On October 27th, 2018 the hardcore punk community lost one of our best as Todd “Youth” Schofield was taken away from us at the age of 47. I didn’t know Todd outside of a few interviews that I did with him for this website but felt that in time a tribute article to honor his memory would be fitting because the music he created was a big part of my life. Todd’s musical resume was off the charts diverse from Warzone, Agnostic Front and Murphy’s Law in the 80’s and 90’s to 2017/18 releases with Bloodclot and Fireburn. Beyond the NYHC scene is where Todd gained even more respect from his friends and peers as his amazing talent saw him play with with Danzig, Samhain, Cheap Trick, Ace Frehley, and even country music star Glen Campbell. D Generation, Son Of Sam, Chrome Locust, The Chelsea Smiles are even more examples of the wide reach he had in his music career. Before we did one interview for this tribute we reached out to one of Todd’s daughters to see if there was any reason not to do this tribute and we were met with blessings to move forward. We moved ahead and conducted 25 total interviews over the last 4 plus months with people who we felt really wanted to say something positive about Todd. I don’t know exactly what drove me to take on this article and all the work that it took to complete it but I somehow felt compelled to do it and in some ways I felt like I owed it to Todd for all the amazing music he gave me over the years. His music changed my life for the better and I am willing to bet that many of you who read this feel the same way. Thank you Todd Youth! Rest In Peace. In Effect would also like to thank Larry Cooney Jr for his amazing graphic stylization work within this article. We would also like to thank photographers BJ Papas, Ken Salerno, Jammi York, Randall Underwood, Albert Licano, Omar Cordy of OJC Photography, Shigeo Kikuchi and Michael Alago for sharing their photos with us to make this article come more alive in capturing Todd's memory. Lastly, we would also like to thank all those interviewed as well as Tony Rettman for letting us use his interview with Todd from his book "NYHC- New York Hardcore 1980-1990".
TODD YOUTH (LEFT ON GUITAR) DURING THE RAYBEEZ WARZONE TRIBUTE AT THE 2012
BLACK 'N BLUE BOWL IN NYC. PHOTO BY: STEVEN J. MESSINA
Eric “GOAT” Arce, Interviewed: April 8, 2019. Drummer, Murphy’s Law, Misfits, Skarhead & more...
The first thing I think about when I think about Todd is that although he was younger than me he was like a big brother to me. Murphy's Law was my first big band. I didn't know much about
Todd. He was already a very established guitar player, had worked with a lot of bands and had already been in Murphy's Law for a long time. When I came into the band he had a world of experience. I
refer to him as my big brother but it also wouldn't be fair to say that we didn't fight a lot. He was like a real pain in my ass to work with and was often inpatient with dealing with me as I was
pretty much like a puppy. It was all a new world for me and I was excited and all but he had already been there and done that. We argued about music, about how you dress, how you answer the phone,
how you wear your t-shirt... the things brothers could argue over. But he did teach me a lot. For those years we played together and recorded records together... I went to Japan with him a few times
like in '94 or '95 or something.. he taught me a lot of things, some were hard lessons. It wasn't always about being a musician either. Todd was a very cool guy. If you knew Todd you knew that
he was cool, he was arrogant and very confident. This is what you want from a rock musician. You want a little mystery, a little overconfidence. That's what draws people to them. Stuff like "Hey, you
know what? Don't EVER wear your bands t-shirt when you are out. That is second nature for me now but when I was younger I needed someone to tell me that. I once took a picture with the crowd all
behind me and he told me that it was so corny and not to do it. Now bands do that all the time. I've done it since then because professional photographers will ask the band to stand so they can take
that type of picture and I always am thinking "Todd would never approve of this" (laughing). Besides the argument stuff he was very dear to me. When we reached a certain point where there was a
mutual respect between us and after years of playing he was a great guy to have on your team. I was proud to say "yeah, that's my brother Todd" when we would be out. I loved him a lot, sometimes you
fight with your brothers. I was devastated by his loss.
Throughout the years I have played in a lot of bands and Todd was always keeping an eye on what I was doing. The last time I saw him when I was playing I played two shows in Los Angeles with the Misfits and he came to both shows and he was like really excited for me. He was very complimentary, very proud of me and you could see that he took it personally that I had achieved this type of success with a band like that. He told me at one of the shows that he was working on a new project. Todd always had so many projects and so much stuff going on that it was like if you knew him and he didn't ask you to be in a project you felt left out. He would always have something like that on his mind.
ERIC (RIGHT) NEXT TO TODD YOUTH WITH MURPHY'S LAW IN JAPAN (MID-90's)
PHOTO BY: SHIGEO KIKUCHI
Once we were at a drive through in Florida and it was late and everybody has fucking guns in Florida. Were in a van and for some reason we get into this argument with
the car behind us in line in the drive through. They were either rushing us or honking their horn. The guy behind us got out of his car and Todd got out of our van and they start arguing. The guy
makes it like he is going to go into his car to get a gun and Todd makes it like he is going to go for a gun in the back of his pants and he doesn't have no gun! Todd was making it like he had a gun
and was telling the guy to see if he could make it back to his car and get his. We know Todd had nothing and were thinking he is crazy for doing this because what if he really went for his gun? Todd
had all the confidence in the world and finally the guy said fuck you, your not worth it. The guy's girlfriend was screaming and she got out of the car, dragged her boyfriend into the passenger's
seat and she drove them away.
Another cool one that always makes me laugh is when we were recording for an album. I was in an elevator with Todd and Dean Rispler. When Dean was in the band the vibe was very loving. It's summertime and were all wearing wife beater shirts. There is a woman in the elevator and us 3. Were just looking at each other and goofing around and Dean looks at one of Todd's tattoos. He sees the Lower East Side Skins tattoo with the iron cross... the Warzone tattoo and Dean is checking it out. Dean asked Todd when he got it and Todd said it was from when he moved to New York and he was living on the streets and that he got it when he was 13 years old. Dean was blown away by his response and Todd asked Dean what he was doing when he was 13. Dean said "having my barmitzvah". It put it in perspective how normal a life we had growing up and here is this guy homeless on the streets of New York City at only 13 years old. Dean's timing on his response was amazing and the lady with us in the elevator was bugging out by our conversation. To sum things up we ended up having a really good relationship and I respected him a lot. He taught me a lot about being a musician as well as a professional. It was my pleasure to talk about Todd.
