Last night it was announced that Steve Soto, founding member of OC punk band The Adolescents had passed away in his sleep. He was 54 years old. Here his friends and fans remember him…
Andy Nystrom. This post originally appeared in There’s Something Hard in There.:
Steve Soto’s deft bass playing and soaring harmonies help put the Adolescents’ “Blue” album near the top of the all-time punk-rock heap. With songs like “Kids of the Black Hole,” “Amoeba,” “No Way,” “Rip it Up,” etc. within its grooves, all copies — original or reissued — of that platter should be ready to snap at any moment from constant play.
Soto passed away today at age 54. He will be truly missed.
My brother Ed and I devoured the “Blue” album and caught the Adolescents live for the first time in the summer of ’81 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium alongside Black Flag, DOA and the Minutemen. It was a monumental gig: pure bliss with heaps of chaos, raging tunes and plenty of vocal growls and melody piercing the air.
Bad Religion’s Jay Bentley spoke about Soto in his most-influential-bassists piece for There’s Something Hard in There in 2014:
“There were a half dozen or so of us that stuck together early on to learn from each other. Steve had chops and could sing like a motherfucker. Another bass player stuck between two great guitar players, he found and played the most musical lines. Really taught me a lot about harmony between all the instruments.”
While watching Soto lead his band the Twisted Hearts in an opening slot for X in Seattle in 2009, I looked over at Cat and nodded that I was going to do it. Someone had to.
I yelled out, jokingly, “Play ‘Amoeba’!”
Soto glanced my way and laughed. He didn’t play the song, but he gave us that beaming smile.
I spotted him in the crowd later and we chatted for a bit. We chuckled about my call-out, and he patted me on the back and headed off.
Michael Essington, author of Last One To Die:
In 1981 I bought the Rodney On The ROQ compilation at Moby Disc in Sherman Oaks. Right from the first track, the killer surf-punk riffs of Bloodstains came on. This fifteen-year-old was hooked. The powerful rhythm section led by Steve Soto on bass was so heavy.
April of the same year, The Adolescents released their self-titled debut or better known as the Blue Album. Track after track the album built and kept getting better. Back in my younger years, I was a total music nerd. I would read and memorize the liner notes and credits. So, as I was listening to the Blue Album I see the name Steve Soto on the inner sleeve, same guy as the Rodney album.
On the Blue Album Soto, co-wrote five of the thirteen tracks and laid-down some of the best bass lines in the history of punk rock and contributed incredible backing vocals throughout the album.
I didn’t know Steve, we messaged twice, with me being a Fanboy, “Great song!”
In any vocation you choose, you hope to do it well, and Steve did, he played some of the best music I had ever heard. Soto provided the soundtrack to my childhood with Kids of The Black Hole and Bloodstains.
Safe travels, Mr. Soto. It was a pleasure to listen to you.
Martin Wong, founder of Save Music in Chinatown:
We consider ourselves incredibly lucky to not only count Steve as a supporter of our Save Music In Chinatown benefits (who played two secret shows with The Adolescents and a solo gig) but a family friend. And today we are crushed to find out he has left us. The world is less punk and also less kind because Steve’s vast musical legacy is matched only by tales of what a nice human he was. Hugs, tears, and love to his family, bandmates, and everyone who is mourning his departure but blasting his music right now and forever. @ Earth, Milky way.