Interview: Steve Soto


Released in 1981 and clocking in at under a half hour, the debut album by The Adolescents – affectionately known as “The Blue Album” – helped to lay the groundwork for the emerging Southern California hardcore and skate punk scene. The teenage band that recorded The Blue Album didn’t stay together for long, but their influence was felt strongly in SoCal and beyond. Several reunions and albums followed, and although their ages are no longer in the adolescent range, The Adolescents continue to record and tour. Today’s band includes original singer Tony Cadena and bassist Steve Soto, who was also in the original incarnation of Agent Orange.

This interview was for a preview article for the concert by The Adolescents and The Weirdos at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara on 7/9/15. It was done by email, with answers received on 6/24/15.

Jeff Moehlis: Back in the late-70’s / early 80’s, were you a fan of The Weirdos, who will also be performing at the upcoming show?

Steve Soto: Yes we were all big fans of the Weirdos it is a big honor for us to have them on the tour.

JM: Before forming The Adolescents, you were in the original line-up of Agent Orange. What are some of your memories of that time?

SS: I was 14, and it was my first band. We played a few parties then started playing Hollywood. I played on “Bloodstains”… It was a blast but I wanted to write and be in a band with two guitarists, and we went our separate ways… I think Mike [Palm] is awesome and love that Agent Orange is still out there doing it!

JM: The first Adolescents album is almost 35 years old. What are your reflections on that album?

SS: I’ve said this before – the album was not dated. It’s about teenage alienation from the viewpoint of the teenager so it means just as much to a disenfranchised kid today as it did in 1981.

JM: How did you know that Tony Cadena was the right singer for The Adolescents?

SS: Instinct… I just knew.

JM: Why did The Adolescents break up in 1981?

SS: We were kids… It all happened fast and then it imploded… 16 months from start to finish.

JM: What was the good, the bad, and the ugly about the early SoCal punk and hardcore scenes?

SS: The good was the music, most of which still holds up. The bad was the drug and alcohol abuse that took many of our scene way too soon. And the violence was the ugly.

JM: What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?

SS: Don’t give up if you feel it in your heart fight to make it happen.

JM: What are your plans, musical or otherwise, for the near future?

SS: We are gonna start on a new record in the fall after we finish our summer tour with the Weirdos, and go to South America in August.

JM: Do you want to set the record straight on anything related to The Adolescents, or otherwise?

SS: We don’t hate children. [JM: The first song on The Blue Album is called “I Hate Children”]

JM: Where are you responding from?

SS: Somewhere in Connecticut.


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