TODD YOUTH. JULY 2017. PHOTO BY: BJ PAPAS
BJ Papas, Interviewed March 28 2019. Legendary NYHC band photographer
I have known Todd Youth since the 80’s and can’t keep track of all the bands he’s been in. He loved music and was a great guitar player. Over the years, he would call me when he was in a new band and often asked me to take photos. After moving to Los Angeles it was always so welcoming to always see him at local shows. I remember him being so excited when he started playing in Bloodclot and he asked me to come listen to his new band in his car. He was truly excited to be playing the type of music he really loved. I hadn’t been interested in new music in a while and couldn’t wait to see them play! Todd asked me to take band photos and I told him that I don’t really take photo’s anymore. He said he had gone through some guitar slumps where he hadn’t played in years and he thought that maybe if I photographed them it may motivate me to pick up my camera again. I hadn’t been inspired in a long time and this could be just what I needed. I thought it was super sweet that he would want to encourage me and get me back into photography. I did photograph the band. I had to borrow a digital camera in order to do so and it was so much fun and the photos came out great. Unfortunately, the lineup changed so the photos were unusable. It did drive me to purchase a digital camera! He was always so supportive of my photography. I will try to remember that and continue to shoot on.
Giacomo Zatti, Interviewed April 20, 2019. Drummer, Torso
Todd was one of the most humble and positive people you could ever meet. Torso went on tour with Fireburn (in 2018) and I had a lot of personal time with him just talking about life, music, religion, punk, New York, Italy, touring. We connected in so many ways and on so many levels. Seeing him play every night was such a gift… a piece of hardcore history! He treated me with such warmth. Unforgettable. Our bands were about to do a split 12" and had plans to play more together. You will never be forgotten. Love to his family. Rest In Peace.
Jasmine Watson, Interviewed April 20, 2019. Bassist, Torso
Torso had the privilege of touring with Fireburn in March of last year, which is how I met Todd. Getting to watch him play every night was so inspiring; such a ripper. The fact that he had nice things to say about my bass playing was a huge compliment. One night we were nerding out about tone and he shared with me the settings on his Peavey Mark IV were from Darryl of the Bad Brains. It sounded so good: aggressive with a lot of attack from the high EQ being pretty much fully cranked. He let me take a picture of the settings and I use it any time I’m using a Peavey Mark IV, remembering him and thankful that our paths crossed as I dial in.
TODD WITH MURPHY'S LAW. PHOTO BY: BJ PAPAS
Matt Starr, Interviewed May 25, 2019. Drummer, Ace Frehley Band & more
I think the fact that he played with Glen Campbell and Motorhead pretty much says it all about his ability to play. The first time I met Todd was at my audition for my gig with Ace Frehley. It was in New York City at the old Hit Factory. I got there and Anthony Esposito (bass) was there and I got set up. Todd showed up about 30 minutes later. He came in, set up his guitar and was incredibly fucking loud. It was like “alright, let’s go”. We played only 3 songs and it was like “OK, I gotta go”, and left. He was very New York, had that New York vibe to him and I liked him right out of the gate. He was very supportive. We worked together on a few different things and then we did some demos for a band called Bloodclot. Todd asked me if I could play a hardcore beat and I said I think so, how does it go… (Matt then describes a typical hardcore type beat) … so I say OK. We tried it and he kept telling me “go faster, faster, faster…. In that session we did 5 songs that afternoon and he schooled me on the hardcore thing. He was very specific and very clear. He was just a super talented and smart musician and guy that I loved playing with on stage with Ace. He brought this New York vibe, like black stretch jeans, Converse sneakers and just throwing down. Anywhere I go when people ask me who I have played with when his name comes up it is nothing but respect and admiration. His right hand was like a machine. He was just meant to play the guitar and if you put a guitar in that guy’s hands he was going to give you 110% no matter what the conditions, no matter what the situation, he would just go out there and crush it. Guys like him are rare.
Howie Abrams, Interviewed March, 2019. In Effect Records, Book author & more
Many of us are aware of Todd “Youth” Schofield’s involvement with classic New York Hardcore outfits Warzone and Murphy’s Law; his pre-teen stint with Agnostic Front, and even his days alongside Danzig in both Danzig and Samhain. There are plenty of others, but the list is pretty damn long. Each on its own plays like a fairytale for someone, however, one of Todd’s adventures with a guitar floats above all others: HE PLAYED WITH FUCKING ACE FREHLEY!
There was a time when it was (most) every young boy’s fantasy to be a member of KISS. Some wanted to spit blood or breathe fire like Gene, others wished to get all the chicks (or maybe be one) like Paul. From my times talking with Todd, including as recently as six-months prior to his untimely passing on my radio show, “Merciless”, Todd expressed that he’d always wanted to be Ace Frehley. He recalled childhood moments playing air guitar to KISS classics in front of the mirror, and to trying to get Ace’s makeup just right on Halloween. But Todd being Todd, he took his Ace-worship to eleven. He was asked by the man personally to join his band, and trade licks with him on a nightly basis.
Of all the things Todd accomplished over the course of his all-too-short time on earth, it was this which may have been the most professionally satisfying. He spoke of a moment when he was on stage with Ace, throwing down a ripping version of the KISS classic, “Cold Gin,” originally written by Mr. Frehley, that he was physically back-to-back with his childhood guitar hero like he used to see in issues of Creem and Circus Magazine, when he found the time to say to himself, “Holy shit, this is Ace Fucking Frehley,” that he realized he was quite literally living his dream. We should all be so fortunate. Miss you my friend.
TODD WITH FIREBURN IN CA. (2017) PHOTO BY: ALBERT LICANO
Craig Setari, Interviewed March 17, 2019. Bassist, Sick Of It All
The first time I met him Skinhead Youth played CB’s. It was probably 1985 and he just got out of reform school. I saw them play and it was like everyone with boots and braces, that clove cigarette smell in the air. I was thinking wow, look at this kid, he is my age. I was kind of shocked. I talked to him and Ray (Raybeez of Warzone) after the show and they were cool and we became friends from there. Todd was the original kid... everyone calls me the kid but Todd Youth was the original kid. By the time '86 rolled around and I was playing in Youth Of Today and I would see Todd all the time. I would stay at him and Raybeez’ house. We would just pal around the city like little rats until 5 in the morning.
He played with a variety of different groups and branched out quite a bit so he had to stay on point with what was going on. Todd was a working musician, like myself but I am pretty much stable in one or two groups. Todd was a modern day session guy which is a hard thing to do in this day and age. Todd could play too. He could play any style and was really really good. There are a lot more bad stories probably than good ones because the ones that I remember had some kind of shock to them. Fights that happened or hanging out with a serial killer that you later found out was a serial killer. Weird 1980’s Lower East Side stuff, ‘ya know?
