. In 1991 Nirvana lit the fuse, and in 1994 punk broke through with Green Day, The Offspring, Rancid, and more, all scoring radio hits, massive success, and a world record for the highest selling independent record of all time. Epitaph Records, owner of that record, would start to put out their annual compilations of punk rock bands, putting out Punk O Rama 2 in 1996. It was that compilation that introduced me, as well as I am sure an entire generation, to a band called The Descendents.
Known in the 80's for interjecting pop sensibility in the hardcore scene, The Descendents were a band that non-hardcore types could latch on to. Songs of love, heartbreak, broken homes, not being cool, and life in suburbia filled out the subject material, and 4 albums in, vocalist Milo Aukerman decided to go back to college. The remaining members would form the band, All, and have a revolving door of singers, before reuniting for their return during the punk boom, putting out their classic, Everything Sucks.
When All got signed to a major label for their album, Pummel, drummer Bill Stevenson opened the Blasting Room in Fort Collins, CO, a decision they said was the smartest thing they had ever done. Opening track, "Everything Sucks", jumps through the speakers with its crisp and crunchy guitar and punchy drums that the Blasting Room has been known for. "I'm The One" had gotten the band a music video, and most likely ended up on mix tapes for girls all across the country. The band rips through 30 seconds of "Coffee Mug" before the Milo penned "Rotting Out" comes in. Being that the band was a little older than some of their peers at the time, many of the tunes have a reflective theme of looking back, getting older, and having the thoughts that many of us in our mid 30's do now. Look no further than "When I Get Old" and "We" a song about wondering if one would act the same as they did as a kid, while the other is a song about love and the life ahead with that person.
Original bassist Tony Lombardo makes an appearance on "Dog House" as well as original guitarist Frank Navetta, who also lends his guitar on another 30 second ripper "Eunich Boy."Looking back on this album 20 plus years later, what is striking is how sonically, this album could have come out in 2018 and no one would have thought twice about it. The other is how timeless the songs and lyrics are on the album. Save for a comment about then President Bill Clinton, this album can come out in 2025 and it would still be relevant, poignant, and necessary.
After a year of touring, and gaining an entire generation of new fans, while having their original fanbase beyond excited for their return, Milo would again go back to school, not releasing another album until 2004's "Cool to Be You" While Milo was away, All would put out 2 other records on Epitaph Records, Mass Nerder and Problematic, but neither would get the fanfare and devotion that Everything Sucks had.