Rhythm & Views


Back in the 1980s, Los Angeles' Descendents wrote caffeinated and poppy punk rock anthems about girls, coffee, food and farting that succeeded in getting many a teenage boy (myself included) through high school. In 1987, singer Milo Aukerman sadly left the band to pursue a doctorate in microbiology. The band then recruited singer Dave Smalley (and later Scott Reynolds), changed its name to All and proceeded to help get me through college (as well as continuing to lay the groundwork for all of today's pop punk imitators such as Blink 182, MXPX and the like).

The three albums recorded with Reynolds between 1989 and 1992 emerged from the band's most popular period, and 1989's Allroy's Revenge is arguably its most popular record to date (you might remember "She's My Ex" getting lots of alternative radio play). In 1990, the band released Trailblazer as a document of the band's live show. Unfortunately, it lacked both quality and quantity.

Over a decade later, the band (with Reynolds' successor, Chad Price, who has held the post for the longest stretch) returns with a new live album that defines All as one of the tightest and most technically proficient live punk rock bands out there.

Recorded over two nights in the band's now hometown of Ft. Collins, Colo., Live Plus One bulldozes through 22 tracks that appease the old fan and newcomer alike. The band digs deep into its bag of songs to pull out selections from each era of its 13-year history. Highlights include "Skin Deep" and "Hate to Love" from 1988's Allroy For Prez, the aforementioned "She's My Ex," and the ripping instrumental "Birds" (their homage to '70s jazz-rock fusion outfit the Mahavishnu Orchestra's "Birds of Fire").

More recent fans will notice love-song/break-up numbers like "Until I Say So" and "Honey Peeps," the hilarious and pummeling "She Broke My Dick" and the intelligent social commentary of "Crucifiction." Didn't think punk rock bands could have hearts or brains, huh?

But wait, there's more! If you act now, you will receive a free bonus disc of 21 live Descendents songs culled from their one-week stint at L.A.'s Whisky A-Go-Go in 1996.

All in all, Live Plus One redeems All for the Trailblazer fiasco and sheds a nice and deserving light on the band that originated the "pop-punk" sound, but has unfortunately been virtually ignored in the presence of its younger and better-looking imitators.