Over the last few years I would play with the Cro-Mags out there in California where Todd was living and I would see him. We started talking again about bass gear. We would call each other and hang out when I was in Los Angeles so I sort of reconnected with him over the last few years. We were working on some stuff with certain old bass heads. He had Daryl’s (Bad Brains) old bass head that Daryl recorded the Roir cassette with and he had a bunch of them and I was trying to get one for myself. I wouldn’t use it live if I did but probably in a studio. Just like hardcore bass geek type of stuff, ya know? Restoration, using them, how to wire them up and get a certain sound out of them. My sound has changed so much over the years. It is still a hardcore sound and style but not that real 1982 sound. We would talk about those throwback sounds a lot and he was trying to locate me one of those old heads because there are a lot of them out there in Los Angeles but then he passed so it never happened. It was good to reconnect with him, go out there and hang with him, talk scratch. As a bass player I would talk to him and we totally would speak the same language. Bass, especially in hardcore is a specialty instrument. Knowing that early 80’s style… like Daryl Bad Brains and Adam Yauch, that’s an old school flavor of bass playing that only a handful of people really know so it was interesting to talk to Todd about it.
Jason “J-Sin” Lehrhoff, Interviewed March 26, 2019. Guitarist, Warzone, Grey Area & more
I have to give a lot of credit to Todd Youth for me getting in Warzone. I got in contact with Raybeez through this grifter friend who was (in)famous for sweet-talking himself into venues, camera-in-hand, getting press/backstage passes etc. I believe this was a night when Ray was working the barrier at Roseland. He talked me up and got his number. I contacted Ray’s “answering service” and he called me back and arranged for us to meet. I went up to Ultrasound Studios on 30th Street in NYC to audition and this skinny skater looking dude with bleached scruffy hair and cut-off denim shorts/Vans got in the elevator with me. I side-eyed him and was like “I dunno, this looks a lot like Todd Youth”… Anyone that knew him over the years knows he was like a real-life Secret Agent Skin. He could have dyed long black hair and a fedora one day, and bald head and Adidas track suit the next! Once the elevator let us out I noticed the iron cross on his arm and was like “duh, oh hey what’s up I guess we are heading to the same room?” So, Ray had to bring Todd in to scrutinize my playing, which I didn’t dwell on at the time or it may have really thrown me off my guitar game. So he stayed for a few songs, whispered something to Ray and left. Ray hazed me for a while but apparently Todd gave his blessing, and I am eternally grateful as some of my best friends to this day stem from that experience (Including Todd The Kid and Vinnie Value!). Over the years it was always great to run into Todd. A lot of jealous motherfuckers talked about him like he was a rock star, but that was not my experience with him. Anytime I saw him he was seemed genuinely happy to talk, and especially anything music related. Always humble and down to earth. My last memory of him was getting asked to come up and play “As One” with him and Vinnie during a Kill Your Idols/Fireburn run of shows. First one was at Brooklyn Bazaar and I played bass. Was so much fun we did it again two days later in Philly, and flipped a coin to see who played guitar/bass. I won and he was nothing but happy to play bass anyway. We gave Todd a ride home to Brooklyn that night and that was the last time I saw him. Miss you, Todd.
Ken Salerno, Interviewed March 30 2019. Old-school hardcore band photographer
My remembrance of Todd is he was always friendly to everyone. Every time I shot Murphy’s Law I always had a little time to talk with him.. Actually ran into him in Los Angeles when he was just getting into Fireburn. I didn't think he would remember me so I didn't approach him. HE spotted ME and made eye contact. He came over and it was like no time had elapsed.. We chatted about East Coast past shows and other stuff. Not much of a story but he will be missed.
TODD WITH MURPHY'S LAW AT CITY GARDENS, TRENTON, NJ. PHOTO BY: KEN SALERNO
John “Porcell” Porcelly aka Paramananda Das Interviewed April 8, 2019
Guitarist, Youth Of Today, Judge & more
I didn’t get much association with Todd in the last few years. I did see him at the Krishna temple a few times in Los Angeles and he seemed to be doing well. We talked about devotional service and chanting, and he was genuinely trying to spiritualize his life. That mindset is never lost… it travels with the soul on its next journey after the death of the body. Wherever Todd is now, I’m sure he’s still chasing after Krishna.
Keith Burkhardt, Interviewed March 28, 2019. Singer, Cause For Alarm
I wish I could say more about Todd, but it's been many many years. My mind's eye takes me back to the early 1980’s when he truly was a “youth”. Just a really nice kid with a great spirit and a love of hardcore and music in general. I hope his soul is now free from bodily suffering we experience on this plane. And he is associating with all the great masters in the spiritual realms.
John Watson, Interviewed April 2, 2019. Original singer of Agnostic Front
I met Todd day one upon his arrival to the area of A7/Tompkins Square Park. We became close and he was quickly accepted into the core group that hung out at A7 and Apartment X. When I become a full time member of the Hare Krishna movement he came to visit me at the Brooklyn temple and asked very serious questions about the philosophy and lifestyle I was pursuing. Over the years he would ask me to roadie/guitar tech for his various band endeavors, I was always grateful and admired the success he had and also shared. More recently I met with him in Los Angeles. He took a more serious interest in Krishna consciousness and we would visit temples together and discuss the sublime philosophy that we both felt so blessed to receive. The day of the Raybeez memorial concert we had dinner afterwards with our families and continued our discussions into the early morning hours. Sadly that was the last time I saw him in person. Such a beyond tragic loss of one the best friends I ever had.
GRAPHIC STYLIZATION BY: LARRY COONEY JR
Paul "Cripple" Bakija, Interviewed April 3, 2019. Guitarist Reagan Youth
Todd Youth was the greatest New York Hardcore guitar player. Look at how many bands he played in. Look at how talented he was and how cool he looked. I wish I could have looked that cool. I am a guy with a receded hairline, I am not a skinhead. I always considered him the best of the best. If I had a chance to go back in time to when he was younger I would have liked to walk up to him and just say something like keep it rocking, I think you are going to become a force to be reckoned with. He was the total package and I think he was taken from us too early.
Louie Rivera, Interviewed April 2, 2019. Singer on Antidote’s “Thou Shalt Not Kill” EP
When I met Todd he looked like this little kid, almost like a runaway. He had this real baby face and had to be maybe 13 or 14 years old, no more than 15 I would guess. I never asked him but I would think that he had a reason not to be home. The hardcore community at that time provided a safe haven for kids like that. We would never question it either. I would never say something like "hey, shouldn't you be home or what are you doing out here?" It turned out that he was interested in picking up an instrument and it turned out that he was the second bass player for Agnostic Front after Diego. By then everyone was like "oh shit, he is a really good musician". He had people like Dr. Know to look up to, Brian Baker and Minor Threat and he got inspired in a really good way. He just became this phenomenal little kid and the next thing you know he moves on to Murphy's Law. Mind you he is now getting older and went from this baby faced kid into this really cool young man. His musical horizons really took off but he kept his roots on the Lower East Side. He played with Ace Frehley, was in some really cool bands with Jesse Malin and if I am not mistaken he either wrote for or played on Johnny Cash's last album. I also don't want to forget this funny story I have about Todd as well and it's still when he was on the younger side, around the time he met Kate, his first wife and it involves Bliss my drummer from when I played in Antidote. Bliss had somehow disrespected Kate and it got back to Todd. Todd was like this fired up little kid. One thing about him was that although he was this like glow of positive energy if you pissed him off you had to watch out. Bliss was known as someone who could handle himself. They would say you had a good knuckle game back then. So me, John Watson and John Bloodclot (John Joseph- Cro-Mags) were hanging out and all of a sudden you hear someone yelling and we see Bliss just taking off and when I gather what is going on all I see is Todd chasing Bliss up the street and screaming and yelling at him. One last thing that I want to add, and this is on a more positive note is that he ended up being an Iskcon (International Society For Krishna Consciousness) devotee too. To me that means a lot and speaks volumes about his character. He made a lot of spiritual advancements. Hopefully he is in a beautiful place right now and maybe when my time comes hopefully he will be there to greet me and I am looking forward to that. When I think about the greeting committee on the other side… as I cross that bridge.... I am really looking forward to him being one of the people there. I'd also like to add that the hardcore community lost one of its most musically diverse individuals and his memory will live on forever in the hardcore community.
