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Altar Boys

Punk Rock
California, USA

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.”

Discography

1983 Demo
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
1990 Mercy Thoughts
1991 The Collection Alarma Records
1992 No Substitute (unreleased)
2000 Live at Cornerstone Millenium Eight Records
2018 No Substitute Lo-Fidelity Records

Demo

1983 Independent

Mike Stand - Lead vocals, guitar
Steve Pannier - Guitar
First bass player?
Jeff Crandall - Drums

  1. Go for You (2:17)
  2. Mary Ann (2:42)
  3. You're Lost (1:36)
  4. Anytime at All (2:21)

Altar Boys

1984 Ministry Resource Center (SPCN-7-100-03372-19)
2002 Millenium Eight Records (M8D-1131)

Mike Stand - Guitar, lead vocals
Steve Pannier - Guitar
Ric Alba - Bass, keyboards
Jeff Crandall - Drums, vocals

Produced by Joey Taylor

  1. Alright! (2:24)
  2. I'm Into God (2:52)
  3. Have a Clue (2:36)
  4. Where's It Gonna Lead You (2:24)
  5. You Found Me (3:46)
  6. Take in the Son (2:44)
  7. Well O.K. (2:36)
  8. Good Life (3:31)
  9. Oh, Oh Nancy (1:33)
  10. We Love Jesus (2:40)
  11. It's Up to You (3:07)
2002 Re-issue Bonus Tracks:
  1. Go for You (2:17)
  2. Mary Ann (2:42)
  3. You're Lost (1:36)
  4. Anytime at All (2:21)

When You're a Rebel

1985 Broken Records (CD08796)

Mike Stand - Lead vocals, guitars
Ric Alba - Bass, backing vocals
Jeff Crandall - Drums, percussion, backing vocals

Produced by B. B. Stone

  1. Difference in Me (4:06)
  2. More of You (2:58)
  3. Calling Out to Believers! (3:23)
  4. When I'm With God (2:33)
  5. I'm Into God (reprise) (1:44)
  6. When You're a Rebel (3:58)
  7. Jesus is Number One (2:46)
  8. If You Let Him In (2:25)
  9. When I See You (3:08)
  10. He Knows You Better (2:58)
  11. Does God's Heart Cry? (4:35)

Gut Level Music

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

  1. You Are Loved (4:12)
  2. G.L.M. (Gut Level Music) (4:04)
  3. I'm Not Talking About Religion (3:58)
  4. I Question It (2:45)
  5. You Found Me (3:42)
  6. Unconditional Love (3:33)
  7. There is a Love (4:18)
  8. Calling to You (3:12)
  9. Final Hour (2:56)
  10. Life Begins at the Cross (4:09)

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.


Against the Grain

Frontline Records (CD9023)

Mike Stand - Guitars, vocals
Ric Alba - Bass, backing vocals
Jeff Crandall - Drums, percussion, backing vocals

Produced by The Altar Boys and Terry Scott Taylor

  1. Fallen World (4:05)
  2. Kids are on the Run (3:48)
  3. Hearts Lost in Nowhere (4:01)
  4. Broken (3:56)
  5. Where's the New World? (5:18)
  6. Against the Grain (2:28)
  7. Human Sound (4:21)
  8. Take Control (3:11)
  9. Shout Louder! (3:33)
  10. Count on Love (4:27)

Forever Mercy

1989 Alarma Records (FLD9057)

Mike Stand - Lead vocals, lead guitar, harmonica
Ric Alba - Bass, guitar, vocals
Jeff Crandall - Drums, percussion, vocals

Steve Griffith - Additional drums, vocals, and guitar
Steve Pannier - Lead guitar on tracks: 5, 6, and 9

Produced by Steve Griffith

  1. Forever Mercy (4:20)
  2. Listen Up (4:28)
  3. Faith! (4:03)
  4. The Meaning of Life (4:26)
  5. Ride This Train (4:26)
  6. World Burning (4:00)
  7. Here Ends the Night (3:53)
  8. Love Eternal (3:55)
  9. More Than Words (3:48)
  10. Silent Night (4:13)

