The beauty of punk is its ability to take on many forms. Whether it’s the product of mosh pits and maxed out amplifiers or campfire songs with folksy twang, the ideas and the attitude are what qualify music as punk by definition. For OC legends like Steve Soto of the Adolescents, the ability to enjoy a laid back afternoon show with the best punk songwriters in OC is what inspired his new monthly event Big Easy Sunday featuring himself and a rotating cast of fellow old-school punkers at Bourbon Street in Downtown Fullerton. Recently, Soto talked to us about the rock-solid sounds and camaraderie that feed this monthly bit of acoustic anarchy.
OC Weekly (Nate Jackson): Describe the acoustic show series at Bourbon St. and how it came together.
Steve Soto: It’s a group of acoustic sets, everyone on the bill does about 4 songs each and we change it up every month to get more people involved. I’m the emcee of the whole thing. It started off as a one off thing but it was really fun. Greg [Antista] started joking when he first got on stage when it started and said “We’re doing this every month,” but then afterwards we were all talking and said, “You know what, maybe we should do this every month.”
Who’s playing every month. Does it rotate?
Mostly it’s gonna be local guys. The thing was when we did it the first time, all the guys we grew up around showed up and we said if we do this every month we should try to get all these great song writers involved who are still around.
What do you like most about punk rock in an acoustic format?
People tell stories up there, it’s really relaxed and intimate/casual, it’s a Sunday afternoon. I mean what else are you doing at 3 p.m. on a Sunday? It was a really cool turnout last time, a lot of old school Fullerton people. My whole thing with acoustic guitars comes from back in the old punk rock days, Frank Agnew and I would play acoustic guitars at backyard parties when we were bored. We’d figure out how to do the whole Tommy album on acoustic guitars.
Why is Fullerton an ideal location for a series like this?
I think so, everyone lives pretty local, I moved back to Fullerton recently. It just feels like home, even people that moved away from Fullerton are coming back. It’s funny because none of that stuff was there when we were growing up. I’d actually never been to Bourbon Street until I performed there for the first time.
You recently finished recording an album with the Adolescents called Crop Duster [US release date TBA]. What’s still your favorite part about recording with them?
Tony [Reflex] always comes with great lyrical ideas, so that’s always the last thing to get done. We don’t always go in rehearsed, we ‘ll go in and start recording music and then he comes in and puts vocals on things. So my favorite part is going down when he’s tracking his vocals to figure out what he’s singing and there’s some really cool stuff on this record, I’m really pumped on it. I’m sure a lot of punk bands are gonna be putting out a lot of records on Donald Trump over the next couple years. But the first five or six songs we don’t have a lot on that, but Tony said no one wants to hear me screaming about Trump for a whole hour. But there’s a few good ones in there, it’s all on point. We have a really good one called “Nuclear Football” about Trump with the nuclear codes but its written like a play by play of a football game, it’s really funny.
Big Easy Sunday featuring Steve Soto, Eric Leach, Greg Antista, Jessica Kaczmarek and Danny Walker at Bourbon Street, 110 E. Commonwealth Ave. Fullerton, (714) 626-0050, www.bourbonstreetfullerton.com., Sunday, June 10, 21+, free.
Nate Jackson is the gatekeeper to your dreams of local dive bar stardom. If he writes about you, expect your band to be offered at least one more drink ticket than the rest of the bands on the bill. Get his attention with some groovy tunes and he might just do it. Then, boy will you feel special.