GARY "DR. KNOW" MILLER OF BAD BRAINS WITH TODD YOUTH (2018)
PHOTO BY: OMAR CORDY OF OJC POHOTOGRAPHY
Eddie Sutton, Interviewed April 14, 2019, Singer, Leeway
My fond memory of Todd Youth:
One of the youngest kids in the earliest days when I first was getting involved was Todd Youth....he still seemed much younger than me, and the other well-known young'ns like Steve Poss, Little Chris, as well as Harley and other more mature teens... Todd was the baby. I first met him at a Kraut rehearsal in the Music Building on 23rd Street across from Danceteria... he already dealt with harsh experiences while growing up, and his maturity was high despite looking like a 12-year old... he knew how to hustle like a lot of the punk kids bumming change and looking for fun, but he also had this drive for the music and a passion to learn every instrument. He would always be friendly when I would see him at a show, and pretty soon he'd be playing alongside the bands we all looked up to... it was trippy seeing this kid go toe to toe… but that was NYHC… we all just did it, and worked our asses off to get better… Todd was a force within himself, and I was honestly so honored to have him in so many memories of my youth, and this thing of ours… I hope at this point we all can set better standards than today, and the newer kids can feel and appreciate the actual, literal unity NYHC had in the first half of the 80's… Todd was a huge part of that energy and spirit… that's how I'll always remember him.
Gary Bennett, Interviewed April 25, 2019. Guitarist Kill Your idols, 64, Big Sniff & more
The first time I saw Murphy’s Law, it was during the “Back With A Bong” line-up. That line-up was a band that could not be fucked with, and Todd Youth was the guitarist. As hardcore as Todd was, he had all the swagger and charisma of a natural born rock-star. So, when the guy ended up playing in Danzig, filling in on guitar in Motorhead, and playing with Ace Frehley, it came as no surprise to me. Todd Youth ruled, and as far as guitarists go, he was a huge influence on the way I played guitar in Kill Your Idols. Last year, Fireburn and Kill Your Idols did 3 shows together.. Boston, Brooklyn, and Philly. I’d known Todd from playing shows together in the past, but we got better acquainted on this trip. We had a lot in common. We both think “Born Again” is one of the best Black Sabbath records, which is an unpopular opinion! We actually kept in touch after that, texting mostly. He was such a great guy, very down to earth. We talked guitar mostly, but we also had a lot more to talk about. I remember some time had gone by where we hadn’t spoken, and I was gonna text him… he was on my mind. I got distracted and didn’t text. The next day, Paul Bearer (Sheer Terror) called me and told me he was gone. I was shocked. Paul was distraught. It was a really sad and fucked up day. A terrible loss. I’ll never forget Todd. We weren’t friends for long, but I’ll never forget I got close to one of my hero’s, as corny as that may sound, I don’t give a shit. Todd Youth rules still, Rest In Peace.
TODD WITH FIREBURN IN CA. (2018) PHOTO BY: ALBERT LICANO
Mike Dijan, Interviewed May 5, 2019. Guitarist Crown of Thornz, Kings Bounty & more
When Danny and I formed Crown Of Thornz and started performing, Murphy’s Law were our biggest supporters. I was kind of taken back by it because they were an iconic band to me. When I would watch Todd play, I would experience it as a fan even though we were friends. In terms of skills, he was probably the smoothest player in the scene. He had the look, the swagger, he could solo, he could play rhythm, he could write, he could do it all. The fact that Todd and Jimmy G backed us boosted our confidence. One night we opened up for them and had a really good set. Todd came up to me after and said “I think you are a great guitar player”. Coming from him it meant the world to me. It made me feel like I wasn’t just some schmuck from the neighborhood that picked up a guitar and that music was worth pursuing and that has inspired me till this day. Over the course of 2 or 3 years we played a bunch of shows with Murphy’s Law, we had great times, one that stands out is a show we played in Albany that saw me and Todd going to a strip club afterwards and having a little bit too much fun and having us both get tossed out. There is nothing more rock ‘n roll than that (laughing). Over the years he was a mentor to me, a great friend, and his success was highly admirable. To see one of my friends attain so much in so little time in terms of jammig with some of the greatest players in the world is just a blessing and I wish he just could have stuck around a while longer.
“Lukey” Luke Abbey, Interviewed May 12, 2019. Drummer, Warzone, Gorilla Biscuits & more
Todd was one of those dudes that I knew if he was around that I was in the right place. The guy was a hardcore hero of mine. He personified New York Hardcore and spearheaded styles which have endured and become part of our history. Todd's song's transported fourteen year old me and helped create one of our scene's most influential bands … as well as a veritable family in Warzone which I was welcomed into as a young kid. The two of us never got to play a single Warzone show together though… I joined about a month after his departure at the end of '86. While that's just the way it went it is something I regret not getting to experience. I'll always remember when Gorilla Biscuits played Southern California in 2006 and Todd was at the show and got up with us to play "As One". Walter and Alex looked at each other to see who was going to give up their guitar to let Todd play. Alex instantly wrapped his arms around his guitar in a bear hug with a panicked expression of "there's no fucking way I'm not playing with Todd". Carpe Diem. It ended up being the single song I ever got to play with Todd. In the spring of 2017 he got in touch with me out of the blue to see about doing a couple of Warzone shows to coincide with the 20 year anniversary of Ray's death and over 30 years later it felt like being asked to join the band all over again. We never got to do those shows together but I was able to see the Raybeez tribute show in Tompkins Square Park later that year and watch as Todd demonstrated his own brand of musical magic and character which has endeared and motivated so many of us for decades. Despite the array of adventures his guitar playing took him on during his life, he'll always live on in my memories as the symbol of youthful rebellion… one of the pillars of hardcore as I know it. Thanks, Todd... Rest In Peace.
