Adrenalin OD (or AOD as they were more commonly known as) were the kings of NJ hardcore and the kings of goofy hardcore. While a lot of bands were all about politics, AOD were a lot less serious and a lot more fun. They were around for a good handful of years, and put out some damn good records before packing it in and going their separate ways. This interview was done via email with Dave Scott.
How did you first get into punk rock and how old were you at the time?
I first got into punk through my half-sister. She got into it really early. She used to date Mick Jones from the Clash. She lived in Miami and the only time we’d see her was when she’d come up to New York when the Clash were in town. She got me into the Clash shows for free and I’d always be front row center. Seeing the Clash live, especially back in 1979 around the Give Em Enough Rope era was like a religious experience. She was also a writer for the Florida punk magazine Mouth Of The Rat which years later would morph into the important N.Y. punk label Ratcage Records.
When was it that you started playing drums?
I was horrible when I started. I would jam on breaks with the band I managed called the East Paterson Boys Choir. We’d play Misfits and Dead Kennedy’s songs while their drummer smoked pot in the parking lot. The East Paterson Boys Choir featured Bruce on vocals (later in A.O.D.), Tommy K on guitar (later in Mourning Noise and Bedlam) Paul on guitar (later in A.O.D.), and Jack on Bass (later in A.O.D.).
Where did you meet your fellow band mates? How did AOD come to be?
I heard that there was a punk shop opening up in my neighboring city of Passaic, NJ. I was about 15 at the time. I took the bus to check it out. The store was called Two-Tone and is actually still in business to this day. As I was leaving the store I heard a blaring version of “Pills” by the NY Dolls coming from a small café across the street. It was the East Paterson Boys Choir. I went in and watched them perform “Saturday Night” by the Bay City Rollers and “Sonic Reducer” by The Dead Boys. They rocked in a sloppy, screw everything kind of way. We talked after they played and I ended up becoming their 15-year-old manager. I even got them their historical appearance at The Clifton City Picnic.
What was the original line up? I know there was at least one member who came and went and Bruce joined a little later. What happened to those members who left and why did they leave the band?
From the start the lineup was Paul Richard, Jack Steeples, Myself, and Jim Foster on guitar. Jim was hard to get along with. He was the grandmother of the group. He left the band around the time Let’s Barbeque came out. He later went on to be in Electric Frankenstein. Bruce was always around anyway and we all liked him so he just kind of filled in perfectly.
When you started the band, was it always the intention to be the kings of goofy hardcore?
The only direction we had when we started was that we wanted to be the world’s fastest band. Paul and myself were really getting into the DC and LA scenes. Black Flag, Circle Jerks, SOA, Minor Threat. The goofy thing is really because we’re goofy assed motherfuckers in real life. We just had that comedy team kind of connection. We were funny on and off stage. Everything on stage was 100% spontaneous which is why people loved the live shows. No props or rehearsed lines.
How long after you formed did you do Let’s BBQ?
Let’s Barbeque was over a year of playing out and saving the money.
Tell me about Buy Our Records. How did it come to be.
Buy Our Records was started by Paul and me as a way to release Let’s Barbeque. We brought in our friends Lenny and Jim (from Bedlam) and Chris (now an indie film director) when we got too busy to be that involved.
When you did the first single, how long did it take to sell them all? You ended up doing more than one pressing so did you gain a pretty strong following early on?
We sold out of the first pressing really fast. Magazines like Flipside, Maximum Rock n’ Roll, and Jersey Beat all helped the sales of Let’s Barbeque.
How long after that single was it that you went in and did Wacky Hi Jinks…?
I think about a year and a half later. By then Buy Our Records had some money.
When did you tour the US for the first time?
We would always take weekend trips to places like Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Massachusetts. Our first real tour was in July of 1984. We played ten states in a month. It was so much fun. Every town had a scene blossoming and it was great to see it back then.
That split single with Bedlam was supposed to be a flexi. What happened that it ended up getting rejected by Evatone and became a regular single instead. Why didn’t you do a sleeve for it?
Evatone had religious affiliations and were too afraid of the swearing on the Bedlam side. We were forced into doing it as a regular record. It had no cover because it was just a limited edition record to sell at shows and through the mail.
Who came up with the title for the second LP?
If I’m not mistaken it was Bruce.
With the third album, your sound changed quite a bit. Was this just a result of playing together so long? Or did you get bored of hardcore and wanted to try something else out?
I think hardcore was beginning to get redundant. We were listening to more traditional punk like The Avengers, Blondie, The Buzzcocks, as well as rock bands like Cheap Trick. It was only natural that it filtered into what we played. I’d say that around 1986 the creative part of the hardcore movement was dying off.
Why after years of being on the label, did you part ways with Buy our Records?
Buy Our Records ended up going bankrupt after putting out some great stuff. We had a manager at the time and he hooked us up with Enigma/Restless.
Your last record, Ishtar, didn’t really live up to the fine AOD standard, did you realize this at the time and therefore name the album after that movie, which was, well… um… bad?
Yes my friend, you win the golden ticket. We were ready to break up before we signed with them. The record was over budget, and uninspired. Hence Ishtar, one of the all time money losing flops.
Why did you guys call it a day and when?
A few weeks after Ishtar came out, Restless Records went under. We felt defeated.
How did the GTA reissue CD come about? How come you didn’t reissue the second LP? It was great and is worthy of a proper reissue.
Bruce hooked us up with GTA, who have been very good to us. Brian’s a real good guy. As for Humungousfungusamongus. It will be coming out this year on Relapse Records, remastered and repackaged with a new cover, a big booklet, and seven unreleased songs from the Humungous session.
How did that demos album come about?
The demo album on Munster Records was set up by our friend Sal from Electric Frankenstein.
You told me AOD played at the New York Thrash anniversary, any chance there may be another AOD reunion in the future?
I’ll never say never, but probably not. The CBGB’s reunion was a great way to go out. It was a lot of fun.
What is it you do now, and what are the other guys up to? Are you still all friends?
Of course. They’re like my big ugly brothers. Paul and Jack now play in SUX. Bruce is in the International Brunch Mummies.
Do you ever miss being in the band?
It was a fantastic way to grow up. I don’t know if I’d want to do it now. I live in Florida and design merchandise for bands. I manage the amazing punk power duo Nutrajet. After A.O.D. I drummed for Atlantic Recording artists, Lucy’s Trance, and the Orlando based Sci-Fi Punk band, The Hybrids.
Of all the AOD records, which is your favorite and least favorite?
My favorite album is Cruising With Elvis because we had a great time making it and touring to support it. My favorite song is “The Nice Song in the key of D” on Humungous. My least favorite is Ishtar. I enjoyed working with producer Andy Shernoff (Dictators) but we were recording at four in the morning and the results were disappointing.
If you could go back in time and change something about AOD, anything, what would it be?
I would have probably taken a few years off after Ishtar and come back stronger in time for Green Day’s pop punk revival. I look at NOFX and think we dropped the ball.
Any final comments?
Thanks for the interest. Watch out for all the albums to be reissued soon on Relapse Records.