Inland Invasion: Devore, California, 10/14/ 2002 By Tim

Dec 20, 2002

While trying to figure out where to go on my free Southwest Airline ticket, I found out about the KROQ Inland Invasion. The list of bands was pretty impressive, but the one that caught my attention and sealed the deal was the Adolescents. I bought the "blue" album the day I graduated high school twenty years ago. They've been one of my favorite bands ever since. I'd only seen them with Tony singing once in 1986 in Philadelphia. I had to go to this show. There was no way I was ever going to make it to L.A. to see them back then. Being eighteen and not having any money made it tough. But now at thirty-seven I was going to see this band plus the Circle Jerks, TSOL, GBH, The Damned, The Buzzcocks and The Sex Pistols. But I have to say seeing the Adolescents was the reason I wanted to go.

I called my friend Gizz Navaro of Dead Lazlos Place, The Derita Sisters, Badtown Boys and at least five other bands. I met him when DLP played here in St. Louis in 1998 and we traveled together for three days when he was filling in on drums with the UK Subs on the Social Chaos tour. He informed me that the venue was just awful and in the desert. But this did not sway me. I had to see the Adolescents. Besides, I needed a vacation and L.A. seemed like a good choice with this show as the centerpiece of my old man punk rock trip. I also e-mailed everyone I knew to inform them of this amazing event. The only person who replied was Steve Dachroeden. He was also going to be out there for work and to see this show. So now I had friends who were going and some very loose plans.

I decided that I needed two days prior to the show to hang out. I wanted to actually see some of L.A. other than going to just record stores, like I usually do. The part of my non-punk rock vacation that excited me the most was going to see the parking lot in Malibu where they shot the exteriors for the Rockford Files. I absolutely love that show. I always have, even when it was first run and I was only ten years old. James Garner is the last real man in Hollywood. So along with this trip, I saw Venice Beach, which was a lot like a flea market with sand, and I hit the record stores too. I also spent a day with Steve while he did his job for St. Louis Music. We were trying to meet up with someone he knew so that we might catch the Sex Pistols rehearsing. But we missed it by about ten minutes.

The day of the show arrived and we left at around nine AM. That's right, NINE! That's when the doors opened. I was feeling a bit nervous about this whole scene. It started to sink in a few days before I left that this show was in a giant venue where they have Oz Fest. The kind of place I never go except when Warped Tour is at Riverport, and that isn't even that often. Who needs poser kids on hot blacktop? Not my scene. Give me a small, dank, smoke-filled club any day. We made the drive in about an hour and a half. The show was in Devore, which is pretty much in the desert surrounded by mountains. Super. The gates opened at nine and the first band went on at eleven. Punk rock is wrong during the day. It is wrong outside, and it is most definitely wrong in the morning. But they had seventeen bands to get through. We made our way through security and into the venue that looked a lot like Six Flags, only there were no rides and the security people would kick your head in for any slight infraction. You know, like trying to bring your own water inside.

The venue is called The Blockbuster Pavilion. They claim it holds 65,000 people. Most are on a giant grass hill that is at least two football fields long. From the far corner you can't even see the TV screens. At this point, though, the crowd wasn't near its total of 42,000. I could have done without 41,000 of them.

The early stage was off to the side on a flat area at the bottom of a big hill. There was no shade to be found anywhere - not by the side stage or over in front of the main stage. It was very hot. When we got there, the Distillers were on stage. I'm not a fan of the chick vocalist but this one wasn't too bad. After them was the reason I was there. The amazing Adolescents. Not just some hobbled together line up either. This was it, the real deal. Tony, Steve, Rick, Frank, and Casey. I was beyond stoked at this point. I knew that I had to be at least near the pit. I gave my cell phone (which didn't work all day) and my watch to Gizz. It was time to move closer. I was at the back of what would soon be a pit of about several hundred kids, if not a thousand or more. By the end there were at least four thousand kids on the field. The guys slowly took the stage. I hate to admit it, but if I didn't know who they were, I wouldn't have been able to tell you who Rick Agnew was. He's enormous now. Not just a bit of a "man gut" either. We're talking huge. Once they were on stage and being introduced, I saw a hole and made my way to the front in seconds. I took my spot in the center and they let it rip. They played everything from the "blue" record plus songs from the Welcome to Reality seven inch. I was singing every song and even managed to get the microphone for a couple of verses. I was being pummeled from all sides but I held my place. Behind me there was a massive pit that was kicking up a cloud of dirt that you couldn't even see through. I couldn't stop smiling for the entire set, smiling and singing right along with those songs that I first heard on my new stereo I got for graduation twenty years ago. The songs that were the soundtrack for my entire summer of skating and hanging out. Once it was over, I was covered in dirt. I was so covered, in fact, that my teeth were black and my mouth was covered with mud. I guess with all the singing and sweating, the dirt turned to mud. But it was worth it. Totally worth it. I would not give up that half hour for anything.

