Published on April 9th, 2019

Adolescents by Matze

The Adolescents are indicative of all that is personified in west coast hardcore punk rock: They’re fast, snotty and couldn’t care less what you think. It’s that founding attitude that keeps records such as the band’s self-titled 1981 debut sounding fresh to this day.

It’s nearly impossible to discuss the Adolescents without mentioning bassist Steve Soto, a co-founder and the only continuous member from day one until his passing last June at age 54. Soto was also an original part of surf punk band Agent Orange. His death leaves singer Tony Reflex as the next longest-tenured of the Adolescents.

A lot of the steam that kickstarted hardcore has dissipated with overexposure brought on by the now defunct (thank God) Warped Tour and the packaging of outlaw sports as X Games over the last two decades-plus. Some people reading this discovered the Adolescents through the soundtrack to various Tony Hawk skateboarding games. Those appearances didn’t help the watering down of the genre. On the other hand, you have to eat.

Here’s the conundrum for the OG hardcore bands: Stay relevant by going with the times or stay parked on a dingy couch and playing in basements? While that may be an oversimplification, there are many bands who sat out that revolution, for better or worse, and are just now trying to get back all of the exposure they’ve lost. But hardcore is a young person’s game; clawing back into the zeitgeist 10, 20 years older or more is nigh unimaginable for those who spent years breaking their bodies in drained pools and circle pits. 

The Adolescents, who stepped away for 12 years from 1989 to 2001, know this. But what else do you do if you’ve already spent the majority of your life as a public nuisance with a decent vocabulary? Law school? Here we are in 2019. Life is Instagram-filtered. “Selfie” is in the Oxford Dictionary. Punk is a posture. The idea that people start bands and get crazy for fun seems remote. But nobody told the Adolescents, who turn 40 next year. Let’s skate.

The Adolescents play 8pm April 19 at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach with the Neighborhood Brats, Skate Crime and Sewerside Bombers, $15.  ~ Tim Moffatt

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