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Adolescents performing live on the 2007 Warped Tour
|Origin||Fullerton, California, U.S.|
The Adolescents are an American punk rock band formed in Fullerton, California in 1980 by Steve Soto and Tony Cadena. From its earliest days, the band has functioned as a kind of Southern California punk supergroup, being formed originally from early members of Agent Orange and Social Distortion.
Since its inception the Adolescents has undergone a series of break-ups, reunions, and line-up changes. Their first break-up came in 1981, the same year that their self-titled debut album was released. The band reunited in 1986 and released the albums Brats in Battalions and Balboa Fun*Zone before splitting up again in 1989. After a one-off reunion performance in 1994, the band reunited yet again in 2001 for a 20th anniversary tour and have continued performing ever since. The Adolescents began releasing new material again with the albums OC Confidential (2005) and The Fastest Kid Alive (2011).
The band has influenced many notable punk rock, alternative rock, hard rock, and heavy metal bands, including Bad Religion, NOFX, Face to Face, Good Riddance, The Offspring, Pennywise, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fu Manchu, Mudhoney, Blink-182 and The Vandals.
The beginning, first album and hiatus (1980–1985)
The Adolescents were formed by Steve Soto and Tony Cadena in January 1980 after Soto had left Agent Orange in December 1979. The original line-up was led by lead singer Tony Cadena, with Steve Soto on bass guitar, Frank Agnew on guitar, John O'Donovan on guitar, and Peter Pan on drums. Both O'Donovan and Pan left in June. Later that year, the band released the classic punk single "Amoeba" on Posh Boy Records. The track also appeared on the Rodney on the ROQ compilation, assembled by radio disc jockey Rodney Bingenheimer. It is one of the band's best known songs.
The Adolescents signed with Frontier Records in January 1981 and recorded their debut record, Adolescents, known as the Blue Album in early March. From start to master, the album took four days to complete. It was released the following month, and quickly became one of the best-selling California punk albums, behind the Dead Kennedys' Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. Despite this success, Rikk Agnew left the band in April 1981, just at the time the album was being released, and was replaced by Pat Smear formerly of the Germs. Unfortunately, Smear couldn't tour, and after three months, he left the band in order for the Adolescents to find a guitarist who was able to tour. The Adolescents' last replacement during this period was Casey Royer's then roommate Steve Roberts. This line-up recorded the "Welcome to Reality" EP in July 1981, but by August 1981, the Adolescents had decided to disband. The "Welcome to Reality" EP was finally released in October 1981, also on Frontier Records, but the EP failed to achieve a comparable level of critical and commercial success, and the remaining band members decided to move on to other projects. Cadena formed The Abandoned, Steve Soto and Frank Agnew joined Legal Weapon, Royer formed and fronted D.I. with Roberts joining soon thereafter, albeit briefly, and Rikk Agnew joined Christian Death.
In 1982, Rikk Agnew recorded his solo album All by Myself. His solo effort, which was also released on Frontier Records, included the original versions of "O.C. Life" and "Falling Out", songs which D.I. later rerecorded and released on their debut album Ancient Artifacts after Agnew had joined them in 1983.
Two reunions (1986–2000)
In 1986, the Adolescents reformed with their original line-up and started to work on a new album. Before recording Casey Royer and Frank Agnew left the band. Royer had wanted to keep D.I. going (until 1995), and Agnew lost interest. Sandy Hansen took Royer's place on drums and Alfie took Frank's place on guitar. They recorded Brats in Battalions in the late summer. The album was released in August 1987 due to the band deciding to produce and release the album themselves with little cash or backing.
At the end of 1986 Alfie went to college and his place was taken by Dan Colburn; by the end of the year Cadena and Colburn left.
In 1988, Rikk Agnew and Steve Soto decided to replace Colburn with Paul Casey and start singing themselves. When Casey left the tour Frank Agnew replaced him on guitar, after touring the band recorded their then-final album Balboa Fun*Zone.
The Adolescents broke up in April 1989. Steve Soto, Sandy Hansen and Frank Agnew started Joyride and Rikk Agnew did a couple of solo albums.
On October 22, 1994, the Adolescents reunited for a one-off performance at the Independence Day '94 festival, which was held as benefit show for the Huntington Youth Shelter.
Third reunion and the future of the band (2001–present)
The band reformed to tour for the 20th anniversary of their self-titled album in 2001 and have continued to perform. Live guitarists can vary depending on who is available—their summer 2006 tour had Joe Harrison and Matt Beld in place of the Agnews. They released their first reunion album, OC Confidential, in 2005 on Finger Records, a label owned and run by Mel Schantz out of Orange County, California.
In March 2007, bass guitarist Steve Soto confirmed that the Adolescents had begun writing material for their follow-up to O.C. Confidential, which was possibly due for release "by the end of" that year. In late 2007, the Adolescents announced in a MySpace blog entry that they were working on the new album originally expected to released in the spring of 2008. In March 2009, the band announced that they were in the process of writing lyrics to the album and were to begin recording shortly. The album, The Fastest Kid Alive was released June 3, 2011, on Concrete Jungle Records. The Adolescents toured the record in Europe in 2011, and 2012.
In 2012, the Adolescents recorded and released American Dogs in Europe, a chronicle of their 2011 European tour, in which the band and their crew were held in Bavaria, and their van and luggage searched for four hours. The band were tested, x-rayed, and released. Early in 2013 the band's European driver and tour manager, Chris "Big Rock" Shaefer died in Prague, Czech Republic. Their friendship is chronicled, along with the trials of Tony Cadena's autistic son and the isolation and segregation the family faced at the hands of the Sierra Madre Elementary School community on the 2013, release Presumed Insolent. This was followed by the 2014/15 release "La Vendetta" which saw the band return to Frontier Records after 34 years.
Current and former live musicians
- Steve Roberts – guitar (1981)
- Matt Beld – guitar (2006)
- Warren Renfrow – bass guitar (2007-2008)
- Gilbert Picardo – guitar (2013-2014)
|1981||Adolescents||Debut release. Reissued in 1997, then again in 2001.|
|1987||Brats in Battalions||The first Adolescents album since their first break up.|
|1988||Balboa Fun*Zone||Final album before breaking up again.|
|2005||OC Confidential||First album since their second reunion; chosen as one of the "ten best OC albums of the first ten years of 21st Century" by OC Weekly.|
|2011||The Fastest Kid Alive|
|2014||La Vendetta||Cited as the "best punk album of 2014" by OC Weekly.|
|1981||Welcome to Reality EP||EP (Re-released in a re-issue of self-titled album) All tracks re-recorded for Brats in Battalions|
|1987||Rat Music for Rat People, Vol. 3||CD Presents Compilation|
|1989||Live in 1981 and 1986||Live album|
|1997||Return to the Black Hole||Live album|
|2003||Live at the House of Blues 10/3/03 (The Show Must Go Off!)||Live album; CD/DVD Set|
|2004||Unwrap and Blow Me||EP - All tracks featured on OC Confidential|
|2005||Naughty Women in Black Sweaters: The Complete Demos 1980–1986||Compilation album|
|2009||Split 12" with Burning Heads||Split LP with French band Burning Heads|
|2012||American Dogs in Europe||EP|
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