After the Adolescents and the purchase of four waters for a total of twelve dollars, I watched TSOL. Jack still has the best in-between song banter. They played mostly old stuff. This seemed to be the rule for the day. The only exception was Social Distortion, which is sad, since they are one band that should stick to the old stuff. After TSOL was the Circle Jerks. They had been the first show I ever went to. They played the dank basement of the Lindell Club here in St. Louis in March of 1983. They also stuck to the old stuff, mostly from the first two records. It was funny to think that Greg Hetson was playing two sets that day: one with the Jerks on the cast away but far superior side stage, and later on the main stage with Bad Religion. Next, the early stage featured, all the way from England, GBH. You can no longer call them Great Big Hair, though. It seems that time has taken care of that. But they still sound like GBH even without the big hair. The Vandals were next, but I took that time to make my way over to the refreshment area to wait half an hour in line to pay monopoly prices for water. Two things happened while I was in line, one of them very bad. The Damned started playing and I missed the first half of the set. The other was very cool and very random. I ran into Brian, a former St. Louisan and the drummer from The Nukes, a St. Louis punk rock band that moved out to California ten years ago. With a crowd of 42,000, the chance of that happening was pretty slim. But for him to be in line right behind me was pretty amazing. Once we had our water, we made our way into the seating area. This was done by luck and chicanery. We were still pretty far back from the stage, though. At least I think it was a stage. They could have had anyone up there playing recorded music, for all I could tell. But it did appear to be the Damned. Lucky for me, they'll be here in town soon and I saw them last October as well. So I wasn't too bummed about it. Next up was X and New Found Glory. I found myself leaving the seated area to check out some ten dollar fries and a coke. I even managed to find some shade.

Once I found my way back to the seats, New Found Glory was ending their set by trying to answer the heckles of the crowd. The guy behind us had the best one, even though the band couldn't hear it. He said, "I liked you better when you were called Poison." At first, the New Found Glory singer did a good job of answering the heckling by saying, "You may hate us, but you just watched us." If he left it at that, he would have been golden. But no, he got greedy and went on some crying jag about how hard they work or something, and how they just opened for the Sex Pistols. Sure, five bands before the Pistols, but I guess that counts.

Next up, thankfully, was the Buzzcocks. They didn't say a word. As the giant rotating turntable stage presented them, they just started playing and didn't stop. Again, they played all old songs and I couldn't have been happier. Well, if the sun had gone behind the mountains and stopped burning my delicate head, maybe. But still, it was the Buzzcocks and Everybody was Happy Nowadays.

Now I had four bands to wait through before the Sex Pistols. Gizz, Gizz's friend Chris, and I talked about how it had better be worth it to see the Pistols, what with Blink 182, The Offspring, and Social Distortion to sit through. Bad Religion played, as well as Pennywise. But I didn't care about any of them. So I went for a walk to look at? um? people. Yeah, that's it. People. While on my walk, I noticed a trend on the lawn. Fires. Yes, fires. The sun had finally set, and it dropped to a very pleasant seventy degrees. I felt great. It seems that kids out there freak out when it gets a bit chilly. That would explain the heaters at the outside patio at the Rainbow Room.

During my walk I heard some of Pennywise taunting the security and trying to incite the kids on the lawn to break through and come up front. They could have done it, but none of them had it in them. Pennywise was right; that show was not punk rock. There were lots of punk rock bands and plenty of punk rockers, but that show was as far from punk rock as it gets. In fact, during Blink 182, I made sure that I was as far away from the stage as I could get at the top of that hill. I wanted to be nowhere near that band. Not even heckling them would make it worth having to listen to the drivel that they try to pass off as clever punk rock.

Finally the day was winding down. The Pistols would be up next. Super. I could watch two-inch tall figures on stage or watch them on TV. I chose a dizzying combination of both. Once they came out, the crowd went bonkers. I should know; I was one of them. Johnny Rotten still has it, that smart ass "I don't care" attitude that I so love. He came out and right off said the Sex Pistols had nothing to do with KROQ or Levi's. Well, except for taking their money. Cash from Chaos!!!! Now, that's punk. They played a lot of songs that were on Bollocks, but they also played a lot of the singles and songs from The Great Rock and Roll Swindle, which I thought was great. I have not played any of my Pistols records in probably fifteen years. They were a band you bought but then moved on to the really cool stuff. You know, like the Adolescents.

Once it was over, I felt this wave of relief and joy. I was cursing myself all day for having gone against my usual common sense of avoiding such shows. But this day had been great once it was over. And I was getting my dirt-covered, sunburned, and very tired body out of there.

So, in summary, the Adolescents still rule. The small stage was the real show. Water is worth three dollars a cup when you're stuck inside a Nazi Entertainment Camp. Punk rock should be inside at night. Posers still suck. I should never go to another show like that again. Oh, and the Adolescents still rule.


My name is Tim Jamison. I began writing a column and doing interviews when my friend started Motion Sickness zine. I am the singer for Ultraman, a band that was formed in 1986 and disbanded in 1991 after our second European tour and second album on New Red Archives, then reformed by me in 1999. In between, I was in three other bands: Krissy Fit (which was all former Ultraman members), The Aggravations and Obsolete Man. Other than that, I love punk rock and skating. Which means, at thirty-eight, I am either really dedicated our just plain too stupid to grow up. [email protected]