By Neelam Mehta
The year was 1975 and somewhere in Ipswich, England, four guys with nothing better to do decided to make some music, never knowing they would eventually make musical history as the longest-surviving punk band out there.
Just for kicks, they even did it all with their original lineup.
Meet The Adicts, six musicians who have seen each other through everything from drug benders to record-label commercialism to, well, more drug benders. But at the end of the day, the band still can and still does epitomize the sound and spirit of punk, as heard in their latest release, Rollercoaster.
Adicts guitarist Pete Dee Davison tells the story.
"We went into the studio and recorded Rollercoaster in two weeks," he says. "We wrote the lyrics then and there and we wrote the songs there and then. It's the way we do things to make a spontaneous, honest album."
And, Davison makes sure to add, Rollercoaster easily lives up to classic Adicts style.
"If you compare Rollercoaster to Songs of Praise, you'll see the same pattern all the way through," he says, referring to the band's musical arrangement and production on their debut album. "A lot of young kids today say 'It's not as good as your first album,' but we recorded the first album in 25 hours."
With seven other full-length albums (1981's Songs of Praise, 1982's The Sound of Music, 1985's Smart Alex, 1986's Fifth Overture, 1988's Rockers Into Orbit, 1992's 27 and 2002's Rise and Shine) and three decades behind them, even The Adicts sometimes wonder about the success of The Adicts.
"We tried to figure out why we are still popular," Davison says, before unveiling his reasoning: "One thing we have in our favor is we are musically dynamic, but we got ripped to pieces in the '80s for doing what we do."
What The Adicts do is not easily thrown into the punk genre or the pop genre (although the music is clearly both) so much as it creates a completely unpredictable genre of its own, and Davison says that's exactly what the band wants.
"When you're actually making music like we are doing now, it becomes experimental and intriguing," he says. "After all these years, it's too easy to just play three chords. We like to be quirky, we like to put in instruments that shouldn't belong. This is how we began. We do what we want to do."
In doing so, The Adicts also fully acquainted themselves with drugs of all kinds, once even beating Motorhead in a drinking contest, although, Davison (kind of) recalls, the details are a little blurry.
"In the early days, we didn't care—we were just young kids doing stupid things saying 'this isn't going to last very long,'" he says. "But we learned one night in 1983. We got paid to play an hour and every member of the band was on a different drug. We did the whole set in 30 minutes. That's when we almost split up."
Instead, the band pulled themselves together and kept on writing, recording and playing show after show after show after show after show.
"Going to an Adicts concert is like going to a carnival," Davison says. "We want to leave all the problems we have on the outside. Once you come to the show, it's a celebration. Our show is about freedom, and we just give it out. We pour out love to our audience."
Get in on the love and see The Adicts at the Launchpad on Wednesday, Oct. 12, with Bang Sugar Bang, State of Revolution and So Unloved. The show is all-ages and tickets are $12 at Natural Sound, $15 at the door.
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