Chris, Eric Smith and Rick Strahl in early 1985, with Nick Koljian briefly on vocals. The lineup was changed with the addition of Kevin Reed on vocals. This lineup played a number of initial shows at Kontos, The band was formed by Ruthies Inn, the New Method, the Mabuhay Gardens and other Bay Area venues. Several months later, Kevin Reed was replaced by Andy Andersen on vocals and Chris Scapparo joined as a second guitarist. They shortly went into the studio to record the "Dead Serious Demo" in 1985.
In 1986 and 1987, Attitude Adjustment played frequent gigs throughout California. They played alongside bands like Forbidden (Known as Forbidden Evil at that time),
Vio-Lence, Dr. Know, Suicidal Tendencies, Corrosion of Conformity, D.R.I., Discharge, UK Subs, Neurosis, The Exploited and Operation Ivy, among others. The band finally released their debut album, American Paranoia. This album is considered to be a "crossover" between hardcore and thrash metal.