There is something special about the band All, not so much in present time but the All of the early/mid nineties. Everyone I know from that time that were All fans remain so today. It was All who virtually defined the pop-punk genre. On the surface their music doesn’t seem so special, slightly heavy rock with metal-ish undertones but there’s something about it. If you’re into them you’re full bore. There’s no All fans that hum haw about it either they’re, “Wooo!!! All!!! Yea!!!, or they’re “All isn’t so special”. No middle ground. I can’t think of too many bands with such a rabid fan base. I think it has a lot to do with their song content, they sing about simple subjects that a person can easily get a grasp on. Lots of songs about relationships, social scenarios, life decisions but then there are some random songs about their favorite place to eat or driving home from work.

I have tons of memories of listening to All in my youth. Many of them have to do with skateboarding as that was the prominent activity I partook in as a teen. I remember skateboarding in my buddies driveway with “Allroy’s Revenge” cranking on his cheesy Sony boom box. His house was up on a small hill so even on the hottest days there was a cool breeze. I remember the smell of the creosote on his parent’s well maintained driveway, the fresh grass clippings gently drifting on the breeze and the lack of any responsibility at all when my biggest concern was if I could get that girl in school to like me. Ahh, the salad days.

All was formed in Los Angeles California in 1987 by Stephen Egerton, Karl Alvarez and Bill Stevenson. The main reason for All’s existence was the disbandment of another popular band of the day, Descendents. Upon departure of Descendents lead singer the rest of the band members wanted to continue on so they got a new singer by the name of Dave Smalley, then they took the name of Descendents last album to pay homage to their beginnings. Dave Smalley had already made quite a name for himself while singing for Dag Nasty so in a way that early All was a super-group. Though for everything they had going for them Dave left after just over a year. A fellow by the Scott Reynolds joined the band to fill Dave’s shoes and boy did he. For me this is All’s golden years. One thing that’s always a debate among All fans is which was the best singer, that’s an easy one, Scott Reynolds. Every album with Scott on the mic is a masterpiece of pop punk. Scott would leave the band in 1993 and Chad Price would follow. Don’t get me wrong, Chad Price is great too but his albums just aren’t the same caliber, alright “Breaking Things” and “Pummel” are pretty good but the later ones just don’t do it for me.

One tidbit I find interesting about All is that while they started in Los Angeles they only remained there for a couple years before moving to Fort Collins, Colorado. You don’t hear of many bands leaving the plasticine capital for such a humble destination but their reasons were purely functional. It made touring both coasts easier. From the more central location they were able to regularly tour both coasts and indeed they did.

Over the years All has a relatively humble catalog to show for their labors but it’s truly quality over quantity. Of the entire catalog I’d recommend starting with “Allroy’s Revenge” and if you like that moving on to “Percolator”. Those two albums are my faves. “Breaking Things” gets an honorable mention and “Pummel” is great too although it’s a lot heavier then all the others.

1) Allroy Sez [1988]
2) Allroy for Prez [1988]
3) Allroy’s Revenge [1989]
4) Allroy Saves [1990]
5) Trailblazer [1990] *live
6) Percolater [1992]
7) Breaking Things [1993]
8) Pummel [1995]
9) Mass Nerder [1998]
10) Problematic [2000]
11) Live Plus One [2001] *live

2 comments to All

You must be logged in to post a comment.