By Sarah L. Myers
New York, NY, USA
The Adicts are timeless. Like their friends and peers the Ramones, the Adicts maintain a signature style, sound, and live show. Unlike the Ramones, they’ve also maintained the same original lineup since their 1977 inception. It’s just one thing that makes them great.
I’ve yet to meet anyone without an Adicts story, and nearly all of them involve tales of their infamous live shows - the best in the world. Endless amounts of silly string, glitter, confetti, streamers, and beach balls bounce off fans of every age. Front man Monkey, clad in sequined rags and Joker makeup, throws playing cards and stuffed animals, which are snatched up and fought over. Monkey himself is fought over during “Naughty Girl”, when female fans get onstage and smother him with hugs and kisses.
Their sense of humor prevails offstage as well, and it’s the glue that holds these guys together 30 years later. Though drummer Kid Dee celebrated his 50th birthday during this tour, his cheeky smile and banter with older brother Pete Dee show a young-at-heart guy doing what he loves. They’re a family, as are their fans - the image of Monkey’s Clockwork bowler hat and wide grin continues to unify punk kids all around the world.
Their latest record, “Life Goes On”, features classic-style Adicts songs like “Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out” and “Spank Me Baby” - itself about a catchy song, to which you’ll be singing along immediately. It’s what we expect, what we love, and what we want for the next 30 years! It’s the Adicts. Check your problems at the door and have a blast.
THIRSTY: The new record is great! That’s what you were working on between the tours?
Monkey (credit: Roger Krueger)
Kid Dee: Well, we toured all over last year, all over the world.
Pete Dee: When we make a record it’s different for everybody else. They get to practice and learn the songs. We actually write them there and then. In a couple of weeks. So after we’ve recorded them we have to somehow learn to play them as a band, and that’s difficult because we’re still, we live all over the world. (Pete and Monkey are in California, while Kid and Scruff live in England.) So the only time we get to practice is usually at sound check so we’ve got a few down, haven’t we? Quite a few. We’ve been playing quite a lot of them over the tours over the last year.
Kid Dee: You mentioned “Tune In” we’re doing that. And “Spank Me, Baby”.
Pete Dee: We’ve played other ones, too. But we put these three in the set. But you know you’ve got to make a set up. People don’t want to hear the new stuff really, do they?
Kid Dee: Yes they do.
Pete Dee: No they don’t. Everyone wants to hear the old stuff mainly, with any band these days.
THIRSTY: What’s so great about you guys is the new stuff sounds like old stuff anyway!
Pete: That’s what I think. I think we’ve come full circle.
THIRSTY: It does remind me of the Ramones in that it’s classic punk but the lyrics can be so romantic. You listened to a lot of doo-wop and Phil Spector songs?
Pete Dee: (points to Monkey) He sings the romantic stuff! We were influenced from all the 1960s, everything, Motown.
Kid Dee: We’re not scared to do things.
Pete Dee: If it’s part of rock n’ roll. We’re a rock n’ roll band overall, you know, and we got labeled with the punk rock label like most of us did. But we’re influenced by all the good things that came out.
Kid Dee: We’ve not been scared to write different, you know, even from the first album when there’s a “Tango” on it, things like that. So we’re not scared to go in a different (way).
THIRSTY: Which song off “Life Goes On” has been best received live?
Life Goes On (2011)
Kid Dee: We did “Over There”, that one did quite well. Except we couldn’t play it properly.
Pete Dee: They’re going down well. You know. It takes a long time these days for a new song to really (click). But we’re a band who try to get the crowd involved and you know you mentioned “Tune In”. Loads of kids, when we take it down a bit and go, we’re hitting them with it the second song and they’re already into it, so it goes down well, you know.
THIRSTY: Pete, can you share with us a story about your relationship with Joey Ramone? (Joey was the godfather of Pete’s son)
Pete Dee: When we recorded “I Wanna Be Sedated” in England, in a suburb of London, we called him up on the telephone, which had a cord, you know? Old-fashioned, proper telephone. And we played it to him down the phone and he was really stoked. Because I think we were…well, he liked us and he was really happy about it. Tommy really liked it, which is nice, you know. We never got to play with him unfortunately.