Mercy Thoughts

1990 Independent
2000 Millenium Eight Records (M8D-1049)

1990 Tape version
  1. Well O.K. (live 1984) (2:38)
  2. You're Lost (1983 2nd demo) (1:31)
  3. Where's It Gonna Lead You (live 1984) (2:26)
  4. When You're a Rebel (live 1984) (3:49)
  5. You are Loved (live 1989) (4:43)
  6. Fallen World (live 1989) (4:32)
  7. Do I Stand Alone? (demo version) (4:29)
  8. It's Me (unreleased solo demo) (3:56)
  9. Life in the Streets (unreleased solo demo) (3:42)
  10. World Burning (demo version 1989) (3:27)
  11. Altar Boys Go Skating (unreleased track from the Forever Mercy sessions) (2:31)
  12. Stand & Fall (solo demo 1989) (4:15)
  13. I Can Hear (unreleased track from the Simple Expressions sessions) (4:54)
2000 Millenium Eight Records Version
  1. Listen to Your Heart Breakdown (demo version 1983) (2:39)
  2. Take in the Son (live 1983) (2:33)
  3. Come Along and See (live 1983) (2:36)
  4. Now Your Mine (live 1983) (2:41)
  5. You're Lost (1983 2nd demo) (1:31)
  6. Well O.K. (live 1984) (2:38)
  7. Where's It Gonna Lead You (live 1984) (2:26)
  8. When You're a Rebel (live 1984) (3:49)
  9. Gut Level Music (basic track 1986) (4:17)
  10. You are Loved (live 1989) (4:43)
  11. Fallen World (live 1989) (4:32)
  12. Do I Stand Alone? (demo version) (4:29)
  13. It's Me (unreleased solo demo) (3:56)
  14. Life in the Streets (unreleased solo demo) (3:42)
  15. World Burning (demo version 1989) (3:27)
  16. Altar Boys Go Skating (unreleased track from the Forever Mercy sessions) (2:31)
  17. Throw Your Torches Down (live reference demo 1989) (3:41)
  18. Altar Boys Go Skating (acoustic version) (demo 1989) (2:26)
  19. Stand & Fall (solo demo 1989) (4:15)
  20. I Can Hear (unreleased track from the Simple Expressions sessions) (4:54)

The Collection

1991 Alarma Records (FLD9268)

Collection of their best songs / greatest hits, with four remixes and three solo tracks from Mike Stand.

  1. You are Loved (remix) (4:11)
  2. Heart Lost in Nowhere (4:06)
  3. Against the Grain (2:27)
  4. Broken (4:00)
  5. I Question It (extended remix) (2:51)
  6. There is a Love (4:18)
  7. Forever Mercy (extended remix) (5:18)
  8. World Burning (remix) (4:03)
  9. Life Begins at the Cross (4:10)
  10. The Meaning of Life (4:56)
  11. Ride This Train (4:23)
  12. GLM (Gut Level Music) (4:10)
  13. Mike Stand - I'm Only Human (3:36)
  14. Mike Stand - Do I Stand Alone? (4:33)
  15. Mike Stand - Footsteps of Love (3:54)

No Substitute

1992 unreleased

Demo tracks were recorded for this project, but never finished or released at the time they were recorded.

  1. Rebel Rock
  2. History Comes Back
  3. Light of Freedom
  4. Outside in the Distance
  5. Surround Me
  6. You are the One
  7. 1,000 Miles
  8. We Will Hold On
  9. Let me See Your Hands
  10. No Substitute

Live at Cornerstone

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

  1. Against the Grain (5:05)
  2. You Found Me (4:35)
  3. If You Let Him In (0:13)
  4. Gut Level Music (GLM) (4:20)
  5. He Knows You Better (3:07)
  6. [band introduction] (1:13)
  7. I Question It (3:10)
  8. You Are Loved (3:57)
  9. Heart Lost in Nowhere (3:58)
  10. Life Begins at the Cross (4:43)
  11. [audience applause] (1:58)
  12. I'm Into God (2:34)
  13. When You're a Rebel (4:45)

No Substitute

2018 Lo-Fidelity Records

The unreleased demos from 1992 were cleaned up, finished, and finally released.

  1. Rebel Rock (4:38)
  2. No Substitute (4:00)
  3. Let Me See Your Hands (3:32)
  4. Light of Freedom (4:01)
  5. Outside in the Distance (3:25)
  6. History Comes Back to Haunt This World (5:18)
  7. The Kids Cry (3:58)
  8. Surround Me (4:34)
  9. Thousand Miles (4:27)
  10. Devotion (4:28)
  11. Give Our Hearts Back to God (4:16)
  12. Revolution of Love (2:53)