ADOLESCENTS: Complete Demos 1980-86: CD

Let me begin by saying that any self-proclaimed punker that has neither heard of nor owns a copy of the Adolescents’ “blue” album should be immediately stripped of their official Johnny Rotten Pez dispensers and sent to perform gulag work for Britney Aguilera’s street team. A harsh sentence, yes, but ignorance of the Adolescents’ true greatness warrants just such a punishment. That said, let it further be known that any self-proclaimed punker who has heretofore procured a copy of the above-referenced “blue” album and fails to supplement it with a copy of this album will be due for a serious shin kicking, for this—a collection of demos (as the title implies) by the “classic” lineup of the band, before Casey went on to caviar-filled swimming pools and the 90210 zip code with DI, Rikk sold his soul to the devil to round out the classic lineups of both Christian Death and DI, Steve and Frank fell in love with Kat Arthur’s snake and joined Legal Weapon, and Tony moved to the SGV and achieved punk-god status with stints in Abandoned, God’s Riot and Flower Leperds—is surely no less mandatory for the collection. Of the sixteen tracks here, only three have ever been officially released (“The Liar” making its first appearance on Flipside’s Vinyl Fanzine Vol. 3, “Who Is Who,” and one of the two versions of “Wrecking Crew” included here appearing on BYO’s Someone Got Their Head Kicked In comp), four are songs from their first demo that they never re-recorded, one is an outtake from the sessions that resulted in the Welcome to Reality EP (a markedly different version of “Richard Hung Himself,” the song that would later provide DI with their first “hit”) and the remainder are alternate, yet damn fine, versions of songs that graced the “blue” album and its follow-up, Brats in Battalions. While some who believe that the glory days of punk died around the same time this band’s classic lineup sputtered to a halt will find closure and much to wax nostalgic over, this also serves as a nice hors d’oeuvre to whet the appetite before they serve up that highly anticipated new album they’ve been threatening to unleash for the past couple of years for those of us impatient for new product from the reformed Adolescents. Quit torturing us, guys, and deliver some fresh goods already.

 –jimmy (Frontier)