THIRSTY: You’ve played with Marky’s band quite a few times.
Kid Dee: (laughs) Yeah.
Pete Dee: He’s got a good sense of humor, and he plays us on the radio.
THIRSTY: Tell me about re-releasing “Songs of Praise”, which is a really cool idea.
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Pete Dee: Never been done. We re-recorded it completely.
Kid Dee: Because the first time, it was done in a day.
Pete Dee: And I’ve never been able to listen to it since. And we were just sitting there 25 years later. Well, it was actually 27! And we said, you know, all these 25s just came up so we said ‘let’s do it again’. We thought that’d be cool. And we did it, instead of 24 hours, we did it in five days. We thought it’d be easy. And it wasn’t.
Kid Dee: Because we didn’t know the songs!
THIRSTY: Was it all still one-take vocals?
Pete Dee: No, no!
Monkey: Never is with me!
Pete Dee: He’s tone deaf! He’s actually tone deaf. I’m pleased with it, I think it’s awesome. I wish we could have made that back then. You know, it’s just got a great sound to it and it rocks. I like it. I actually listen to it now and again. You can’t get it in America, I think it’s on sale here it’s import only. I think we’ll release it on our own means on the Internet or something. We’ve had enough of record labels.
THIRSTY: Did you bring some to sell here tonight?
Pete Dee: We don’t have any. Fucking record labels. Why buy records off record labels? They’re charging you too much. So you sell it to kids with no profit. So why should we carry records around for the record label? Fuck ‘em. That’s how I feel. I’ve had enough of them.
Kid Dee: It really kind of makes…if I were a young kid again, I’d be DIY. I wouldn’t go, in hindsight now, I wouldn’t go near a record company. I’d just go DIY. That’s it. There’s no need for it.
Pete Dee: I mean, music shops are closing down, record shops are closing down.
Kid Dee: Scruff’s depressed as fuck because there isn’t a shop round here, weren’t you?
THIRSTY: Monkey, you’re always changing up your costumes to keep it exciting. What did you bring along new for this tour?
(laughter around the room)
Kid Dee: What junk!
Monkey: Well, all that right here! (points to a open suitcase overflowing with sequined and glittered outfits) It depends on how successful I’ve been on eBay.
Pete Dee: He buys Pamela Anderson’s old clothes. (referring to a pair of Monkey’s pants, once worn by Pamela on her show “V.I.P”)
THIRSTY: Do you get to bring your families out a lot?
Kid Dee: Oh, every year!
Pete Dee: He spends a week at Disneyland!
Kid Dee: And that’s it, that’s my holiday for the year. That’s their treat.
THIRSTY: Monkey, have you ever had any mishaps with your makeup? Have you ever gotten glitter in your eyeballs or been blinded for half the show?
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Monkey: Well, I got hit in the eye by the microphone on the first show and had a black eye for awhile.
Pete Dee: What about last year when your hand was-
Monkey: Well, that wasn’t because of makeup!
Pete Dee: And you couldn’t do the makeup properly!
Monkey: Well, I got a trapped nerve. I’m right-handed, but this one was like this (mimes a shaking tremor with his left hand).
Pete Dee: He’s been unconscious, knocked unconscious!
Monkey: I’ve been unconscious, I’ve dislocated my shoulders a couple of times.
Pete Dee: Done it all.
Monkey: Makeup, I mean it gets everywhere. And we haven’t had a shower for a couple of days -
Kid Dee: Oh yeah, we’ve got things-
Monkey: So you can just imagine where I might find glitter.
Monkey (credit: Tuesday Feld)
THIRSTY: Has anything over the top happened during “Naughty Girl”?
Pete Dee: Always!
Monkey: I got in trouble in Brazil.
THIRSTY: When all of those girls were kissing you?
