Released in 1981 and clocking in at under a half-hour, the debut album by The Adolescents — affectionately known as The Blue Album — helped to lay the groundwork for the emerging Southern California hard-core and skate punk scene. The teenage band that recorded The Blue Album didn’t stay together for long, but their influence was felt strongly in SoCal and beyond.
Several reunions and albums followed, and although their ages are no longer in the adolescent range, The Adolescents continue to record and tour, with an upcoming show at Velvet Jones on Thursday, July 9. Tickets are available by clicking here.
Today’s band includes original singer Tony Cadena and bassist Steve Soto, who answered Noozhawk’s questions by email. Also on the program is L.A. punk rock pioneers The Weirdos.
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Jeff Moehlis: Back in the late 1970s/early ’80s, were you a fan of The Weirdos, who will also be performing at the upcoming show?
Steve Soto: Yes, we were all big fans of The Weirdos. It is a big honor for us to have them on the tour.
JM: Before forming The Adolescents, you were in the original lineup of Agent Orange. What are some of your memories of that time?
SS: I was 14, and it was my first band. We played a few parties then started playing Hollywood. I played on “Bloodstains” … It was a blast but I wanted to write and be in a band with two guitarists, and we went our separate ways. … I think Mike [Palm] is awesome and love that Agent Orange is still out there doing it!
JM: The first Adolescents album is almost 35 years old. What are your reflections on that album?
SS: I’ve said this before: The album was not dated. It’s about teenage alienation from the viewpoint of the teenager, so it means just as much to a disenfranchised kid today as it did in 1981.
JM: How did you know that Tony Cadena was the right singer for The Adolescents?
SS: Instinct. … I just knew.
JM: Why did The Adolescents break up in 1981?
SS: We were kids. … It all happened fast and then it imploded — 16 months from start to finish.
JM: What was the good, the bad and the ugly about the early SoCal punk and hard-core scenes?
SS: The good was the music, most of which still holds up. The bad was the drug and alcohol abuse that took many of our scene way too soon. And the violence was the ugly.
JM: What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?
SS: Don’t give up if you feel it in your heart. Fight to make it happen.
JM: What are your plans, musical or otherwise, for the near future?
SS: We are gonna start on a new record in the fall after we finish our summer tour with The Weirdos, and go to South America in August.
JM: Do you want to set the record straight on anything related to The Adolescents, or otherwise?
SS: We don’t hate children. [JM: The first song on The Blue Album is called “I Hate Children.”]
JM: Where are you responding from?
SS: Somewhere in Connecticut.
— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, music-illuminati.com. The opinions expressed are his own.