An Interview with The
Adicts’ Pete Dee Davison.
By John B. Moore
Believe it or not, it took a lot to get noticed in the
punk scene in the late 70’s.
When every other punk is putting a safety pin through his ear
and sporting a swastika arm band, it’s going to take a lot more than ripped
jeans and a spray painted anarchy symbol on your shirt to stand out.
Based out of Ipswitch, Suffolk,
Adicts had stellar punk anthems with sing-along choruses that stuck in your
head for days, but it was their stage clothes that first got them noticed: reminiscent
of a Clockwork Orange, they dressed in all white, with black boots, bowler hats
and singer Keith “Monkey” Warrens sported joker makeup night after night.
Formed in 1975, The Adicts are officially the longest
running punk band still playing with its original members.
Earlier this year, the band released their latest Life Goes On, their ninth record (not
counting live albums and comps). Band co-founder and guitarist Pete Dee Davison
put down his cup of tea recently to talk about punk (he doesn’t think it has
ever been accepted into the mainstream), staying together (for the record, they
did NOT break up in the 80’s) and hip hop (he’s clearly not a fan).
The Adicts have
been together longer than most kids in punk bands have been alive. How have you
guys managed to stay together for so long?
I think we have stayed together so long because we really enjoy what we do and
each other. Also contributing factors are we write what we want to and don’t
copy trends or fashion. We are who we are and that’s about it really.
Have there been any lineup changes over the years?
Yeah, when we
first started we were a four piece and then we tried bass players who were
pretty shite over all and Mel was shite on guitar so we threw him on bass and
he’s still shite. Now we have Scruff, his brother, on rhythm guitar and he is
great. We have had a couple of dodgy keyboard players we really didn’t like at
all – one had the smallest dick we have
ever seen, so we can’t have that in a band now can we? Now we have Dan on keys and Violin and we
kind of like him a bit. Mel’s not too well at the moment so we have Shahen on
bass. He is great; fits in good and we don’t have to Baby him like we do Mel.
Are you surprised
to see that punk music is still around and now pretty accepted by the main
I don’t agree its gone
mainstream at all. Only a handful of bands have had some success and that’s not
representational of punk rock is it? I
am not surprised it’s still around at all. Its street music, it rocks and fuck
anything is better than the shit R&B Rap crap that’s around. The problem is
the industry itself: it’s full of twats. Fuck the lot of them I say. I can’t
remember when we had a record air played during the day on any mainstream radio
station. They are just as prejudiced now than they ever were against anything
different or clever. Instead we have bollocks that ram the airwaves and MTV. It
needs a good enema, I recommend it if you’re reading this, you boys and girls
who think you know it all.
Punk, as a genre,
has been popular at times and then moved underground at times. What years were
the hardest for the band to find audiences?
I think the 90’s were difficult as it had almost been pushed into the cemetery.
I don’t think punk has ever been popular at all.
Are you fans of
any of the newer punk bands?
Yeah, of course. The Cute Lepers are one of my favorite bands
out there. They write catchy songs and have good melodies.
What can you tell
me about your new record, Life Goes On?
It’s our latest album and it’s
fucking great! Diverse, interesting, sounds awesome, gives one something to
think about at times and even has a track on it you can shag to. It’s the
Adicts! I enjoyed working with Earle Mankey again on the album and hope to work
on the next one with him too. When we record we have to record everything
because we don’t practice, due to living far away from each other so it’s all
done real and honest, spontaneously and I love it. We all do, so we just knock
The band took some
time off in the mid-80’s. What happened during that period? Did the band ever
officially break up?
Every band takes some time
off, we did what we had to. We were playing all over the place getting pissed
off with each other and touring, we needed a break from all the bad things that
come with being young and touring; like drugs and drink. We never broke up or
had any inclination of doing so, we just needed to get our shit together and we
did. I think we took a year without even talking to each other. It was that
bad, then we did a gig or two, realized we still weren’t ready to tour so we
wrote some songs, got back into hanging out at the pub and liking each other
again and then we hit the road again. Just to clear the record we have NEVER broken up or we wouldn’t still be here.
Saying that I wouldn’t mind having a reunion gig.
You are currently
playing all over the world. Have you noticed a difference in the audiences from
one country to the next
They are all different colors and speak different
languages but they are all Adicts fans and we love them all. I think we are
very humbled and grateful to have this huge worldwide following. That is our
success. We have reached places even Heineken hasn’t reached so that’s
something in itself. It’s refreshing for a band who refuses to make an MTV
video. We have done it the hard way and we love meeting our fans everywhere we
go. It’s still a beautiful world and we help make it so.
What has changed
the most about the music business from the mid 70’s to now?
Technology and wankers who think they can make music. One
thing that boils my water is the c-rap scene. Fucking rubbish it is. Morons the
lot of them. I can’t understand a word and don’t really want to. Once and awhile a good record comes out. But really,
the music industry has gone to the lowest form of life and they call us Punk. Well it’s all gone to shit to
be honest. We need instruments and musicians just like we need proper artists
again who can paint. Fuck me anyone can lay a pile
of bricks down and gets a grant for it is a genius really,
come on. We need to get back some common sense here. I like art and music
but somehow we are not using the capacity of our brains or knowledge or
even either these days. Maybe I’m a dinosaur and if I am then who cares ‘cause
I don’t. It’s easy, I just switch it off and don’t bother with it, but when I
see the kids out there… retardos. Everyone’s a rapper from the crapper. I
just don’t get it and don’t want to. Thank God I don’t.
Any advice you
have for bands just starting out?
Yeah, write some good songs with good tunes and lyrics. Take
control of your music from day one or you will be eaten by hungry bastards who
will rape you and destroy your soul. Enjoy your music and love what you do. It
will reward you.