|Steve Soto with the Adolescents in Seattle in 2015. (Cat Rose photo)
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.