True to the lyrics in one of his band’s most popular songs, “I Like Food,” Descendents frontman Milo Auckerman can’t wait to tour Japan again and gobble down one of the country’s most famous dishes.
“A lot of the tours for me are defined by what great food we can have. So [drummer] Bill [Stevenson] and I would go out every day and eat ramen in Japan. Probably three meals a day of ramen, just straight up. That was a big memory for me: ‘Wake up. Okay, it’s time for some ramen breakfast!'”
Based on his enthusiasm for those Japanese noodles, and the sold out live shows the Descendents now put on around the world, Auckerman and his bandmates haven’t lost the trademark intensity that won them a devoted following when they released “I Like Food” along with a handful of other tracks on their 1981 EP, Fat.
Ahead of the band’s sold out April 24 performance at Tsutaya O-East, Auckerman tells us more about being an elder punk rocker, a globe-trotting foodie and more.
So the ramen you had in Japan was much better than what you had back home?
Yes and by the time we left we were hooked on it. On the way home, in an airport somewhere there was a ramen place, and we thought ‘Yeah, let’s keep our three-meal-a-day ramen habit up!’ But we realized we weren’t in Japan anymore, so it wasn’t as good as you’d imagine.
What other great meals have you had while touring the world?
We played South America three years ago. Had never been before. And I was told when we got there: ‘You’re going to eat a lot of meat.’ Sure enough, the first thing we did was go to this hot dog stand that had, ya know, every hot dog creation you could imagine. Then the next day it was Fogo de Chão (Brazilian steakhouse). And then the next day we were in Argentina, and the promoter took us to this place where they kept bringing out meat upon meat upon meat. I’m not a vegetarian, but I almost went vegetarian after that. We called it the meat ambush, because they just wouldn’t stop. They want to impress you by how much meat they have, as visitors. But after awhile my GI tract just gave up. My body just said ‘I reject this.’ That was South America for me, getting the meat sweats.
I’ve heard crowds can be quite enthusiastic in South America, at least compared to some US cities.
Yeah, we did a show in Costa Rica and people were so happy. For many of them, it was their first chance to see us. People can get kind of emotional. And I’m like, ‘It’s okay, it’s okay!’ [laughs] But yes, the crowds were great. We’d never played Mexico before that either, and it was also a crazy rabid crowd. We gotta go back for sure. And I just had a great time touring around Argentina and Brazil. I did some bike riding and saw the sights a bit.
And have you discovered any amazing local coffees in your travels? After all, you’re famous for consuming copious amounts of caffeine to be able to play such short quick songs, with “Coffee Mug” maybe being the best example.
We did this Italy tour, a few years ago, and just had the most amazing coffee and meals there. The thing about coffee is you can get good espresso almost anywhere now. I don’t think Italy has the market cornered anymore. It used to be that way, but now you walk down to the corner and you’re all good.
We went a few blocks from the club we played and had an incredible dinner. The whole band went, and they just kept bringing stuff out, and the wine that went with it, oh wow. They were basically just trying to have our guts split open. That’s always memorable, when it’s that impressive a presentation.
What was it like to perform there?
Italy is great. We usually just play Milan, but I’d also love to go to Naples and Rome, we never seem to make it down that far to those areas. Every time we go over there it’s amazing.
It was an outdoor show that we played in Milan last time, and my brother happened to be over there, which made it memorable for me because he hadn’t seen me play in many, many years. One thing about playing an outdoor show in Italy now is that it’s a striking contrast from when we used to play Italy in squat houses back in the ’80s for 200 Italian kids. Now it’s much bigger, so it’s fun to reminisce. Yes, it sure has been fun.
Find details for the Descendents April 24 performance on our events calendar.
Feature image by Kevin Scanlon