Bill Stevenson, The Pioneer of Modern Punk Drumming

The Story of Bill Stevenson may sound like a fairytale. However, it can be likened to the tales of the greatest minds of all times, like Bill Gates and the likes – only, in the music industry.

Bill Stevenson Performing
Bill Stevenson Performing

It is because of his innovativeness and dedication to delivering the best music across genres that Stevenson features in the greatest of all times.  

Bill Stevenson is well known for offering two raging backbeats for two strains of SoCal punk. First, the drummer became famous at an early age of 14 years when he co-founded Descendents in 1977. This was one of his major successes, which would become the turning moment for his life.

At such a tender age, no one would have imagined anyone could start a band that could take over the world. But the Descendant’s heartbreaking proto-emo anthems proved otherwise. They were all stamped with Stevenson’s signature machine-gun rolls that rambled through the air every time he played. And that is not all, the drummer wrote and produced most of these songs himself.

Bill’s understanding and skills in music led him to become one of the best performers of his time. It was his pieces at this time that laid the foundation for great works like Green Day, Blink-182, Fall Out Boy, and Weezer.

The second part of his life began in the early eighties when he joined the iconic L.A punk brutalist, Black Flag. It was a time when the band was arguably in their most creative phase. One of the best albums from this period is the Slip It In, which has remained a great inspiration for many drummers even today.

My War is another album that was realized with the help of Stevenson, and it has gone on to remain iconic ever since. His contribution to the band led it into being the greatest of its period, touring many places across the world with their hard-rock music style.

Stevenson was gifted with a steady, yet mutable approach to drums is the reason guitarist Greg Ginn was able to explore everything from the solid metal to spastic punk-gone-jazz. 

Performing With The Descendents
Performing With The Descendents

It has been a great journey of discovery for the guitarist, helping him achieve most of his targets. “If there is one thing I am sure of, Bill is someone you cannot avoid loving. It is just in his nature to work well with everyone.” Said Greg. Perhaps this is the reason Stevenson has remained a source of inspiration for many other musicians in the world.

Despite working with another band, Stevenson has maintained a busy touring schedule with Descendants. There is an offshoot band called All, which, together with the Black Flag tribute project, Flag, attributes their success to Stevenson’s hyper-creative character and everyday influence.

One of the biggest aspects they copied is caffeine use, which they say was used a lot in their group. One would also eat 50 Snickers bars, before playing because of the energy they needed to deliver good work. Bill Stevenson is not only a drummer but a creator of art.

What do you think?

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Written by Andrea

Andrea is a music lover and an experienced drummer with more than 15 years of drumming with different bands and music projects, such as Seditius and Hermano & the Marines.

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