The Adicts' music is fast-paced and upbeat, and they sport a Clockwork Orange droog look – except for front man Keith “Monkey” Warren, who dresses like some kind of evil joker. Their live sets feature bubble machines, streamers, giant beach balls, and sing-a-longs. They invite their fans on stage.
But this ain't no kids' birthday party — they're one of the most beloved punk rock groups of all time. Formed in Ipswich, England, in 1975 the band — which also features Pete Dee Davison, Mel Ellis and Michael “Kid Dee” Davison — is sometimes called “punk pathetique.” They've had a couple of hits, landed their songs in some video games and continue to produce quality records. They play at House of Blues Sunset Strip
tonight tomorrow night, January 28, and we talked with Pete Dee and Monkey.
You're very popular in Southern California. Would you say this is a sweet spot for you?
Monkey: Absolutely! I don't know why but from the first time we came to California we seemed to have an affinity with the audience and it hasn't changed. There's always a really good vibe, smiles, good times. It's what we are striving to impart. It's a reciprocal arrangement, a band needs an audience as much as an audience needs a band.
Pete Dee: Yeah California loves us and we love Cali too. I live here, I love it.
What did you guys do before you had the band to keep you busy?
Monkey: Football hooliganism, underage drinking and chasing girls, playing football, betting on horses, Scrabble and solo Yahtzee late into the night — UK TV ended about midnight back then and we only had four channels — masturbation, curry, fish and chips down your jumper, Morecombe and Wise, Les Dawson, Steptoe and Son, the Carry On films, Tiswas, The Daily Mirror.
Sounds like you guys know how to have a good time. What about now? How do you get together when you're scattered all about the planet?
Monkey: There are a lot of emails about flights and schedules and we sometimes have a non-band social event but mostly we just meet in Columbia or wherever and start the party there. In Medellin it was a $400 bar tab, but that's the price of getting together.
Pete Dee: It's a nightmare, a bit like a hangover.
Do you think your show remains excellent because you've maintained so much of your original line up?
Monkey: We are at 75% of original line up these days, it's still wonderful to look to my left or turn around and see Pete and Kid there, it's those moments that resonate. Look at us, together, those kids, those hooligans, we did something, we have something. It's not self-congratulatory but it's an amazing moment in the midst of a set, to look someone in the eye you've known most of your life and just know, this is fucking cool.
Pete Dee: Isn't it just?