Monkey: Have you seen that!
THIRSTY: I saw it!
Kid Dee: Could you notice anything?
THIRSTY: That your face was all over by the end of it?
Kid Dee: No, no, downstairs.
Pete Dee: Something large, large growing. (laughter) Yeah, we sometimes get touched up and things like that.
THIRSTY: Well, you’re all smiling so I don’t think that bothers you very much!
Pete Dee: Women miss behaving with themselves or misbehaving with each other, that’s interesting. And we’ve had catfights as well, haven’t we?
Kid Dee: Yeah, oh yeah.
Pete Dee: Trying to get near him. (points to Monkey)
Kid Dee: It’s nice, you know, because a lot of punk shows it’s very macho-type feel to it, right? And for some reason we can attract the girls to the shows because they don’t feel threatened by it or anything. And so our treat to them is “come onstage.”
Scruff: And they don’t want to get off!
Kid Dee: And they don’t want to get off!
Pete Dee: I got touched up last night.
THIRSTY: Where were you guys last night?
Pete Dee: Pittsburgh. She was cute!
Kid Dee: She was cute. She probably won’t wash her hand!
Pete Dee: She kept rubbing my bottom. Yes, it was good fun. See, you’ve got to understand we don’t see, most of us onstage don’t see what’s going on, because we’re actually playing. He’s got the best view! (points to Kid) On the drums. Yeah you do, you’ve got the best view.
Kid Dee: (watching Monkey prepare a prop for the show) Is it going to work, Monk? He’s having a bit of an anti-climax with his champagne bottle.
Scruff: That hit me in the chest the first night. I didn’t know what the fuck happened. I was in shock.
THIRSTY: I love that you have so much fun onstage. It looks like you’re having more fun than in the beginning.
Kid Dee: Probably are! You’re right.
THIRSTY: I’m so happy because I’ve been a fan for so long but I’ve never seen you guys live. And I’ve worked with so many bands and seen so many shows, and everybody just tells me you’re absolutely, hands-down the best show they’ve ever seen.
Scruff: You know like when a band comes on and they all go for it and stuff and slowly through the show they start sagging. I like to think we try and start it and finish it the same, with the same energy, you know. I think we’ve been doing that this tour, definitely.
Pete Dee: We always do that.
Kid Dee: We always do that. Again it’s the right set-
Pete Dee: It’s all about what we do. If we don’t do it, what’s with doing it? If we don’t achieve a certain level it’s pointless doing it. We’re out there to entertain, and to rock.
Kid Dee: To entertain! That’s it.
Pete Dee: I mean, seriously.
Kid Dee: That’s it. We’re entertainers, as such. I don’t want to go see a band that just stand there.
Pete Dee: I don’t want a gig to be long and laborious. I want a gig to go by so quick because it was so good. With the wham-bam and the thank you, ma’am.
THIRSTY: How did you guys choose the songs to be on “Life Goes On”?
Pete Dee: We plug in when we get there and we just… It’s Kid on the drums in the
Kid Dee: I’ve got some hum-dee-hums, I call them hum-dee-hums.
Pete Dee: He sits on the drums with a microphone, the headphones, I’m in the mixing room with headphones and microphones, playing the guitar, and we just…we talk to each other and we record it. And that’s it. And then we build it from there.
Kid Dee: Certain ideas are there already and we just build on, layer and layer.
Pete Dee: We’ve got no rules anymore. There’s no rules about doing the same old verse-chorus-verse-chorus.
Kid Dee: It’s like you’re sitting there, and Pete will have a riff and we don’t know where it’s going but then it just naturally goes somewhere, and then we all look around. “Life Goes On”, I had the tune in my head, and me and Scruff went into the garden, didn’t we? I go, ‘play it like T.Rex!’ And then, went in first take, laid it down. And then Pete came in with his bits and then we wrote lyrics.
Pete Dee: And then what happens is (Scruff and Kid) go home, they get the plane home, after they’ve done the backing vocals-
Kid Dee: That album, I had to go into main vocals (for Monkey), and then I went (home).
