For Filter’s 50th issue cover story, I had the privilege of moderating interviews between LA punk legends Mike Watt and Descendents, plus the band’s long-time artist Chris Shary. Singer Milo Aukerman just turned 50, which is baffling, especially if you have memories of singing along to his adolescent snarls and jokes and emotive punk crooning about teenage isolation. Most fascinating was hearing thoughtful reflection on notions of aging and the passage of time from a group that so famously never wanted to grow up.
MILO: I’m thinking about that in the context of being together now: We take these long breaks and it doesn’t always make a lot of sense, but people still want to come see us and not only want to come sees us but really want to come see us play these big shows. And we’re just enjoying it while it’s here. Part of it is also that people have this desire to connect with this past that we share—obviously, with [Watt]—this past of early LA punk rock, which was this magical period for all of us.
WATT: It wasn’t like Fonzie and Potsie and shit like that. It was a small scene, kind of beat down. It was special. I would not be who I am without it.
BILL: It was all I had. These guys were my family. The first time I went to [historic Hollywood punk club] The Masque it was life-changing. It was one of those shows where it was like Go-Gos, Germs, Weirdos, Slugs. Every band was playing and it was five dollars or whatever. And when I walked out of that place four hours later, I was a different person.
KARL: The whole world was smaller back then.
STEPHEN: But punk reached its tentacles out to us as far as Salt Lake City. We were a bunch of people experimenting wildly because no one knew what they were after.
BILL: I still don’t. But here we are.
You can read the whole thing at Filter, where you’ll find great original art by Shary and band/tour photos from over the years.