Community is everything. Using a collective voice for the greater good is now a necessity. Wherever you hail from–the suburbs, a rural town, the inner city–the most important thing is find your crew and establish your roots. Music has been and will always be one of the most uniting forces out there.
It’s difficult to describe youthful rage. It’s like a supercharged lightning current that strikes at a certain age. Finding an outlet to channel that restlessness—be it through art, music, skating—is a right of passage. Now more so than ever, It’s crucial to take that energy and filter it into something positive. Youth Of Today, the seminal hardcore band, are a guiding light.
Formed in New York City in 1985 by Ray Cappo and John Porcell, YOT released their debut EP, Can’t Close My Eyes in 1986 and their first full length, Break Down The Walls, in 1987. Cappo & Porcell, wanted to bring back the straight-edge ideals championed by bands like Minor Threat in the early 80’s to a punk scene dominated by drugs, alcohol, nihilism and violence. Vegetarianism, unity, clean living, and positive thinking were central to their belief system—values they wanted to realize and promote.
As the straight edge movement dissipated in the early to mid 80’s and hardcore bands began to shift more metal, Cappo and Porcell both lamented the lack of a scene they identified with. Cappo, in interviews, has said he wanted to start a more straightforward hardcore band. He felt that American Hardcore was ‘more down to earth than punk rock; less of a costume show’. The clothing they wore followed suit—humble, less indulgent and non exclusive. YOT wore typical suburban skater garb: close cropped crew cuts, Champion hooded sweatshirts, long shorts, rolled jeans, and high tops. They were athletic, skated, didn’t do drugs, believed in something and felt compelled to spread the word.
1987 brought their first nationwide tour in support of their album, Break Down The Walls. The album’s energy is magnetic, electrifying and motivating. This tour helped form a hardcore network all over the country and when they arrived back on the east coast the scene was starting to explode. In what was thought an impenetrable city, New York straight edge bands like Straight Ahead, Gorilla Biscuits and BOLD were starting to thrive. In the spirit of the band 7 Seconds, whose label Positive Force put out the YOT debut EP, Cappo began Revelation Records with Jordan Cooper—a platform for young artists to get out and make a difference.
There was a collective shift going on during their time that helped pave the way for awareness and activism, a feeling that still reverberates today. It was 80’s America—Reagan was in office, money was king, censorship and conservatism were becoming this country’s backbone.
Earlier in the decade, with the rise of bands like Minor Threat, political activism was at the center of the message, informed no doubt by their location in and around D.C. For YOT, hailing from the suburbs of CT, rebelling against the culture of boredom, mediocracy, and planned life trajectories was center focus.
It’s easy to become numb to the world around us. We live in an overly saturated and highly stimulated environment. It’s as if we’ve travelled full circle back to the political ideals of the 80’s, but even more omnipresent and corrupt. It’s vital that we too join together and rebel against what we deem unacceptable.
This collection pays tribute to the ideas championed by Youth Of Today.