Review: Reagan Youth - A Collection Of Pop Classics
New Red Archives packaged both Reagan Youth studio albums into one disc. It's hardcore's finest example of a band that went from hero to zero in the space of two records. The first album from 1984 is the fastest melodic disc to come out of an 80s NYHC scene mired in speed metal, hip hop stage antics and multi-racial white-power thuggery. The recording sounded enhanced mono, the drums hollow and the guitars cheap. It's a very, very good record.
After they broke up a second record was compiled in 1990, and it's hippiecore for Dead fans who also love Hendrix. The notes I took on these later tracks read along the lines of "hard rock hippie", "hippie metal" and "psychedelic hippie". I imagine Dave Insurgent had dreads by this time. Some people like it but some people also enjoy cutting themselves.
You must read this page to follow the wacky hijinx of Dave Rubenstein, who founded Reagan Youth with his pal Paul Bakija, who called himself Paul Cripple. Punk names are even dumber than mafia ones. As far as Dave goes, what a complete loser. I'm sorry, but anyone who sticks a needle into their arm to get high is a fugging loser to me. Read between the lines of this, "By now, between the violent assault and his continued drug use, he was no longer an energetic anarchist. He had become a bit disheveled, and many of his friends from the punk scene no longer associated with him." Imagine what it takes to be "a bit disheveled" in the NYC crusty scene. That couldn't have looked or smelled pretty.
Look, here comes rock bottom: "David began dating Tiffany B., a prostitute who worked on Houston Street. David had told his parents that she was a dancer. Tiffany supported the couple and their drug habit by turning tricks. David would often hang out on the street with Tiffany, waiting while she serviced a customer, and then going with her to score drugs."
I'm sorry. I find this all funny. Punks love their heroes to be losers, the stupider the better. Dave killed himself. What a tragic loss... excuse me a moment while I don't give a s--t. Today the news brought this report of a guy who hated life so much he kidnapped, raped and then murdered an 11 year old girl. He has a sad tale to tell too. We're all beams of light, perfect in our own way no matter our faults. (Sigh).
2/21/06 update: it just hit me that the New Red Archives history of Dave's life and death spiral shows no pity for him. He must have really been a prick to everyone. The word "disheveled" probably also referred to his personality since hygiene is a non-factor here.
2/22/06 update: It's funny that on the New Red Archives' Reagan Youth page they use "Ha Ha Ha" instead of the "Heil Heil Heil" actually sung in the song.