Petey, lead guitarist and multi generation spanning member of The Adicts, was dusting off his boots and his passport, and readying for a short, but aggressive tour of California and South America. The tour kicked off January 21, 2016 in San Diego, worked its way north to San Francisco’s historic Fillmore, and then jetted to Peru and Brazil. Viva la Revolution! Petey gave SF Sonic a few words about everything from the loss of Bowie and Lemmy to cancer, to the crazy fan who’s girlfriend slapped him silly after telling Petey he wanted to have his baby
SF Sonic: Mott the Hoople and David Bowie are major influences for The Adicts, how has the recent loss of iconic David Bowie affected you and the rest of the band?
Petey: I’m quite upset, [David Bowie] has been a big influence on my life, personally, and for all the band members. It’s a shock, but he left us a huge amount of work to listen to and he will be missed. Its very sad. Sadly we lose too many people to Cancer, and good people too
SF Sonic: Which of his works specifically, influenced you the most?
Petey: The GREATEST album of all time [to me] is a Bowie album, and it’s Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars, it’s absolutely the greatest album ever made. The best live band I’ve ever seen, EVER. They were something special and very short lived, which is very sad. They truly were the greatest band that ever lived.
SF Sonic: The Adicts are the longest touring and recording punk band, spanning over 40 years. Tell me how your band has evolved over all these generations?
Petey: We just keep moving and moving in a direction of our own choice.
SF Sonic: Have you found that your sound has changed at all? I’ve listened to the albums and thought that your sound has changed a little bit.
Petey: Our sound is ALWAYS changing. I can already state that the next album is going to be a much heavier sound; less pop, less commercial value, more rockin’. Who knows what else will come out of it. When we go into the studio, we have no rules. We do what we feel is OUR WAY. We’re not out copying anybody. There are influences of course. There’s no rules with the Adicts, who knows what we’ll do next? I like it that way, or it would be boring.
SF Sonic: 40 years is a long time to keep a band going. What is the secret ingredient to bringing everybody back, and doing this over and over again?
Petey: CRITICISM! We get a lot of it. When we get criticized, we just fight back. We don’t fit in the regular mold of a normal rock n roll scenario, band or what journalists or the media portrays, or cultural fashion. For some reason, we rub people up the wrong way, and I like that. But we do have things to say. We’re relevant, we must be, or we wouldn’t be pulling the crowds we do.
SF Sonic: Right, and I think you’ve touched a younger generation as well, which is important.
Petey: I think because we mix it up a bit, we change our music a little bit to suit the time, or lyrics. I don’t have an answer for that.
SF Sonic: Maybe more recent influences help as well?
Petey: There’s some great bands out there, who make some great sounds, and do some great music. At the moment I’m listening to Magic Whip by Blur. Great new album. There’s always good music to listen to, and you can always go backwards. Put the Kinks on, or The Beatles! Mott the Hoople was a great band too. They were a huge influence. What a great band live! I followed them around a bit, and yah, they were an influence too. There was a lot of good things that came out of the 70’s, a hell of a lot. I think there are a lot of good things that come out of every generation of music. You can go as far back as you want in history, and look at it.
SF Sonic: Thank you for carrying the torch, because I think there’s a lot of new generations that appreciate it.
Petey: Thank you for that. Yes, the boys would appreciate that comment. Yah, we’ve been asked that question many times about how we stay together. I think it’s just because we enjoy each other, and what we do, and we have goals. They aren’t financial goals at all, they’re actually performance goals. It’s about doing something that no body else can do, and the set we do is a high energy show. It’s like on no money at all, no budget. Imagine if we had a stage production with BIG MONEY behind us, it’d be insane, wouldn’t it?
SF Sonic: Is there an inspiration with each tour that dictates your stage show?
Petey: We pull it together from everywhere. We throw in a few new numbers or ideas, and the kids want the favorites of course. It kind of gets old, but it doesn’t get old, if you know what I mean? Playing the same songs, but they love the songs and they’re relevant. I’d love to play more obscure songs of course, but sometimes they just don’t work. There’s nothing worse than half way through a show, and you lose an audience. We’ve got some good ones, we’re doing a couple of new ones on this tour, which no one has heard yet, off the new album. We’re currently about one-third through. We’ve got seven tracks recorded, no vocals done yet.
SF Sonic: That’s terrific. Any idea when we’ll see this new album?
Petey: We’re hoping for the summer. We’re in negotiations with a number of decent labels. If that doesn’t come off, we’ll just bring it out on our own, directly to the fans.
SF Sonic: I have kind of a fun question. Do you have a favorite CRAZY FAN story?
Petey: Oh there’s so many of them! The lunatics? The psychos? The funny ones? I remember one guy who came up to me, and he wanted a photo. His girlfriend slapped him because he said to me “I want to have your baby”. That was a bit weird. But yah, we’ve had some wonderful fan moments. We tend to get lots of e-mails now from people who want us to get them on stage so they can propose. We do it on occasion, but it breaks up the show, you know? It’s good fun.
[back to the topic of the younger generation fans] It’s nice that we’re relevant, all ages, all over the place. The good thing is that we’re not a “fashionable band”. We’re not a fashion to follow, we kind of don’t fit into anything; punk rock, metal, it’s weird, we just do what we do. I think a lot of criticism comes because of that, but I was never pleased in the early days that we got “labelled” punk rock. It seemed that everybody got labelled punk rock and not all of us agree with Anarchy, and the fashion. We are a punk rock band in our attitude, but fashion-wise not at all. I think the spectrum of the different kinds of people that come to see us, shows that. We always look for the mohican while we’re playing, there’s always one in the crowd.
SF Sonic: Your Schecter is a signature guitar, can you tell me about that?
