The Adolescents, the Southern California punk band founded in 1980 in Fullerton, still can make a living with summer-only touring and one-off weekend shows, thanks to legions of fans who patiently wait for tour announcements.
After a revolving door of musicians, original members bassist Steve Soto and Tony Cadena have found a seemingly steady lineup with guitarist Dan Root (since 2011), rhythm guitarist Ian Taylor (since 2014) and drummer Mike Cambra (since 2013).
And while their band has inspired countless acts, including (but not limited to) The Offspring, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mudhoney, The Vandals, Face To Face and Blink 182, the Adolescents still happily tour in small clubs and theaters.
Steve Soto took some time recently for an update about the band.
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Q: Are you cool with the limitations placed on the band?
A: Definitely. Our singer Tony is a school teacher and a father of three so we work with his schedule. I don’t have kids, so I’ve been out playing live with CJ Ramone for the last couple of years. I also play in Punk Rock Karaoke. Everybody can pretty much do what they want to when we’re not playing or recording.
Q: Most people would readily assume your fans are in their late 50s since you’re celebrating 35 years of Adolescents music (with, of course, many extended breaks in between). Is that the case?
A: Actually, it’s quite the opposite. When we can, we try to play mostly all-ages venues. In Southern California, the majority of our fans are 15-25 years old. When we play the Observatory in Santa Ana, we usually sell it out, and that place holds 1,200 people. Of course, there’s also a lot of parents that bring their kids as well. However, when we leave our home base, we realize we’re going to be playing for much smaller crowds. We draw between 200-250 people in small towns and upwards of 500-700 people in major cities like Chicago and Washington, D.C., or New York.
Q: Your 2014 release, “La Vendetta,” was released on the staunchly independent Frontier Records. How does that work out for you?
A: Frontier gives us an awesome 50/50 split on the albums, and we don’t need to pay for them up front when we need stuff to sell. One of our former labels, Triple X records (“Balboa Fun*Zone” in 1988), has not sent us a payment or a statement in over 20 years. We’ve released an album nearly every year over the past five years in Europe, but they have not been distributed here.
Q: Since your humble beginnings, do you still have as much fun touring nowadays?
A: I think we have more fun now. When we’re looking for people to play with, we always say, “You can’t put a price on a good hang.” Back in the day there was a lot of drug abuse and egos. Now we enjoy ourselves doing what we do best: playing live.
- What: The punk rockers appear with another Southern California export, the Weirdos.
- When: 6:30 p.m. Sunday
- Where: The Boardwalk, 9426 Greenback Lane, Orangevale
- Cost: $17
- Information: (916) 988-9247, www.theboardwalkpresents.com