Altar Boys

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Not to be confused with Altar Boyz.
For the ministers at religious services, see Altar server and Acolyte.

Altar Boys were a Christian punk rock band from California formed in 1982. Members included Mike Stand (vocals, songwriting, and guitar), Jeff Crandall (drums), Steve Pannier (guitars), Mark Robertson (bass), and Ric Alba.


The Altar Boys helped pioneer Christian rock music.[1] They were known for their Ramones-style punk music which was radically different than the Christian music common at the time of their formation.[2] Especially in their early years, they were known for being explicit with their faith in their lyrics.[2] Their sound was heavily influenced by the punk rock scene in Southern California, and they quickly became one of the best known Christian bands on that scene.[3]

The Altar Boys' first album issued on various labels (e.g. Ministry Resource Center/MRC, Maranatha! Music, and Broken Records) sold over 7,000 copies with their second selling 20,000 units in its first two months of release.[4]

Their third and fourth releases, Gut Level Music and Against the Grain, propelled them to national standing.[1][2] Gut Level Music was explicitly aimed at a secular audience, and marked changes designed to enhance their credibility with that audience.[4] Their lyrical approach changed toward a more subtle expression of their faith.[5] They also refined their sound in an attempt to distance themselves from the punk "garage band" image that they had acquired early on.[5]

The band went on an "indefinite hiatus" in 1992.[3] The group did a number of reunion concerts most notable was Cornerstone 2000 and 2002,[citation needed] and the Broken Records reunion event in July 2005.[citation needed] The group's final performance occurred in June 2006 at the Corona del Mar fair grounds.[citation needed]

Mike Stand has resurrected many of the Altar Boys songs with a "punktry" project called The Altar Billies.[6]

Former drummer and Stand's cousin, Jeff Crandall, is currently the worship pastor at Saguaro Canyon Church in Tucson, Arizona.[7]

Album discography[edit]

  • 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: The Collection (Alarma Records)
  • 2000: Live at Cornerstone (M8 Distribution)
  • 2000: Mercy Thoughts (M8 Distribution)
  • 2015: Gut Level Music (Girder Records)


  1. ^ a b Newcomb, Brian Quincy (May–June 1998). "History: Altar Boys". 7ball (18). 
  2. ^ a b c Powell, Mark Allan (2002). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music (First printing ed.). Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers. pp. 34–35. ISBN 1-56563-679-1. 
  3. ^ a b Thompson, John J. (2000). Raised by Wolves. ECW Press. p. 122. ISBN 978-1-55022-421-4. 
  4. ^ a b Well, Chris (June 1986). "The Altar Boys Come Out of the Garage". CCM Magazine. 8 (12): 14–15. ISSN 0746-0066. 
  5. ^ a b Newcomb, Brian Quincy (December 1987). "Altar Boys Make A Human Sound". CCM Magazine. 10 (6): 25. ISSN 1524-7848. 
  6. ^ Un (2011-11-01). "The Altar Billies | Gratis muziek, tourneedata, foto's, video's". Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  7. ^ "Music Ministries – Saguaro Canyon EFC". Retrieved 2012-02-01. 

External links[edit]

  • Altar Boys discography at MusicBrainz
  • [1] - Altar Boys Facebook page
  • [2] - Official Altar Boys YouTube channel
  • [3] - Altar Billies Facebook page
  • [4] - Altar Billies YouTube Channel