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Road to Rebellion – Interview with The Adolescents’ Tony Reflex

The Adolescents are just one of those household name bands that have been around forever… so of course I jumped at the chance to catch up with them while attending one of their shows in Philadelphia, PA.  With their 9th studio album ‘Cropduster’ coming out this summer, I spoke with Tony Reflex about their Road to Rebellion and what it all means to them.

The Adolescents have been around since 1980 so you’ve witnessed the scene transition throughout the decades.  Why do you think music festivals like Rebellion are important to the scene still?

What I like about Rebellion is that when bands don’t get the kind of respect or the ability to play in front of a large audience, festivals like Rebellion make it possible.  I think that’s really important.  There’s a lot of bands who don’t tour the United States, so this is an opportunity to see them.  For example, The Drones  or the Mau Maus.  Even though those are bands from there, the possibility to see them is greater.   

Then, there are bands like The Droogettes.  Toxic Reasons is another band who haven’t really played in 15 or 20 years.  Rebellion gives those bands an opportunity to get out and play again, and to remind everybody that we have this really rich history.  A lot of the young kids will now get the opportunity to see something, and experience something live that they may not have been able to experience before because they were so young.

Absolutely.  Festivals like Rebellion are a big deal.  Not only for big name bands, but especially for the smaller, lesser-known bands.  Do you have any tips for smaller bands when it comes to applying to play at Rebellion?

No, just play.  Get out in a van and play.  Even if you aren’t going to Rebellion or other festivals.  The important thing I think for younger bands of any sort who is trying to get into anywhere is to start by showing up.  Show up, get involved, get to know people.  If you want to play at a festival, the first thing you want to do is know the people who are working it, and you want to know the bands who are playing. [The music industry] is still a network.  The internet has changed how things are done, but the best way to get to know anything is to go and face it head on.

What time slot do The Adolescents have, and what stage are you on?

We are playing at 7:30ish [on Sunday].  I’m sorry to say that we’re not playing the room that we usually play in, which is The Empress because I love it.  It’s my favourite room in the world.  We are going to be playing the Casbah.

Will you and the band be attending all four days or will you just show up before your set?

We’ll be in Paris the night before so we’ll be showing up just for the last day.  That’s usually how it is for us.  Every time I’ve gone to rebellion it’s just been for the day, but I’ve seen a lot of really great bands there.  Let me tell you, 10 hours in Blackpool you see a LOT of great stuff.

You were there for the 20th anniversary [in 2016] and you played with bands like Cock Sparrer, Stiff Little Fingers and other huge bands that were there.  Is there one past performance that sticks out as your favourite over the years?

I love Jello’s band… that was amazing when I saw them. I saw The Business and they kicked ass.  I liked seeing Slaughter and the Dogs, they were great.  Agnostic Front were fabulous.  But I think my favourite was Jello.  That was wonderful and the band was just fucking on fire. 

If you could pick one person or band as your dream performer for Rebellion, who would it be?

Of all the bands in the world that I could possibly see there?  Hmmm.  I would like to see Clawhammer.

What is one must-have item, that absolutely essential item that you couldn’t survive your time at Rebellion without?

Water! 

Do you guys have any special plans or EP releases that you’ll be promoting for Rebellion?

Well we have our new album coming out on July 20th called Cropduster.

What are you listening to right now?

Well, I always listen to Clawhammer.  They are my favourite band.  Dinosaur Jr. is another band that I really like.  But mostly my own records right now.  Listening to the new record and getting familiar with the placements and stuff.  I don’t practice enough, so I listen a lot because it’s the way I learn and remember. 

Obviously you like all the music on the new album, but is there one track that really stands out as your favourite right now?

I really like this one called Quicksand Blaster.  I like the title track Cropduster a lot, too.  It’s a really good record.  There are like 18 songs on it, and there’s like 16 I really, really like a lot.

Will you have a merch table set up at Rebellion?

Yeah absolutely and we’ll have the newest album there as well as the last 3 or 4 so come on over.

Thanks so much for speaking with me.  Enjoy the rest of your tour and your time at Rebellion.

Featured image by Jason Cook Photographer

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