The Altar Boys were a Christian punk rock band from California, formed in 1982. The Altar Boys helped pioneer Christian rock music and were known for their Ramones-style punk music, which was radically different than the Christian music common at the time of their formation. Especially in their early years, they were known for being explicit with their faith in their lyrics. 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. Their first album sold over 7,000 copies without distribution, and their second disc sold 20,000 units in its first two months of release.
Their third and fourth releases, Gut Level Music and Against the Grain, propelled them to national standing. Gut Level Music was explicitly aimed at a secular audience, and marked changes designed to enhance their credibility with that audience. Their lyrical approach changed toward a more subtle expression of their faith. They also refined their sound in an attempt to distance themselves from the punk "garage band" image that they had acquired early on. They began playing in secular venues more often, and in 1987 toured England opening with The Jesus and Mary Chain.
The band went on an "indefinite hiatus" in 1992. However Mike Stand has resurrected much of the Altar Boys songs with his new project called "The Altar Billies". The Altar Billies are a "Punktry" band from Southern California. They are a Rockabilly/Psychobilly/Country style trio led by Mike Stand that perform many of the Altar Boys hits as well as songs from Mike's various solo projects.