When you are talking about “old-school” New York Hardcore musicians there aren’t many who can stack up with Todd “YOUTH” Schofield who A: Was around in the sticks and stones days and B: Is without question one of the most talented people to pick up an instrument within a scene that was widely looked upon as a bunch of urban Neanderthals. Todd has been around and his work includes studio classics with Warzone and Murphy’s Law as well as stints with Chrome Locust, Danzig, Motorhead and many more that may not be as familiar to your average hardcore kid. These days Todd is a driving force behind two great new bands in Bloodclot and Fireburn: both of whom have brand new music out now. This interview was done in two parts with the first section being done in July and round two being completed in late August. So read up! Learn some old stuff about Todd and definitely check out the new as well by clicking on the Bloodclot and Fireburn covers that will lead you to streams of their new stuff. Shout out to Todd for following the In Effect HC Instagram page in the first place which eventually led to this interview. Lead photo taken from the “Lower East Side Crew” EP by Warzone, Graphics by: Dead City.
1: Hey Todd, where exactly are you right now and what do you think you would be doing if we weren't bothering you with these questions?
Todd: I'm on tour in Pittsburgh with Bloodclot, we're out with one of my all-time favorite bands Negative Approach. If I wasn't answering these questions, I'd be counting merch or loading gear into the club, so thanks!
2. How did you get the nickname Todd Youth? How old were you when you first started going to hardcore and punk shows?
Todd: I was 12 when I went to my first show, Bad Brains at CB's, and from that moment on my life was never the same.
3. What was the first show you can recall playing? Where was it? When? Who else played?
Todd: The first show I ever played was in 1983, playing bass in Agnostic Front. It was a benefit show at a place called the Squat Theater. Can't remember who else played.
4. Who wrote the majority of the music to the tracks on the new Bloodclot album “Up In Arms” and were they written specifically with the idea that John Joseph would sing them? A few years back you had a brief return to Murphy's Law. Were any of the songs on “Up In Arms” being worked on during your Murphy's Law return?
Todd: I started writing the music for “Up In Arms” after I filled in for AJ with the Cro-Mags for a show they had in North Carolina. It was great to reconnect with John who I've known forever. We started talking about doing something new. I started writing and demoing songs and would send them to John and slowly but surely we put the record together and no these weren't written when I came back to Murphy's Law for a few shows.
5. When were the songs on “Up In Arms” written? How old is the oldest track and how new is the newest one?
Todd: The oldest one musically is “Kali”. It was the first song I ever wrote when I was 12. The newest was “Fire” which we wrote in the studio while we were recording.
6. What are some of your favorite tracks off of “Up In Arms” and what is it about them that makes them stand out to you?
Todd: My favorite on the record is “Manic”, I love John's vocals on that one and the lyrics are killer, and “Fire” because it is so old school sounding like Minor Threat or SOA.
7: Yourself and John Joseph have been playing punk and hardcore music for much or all of your adult lives. The 2 other Bloodclot members come from a hard rock background with Queens of the Stone Age being the band they are most associated with. How was the process of working on these new songs with them as far as writing and recording? Do guys of that caliber need any kind of direction when it comes to creating and recording a hardcore album or did things just come naturally to them in your opinion?
Todd: Well Joey C I met back in ‘85 when he was playing in L.A's Wasted Youth, and Nick is the kid in the Cro-Mags “We Gotta Know” video that runs up to the camera with the long hair and Mags t-shirt with his fist in the air so we all came up in hardcore punk around the same time, so everyone kinda has the same reference points. Plus me and Joey were in Danzig together. Nick and Joey were in Queens together and we've all been friends for 30 plus years.
8: What has been discussed within the Bloodclot camp as far as touring and pushing this new album? You have some dates set up with Negative Approach already lined up. What comes after that?
Todd: The tour with Negative Approach has been going great. I get to watch one of my favorite bands every night and John Brannon is the coolest guy ever. This is the right tour for us to be out on. No metal bullshit, just straight up American Hardcore Punk!!! We're doing a West Coast run in October and Europe in early 2018.
9: Where does everyone in Bloodclot live and will distance be any factor in the bands progression?
Todd: Not really. Me Joey and Nick live in LA and John obviously is in NY but with the internet it makes it much easier to write. We demo some music, email it to John, he does his thing and boom… new song!!
10: Can you tell us a little about your other band called Fireburn? Who else is in it and which band... if either... has priority in your life?
Todd: Fireburn is me, Todd Jones from Nails, Israel Joseph I who sang on “Rise” from Bad Brains and Nick Townsend from Deadbeat L.A. on drums. Me and Todd Jones started jamming together with Nick just for fun, and the songs were coming out so good that we decided we had to get a singer. I ran into Israel at this thing Darryl Jennifer was doing in LA and,he came into the studio and just rocked it! It's so much fun playing with these guys. Neither band is more important than the other. I finish this tour August 6th and the first Fireburn EP comes out thru Closed Casket on August 18th. We're doing our first few show in LA/OC right after that. It's not too hard these days to keep 2 projects going at the same time.
11: When you were a kid who were some of the musicians you looked up to that made you want to start playing the guitar?
Todd: Before punk I was obsessed with Kiss. Ace Frehley was my hero and then when I got into hardcore Dr. Know from the Brains, Fast Eddie from Motorhead, Greg Ginn from Black Flag were and still are my guitar heroes.
12: Is being a musician your full time job?
Todd: I've had periods in my life where I was a full time musician, but it's getting harder and harder… that’s why I have to have 2 bands going… Haha!
