Youth Brigade (12 septembre 2009)



Les fans de punk rock connaissent déjà sûrement le groupe YOUTH BRIGADE, un groupe intelligent et très actif dans la communauté. Cela fait vingt ans que le groupe existe et nous avons eu la chance de nous entretenir avec la formation avant son passage à Montréal.

[DAVE]: Your band was started so long ago that many of our readers may not have been born when you started it. Can you describe to us what it meant to start a band, find a show to play, record a cassette, etc?

[YB]
: Yes, it's true, back in the early part of the last century when we started... Ha Ha! Well, seriously, we didn't really think a lot about the things we did back then, we just did them in many ways out of necessity. We always liked music, grew up around it and learned instruments so starting a band just seemed sort of natural in high school. Once you were in a band, you wanted to write songs and express yourself and from there it made sense to play in front of people and after doing that for awhile we decided to record. It all just sort of snowballed from there. I think that being too young to be a part of the late 60's/early 70's hippy scene we just naturally gravitated to punk rock once we heard the SEX PISTOLS in 1977. The world was still a mess in the late '70's and punk rock became the music we made to express our anger and dismay at the failures of the hippies but also our idealism and hopes for getting beyond those failures and trying to make a positive change in what was wrong in the world.

[DAVE]: The band was originally founded by three brothers. Does it help when you have a member of your family in your band?

[YB]
: I think it does for me, of course, I can't speak for anyone other than myself. My brothers and I (we are actually 4) are all very close and get along really well, so even when we argue, it's over and then we talk about what we should get for lunch or where we should go get a drink.

[DAVE]: What gives you the energy to get on a stage night after night?

[YB]
: Alcohol! Well, the fact that people really care about what we do and we know we're really lucky to have that. And that we're always getting kids coming to shows, new faces, so we figure we must be doing something right if we can continue to reach across generations.

[DAVE]: I haven’t heard new songs from YOUTH BRIGADE in quite some time now. Can we expect new songs during the upcoming shows? Are you working on new material?

[YB]
: We've been really busy with the BYO Anniversary box set, so that's taken up nearly all our time. Adam left the band a couple of years back cause he works in the film business doing CGI and is really busy and doing really well and that's what he loves to do. We've got Joey Ballstein playing bass and recently added Johnny as a 2nd guitarist so we hope to be working on new songs soon. We did cover SNFU's Misfortune for the box set compilation, though that's not a new song from us, it will be a new song to play.

[DAVE]: Your BYO Records Splits received great reviews. Why did you choose to share your release with SWINGIN UTTERS and can you explain to our readers what the concept is behind the Split Series?

[YB]
: We wrote those songs in a week and I think they're some of the best songs we've ever done. We are big fans of the SWINGIN UTTERS and thought they would be a great band to do a split with and I think it worked out great. The split series came about when we were talking to LEATHERFACE about doing a record but they only had enough for an EP. HOT WATER MUSIC wanted to have LEATHERFACE come to the U.S. to tour with them, so my brother Mark said let's see about putting out a split record with both bands in time for the tour. He had the idea to pattern the cover after the style of old Blue Note jazz releases and that's how it started. It's been really great.

[DAVE]: Talking about BYO, a record label you started, what’s your take on the music industry right now?

[YB]
: Well, the future for record labels is going to change or they will become obsolete, that's just a fact. More and more people are getting their music from the internet, which is fine, however a majority of them are not paying for, they're just downloading it for free. If that continues, not only will record labels and record stores go out of business, it is possible that musicians will not be able to continue to make music. It's definitely a challenge I guess you could say for record labels to figure out where they fit in and how or if they can survive. Which is one of the reasons we put together our box set. You can download music and even movies but not a hardcover book. We made the box set (it's a double LP coloured vinyl compilation that has 31 tracks of bands covering song from BYO's catalog, a 90 minute documentary movie, Let Them Know: The Story Of Youth Brigade and BYO Records and a 100 page companion book) to celebrate our anniversary and to tell the story of the band, the label and our part in the Southern California punk rock scene over the years.

[DAVE]: What should labels bring to the table when they deal with bands?

[YB]
: For us we work with bands whose music we like and whose idea's we believe in and who we feel we can help. I think independent labels have always done a lot of things that typically would be handled by managers, booking agents, merchandisers, publishers etc. and they do this cause it helps the bands when they are starting out and are not well known. When bands get big they often hire people to do these things cause they earn enough money and need and can afford to pay people to do these things. One thing labels will have to consider is doing these sorts of things for pay as part of being a label.

[DAVE]: What’s your take on digital downloads?

[YB]
: I think they're great when people pay for the music. Hey, if we don't have to manufacture, warehouse and ship physical things like CD's and LP's it's great for everyone. I mean I think we'll continue to see people interested in vinyl, it's something that a dedicated group of people seem to want. CD's I believe will go the way of the cassette and the 8 track before.

[DAVE]: You fall tour includes THE BOUNCING SOULD. Why did you decide to go on the road with them?

[YB]
: They asked us, we're friends with them, they are fun to hang out with and we love their music. Part of touring is to work with people you enjoy and we enjoy touring with them.

[DAVE]: You’ll be playing at Foufounes Électriques. Have you ever been there before?

[YB]
: Oh yes, many times, great place.

[DAVE]: What can we expect from your show?

[YB]
: A good time, we'll play songs we haven't played in years.

[DAVE]: What is your favorite venue in North America?

[YB]
: Oh, I couldn't pick one, there are lot's. We do like playing here in L.A. and there's lot's of good places to play.

[DAVE]: We always ask bands what local artists they would recommend for our readers? We would love to hear about your suggestions!

[YB]
: I think people should check out OFF WITH THEIR HEADS who are on the tour with us, great band, get there early to see them. And NOTHINGTON is a great BYO band who's new record comes out next month.

[DAVE]: Any last words for your fans from Quebec?

[YB]
: Look forward to seeing a crazy show in Montreal soon. Come down, have a drink or 3 and sing along.

PunkMeUp aimerait remercier Melanie Kaye pour avoir rendu cette entrevue possible.



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