Altar Boys were Christian punk rock band from California formed in 1982. The original members were Mike Stand (vocals, songwriting, and guitar), Jeff Crandall (drums), Steve Pannier (guitars) and Ric Alba (bass, background vocals). Mark Robertson would later replace Alba on bass.
The formation of The Altar Boys, according to Mike Stand:
“In 1980 I committed my life to Jesus Christ and began working on my salvation with “fear and trembling”. I began playing in a Christian rock group called “Image” with my cousins Jeff and Bill Crandall and a guy named Armand Barocio. We were not really that good, but it was a start. The band lasted for about two years.
Anyway, Bill and Armand kind of dropped out of Image after about a year and we got a different bass player along with Ken Tamplin from Shout but that really didn’t work either. Jeff and I decided to form a different band – the Altar Boys name came later. Ironically, we auditioned lead singers, and someone who could be a front man. I had no intention of being the main songwriter, singer or front man – it wasn’t even on my radar. As you might guess we couldn’t find anyone who fit the bill, so at some point I decided just to do it – I suppose it worked out in the end and was meant to be.
I remember in 1981 I went to see my brother’s band “The Lifesavors” play and became inspired. I became good friends with the guys in Undercover and began writing songs with a more punk feel to them. I kind of felt that I was just writing Beatles music that was sped up. We did experiment with ska and light pop, but I think we did the “power punk” (or whatever you want to call it) the best. Hence, you see the results of what I was really going for on Gut Level Music, When You’re a Rebel had hints of it as did Against the Grain. By the time we recorded Forever Mercy we had kind of strayed from our original sound – bad move.
Our first bass player came as a recommendation from Undercover, he stayed with us for about 2 years until Ric joined the band – that change improved the band greatly. Steve auditioned for the group in May of 1982 – he was a real good fit.
We played our first gig at First Baptist church in Fullerton in July of 1983. I have some great photos from that gig. We were well received. After that first performance the band sort of took off and we played anywhere and everywhere, about 10 times a month… I suppose the rest is history (With a small h).
We sought to be a little more melodic on Forever Mercy. But our fan base loved the hard driving stuff. With that said, the Forever Mercy project was just so different, it had its good moments but everyone wanted to hear Gut Level Music. In the end, the music did not “work” very well in the live setting. Hence we pulled mostly from our older material…. We were hoping to do a 6th record called No Substitute that really was basically more in line with Gut Level Music, but we just could not seem to get back into the studio. Some of those songs were used on the Clash of Symbol’s first recording while others are not going anywhere.”
|1984||Altar Boys||Ministry Resource Center|
|1985||When You're a Rebel||Alarma Records|
|1986||Gut Level Music||Alarma Records|
|1987||Against the Grain||Alarma Records|
|1989||Forever Mercy||Alarma Records|
|1991||The Collection||Alarma Records|
|2000||Live at Cornerstone||Millenium Eight Records|
|2018||No Substitute||Lo-Fidelity Records|
Mike Stand - Lead vocals, guitar
Steve Pannier - Guitar
First bass player?
Jeff Crandall - Drums
1984 Ministry Resource Center (SPCN-7-100-03372-19)
2002 Millenium Eight Records (M8D-1131)
Produced by Joey Taylor
1985 Broken Records (CD08796)
Produced by B. B. Stone
1986 Frontline Records (CD9006)
2015 Girder Records (GR1005)
Mike Stand - Guitar, Vvocals
Ric Alba - Bass, backing vocals, piano
Jeff Crandall - Drums, backing vocals
Produced by Terry Scott Taylor
Note: The 2015 re-issue included the missing unreleased song “I Just Can't Let Go” (3:59) inserted in between tracks 5 and 6.
Frontline Records (CD9023)
Produced by The Altar Boys and Terry Scott Taylor
1989 Alarma Records (FLD9057)
Steve Griffith - Additional drums, vocals, and guitar
Steve Pannier - Lead guitar on tracks: 5, 6, and 9
Produced by Steve Griffith
2000 Millenium Eight Records (M8D-1049)
1991 Alarma Records (FLD9268)
Collection of their best songs / greatest hits, with four remixes and three solo tracks from Mike Stand.
Demo tracks were recorded for this project, but never finished or released at the time they were recorded.
2000 Millenium Eight Records (M8D-1068)
Mike Stand - Lead vocals, guitar
Steve Pannier - Rhythm guitar, slide guitar
Mark Robertson - Bass, vocals
Jeff Crandall - Drums, vocals
2018 Lo-Fidelity Records
The unreleased demos from 1992 were cleaned up, finished, and finally released.