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Category:    Home > Reviews > Rock > Punk > The Adolescents: The Complete Demos 1980 Ė 1986 (CD)

The Adolescents: The Complete Demos 1980 Ė 1986 (CD)


Sound: D†††† Music: B



I admit that I missed out on the early hardcore scene that flourished in the early Eighties.At the time I was too young and too sheltered to have any records by The Adolescents, The Germs, The Dead Kennedys, Husker Du or any of the other feral bands that inspired countless moshpit related injuries during the Reagan years.Occasionally, though, in the latter half of the decade, once Iíd entered my own groiny adolescence, a beat up nth generation cassette of guitar squall and yowl, of political diatribe and sometime hate-mongering would find its way into my tiny Aiwa box.As a devotee of new wave and prog rock, someone who could spend hours in my musty, airless room filled with X-Men comics and Yes tapes, (oh the many nights of Little Debbie oatmeal crŤme pies and dreamy examination of Roger Deanís artwork); hardcore struck a nerve of almost total repellence.


I say Ďalmostí because the music did have an allure to it, a weird adultness if you can believe that.My main connection to the music was that the comic shop I frequented had at that time a rack devoted to just this sort of music.And there always seemed to be a group of somewhat older guys with intermittent facial hair, wearing badly faded black t-shirts, anarchy designs drawn in sharpie on their decrepit shoes and jeans and knapsacks, who carried with them a funky mildewy odor which at the time I could not account for (did I mention how sheltered I was?) crowded around that rack talking about the latest show attended at The Electric Banana, a local club catering to the punk scene.Being the meek little geek that I was (was? am) the violence of that scene and the dangerousness these guys gave off in stinky waves had certainly caught and domesticated a little rodent-sized scruff of my wandering imagination.


But with that scene came a component of intolerance and racism that never jibed with my own incipient why-canít-we-all-just-get-along liberalism.Most of the bands, despite a violent veneer, were almost hippie-ish in their value systems (but a small subsect did cater to outright hatred), though maybe not quite as naive as their long-haired forbears, but the audience for their wild thrash was populated by a lot of angry young white guys who had shaved their heads, donned steel-tipped Docs and commenced to rage and exorcise their social impotence via the unfortunately well-trod path of Klanish Neo-Nazism.


Itís an ugly Hitlerian stain that still haunts the hardcore scene, a specter of absolute hatred, of racial purity, of contempt and xenophobia.Itís a f___iní shame too, coz so much of the music created by those bands is so much goodhearted fun. Snotty and loud and about as truly dangerous as a copy of Mad magazine.


Of those of you who pick up this collection of demos by The Adolescents, and I cannot imagine anyone other than an old dyed-in-the-wool fan doing this, more than anything else, the experience of listening to this disc will be one of happy nostalgia.The music, although poorly recorded, can still carry away the listener in its tempestuous wake.Itís fast and simple, really Ramonesy and I mean that entirely as a compliment.For the uninitiated itís best to start with the official self-titled first record, or the blue album as itís come to be known in hip parlance.But these demos are definitely worth a spin once youíve soaked in olí blue for a few weeks.


With all the unnecessary reissues of late, remasters of records not even five years old, the Eighties hardcore scene is certainly primed for a fresh listen and a new audience.Itís time for some industrious label, like Rhino for instance, to do all rock ní roll fans a great service and get these records ready for a new generation.



-†† Kris Collins



Kristofer Collins is an editor at The New Yinzer and owner of Desolation Row CDs in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.You can contact him through our staff list or at:




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