A Conversation with Pete Dee
July 8, 2023 by Traci Turner  
One of punk’s defining bands, The Adicts are unmistakable in sight and sound, but unfortunately, they have been away from our stages for far too long. Thankfully they are heading our way next week and we got some insider info from their indestructible guitarist, Pete Dee.
Since forming in England in 1975 (more or less) – there is scholarly debate if it was late ’74 or early ’75. Whatever the case may be, there is no question that is about the time the face of music changed. No matter what has been going on in their orbit, The Adicts have remained true to themselves and gained a loyal following known as the Droog Army.
Their energy, power, musical chops, and dynamic front-man hold your attention when you see them perform, which may be why their upcoming shows are selling out.

With front-man Monkey, Pete Dee on lead guitar, his brother Kid Dee on drums, Kiki Kabel on bass, and Highko Strom also on guitar, you don’t want to miss their live performances of “Easy Way Out,” “Life Goes On,” “Joker in the Pack,” “Let’s Go,” “Bad Boy,” “Crazy,” “I’m Not Scared of You,” “Spank Me Baby” and “Viva la Revolution.”

In addition to the three SoCal shows – one of which is July 22nd at the OC’s Observatory – the band just dropped the 40th anniversary edition vinyl of their debut album, “Songs of Praise.” Remastered at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London, this limited edition includes new artwork, jacket with lyrics, an eight-page booklet, cloth patch, and sticker, and is available in three variations – standard black, “clocky orange,” and “SOP splatter.”
Pete Dee shares details about the special edition and more…

Traci: We last saw you perform in February 2020 at the Garden Amp, but I know you were in a bad accident sometime later. When was that? Are you ok?
Pete: Two years ago. I got hit on the freeway, and it’s quite severe, actually. A brain injury, arm injury, leg injury, a few other injuries. I’ve had three surgeries on my left arm. I’ve had to learn to play the guitar from scratch, it’s been very hard. The head injury is still ongoing because I get concussions when I sneeze sometimes.

Traci: That is way worse than I thought! That sounds horrendous!
Pete: It was quite hard. I couldn’t look at a TV screen for about three months or listen to music for about three months – I didn’t know what was going on. It doesn’t help that I’ve already got six screws in my neck and a door hinge (chuckling) from previous injuries. Right in the middle of COVID as well; the hospitals were weird; everybody dressed up like space aliens. But, yeah, I’m still recovering right now. I had the last surgery on my left arm in January. So I’m playing; I’m doing the best I can. But it’s not just me, it’s all the band. We’re not young. We’re in our 60s. And I’m the eldest and I have a very long beard now. It’s very nice!

Traci: I guess you’re doing physical therapy too?
Pete: Yeah, I did all that. I mean, it was so nonstop.
Traci: What else do you have to do to get ready for a batch of shows?
Pete: Well, I’ve had a lot of injections in my leg and my leg’s hurting a lot. I’m in pain all the time, but I’m practicing, I’m playing quite well. I just can’t move like I used to, which is okay. There’s old injuries with me, most of them are hurting. My ankle, I’ve had seven surgeries on that ankle, so it’s playing up again. But I’m going to be okay, I think. (laughing)

Traci: You sound like a bionic man!
Pete: Pretty much, yeah. I’ve had cancer twice. I’ve had 18 inches of colon removed. I’ve done chemo for a year. I did radiation, 33 sessions of radiation. I’ve been through a lot and I’m still rocking. I just can’t be put down; I just don’t give up. I don’t have time for that. I’m a rocker.
Traci: Isn’t it crazy that you have been doing this for more than 40 years? I mean, when you look at having this 40th anniversary for “Songs of Praise,” isn’t it like, “No, it can’t be the 40th.”

Pete: It’s the strangest thing, isn’t it? It’s actually 42 years. We just couldn’t get the record pressed in time. I sat down, redid all the artwork, and it looks great. Then we got it remastered at Abbey Road Studios of Beatles fame, and that in itself is just prestigious. It’s just a nice feeling, that we’re still doing it after all these years, and three out of four still in the band.
Traci: That is a rarity on its own!
Pete: Yeah, it really is. We don’t talk to each other very much, but we know we love each other very dearly. We all have separate lives to live, and getting us together just for this has been quite interesting as well. We’ll see where it takes us after these shows. We’re looking forward to it. I know we’re going to be great. I know we always are. There’s a rule with The Adicts; I laid the rule down when I formed the band. If you don’t put in 100%, you’re not in the band. It really is a rule that we have to give everything we’ve got on stage, and that’s what’s made The Adicts an interesting live act.
Traci: And that’s why you have the longevity and you have the loyal fans that you do.
Pete: Yeah, we’ve done our apprenticeship, you could say, and so maybe it’s time for us to reap some kind of rewards, because you don’t make any money out of this game unless you have mega hits and you’re on a mega record label. We’re pretty much DIY. I mean, the whole “Songs of Praise” is DIY. I’ve been packing them this week, so quite a lot of people have been getting my signature on a lot of the vinyls.