Pete Dee: But they recorded, Scruff and Kid, recorded the backing vocals, then they go home, and that leaves me to sit with Monkey, who’s tone deaf, to sing all the songs which takes up about 80 percent of the recording time. (Kid begins laughing) And then after that, I mixed it with Earle (Mankey), then they heard it. Quite a lot of stuff they never heard, you know, because you put on all the synths, keys, all the other stuff. Turned out pretty good.
THIRSTY: Was “Life Goes On” the first song you wrote for the record?
Kid Dee: No, (it was) “Full Circle”, that’s a very old 1977 song, and we had to, the story goes that - we had to ring our mate who recorded it for his band, and ask what the lyrics were! Cause we’ve got a little tape and we couldn’t hear it in rehearsal from back then.
Pete Dee: That’s an old one. We’ve got lots of tapes.
THIRSTY: You guys have more rarities and collectibles out there than anyone I know of!
Monkey (credit: Tuesday Feld)
Kid Dee: We’ve got things out there which even I don’t own!
Pete Dee: You don’t even have the new record!
Kid Dee: I know. I don’t! Terrible, innit?
THIRSTY: How did you write “Mr. Hard”?
Pete Dee: There was a song by a band called Cockney Rebel, way back in 1972, called “Mr. Soft”, and we’ve always loved the band, we’re big fans of the band, and I was sitting there just playing this riff and I went, why don’t we do a similar kind of tune but call it “Mr. Hard” and use some of the… In other words, it’s kind of honor towards the band who played the original, and the song. So we did the song and it came out pretty okay. I’m not happen with it though, because I had to sing it. And then the words, just once again no rules. I don’t even think there’s a fucking chorus in there. We’ve been practicing it with acoustic guitar. It will go down well (live) because we changed it, because there’s no way. There’s so many words, there’s no way I can remember all those words. The lyrics are repetitive so I just moved them around. And it was all one take, unlike (points jokingly to Monkey) 80 percent of the time.
THIRSTY: You’ve played some festivals as well. Do you think something is lost in the performance when you do that, rather than playing in a venue like tonight?
Pete Dee: Of course, it’s a shorter set, first of all. We feel like you’re in a bloody zoo and we’re behind a cage. That’s how I feel.
Kid Dee: I feel very alienated.
Pete Dee: We’re doing an interesting one in the summer with Adam and the Ants. I’m looking forward to that one.
Kid Dee: That’s the Rebellion Festival in England.
THIRSTY: You don’t play that much in England, do you?
(everyone shakes their heads no)
Kid Dee: Why don’t we play in England? No comment. No, but in England the scene isn’t that brilliant anyway.
THIRSTY: When we were talking about Brazil, I mean the Ramones were like the Stones in South America.
Kid Dee: I’m a god! I’m a god! I’m a fucking god in Columbia!
Pete Dee: In South America we’re massive.
Kid Dee: Everything’s bootlegged. They’re great people, too. The South American people. They really love their music. They really enjoy themselves. Crazy. They’re so loud and it’s fun and we love it down there. Took us a long time to get down there. I wanna tour when the World Cup’s on.
Pete Dee: We’ve already arranged that. That’s three years away, mate.
THIRSTY: Any closing words for your fans in New York?
Pete Dee: We’d like to thank all the fans that have been coming out on the East Coast, for certain. It’s been great. They’ve really come out in the numbers and it’s been an amazing tour.
Kid Dee: We always say our fans are the best, and all, and our fans ARE the best. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be here. So we have to thank them.
Pete Dee: If it wasn’t for me, we wouldn’t be here (points to himself and Kid).
Kid Dee: Well, what’re you, my dad?
Pete Dee: No but (the band) wouldn’t be here, if it weren’t for me, because WE wouldn’t be here, right now, me and you.
Kid Dee: Oh right. Where would you be?
Pete Dee: I wouldn’t be here… The beer has arrived, this is the end of the interview!