TODD AT THE 2012 BLACK 'N BLUE BOWL RAYBEEZ TRIBUTE. PHOTO BY: JAMMI YORK
Dean Miller, Interviewed April 23, 2019, Singer No Redeeming Social Value
I had been infatuated with Murphy’s Law, but it wasn’t until Raybeez casually introduced us that I formerly met Todd in the 1990’s. After many years of, not seeing him around we reconvened at rehearsal for the first Raybeez tribute at the Black ‘N Blue Bowl (2012). I attempted to reintroduce myself, when he cut me off, looked me in the eye and very directly said ....”of course I remember you from No Redeeming Social Value”. We talked, laughed, shared a smoke. He was all class and confidence. He made me feel like part of the group. The second Raybeez tribute show (in 2017) was in Tompkins Square Park. Vinny (Warzone drummer) called me and said that Todd insisted that Mike (Dixon) and I come back for the song “Sound Of Revolution” again. At the rehearsal, Todd smiled as he played the song and Mike and I sang it. After one run through, he told me “you guys nailed it again, I knew you would”. More than anyone I have ever been on a stage with, Todd inspired confidence in me. He had total faith in me and he projected that upon me, sometimes with a glance of approval, or a smirk. I never once doubted myself again. Todd gave me that confidence. After being in a band for so many years, he gave me the best thing anyone could. Anytime I doubt myself, I think of Todd’s words and expressions of approval towards me. As a teenager, it was an unimaginable dream. As an adult, it was an awesome gift. Thanks for everything brother. You are missed.
Brian “Mitts” Daniels, Interviewed March 15, 2019. Guitarist formerly of Madball, Skarhead & more
A few years ago, when I was in Los Angeles on tour with Madball, we had a night off and met up with our friend Toby from H2O for a dinner that Todd joined us at. We had met many times over the years. I think I was first introduced to him in 1997 when I first joined Crown Of Thornz. Over all the years, and times we'd met, I'd never had more than a few friendly words back and forth, until this night I'm talking about. It was really cool to sit down and talk music with him over a 2-3 hour evening. He was a really accomplished musician, not just with the bands everyone knows and associated him with, but also a studio/session musician.
Andrew Kline, Interviewed April 24, 2019. Guitarist in Strife, Singer Berthold City
I first met Todd Youth in the late 90's. Strife was booked on a short West Coast run with Danzig and Samhain, and Todd was playing in both bands at the time. I had been friends with the other members of Warzone over the years, with both bands being on Victory Records. We ended up touring a few times and playing quite a few shows together. I reconnected with Todd once he started Fireburn. I was a big fan of the band and would go see them often. Todd and I became more friendly and would meet up at local shows and hang out. My band, Berthold City, was booked on United Blood Fest last year along with Fireburn, and we both linked up with Kill Your Idols for a short East Coast run. Todd Youth made a huge contribution to not just the hardcore scene, but to music in general. He was a true OG that was a pioneer of the hardcore sound and also an inspiration to musicians everywhere. Todd Youth will be missed... Always a friend for life!
Vinny “Value” Verga, Interviewed March 23, 2019. Drummer, Warzone, No Redeeming Social Value
Kill Your Idols, Grey Area & more
I was 21 years old when I met Todd Youth. I was lucky enough to play in Warzone, and at that time, Todd was in the band. It was crazy because Warzone was my favorite band and Raybeez and Todd were my heroes growing up, along with Jimmy Gestapo (Murphy’s Law) and Roger and Stigma from Agnostic Front. I remember the first rehearsal I did with the band. I was so nervous. After the set, Todd pulled me aside and said, "Yo kid, you're an amazing player, you play these songs the way they were meant to be played”. It was an amazing compliment coming from a talented musician I respected, so I never looked back! He gave me the confidence I needed, I'm proud of everything I've done musically with him and beyond. Todd and I kept in touch throughout the years to shoot the shit about music, family, and life. Fast forward to the first Raybeez tribute in NYC in 2012… that's when we reconnected musically. He was so psyched to play the Warzone songs again, like a giddy schoolboy. He had so much fun… he reached out to me again in 2017, to do another tribute for Ray to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his passing. He told me he would only move forward with this if Todd "The Kid", “J-Sin”, and I were on board. That's how respectful he was… that was his character. He felt that we were Warzone and that was another amazing feeling… he also knew it's what Ray would have wanted. Long story short, we did a beautiful show for Ray in October of 2017, outdoors at Tompkins Square Park that represented everything Warzone meant… is there anything more fitting?!?! Todd and I discussed when his band, Fireburn, played on the East Coast that he wanted my band, Kill Your Idols, on the dates. I must say, I've had many talks like these with many different people in bands to do things, but it's just talk… ‘ya know? Well, a man of his word, Fireburn and Kill Your Idols did a few East Coast shows in April of 2018… again, showing his character.
Around the time of April 2018 we started talking weekly at this point. He was getting so many offers for Warzone to play all over the world, but he was completely against it. Sooooo, he had an idea… he wanted to start a side project with Todd "The Kid”, J-Sin, and I. Everyone was on board… who would say no to this? He sent me a few roughs of songs and it was sick! This guy could write tunes man! He recruited Mike from The Nomads for vocals and a few songs were laid down. He wanted to release a 7", play some shows and add a few Warzone songs to the set. He felt it was a legit and more respectful having a new band with us with new music and not just playing Warzone songs for a cash grab.
THIS was Todd Youth. This was a guy farthest from a "rockstar" or "sellout". Anyone who talks shit or thinks that didn't know him at all. He unfortunately passed away on October 27, 2018, I spoke with him two days prior about the new band, discussing band names and ideas and he was so happy and excited about it. I miss him and our talks. I'm hoping to get those songs released at some point, donating the funds to his family, but maybe it's just better to share among friends and let it be. He changed my life and I'm proud to have met him. He was very special… he was my friend. I LOVE YOU BROTHER! Always a friend for life! RIP TODD. RIP RAYBEEZ. RIP WARZONE.
