THE ADICTS: U.K. PUNK LEGENDS BREAK DOWN THE KEY TO A GREAT PERFORMANCE
FRONTMAN KEITH "MONKEY" WARREN WARNS AUDIENCES NOT TO COME TO HIS SHOWS WITH EXPECTATIONS.
Written by Johnny Papan
The Adicts are as iconic to the punk rock scene as they come. Hailing from the United Kingdom, the band first gained notoriety after the release of their debut album, Songs Of Praise, in 1981. The album featured their hard-hitting and catchy staple-track “Viva La Revolution.” The Adicts were further noticed with their “droog” imagery, inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, which was further enhanced by an almost Joker-esque persona work by frontman Keith “Monkey” Warren. The band, who are set to play at Vancouver’s Rickshaw Theatre this Thursday, October 24, are known for their unpredictable stage performances. [Event Link]
“We’re a very spontaneous band on stage,” Warren says. “There’s a bit of a structure but you’ll never know where it’s gonna go or what’s gonna happen. No two shows are ever the same. Today’s show will be different than last nights show because the stage is different, the lights are different, the crowds are different. the interactions are different. Sometimes people will try to jump on stage or, last time we were in Canada, somebody tried to pick me up on his shoulders and I was like ‘what the fuck is going on?’ He was trying to recreate a scene we did in a video we did in 1982 or something like that. Things happen all the time. Because we’re not a serious band in attitude, we laugh and roll with it, that makes it fun for us too.”
Warren’s demeanour is far different than what’s expected. Over the course of this conversation, he keeps a calm, slow pace. A quiet zen compared to the wild, sweaty, screaming man seen on stage. Many performers often separate the character from the being, as if two different entities. Warren explains his approach.
“I don’t know if I’m playing a ‘character’ or ‘persona’ when I’m on stage, it all comes from within somewhere,” he explains. “I don’t flip a switch and become someone else. It’s me, but it kind of takes the environment to get it out. It’s a high, it makes me feel very alive to be on stage. You get energy and ideas. Because we’re at the level where each venue is different, maybe there’s something I can climb onto, I can step onto the bar, climb up the rigging. You have to take a look at what you have to work with and go with it.”
With over 40 years of experience as a performer. Warren concludes with a lesson for the punk rockers of today’s generation:
“Keep playing, and playing, and playing, and you get confident with it eventually. I wasn’t the most confident person from the beginning, but the more you do it the more comfortable you get. Eventually you’ll reach a point where you’re comfortable and can let yourself go. As long as nobody gets hurt, it’s all right.”