TODD YOUTH WITH FIREBURN @ PROGRAMME SKATE & SOUND, FULLERTON, CA AUGUST 25, 2017
PHOTO BY: ALBERT LICANO
13: You have always had a reputation within the hardcore scene for being one of the best musicians out there. When you look back over the years who are some of the other musicians you have played with, and even those that you have witnessed play live that you look to and feel like they are playing on a higher level?
Todd: Without a doubt Dr. Know of the Bad Brains. He is the most innovative guitar player in the past 35 years. No one can touch his lead playing…pure soul!
14: You have been involved with the hardcore music scene since its infancy stages back in the early 1980s and have seen a lot of people and bands come and go during that time. How closely do you track the current day hardcore scene... even if it's just from your home computer... and do you like what you see and hear?
Todd: I always stay up on what’s going on and there are some really great bands out there. Fury is killing it, I really love Violent Reaction even though they broke up. There is this one man kinda band from the UK called Rat Cage that I really like.
15: If you could go back and have a do over with anything in your musical past what would you like to have a second chance with?
Todd: I've got no regrets. I'm still here, I'm still making music, and I'm very grateful for that.
16: Outside of playing music what kinds of hobbies or interests do you have?
Todd: Not much. I'm kind of just a music nerd. If I'm not playing I'm listening to it or reading about music or talking to my friends about music. Since I was a very young kid I've just been obsessed with music and not much has changed.
17: Your most embarrassing moment you've ever had while performing on stage?
Todd: I've had a few!! One time in Danzig there was a pole onstage and I ran straight into it, knocked myself out and broke the neck of my guitar in one fail swoop! Hard to come back from that one and look cool.
18: What is the album or recording that you have played on that you look to and think "this is my best work."
Todd: I gotta say I feel like I'm having one of those periods were everything clicks. The Bloodclot record and now the Fireburn EP.
19: Back at the 2012 BNB Bowl you played a Warzone set that was a tribute to Raybeez who passed away in 1997. Can you give us some memories of how that amazing set came together and any special memories from the show itself?
Todd: Todd The Kid, Vinnie and Jay-Sin really put it together. We only did one rehearsal with all the guest singers, and I'd really like to think Ray was looking down with a big smile. Not to sound corny but I really could feel his presence. It’s kind of unexplainable. My favorite memory of the night was when we kicked into “As One” and seeing some kid pushed up against the stage, singing along and crying. I never thought in a million years that a song I wrote when I was 14 would still resonate all these years later with hardcore kids. We are doing another one seeing as it’s the 20th anniversary of Ray’s passing. I thought it would be fitting to do another show, honor Ray, Warzone and those songs, It's going to be in Tomkins Square Park which I think couldn't be more fitting since we hung out in that park so much back in the early 80's.
20: Raybeez passing at such a young age was a shock to the entire hardcore music scene. What are some of your favorite memories of being in a band with Ray and were you guys always good friends or were there any rough patches during your time in the band?
Todd: Ray was like a brother to me. We used to tell people we were real blood brothers but we had our rough patches just like brothers do. When I joined Murphy’s Law and quit Warzone he was pissed but a month after I got home from the Murphy’s Law/Fishbone/Beastie Boys tour we made up. I played on a few later Victory Records and whenever he needed a guitar player for a show I'd always fill in.
21: You did not play on Warzone’s “Don’t Forget The Struggle, Don’t Forget The Streets” album which at the time was criticized by some for incorporating too much of a metal influence. When that album came out what did you think of it and what are your feelings about it now?
Todd: Well I did write almost all the music on “DFTSDFTS” and a lot of the lyrics too, so there's a piece of me in those songs but at that time metal was creeping into hardcore and Paul and Jay who played guitars on the record are definitely more metal players. That album means a lot to some people so who am I to criticize?
22: Back in 2003 you filled in on a few dates with Motorhead. What was your "in" for that short stint and did Lemmy and the rest of the band welcome you in or were you just some guy filling in for a few days? Where were the shows you played?
Todd: When I was in Danzig we would rehearse next door to Motorhead. I became friends with them just from seeing each other every day. That band has meant so much to me. I got my first Motorhead record, “No Sleep Till Hamersmith” when I was 12 and I would listen to it over and over just staring at the cover. The Marshall stacks, the lights, everything! One of the top 10 shows I've ever seen was Cro-Mags and Motorhead at the old Ritz (NYC) and Fast Eddie Clarke is a HUGE influence on my guitar playing. I think I fan boyed out a bit on them. One day Phil Campbell (MH guitarist) didn't show up or was late and Lem asked if I knew any Motorhead songs and I told him I could play any of the early stuff so I had a jam with them and I know that stuff note for note, I learned how to play lead guitar from those records…and Lem liked me because I know my Rock ‘N Roll history. We would talk about Buddy Holly, Little Richard, MC5 etc. So when Phil's mom passed during the Hammered Tour I got the call on a Friday around 6pm and Sunday morning at 6 am I was on a plane to play my first of 4 shows in Motorhead. Talk about a surreal moment!! I get to the venue in time to do a soundcheck/rehearsal and Lem asks what 2 songs I needed the most work on… we do those 2, he puts down his bass and says you'll be fine and walks offstage. That was it. I played my first show that night and it was amazing! I did Indianapolis, DC, Virginia Beach and Asbury Park. I was tight with Lem. We'd talk and I would go meet him at the Rainbow, or go to his pad for dinner. I'm still so bummed he's gone.
23: What advice would you give to kids who may just be starting out and wanting to play music or start a band within the hardcore, punk or some other branch of heavy music?
Todd: Don't do it for the money. Do it because you're passionate about the music. Put stuff out, play shows and if money comes, great but me personally… I do it because I have to. It's what I do, and I'm so lucky to still be doing it!