Tommy “Rat” Derosa, Interviewed April 19, 2019. Singer Warzone, Trip 6, Rejuvenate
I remember Todd Youth back in the summer of 1983. I was in the middle of starting my first band getting Raybeez on drums after he left Agnostic Front. He introduced me to a bass player kid who was called “Heep”. According to Todd some NJ skins named him that and Todd didn’t want anybody calling him that anymore telling me “fuck those assholes”. I don't blame him for that at all. Todd was playing some bass riffs at the time he was 12 years old and this kid was mad talented. Due to his age he was being brought back home by his parents who knew where he'd been going for the CBGB matinees on Saturdays and later Sundays. Ray was seeking to get him to play bass in the band we were forming which turned out to be Warzone. It was rough in those days trying to get everybody into a studio. I don't know what exactly went on in Todd’s household in NJ. All I can tell you was that he wasn't happy and did not want to be there. A lot of bands were seeking him around this time to acquire his services but he chose to play in Agnostic Front but had to leave and would not be able to tour because of his age. In between running away from home and returning he did stints with Skinhead Youth and finally joined Warzone until I had to leave. By 1986 he invested in helping to make Warzone into the band everybody remembers to this day. I believe he was still writing songs for them after he left to join Murphy’s Law. Todd was mad talented on the guitar and was somebody who got to play with bands that he was a fan of… whether it was full time or part time. How many people get to play onstage with their favorite band? Look at the bands he played in… Danzig, Motorhead, D-Generation, Ace Frehley, Bloodclot (with John Joseph), and even Glenn Campbell. He was one of the people who wanted me to participate along with the other former Warzone members in the two Raybeez tribute shows at the Black ‘N Blue Bowl and at Tompkins Square Park. It was a huge honor to share the stage with them and be in front of a ton of people. I will always be grateful towards those guys for that opportunity. I was shocked to hear of his untimely passing and still do not know what happened. With that being said... I hope he is in a better place now playing in the ultimate super band in the afterlife. This goes to show you that he had the talent to play and create and get to be where he really wanted to be in music and accomplish his goals... RIP, Todd Youth.
TODD (LEFT) WITH MURPHY'S LAW. PHOTO BY: BJ PAPAS
Ryan Bland, Interviewed March 2019. Singer, Home 33, Ache, Bushmon & more
I first found out about Todd Youth my last year of high school in 1989. At the time I had only been into NYHC for one year. I got my hands on the Murphy’s Law “Back With A Bong” album. This hardcore girl I was friends with at the time named Debbie got me into Murphy’s Law. I remember she told me “If you like Fishbone so much you will love Murphy’s Law too!” Debbie had a huge Murphy’s Law banner on her bedroom wall. She told me it was actually Murphy’s Law’s backdrop from a show. So I was a fan of Todd Youth for years before I knew him. Around 1993 I had a few Murphy’s Law shows under my belt. I was a fan. I was keeping up with any music Todd was doing. Todd had a band he started called “Shining Time Station.” My punk band Bushmon at the time got a few gigs with them. I remember Shining Time Station did the sickest cover of “Manic Depression” by Jimi Hendrix. It was so fast and heavy. I was blown away by Todd Youth’s guitar playing once again. He became my favorite NYHC guitarist at the time. Around 1995 we actually became friends. I would drink with him at bars in the Lower East Side. We would hang out a lot with the guys in the band Lower East Side Stitches. Murphy’s Law & my old hardcore band Home 33 were on the same label at the time Another Planet/Profile Records. I remember Todd asked me one time in a cab “Is this your first time on a label?” I said “yes!” Todd gave me advice through that whole experience. He was there for me. I considered him my friend from that time until the present time. Years of him always saying the right thing I needed to hear. Jimmy G too! In 2017 Fireburn dropped. It was my favorite record that year. It was brilliant. Todd Youth blew me away once again. He was also in Fireburn with Israel from Bad Brains’ “Rise” album… my close friend who got me into hardcore in the first damn place. I was all about Fireburn! It was everything that was missing in hardcore at the time in my opinion. I was one of the first people Todd told about Fireburn. Todd’s message to me when Fireburn started: “Me, Israel and Todd Jones from Nails have a new band, it's killer, we're going in to record an EP this weekend I'll send you some tracks when we're done, Best band I've ever been in!” Todd and Israel both knew I would love Fireburn and they were right! The records are already classic in my eyes. In April of 2018 my band Ache got asked to play a show with Scarboro, Berthold City, Model Citizen, Fireburn and Kill Your Idols. It was a special night. All the bands treated each other like family. The venue was packed and the vibe in the crowd was sick! I never would have thought it would be my last time seeing Todd Youth perform. So happy we shared the stage together one last time and it was amazing! Todd’s last NYC performance. NYHC just lost one of the most brilliant dudes and guitarist to EVER do it! I will miss you so much Todd! Thanks for always just being a cool dude with me all these years.
TODD WITH MURPHY'S LAW. PHOTO BY: BJ PAPAS
Mark Ryan, Interviewed May 31, 2019. Singer Supertouch
When Chris asked me to share my thoughts about Todd, I was immediately overwhelmed with conflicting thoughts. I’ve known Todd since some point in ‘83 or so, and I immediately thought about telling/asking him everything I never got a chance to talk to him about. Like how things played out since we used to hang out when we were kids and what were some moments that were monumental for him, and how it felt to play alongside musicians that we all looked up to. Now these were his peers and friends. Ask him if he knew that he had to do it the way he did, like he knew he had to follow his calling the way it presented itself. You know, more or less. Within reason. All that.
I wanted to ask him about what he learned along the way. What his regrets were. Have any new things appeared out of nowhere and is now important for you to do. Something different than those initial goals? I was excited to hear what he would say. I remember that point after reconnecting, after a minute of not seeing each other, thinking, man, I’m really happy for my friend. I admired the way he continued to make new music. Always trying new and different things. Not letting himself get bored. Using that restlessness to chase his dreams and to inspire. He was moved by the spirit and followed it, that’s why everyone wanted to play in a band with him.
When I was trying to play out some of these crazy nights in my head. I realized I couldn’t convey any of these stories in a way that would do them or Todd any justice. This wasn’t what I should be talking about. I will say that, after he passed, I thought about that life of a young kid staying on the LES in the early ‘80’s with no adult support and safety net. We had a group of friends our age, and a few years older, who were equally or even more fucked up, all taking care of each other. It was a beautiful thing and I feel like I hit the lottery on how alive and new it was and that none of our problems mattered because we were part of something that you knew, even at the time, was part of history. Not taking from the fact that it was so brutal on our psyches, and the way we had to navigate becoming adults. The things that helped us get through a fucked up night, the tricks that served as blessings would turn into curses, making it even harder to feel grounded and healthy. I thought of what it would be like to look at his life from my eyes now and, like I didn’t know him, just looking at this 13 year old kid out on the street.
When you grow up alongside someone you lose that perspective. It’s an important one. I’ve been employing that here and there ever since. I try to look at my friends and wonder what they went through when they were kids and how it shapes them now. Does this part of them still need to be healed? Is it something I can help them with? Am I being a dick because I’m giving them a hard time instead of trying to pick them up? I bet we could have had an amazing talk about all of this stuff. And what brought him there, where he ended up, for good or ill. Music and a desire to play for sure. I’m glad he showed up and I’m glad he shared it with us though.