Petey: Five years ago I went to the NAMM convention, and this guy asked me who I was, and he said we would love to do a signature guitar with you, and I told him quite bluntly to FUCK OFF! And he asked me why, and I said because I’m not a rock star. I don’t do the rock star thing. Then three to six months later I get another phone call from the same guy with his boss, and they wanted to know why I told them to fuck off? They asked me to come down to the factory for a meeting. So, I went down there with a bunch of questions on a piece of paper, and they were all prepared when I got there. They had twenty or more youtube videos of kids playing guitar to my riffs. When I went in there, everybody had long black hair, you know, it was a bit weird, it was a metal kind of guitar company at the time. When I saw Dee Dee Ramones’ broken acoustic on the wall and Prince’s guitar I said “if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me”. They are amazing people. I’m very proud to be part of the Schecter family. They are wonderful people. We did three prototypes before I was happy with the guitar. I made sure it was under $1,000 so families could afford it for their kids, and believe me a good guitar is worth more than what it really is. I had Seymour Duncan design a pick up for me as well. My whole goal is so every genre or musician could play it. I bling’d it out because when I got my first guitar, I stood there looking at a Gibson Les Paul and it was way out of my family’s budget. I went home with a little Hofner Acoustic. I learned a lot from that little acoustic, even though cried all the way home because I never got the Gibson Les Paul! I learned about tone on that acoustic guitar, but I realized that having a guitar that was affordable, that families could afford, is good compared to a Gibson Les Paul! I’m very pleased with it, it’s a beautiful guitar. I can’t thank Schecter enough for having such an accolade of faith in me. I didn’t realize how important it is, to be picked out like that, you know? And amongst amazing musicians on the same guitar company, you know, Prince, Pete Townsend, Robert Smith from the Cure, you name it, there’s a bunch of them. A bunch of metal lads too! Tommy Victor, some of them great people as well. I’ll be honest with you, I’m not a very good guitarist. I don’t “shred”, I hate that, it sucks! I’m more of a “dirty” player. I like to play notes and melodies, and arrange. I do what I do, I don’t follow anybody else really. I like riffs and I like subtle leads, and I like nice tones.
SF Sonic: I think it stand outs out. I think the style of The Adicts, and also of your guitar playing makes it original.
Petey: I think The Adicts themselves, I mean take Kid on drums for example, he’s one of a kind. People talk about Keith Moon, and many other drummers, but Kid.. he’s not perfect, he makes a lot of bum beats, but he hits the drums harder than any other drummer I’ve played with, and broken many drum kits. Then we’ve got Monkey who may not be the best vocalist in the world, but he’s good in front of us, you know. Scruff on guitar, he’s like a puppet to watch and Dave. But we’re not the greatest musicians in the world, if we were, we’d be very wealthy.
SF Sonic: You mention Monkey; his stage presence and his style are very original, and I think fans really look for that now. There’s just a sea of bands that sound the same, and I think you stand out when you’re doing your own thing, it means something to us.
Petey: I think we really are a tremendous band. I know just being on stage, how great of a feeling it is just being on there with those other guys. It’s tremendous at times and kind of funny! We just don’t know what’s going to happen next?
SF Sonic: The Adicts engage with the fans quite a bit, which helps. I actually saw a band a few nights ago who did the same sort of thing. Much like what you do. They engage with all the fans, brought them up on stage. I thought to myself ‘this is it, this is what you pay for, the experience’.
Petey: We really do have great fans. It’s what keeps us going. We get wonderful e-mails. I got sick two years ago, and I’m still not well. People don’t realize, they gave me two months to live. The fans were fantastic. Just wonderful to me. I’ve made wonderful friends with fans. They’re always there, they’re bringing their grandkids now!
SF Sonic: I’m sorry to hear you’re still dealing with your illness, do you mind talking about that at all?
Petey: I’m a survivor, I’ve done chemo-therapy. That wasn’t very nice, that hurt a lot. Less than a year ago, I had a colon removed. I’ve had spine surgery, neck surgery; I’ve got six spurs and a metal plate in my neck. I’ve got broken limbs; my shoulder, my arm, my ankle, my elbow, you know. It’s a very very messed up thing. I’m in constant pain 24 hours a day. I will not take pain killers if I don’t have to, I really don’t like them. But I keep going, and when I get up on stage the fans get me through it, believe me.
SF Sonic: It means a lot to people that you continue to do that, I mean Lemmy comes to mind. The man was on stage until the very end!
Petey: Lemmy suffered for quite some time. I was working it out the other day, I knew Lemmy personally for 43 years now.
SF Sonic: I have one more question, and then we’ll wrap it up today. If you could, what would you keep THE SAME in the world today? What positive attributes would you keep in the world today?
Petey: I’d keep the GOOD people. There’s a lot more good people, than bad people. I think people have just forgot that. I think people are still good. There’s more good people than bad people, but with the whole climate of fear that a lot of people are feeling; they’ve been sucked in by the media. The media are the problem. We give too much interest to the advertisers and brutal killers and morons, and terrorists and all that. We give too much advertising to them on the media. They’re minuscule, they’ll go away and I think we should have less tolerance for them because there are good people on this planet. Politically as well; they need to concentrate more on education and healthcare, not bullshit name calling. It’s got nothing to do with what the future holds. The youth; our children, tomorrow, they’re what going to carry us through. We’re living in such a world of invention and technology, who know’s where it can go?
I’d like people to smile more, and say hello to each other, because it’s cool. I do it all the time! I don’t care where I am in the world; the most dangerous cities or cities in the world, I’ll walk down the street smiling. People should converse. Turn your phones off for a while.
You know the one thing I wish I could do, is to go out into the audience and watch The Adicts. When I see how they respond, I wish I was out there with them!