For decades, punk rock has been a way for countless people to cope with the world they live in. The music takes us to our favorite place in the back of our minds where we can be enraged, smile, laugh or cry. Bands like the Damned, Sex Pistols, Ramones, Social Distortion and X have been on the frontline of our punk rock soundtracks of life. There is one other band that is part of the pantheon of coolness, that band is The Adicts.
After 40 years and counting, The Adicts remain one of the most successful and influential punk bands of all time. Pumping out a high-velocity signature sound, with over-the-top live performances and catchy hooks; the band is more popular than ever. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. There are a ton of bands that try to imitate them, yet people still line up to see the real deal.
The band hails from Ipswich, Suffolk, England. They’ve had a few incarnations, starting with Afterbirth & The Pinz in ’75, then they were the Fun Adicts, ADX and finally they settled in nicely with The Adicts. Original founders still comprise the core of the band. Keith “Monkey” Warren remains as the band’s lead singer and punk rock pied piper. He takes the stage wearing Joker makeup, crazy-ass suits with lots of checkers and polka dots. Don’t forget the flared pants, volcanic-colored shirts and bowler hat and gloves. All this and his vocals remain insanely larger than life.
Pete Dee is their lead guitarist and shredder deluxe; he remains as one of the most electrifying guitarists on the planet. Michael “Kid” Dee bangs on the drums all day and all of the night while keeping the band on time. On rhythm guitar is Highko Strom, and Kiki Kabel is on bass, and these dudes bring it! In addition to the outfits, and onstage antics, concertgoers are always guaranteed their fair share of streamers, confetti, playing cards, beach balls, joker hats, toy instruments, bubbles and glitter! All things being equal, many associate their Droog outfits and Monkey’s costumes with A Clockwork Orange; truth-be-told, that’s really old news. It’s true, that may be part of their legacy, but they are so much more than that.
Truthfully, fans can get a little cartoon crazy when they see their musical heroes upfront and personal. Whenever you go to an Adicts show, it should come as no surprise to see band members mingling with the crowd before a show having drinks, sharing stories, talking about music, life in general or nothing in particular. Then, the band goes onstage and leaves it all out there giving a balls-out performance each and every single show. That’s not something that you can just try, it’s been who the band has been and continues to be. Their fans know that, and it’s reason # 101 their fans love them so much. The band is larger than life onstage, but they are the embodiment of their fans off stage. That’s something you just can’t put monetary value on, the loyalty of fans because they feel a connection with any band.
Despite how close the guys are to their fans, or how great a stage show they put on, the bottom-line measurement of any legendary band is the music. The Adicts write songs about unemployment, disillusionment, and tons of happy stuff. There are some dark overtones in some of the tunes; but overall, it’s music that give their fans the happy feet. That’s the thing about punk, all that glitters is not always gold. There are lots of emo themes in punk, and one byproduct that’s evolved is that not all punk bands are necessarily on board with a happy-go-lucky sound. That’s OK, not all punk fans are drawn to the same type of punk tunes. There is room for all sub-genres within the punk umbrella.
As for their success, from day one, they’ve enjoyed success with the release of their debut EP in 1979, Lunch with The Adicts. Music from their debut album, Songs of Praise to their latest, their music remains happy and dance friendly. Some of the songs their fans live to die for include “Angel”, “Numbers”, “Spank Me Baby” and “Joker in the Pack.” For those who have ever been disenfranchised by any aspects of life, “Viva La Revolution” has become an anthem that is celebrated at every show. Their music is a sonic journey through time that transcends generations, where everyone can be of one mindset.
The band is no different than anyone else, they’ve had their issues. Health always gets the better of all of us from time-to-time, which has led to some periods of down time for the band. Even with that in mind, they’ve pumped out 3 EP’s, 9 Compilations and 3 live albums. Through 2016, they’ve released 10 studio albums which included Songs of Praise, Sound of Music, Smart Alex, Fifth Overture, Twenty-Seven, Rise and Shine, Rollercoaster, Songs of Praise: 25th Anniversary Edition, Life Goes On, and All The Young Droogs.
In 2017, they signed to Nuclear Blast Records, and shortly thereafter, they released album number 11, And It Was So! This album was a personal one, recorded in Pete Dee’s studio; the guys took their time. Under no pressure, they did it right and put out an album that is getting critical acclaim from critics form coast-to-coast and around the world. Songs like “Fucked Up World”, “Gimme Something To Do” and “Picture the Scene” are making their fans smile from ear to ear. Their videos are also another reason their fans love them so much. Word on the street is that new music may be on the horizon, no details just yet on that.
The bottom line, great bands come and go, but only a select few remain for a generational leap. To do that, you have to be more than smoke and mirrors. The band has to put out good music; and despite their dynamic onstage show, The Adicts put out really great music above all else. In the end, that will be their legacy. If you ever had the time of your life at a show, check out The Adicts, not only is it a party… it’ll be Déjà vu all over again! They’ll be playing Marty’s On Newport July 17th through the 19th, The Fox Theater in Pomona July 20th and The Observatory (North Park) July 21st.