I had a whole page in my notebook about talking to him about doing an insane new Murphy’s Law EP. Meditate on it, see it and throw together these ideas for this record and bring them to Jimmy and the band. How he would slay it and everyone will flip out. 4 bangers that would be instant classics and were all written perfectly. There was a lot more to it but I don’t think it translates right now. A big factor was the tone of the conversation I thought I would eventually have with him when it presented itself (thought it would happen organically at some point in the now non existing distant future) I regret not having that conversation with him and Jimmy. I could still see that record and it was perfect. All fire, coupled with that Murphy’s Law party vibe. Perfect from the opening riff ‘til the needle hits the matrix on side 2.
Oh yeah, that conflicting thought that was gonna come up much earlier was the feeling of when we were younger and it was still a smallish group of people. I just pictured me scrambling to throw some thoughts and feelings together and it coming across like I slapped it together in some shitty type of way. That way would mirror everything we hated and he would be scoffing at every word. But I knew I had to do it, I had things that I wrote down for him before and after he was gone. I regret not saying certain things to him when I could. I don’t want to miss the chance this time. Gonna tell him here even though I’m not sure he believed In that type of thing. Though I hope he does. I’m looking forward to reading what everyone has to say.
TODD (RIGHT) WITH JIMMY G. MURPHY'S LAW. PHOTO BY: KEN SALERNO
What you are about to read below are excerpts from an interview done with Todd Youth from the book “NYHC- New York Hardcore 1980-1990” by author Tony Rettman. I had some questions to ask Tony while doing research for this article and we got to talking and told me that a lot of the interview he did with Todd for his 2014 book was not used and asked if I would like to include it in this article... and here it is. Tony’s book was an awesome read and is still available for purchase. Click HERE to find out how you can order one!
How did you first end up on the Lower East Side?
Todd: I ran away from Northern New Jersey. I had gotten into punk rock really early because I used to get this magazine called Rock Scene which was a New York based magazine that was on all the newsstands. It would have Kiss, Aerosmith, which were bands I liked as a kid; Kiss especially. They would always have something on the New York scene with Bob Gruen photos of the New York Dolls, the Dead Boys, Heartbreakers or the Ramones. So I kind of got hipped to what was going on in New York that way and I just thought, “These people look so wild”. In one issue, there was a spread on the Sex Pistols and the combination of their names like Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious and the way they looked just made me say “Wow!” One of the Sex Pistols called Iggy Pop the Godfather of punk, so within a week or two, I bought the Ramones "Leave Home", and Iggy Pop’s "TV Eye Live 1977". And on that album, Iggy goes into this rap in the middle of the song “TV Eye” where he says, “I got a TV, you got a TV, we all got TV’s, big fucking deal!” and it was the first time I heard a curse on the record and I was like, “Whoa!”
Then, in ‘80 or ‘81, there was some Saturday Evening TV expose on slam dancing. Everybody had shaved heads and combat boots and looked so fucking crazy that I just started buying hardcore records and there was a guy in my town named Syd Sludge (singer for Mental Abuse) and we had become friends. A mutual friend introduced us, so when it got really bad at home, I ran away and came to the LES. My first show was the Bad Brains at CB’s and I’ll never forget walking into CB’s as a 12 year old that came from a very unhappy home and seeing people that looked as fucked up as I felt inside. I was like, “Ah! My people!” And that was it. Right away there was a group of kids that hung out on the LES that weren’t just coming into the city for a gig, they were just basically on the street, and they took me in. As a kid, I was a really good guitar player already, so within a few months of me hanging out, I ended up joining Agnostic Front because they needed a bass player and that’s kind of how it all started.
Were you coming in to see shows before you ran away to the LES?
Todd: Yeah. I would run away for a week and then I’d go home, or I’d go to see a show and stay for 3 or 4 days until I finally said “Fuck it” and didn’t go back.
Who were the initial people that took you in on the NYHC scene?
Todd: Me and Harley became good friends really fast. There was also this dude Eric Casanova (1st singer for the Cro-Mags) and this other guy Little Chris. We were the youngest on the scene. We were all under 15 or 16. We were also the craziest because we didn’t give a fuck. We did the most drugs and beat the most people up. Then after that, Raybeez stepped in and then there was Stigma and Roger.
Who were the biggest bands in NYHC at that time?
Todd: The Bad Brains were our Led Zeppelin or our Beatles. That was a band I would fucking die for. At first, people thought Agnostic Front was a joke because the musicianship was so bad, but that changed quickly. The local bands at the time that were really good were Urban Waste, Antidote, the Abused and Cause for Alarm. Kraut were huge too.
The thing about NYHC that I still find so intriguing is the dichotomy just a few years makes. You have a band like The Misguided early on and then a year later you have Urban Waste or The Abused. There’s a big difference there musically.
Todd: I think it started to change when bands started coming to New York like Minor Threat, Necros and Negative Approach. At the time I didn’t realize it because I was in the middle of it, but New York was really late in the game, as far as hardcore goes, which is funny since punk rock kind of started in New York.
It seemed that maybe people from DC or Boston had a chip on their shoulder as to why New York should have a hardcore scene. Maybe it was because punk rock started here and hardcore was supposed to wipe the slate clean of what people perceived punk to be? Does that make sense? This attitude of “Who are you to have a hardcore scene? Night clubs and age limits are what we’re against!”
Todd: The kids from New York, we were like these crazy fucking street rats. Meanwhile the kids from Boston and DC were really well off. I also think everyone in hardcore was trying to act all crazy and violent, but the kids from New York really were! You were getting chased down the street by gangs of Puerto Ricans that wanted to fucking kill you. I saw bodies being carried out of abandoned buildings. It was real.
Was A7 the first place you started seeing shows at?
Todd: There was CB’s, A7 and Great Gildersleeves, those were the main three for hardcore. I remember going to the Peppermint Lounge a few times to see gigs too. At A7, I learned how to play music in that back room. One night I’d be in there and the band didn’t have a drummer so I‘d play drums. That band Virus, at their first show they didn’t have a guitar player yet so I played guitar. My first gig with Murphy’s Law was 1982 or ‘83 and I played drums because Guzzy their drummer didn’t show up. They had reggae night once a week. All the dreads in the neighborhood would show up and jam, so I learned how to play reggae just by sitting in with those guys.
Do you remember the first show you saw at CB’s?
Todd: Maybe it was Urban Waste, Minor Threat, and The Mob? Three bucks to get into that show, I’ll never forget that! I saw that Void show at Gildersleeves where the singer blew his knee out during the second song.
You brought up The Mob. Any memories of them?
Todd: The first two Mob 7 inches were great. They were one of those bridge bands that were very influenced by the Bad Brains. Jack (Flanagan, guitarist) was smart enough to put out a record, and they’re kind of unsung.
