Formed by vocalist Tony Cadena and bass player Steve Soto in late 1979, the assorted line-ups of Adolescents have featured a veritable who’s who of players from the biggest names of the California punk scene. Soto himself cut his teeth performing in Agent Orange and in Adolescents’ very first line-up, their guitarist Frank Agnew was late of Social Distortion. Even though the band couldn’t quite keep a steady rhythm section throughout their first year, they still managed to sign to Posh Boy Records and release their debut single “Amoeba” later in 1980. Almost exactly a year after their debut, the band had recruited Agnew’s brother Rikk into the fold on Rhythm guitar, and fellow Social D veteran Casey Royer on the drums, and they were ready to go into the studio to record their first album. They signed with Frontier Records to release it, and the self-titled record was released was released in May after being recorded and mastered in four days flat.
The album was hugely acclaimed and was for a time the biggest selling Californian punk album ever after “Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables” by The Dead Kennedys. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to keep the band together after more than a few months. Rikk Agnew was the first to go, and briefly the band replaced him with The Germs’ Pat Smear (who would later join the Foo Fighters), but he was unable to tour with the band. By August, the writing was on the wall and the Adolescents split up, each member either joining existing bands or starting new ones. While the story of the Adolescents was far from over, it wasn’t until the start of the 21st century that the band started finally getting their dues, even after reuniting for three years in 1986. Many bands who swore by their first two albums became enormous in the 1990’s, like Blink-182, The Offspring and Red Hot Chili Peppers to name but a few. This level of exposure meant that when the band reunited again in 2001, they did so to a far bigger audience than they’d ever had before, and they immediately began performing live at the biggest shows of their career.
The band have released five acclaimed studio albums since reforming
and are a bigger live draw than ever before, as their heroic slot on the 2010 Vans Warped Tour show. Sadly in June of 2018 they lost one of their founding members: Steve Soto. Unsure how to move forward they play in his honor so the music he created, the friendships he built and the smile he always shared can be remembered and cherished forever.