Reagan Youth is a political hardcore punk band that embraces “Anarchy + Peace & Unity” school of thought. Reagan Youth parodies and pokes fun at Republicanism, the Religious Right, Racists and of course; Ronald Reagan’s policies. The band formed in 1980 as it became obvious to the lead singer, Dave that Ronald Reagan was to become America’s president. The band’s songs were about the evils of society and the band’s name was a play on HITLER YOUTH; comparing Reagan to Hitler due to the Republican party’s fascist tendencies.
Dave and Paul had started a punk band named Pus at their junior high school, Russell Sage. After graduating they entered Forest Hills High School and found a drummer named Charley Tripper, who in turn introduced them to their bassist, Andy Apathy. The four of them aimed at creating a loud, fast, anarchist, punk rock band that would expose the evils of society.
As Reagan ascended as president Dave Insurgent, Paul Cripple, Charley Tripper and Andy Apathy played their first gig on August, 21 1981 at the A7 club under the name Reagan Youth. The music was like having the Who’s rhythm section playing behind fuzzed out, feedback laden guitar chords while Dave I. spread his message of Anarchy and Peace and Unity! Unfortunately the rhythm section from the band’s high school days were not up to that caliber of playing, so Al Pike replaced Andy Apathy on bass. The band rehearsed but soon after Charley Tripper quit and was replaced by Steve.
This new lineup with Steve, Dave, Paul and Al was Reagan Youth’s most stable line-up, playing numerous matinee shows at the CBGB’s, as well as all over N.Y.C. They went to record from Spring of 1983 until spring of 1984 and released their first recording, a 12 inch e.p. with seven songs in ’84.In 1984 the band left for the west coast for a two month excursion, playing political minded free festivals with R.A.R. (ROCK AGAINST RACISM) and had to replace the rhythm section once again when Steve left for graduate school and Al refused to take a break from his mail route. They were replaced with Rick Royale on drums and Victor Venom on bass.
At this point the band’s music was growing and changing with songs like “Jesus was a Communist” and “What Will the Neighbors Think?”. After Rick left Paul and Dave were more focused on their new musical project HOUSE OF GOD. Their new band would take on organized religion the same way Reagan Youth sang out against politics with music best described as “Neo Classic Rock”.The band continued with Johnny Aztec on drums in ’85 when Rick left after one year. The band went out to the West Coast in 1987 as the gigs were bigger and better over on the California coast as the N.Y.H.C. scene became less to do with peace punk. So they carried on playing free festivals and when Reagan was ready to leave office Dave and Paul contacted Victor to play one last show but Victor refused and said he’d never play with Reagan Youth again.
So for Dave and Paul HOUSE OF GOD became the priority when they got Chris Simunek and their new band only played a few shows before they were approached by Nicky Garratt of New Red Archives who offered a deal to re-release the band’s only recording with new songs making it album length. Dave insisted on recording and releasing all of the band’s unreleased material. After Dave found extra songs for Volume I, which included the seven songs from the e.p. along with the songs “Anytown”, “No Class” and “In Dog We Trust”, they started recording the rest of the songs from Reagan Youth’s career. Paul Cripple and Johnny Aztec recorded all the music for Volume II with Paul playing both guitar and bass. Dave I, who was suffering from the disease of addiction, ceased to show up after the music was recorded. Paul and Nicky Garratt made sure Dave ended up singing all 11 songs, with two vocal tracks on each song. When Dave was finished, he swore he’d come back and fix up his weak spots and then do the all important mix. But Dave never did and when Nicky asked Paul what to do, Paul answered “If Dave don’t give a shit, then neither do I”. What no one outside Dave’s family knew at that time was that Dave wasn’t able to do anything as he was attacked and sent to a hospital literally hours after he sang. And so Volume II was released and due to the circumstances described above, is an un-mixed demo of the band’s leftover songs. And with all the guitar solos not getting removed because there was no final mix, it alienated some fans who ended up thinking the band released a heavy metal record. And so the band ceased to exist after Reagan’s departure and there was to be no new band HOUSE OF GOD because the wounds Dave had suffered from being attacked over a drug debt would never heal.
As for what happened to the rest of the band, Charley Tripper never stopped banging on the drums and is happy to be a family man. During the summer of 2002 Andy Apathy died from an overdose right after contacting Paul about reforming Reagan Youth. Al Pike never quit his job as a mail man and Steve is a professor at an university; he was the best musician Reagan Youth ever had. Rick disappeared and was never heard from again. Victor went on to record and tour with Nausea and Johnny Aztec is happily married raising a family.
As for Reagan Youth’s most important member; the man with the plan, the most amazing lyricist, songwriter, arranger, the kid with the brilliant mind who knew what was up………well, after Dave survived being beaten into a coma he continued his downward spiral until some unbelievable circumstances led him to take his own life. Dave “Insurgent” Rubinstein….you will always, always be missed. And the band will forever be in your debt over the greatness you imparted…You Rocked Like No One Else and we’ll never forget it!
Paul Cripple plans on making one last Reagan Youth album which will focus on the life and times of the band’s spiritual guiding force; DAVE INSURGENT. The record will be a concept album about the life and times of Dave I., as well as Reaganomics, N.Y.C. during the 80’s, and it will sound catchy, hardcore, fast, punk, and of course the songs will consist of three chords like all the other tunes. It will be the last album.