Todd: The United Blood 7” hadn’t come out yet, but they had recorded it. Their bass player Adam Mucci was in both AF and Murphy’s Law and I remember they gave him an ultimatum, and he chose Murphy’s Law. Roger heard me playing bass in an apartment on 2nd Street between A and B where Robbie Cryptcrash from Cause For Alarm lived with his wife and Roger. I was over there one day and I started playing “NIB” from Black Sabbath or something and he was like, “Dude you can play! You’re really good!” And that’s when I joined AF.
Were you in AF just when "United Blood" came out?
Todd: I remember me and Roger and Vinnie going up to the printer to pick up the covers. They were on this big roll and we had to hand cut them out and fold them and then tape them together and put the 7” in and then the insert (Makes exasperated noise) But then I quit like 2 months before they recorded Victim in Pain. Such a bummer, that would have been my first record!
Why did you quit AF?
Todd: Because I was a runaway and I hadn’t been going to school for a really long time. My parents were going to get in trouble for me being away. I got put on probation and my parents made me quit the band. There was a band that me and Raybeez had shortly after I left AF called Skinhead Youth. Big Al from Cause For Alarm was on guitar and Billy Psycho was in the band too. We were going to play CB’s, this might have been February or March of ’84, and we were sound checking and I saw my father come into CB’s with two cops and I was like, “Oh shit!” I threw the bass down and ran out the back door of CB’s, down an alley and hid. Eventually, someone came out and found me. They started the show with this guy Larry playing bass but halfway through the show they brought me in and I played the second half of the set with a ski mask on. We were all living in this apartment on 6th Street and the cops and my father came and knocked on my door and got me. So I had to go back home for a while, but then I would just bail again.
Why do you think the whole skinhead thing took off in New York the way it did?
Todd: Maybe because we’re so close to London? There’s a lot of similarities between the cities, but when you really look at it, the whole skinhead thing was a very knuckleheaded thing. I personally grew out of it really fast and you’re not gonna find many pics of me in boots and braces. I liked hardcore and I shaved my head and it didn’t go very further than that.
So was it just folklore that the NYHC was super violent?
Todd: Oh, there were fights! That was all real! Boston shows were always bad. There was a Jerry’s Kids, FU’s show, and I was young, 13, and I was small. Me and Eric were standing next to each other at CBs, on the dance floor, it was packed, right before Jerry’s Kids were going on, and as soon as the band started playing, this Boston dude with a mustache, just this big, jock frat guy, turned around and cracked me in the face, and that was it, it set it off, and I was a little kid so me and my friends just fucking went nuts. I remember someone spray painted outside of A7 at an SSD (show) “Out of town bands, remember where you are”. It was just too much testosterone.
How about the Psychos?
Todd: I loved the Psychos because they would cover Void and I loved Void. I was going to get Void across my knuckles for my first tattoo. Early Psychos was with Steve singing, Roger (Miret) on bass, Billy and Stu. Later on, when they had Billy Milano singing, I didn’t like that version.
It seemed like it was the mid-80’s when NYHC took off.
Todd: Yeah, that's when it was taking off with AF, Cro-Mags and Murphy’s Law, and then you had new bands like Youth Of Today, Gorilla Biscuits and Bold. I guess a lot of people from my generation hated on those bands but I always gave them props for keeping it going.
When did the Cro-Mags start to gain traction in the scene?
Todd: When John started singing. They did 2 or 3 shows with Eric Casanova singing, but then John came in and when that demo came out in ‘85, it was just amazing. You just knew it was going to be as important as the ROIR cassette by the Bad Brains. They just followed the Bad Brains blueprint in a way.
What was your take on when metal crossed over into NYHC?
Todd: Doug Holland was the first guy to actually play me the records by these new metal bands. He played me "Kill ’Em All" from Metallica, and the first Voi Vod album. I remember liking Voi Vod, but when DRI and COC started happening, I didn’t dig that stuff. That’s why I like Murphy’s Law. They never went metal.
How’d you get into Murphy’s Law?
Todd: I joined just before we went on tour with the Beastie Boys. That was really the start of touring a lot. We started out in clubs, then to theatres, then to arenas. At 16 years old to play the Philadelphia Spectrum, it was pretty fucking cool and this was pre-Lollapalooza and all that. We were the first band to ever have a fucking pit in an arena. Public Enemy opened up for us on that tour. That was the beginning of alternative culture. But all those bands blew up and we didn’t.
At that point, were you still paying attention to NYHC?
Todd: Things had changed. CB’s stopped having matinees on Sundays for a while, and shows started happening at the Pyramid. I realized there was a whole other thing out there and other music to enjoy, and I just started growing up. But if AF or Cro-Mags was playing, I’d always go see them. Murphy’s Law toured so much during that time, we were on the road 6-9 months a year, so the last thing I’d want to do when I got off the road was go see a show.
Were you paying attention to Youth Of Today?
Todd: I was friends with Porcell and those guys before I joined Murphy’s Law. Murphy’s Law were playing with Run DMC at the Palladium in LA and YOT were in Cali at the time and Ray Cappo came out to the show and gave me the Warzone 7” that him and Jordan Cooper put out as the first Revelation record.
In regards to working with Rock Hotel and Chris Williamson, was it as sleazy dealing with him as people say?
Todd: No, it was just a fucking record label; they’re all the same. They gave us money, we made a record and we went on tour. If it wasn’t for them, who else was gonna do it? I don’t hate on them as much as everyone else. Record labels are a necessary evil. Someone’s gotta put out these records, I’m not gonna. I’m not a businessman.
So where did you stand with NYHC into the late 80’s and into the 90’s?
Todd: That was probably the weirdest period. AF kinda disappeared, The Cro-Mags were done, Sick Of It All became the crown holder and my generation was kind of gone. It was time for these other kids to take over. Right now there’s some 14 or 15 year olds into and it’s their time. That’s just how it goes. It’s for them and not the people who hang on and don’t grow up and aren’t willing to let it go. I was really lucky to be there. It’s really hard to explain to somebody what it was like unless they’d been there. To be into that kind of music, to walk around with a shaved head, people wanted to kill you. They thought you were a fucking freak. There was no Hot Topic. People didn’t know, and they were fucking freaked out by you and wanted to kill you.
What do you think it is about the 80’s era of NYHC that makes it distinct from the other parts of the country at the time?
Todd: It’s the myths. There are so many stories. It’s urban folklore. DC, Boston or LA didn’t have that. They didn’t have these insane street characters. And it wasn’t very well documented. Nobody had the money to make records or start labels. It was more like, “How am I going to eat tomorrow?”
JULY/AUGUST 2017 INTERVIEW WITH TODD FOR IN EFFECT HARDCORE
NOVEMBER 2017 INTERVIEW WITH TODD & ISRAEL OF FIREBURN FOR IN EFFECT HARDCORE
A GO FUND ME PAGE WAS CREATED SHORTLY AFTER TODD'S PASSING. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT IT OR TO MAKE A DONATION CLICK HERE.