Punk rock may have started in the big cities but it was made for the suburbs. It was a Punk rock may have started in the big cities but it was made for the suburbs. It was a lifeline for suburban kids who were bored out of their skulls with miles of block walls and the occasional mini mall. It was in this teenage wasteland 2O some years ago that the Adolescents came to fruition. Too young to fully grasp the world in turmoil and the dawn of Regan they were more concerned with the personal politics of growing up in a place where individuality was frowned upon and conformity was becoming a time honored tradition with which you could make your parents proud.
Steve Soto was a founding member of Agent Orange whose song “Bloodstains” had been getting some radio play on “Rodney on the Roq” Rodney Binginheimer was an LA scenester who was making a small splash around the southland by playing punk rock and the kids in the suburbs were listening. Not only was he playing songs by the Ramones and the Sex Pistols he was playing local bands too like the Germs and the Bags. Agent Orange started playing in Hollywood and when they could in OC.
It was at one of these shows that Steve met Tony Cadena. Punk rock could not have found a more perfect fit than in the life of Tony Cadena a disenfranchised kid who was way to smart for his own good. As Steve recalls it “ Tony was the wildest kid at our shows the first person I ever saw do a stage dive, he was out of control… he also had a lot to say, before I ever heard him sing I knew he was going to front a band.” Figuring they may as well be in this band together and already fed up with the surf music that AO was tapping into Soto started the Adolescents with Tony.
Rikk Agnew who had been playing around the local punk scene first in Social Distortion and then with the Detours was the first person they asked to play guitar. He turned them down but suggested his kid brother Frank. After hearing the Clash’s “give em enough rope” LP Soto was convinced that they should have two guitar players so they recruited John O'Donovan. Somewhere along the line they got a drummer who was dubbed Peter Pan…. He had a moustache… punk drummers were hard to come by. They did some shows and quickly started gaining momentum. The suburban kids came because they were cut from the same cloth. It wasn’t some hip guy from Hollywood onstage playing guitar it was the guy from 3rd period English… Rikk soon changed his mind and brought along the detours drummer Casey Royer (also a Social D alumni and totally opposed to facial hair) and a batch of amazing songs (exit John and Pan stage left) One of those songs “Amoeba” ended up on the Rodney on the Roq lp and was played not only on Rodney’s show but found it’s way on to KROQ’s top ten play list. It was this line up, made up of the Agnew brothers twin guitar attack (whose influence can be heard on a majority of the punk that came after it) and the teen angst of Tony Cadena (relating directly to the teenage outcast who not only faced the daily grind of verbal and physical abuse from his or her peers for wanting to look and act differently but also had to look forward to dealing with the impending doom of adulthood.) that made the blue album for Frontier records and they did it in three days.
From here on out it was a wild ride but as the shows got bigger so did the tension between members and as is true with most bands at some point the decided they didn’t want to be in the same room with each other much less play music together. Rikk left first and was replaced by Pat Smear who had been in the Germs and would someday find his way into Nirvana and then the Foo Fighters. Pat couldn’t tour at the time so he was replaced by Casey’s roommate (Steve Roberts) who could. This line up recorded the “Welcome to Reality” ep and were set to do a US tour but before the band could hit the road they split up…
They regrouped in 86 without Casey and Frank and recorded the “brats in battalions” LP with Sandy Hansen on Drums and younger brother Alfie Agnew on guitar. Tony left in 88 and Rikk and Steve took over on lead vocals. They released Balboa fun zone the same year and Frank had returned to the fold but after 3 years of extensive touring the band called it quits again. They all continued to make music and went on to play in numerous bands such as DI, Christian Death, the Flower Leopards , Abandoned, ADZ Legal Weapon, TSOL, 22 jacks and Manic Hispanic as well as providing backup work for solo projects by Joey Ramone and everyone’s favorite go go Jane Weidlen.
In 2001 the “ Blue Album “ line regrouped to play a few shows… they have been at it ever since. Casey and Rikk didn’t last too long being that their interests lie elsewhere. Casey was replaced by Derek O’Brien the original drummer for Social Distortion He and Frank had played in their first punk band together (the inhumaners ) back in the late 70’s. Besides S.D. ,DOB had played in Legal Weapon , DI, Agent Orange and extra fancy. According to Steve “we had to get DOB he had played with every other band in Fullerton so why not us” Rikk’s shoes were a little harder to fill. Starting out with a few legendary “temps” (Greg Hetson of Bad Religion/Circle Jerks fame and Johnny “two bags “ Wikersham of Social Distortion and the Cadillac Tramps) the band finally settled in with Franks son Frank Jr. taking over where his uncle had left off.
In 2005 the Adolescents were back in action playing their songs to a whole new group of teenagers who missed the glory days of punk but got the message all the same. For it’s 25th anniversary the band came out with some new releases Frontier records released a compilation of demos from the early years including a previously unreleased Adolescent’s version of “Richard hung himself” and the band finished a record of new material titled “OC Confidential” a return to the power and intensity of the “blue album” while keeping both feet firmly planted in the now. A tribute to the blue album featuring bands such as Nofx, Dropkick Murphy’s, Pennywise, Pully and the Bouncing Souls to name a few is also in the works… the band spent the second half of 2005 and 2006 on the road . Frank Jr returned to school and was replaced by Matt Beld (Los Infernos , Cadillac Tramps) Steve had produced the first Los Infernos cd and had been a “Matt” fan ever since . His playing and energy help make an already powerful live show that much better.
After their great album from 2011 "The Fastest Kid Alive", the band is going to release their upcoming studio album "Presumed Insolent" on Concrete Jungle Records again! With this album the "Adolescents" show that they have a knack for unique hits. 13 great punkrock songs with that typical ADOLESCENTS sound, combining the old with the new, will be released as CD, blue vinyl limited to 1000 copies incl. MP3 download card and digital download.