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ALL Interview

After their set on Monday October 9th in Chicago for the Punk O Rama tour, I was able to interview Bill Stevenson, the drummer for all. Check it out.

ALL Interview

Question: How did you come up with "Allroy"?

Bill: Carl just drew him one day and I named him and we thought that would be a kind of fun thing to make album covers on with him always at odds with the musical note. It symbolizes our band challenging against the music which if you are familiar with our music, that is the essence of it. To push the boundary, whether it be a harmonic or a vocal or melodic boundary. It portrays Allroy against the note.

Question: What is the most unusual thing that has happened to you during a concert?

Bill: I have had skinheads throw chairs at me while I was playing. That was pretty weird. I have had the cops come up and literally pull me off my drums to quit playing because they had turned off the P.A. and they wanted the concert to be over. I played in Oklahoma at Christmas and my coffee froze sitting next to my drum set because it was so cold. It was in a warehouse with no heat. There were like seven people there. For the seven people that were they I'm saying hi to them.

Question: What do you think of Napster?

Bill: I'm not educated on all the details enough to be super opinionated on it, but my outlook on any kind of bootlegging is that it takes the control of the art out of the hands of the hands of the artists which I think is wrong. I'll give you an example. There is a pretty common bootleg of us playing, I can't remember what city it was from, but it is a pretty common bootleg that is available and I had the flu that night so I was really sick. Yet there are all these 100's of copies of this thing where I had the flu, so I'm thinking, "wow, I had the flu, I would rather people didn't hear that particular performance". But I don't have control, some person who is totally unrelated to our band has control over it, so any kind of duplication of it, It takes it out of the hands of the artist and puts it in the hands of the people who have nothing to do with the creation of the music.

Question: Why was the title track for "Problematic" left out on your CD?

Bill: We were trying to figure out a title for the CD and I was like, "How about problematic?" Everyone was like, "well that isn't one of the best songs", I said, "yeah, I know but it would make a cool title." They were saying, "Yeah, it is a cool title but if we use it people will focus on that song, OK, we'll leave that song off." Problematic is not one of our best songs, but it makes a great album title and it really reflects everything that we stand for as a band. It sounds positive but it's really negative.

Question: What is your favorite place to play?

Bill: It might be London at this point. It might be Tokyo. No wait, it's definitely Tokyo.

Question: What do you like to do when you are not touring?

Bill: I am 1 of these guys that has no life, everything revolves around music. Not necessarily ALL, but just around music in general. We own a recording studio called The Blasting Room in Fort Collins. We record a lot of bands there, Lagwagon has recorded there, Good Riddance, MXPX, Less Than Jake. We make a lot of records for other bands. When I'm not doing that I have all my jazz and classical music that I listen to, that I'm trying to learn about. So when I'm not doing music, I'm doing music.

Question: Where do you think you are headed as a band?

Bill: Probably no where. Our motivation has always been 95% internal, meaning the notion of fame or popularity or success has never been a consideration. We started the band because we had no other friends or girlfriends, so it was kind of like, You know how in the "Little Rascals" they have the he-man Woman Haters club? Where all their buddies hang out because that's all they can do. That is what the Descendants was, and All was born out of the Descendants, this is our family. Most of us come from dysfunctional families so this is our family and this is what we are doing. But there will always be people that are not going to like our band and that's cool. We just enjoy it, so it is probably headed no where, but that for us means everywhere.

Question: Do you ever play Descendants songs?

Bill: Well as it happens we played 1 tonight, we played "I Wanna be a bear". There isn't a real clear cut and dry line between the Descendants and ALL. There is a lot of mixing there. Chad did all the harmony vocals on "Everything Sucks" and Milo did all the vocals on "Mass Nerder". The Descendants play ALL songs and ALL play Descendants songs. We aren't trying to draw a hard line there. It is more like 2 things that are kind of cooperating together. We might play no Descendants songs or five Descendants songs. It all depends on what we feel like doing at that time.

Question: What is it like having your own Recording Studio and T-shirt company?

Bill: We talked about the studio, that's cool. It gives you a kind of a relief from the band but it's still related to music. That's something I care about. The T-shirt printing company was functional project. We were starting back touring for Everything Sucks and we were just doing a little math and we were just saying, Why don't we just buy the stuff and print them ourselves? Then out of that was born this little business. We make T-shirts for a lot of other bands as well and some businesses in the Ft. Collins area. It has kind of turned into this little business. We have got this guy that runs it when we are on tour, he's one of our partners, he is the bass player for the band Tangers and that brings us into the label. Tangers is one of the bands on the label Owned & Operated records. The label has been difficult though. We are very tiny, we have really band distribution, we totally suck, but we have great bands and great releases are stellar. To me, the only thing I would compare it to would be SST 1980- 1985. That period at SST Records. It is just great art. Most of the bands are in the community in Ft. Collins so it's just great art. It's really cool, it's really localized. It's the opposite of a major label, its a community thing. The whole world is going to become a McDonalds. It's really starting to freak me out. I don't know what to do. So anything community wise is great. The whole world is going to be McDonalds, 7-11, Coca-cola, and Barnes & Nobles and that's that. How are we going to fix that? I really don't know.

Question: There are rumors of a new Descendants album, what is happening with that?

Bill: We are going to record later, maybe around January or so. We don't have a schedule. Basically 2 things have to happen, ALL has to be on some kind of a break, and Milo has to have some time from his schedule because he is a bio chemist. He has a normal job in the normal world. When those two things coincide, sometimes we record Descendants stuff and do shows.

Question: What do you think of the term "sell-out"?

Bill: My personal definition is someone that alters their art in a way that they wouldn't have altered it organically. They alter it nonorganically just for success. Not even what people told them to do, but what they think will make them more successful and make more money. If someone changes, that isn't a sell-out. If the intent is to make more money and become more popular