Traci: Are there any paper cut injuries though?
Pete: Yeah, I got a couple of paper cuts and from pressing down stickers and sliding my thumb across these stickers; I got rug burn, you could call it. (laughing) But it’s very exciting. It really is exciting to see this go out. Then we’ve got another record to get pressed soon, which is a double live album that I mixed during COVID. That was a lot of work in my studio. I mean, 10 years of multi-tracked recordings from all over the world, and about 80% of it went in the trash bin. Took me about six months to do in total. Sounds great. That’s ready to go.
Traci: As you go back and listen to your music, are there parts where you think “Oh, I wish we had done this instead?”
Pete: Oh, my God. You don’t know the story of the first album! We actually did the whole album in 25 hours. It was 25 hours and out the door. We did it on the hottest day of the year in a little studio – Octopus Studios in Suffolk – that was ran by the guys from Pink Floyd. They didn’t know what they were seeing when we walked in there. We walked in there pretty tanked up, drunk. They didn’t know what they were getting into. We just plugged in and did it, but it was done in 25 hours and, yes, there’s lots of mistakes on it, but that was the beauty of those days and that’s all we could afford and it was nice and look back with fond memories with it. I just wish we had more money and more time to make it a little bit better, that’s all.

Traci: I just wonder if musicians hear their stuff and think, “I wish we had done this instead of that,” or, “I wish we had used this instrument there instead of that one.” Is a song ever truly finished?
Pete: Back then, we were just young boys, you have to remember. I think we recorded in 1979, but it didn’t come out for a couple of years, but back then we were just children, really, if you think about it. Since then, I’ve done lots of productions and worked in lots of studios and I know how to operate all the stuff and so I know what’s missing. (chuckling) We didn’t have a producer; we just went in and knocked it out. Other records since we’ve done studios, we’ve had producers and we’ve had all those instruments put on and little bits and pieces written here and there in the studio. But on that, with this album we just went in then it was more like a rehearsal. It took more time to mix it than to record it. But it was all done in 25 hours.

Traci: You have the limited-edition album, this live album, these three shows and then?
Pete: We’ll do the shows, we’ll celebrate together, and we’ll sit down and say, “Right, now, what are we going to do now?” And believe me, the phone hasn’t stopped ringing. They want us to play all over the place. Maybe a South American tour. We’ll say European tour. Halloweek. We normally do Halloweek in California, so we might do that. We’ve been in discussions with people, so we’ll see if we all enjoy each other’s company as well, because we haven’t seen each other. We’re going to have two rehearsals before the show and that’s it. We’ll be fine, believe me.
Traci: It’s old hat?
Pete: I’m rehearsing every day and I’m finding quite difficult, to be honest (laughing), but when the adrenaline kicks in, it’s a good painkiller. When I see everybody singing the songs and smiling faces and the tears as well, because it’s what’s amazing. Adicts gigs, there’s a lot of emotions in the crowd. I see grown men crying; it’s wonderful. It’s going to be very emotional.

Traci: I’m one of those emotional fans at shows. The hair stands up on my arms and I get teary when the band hits the stage.
Pete: That’s the beauty of music. We try to bring people together. We’ve always been that way, and it’s a beautiful thing. I mean, what would we do without music? I tell people we’d eat ourselves. We would eat each other. And if the human species collapses because technology collapses, we’ll end up banging drums and talking to each other again. After we’ve eaten each other, of course.

Traci: I’m a bit motherly and bossy, so you have to do one thing that I ask you to do, and that is don’t shake your head too much. Don’t shake your brain too much at these shows!
Pete: I’ve been playing, practicing, standing up, and I’m trying to not bang my head like I used to and shake it. I keep getting dizzy, but I’ll be all right. I’ll drink lots of water before the show. I’ll put some hairspray on my beard.

Traci: Okay. Don’t make me beat you up!
Pete: I think it’s going to be fun. We are all looking forward to it. I think we’re all nervous. But once we get together and rehearse, I think we’ll be at ease with each other’s confidence because we’ve been practicing, let me tell you. We were all on it. We’re professionals at the end of the day, and all the crew are back together as well. Everybody’s excited. Great crew we have and great fans. We’re very excited and looking forward to playing in Orange County, and hopefully it’ll go so well. We have every confidence it will!

Thank you to Pete Dee for the talk, and honestly, I’d listen to him read a phone book. With all he’s been through, he is living proof of the power of positive thinking. He inspires us by the way he lives life, not just through The Adicts music, but in practice too: Life does indeed go on!

AND SO IT IS: The Adicts have three SoCal dates: July 20th at the Observatory North Park in San Diego (but VERY few tickets remain); July 21st at the Belasco in Los Angeles (sold out); and July 22nd at the Observatory Orange County (tickets available). Do not sleep on this! Get your tickets for The Adicts now! The Observatory show will also feature The Garden (who Pete said invited The Adicts to play with them, and he was super appreciative), JPEGMAFIA, 45Grave, and Alice Glass.  



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