Let Them Know: The Story of Youth Brigade & BYO Records
BYO Records (2009)
After months of trying to score a free copy with no luck I decided to suck it up and buy this for myself because I just could not wait any longer to get one. I guess you would call this a coffee table book but it is much more because you not only have the 100+ page book but you also get a double LP, gotta love vinyl, a CD just in case you are a tool and don’t have a record player and a DVD documentary of the book.
The book is full of some pretty cool pictures and stories from not only the Stern Brothers but from folks such as Jack Grisham from TSOL , Tony from The Adolescents, Fat Mike from Nofx and Kevin from 7 Seconds to name a few. Many of the stories or comments are either about how the Sterns helped them get shows or getting to play with Youth Brigade which they became well known for. Back in the day the entire punk scene in southern California was the purest form of DYI and these guys pretty much wrote the book on it.
In the DVD you get to see just how much had to be done or how creative you had to be to book a show or tour or put any music out, it was beg-borrow-steal and even though that is still pretty much the same nowadays for punk bands you have to remember this was long before the internet or cell phones so just trying to set something up took 100 times longer and was 100 times more of a pain in the ass. Enough can’t be said for BYO, Better Youth Organization for you youngins, and the role they played back in day booking shows, making comps so bands could be heard and eventually becoming a record label. Pretty much every punk I knew had the BYO comp “Someone Got Their Head Kicked In” or at least a taped copy from a friend, it is kind of one of those “you aren’t a real punk unless you have…..” things, and yes I still have mine thanks for asking. For you younger punks the DVD gives you a little insight to what it was like back in the early 80’s just as the documentary Another State Of Mind does which by the way is of course a Youth Brigade BYO product. The part to really pay attention to is just how much of a problem the cops were back then, especially the L.A.P.D. who were notorious for beating the shit out of anyone and everyone and I do not exaggerate when I say these guys were total fucking douche bags, they make today’s police look like pacifists. To this day 20 something years later I still have a distrust and a dislike for any of them.
The CD is pretty much BYO bands covering over BYO bands or bands that got their start thanks to BYO and the Stern Brothers such as 7 Seconds, Bouncing Souls, CH3, Dropkick Murphys, Krum Bums, LCB, Pennywise and of course Youth Brigade and there are indeed a few gems on there so check it out if you get the chance. I realize that the price tag is pretty hefty for many of you so if you can’t go out and buy it yourself hopefully you could borrow it from someone and check it out. Hopefully most of you AZ KAOS readers got to check out the interview I got to do with Shawn Stern a few months back as he is a real cool dude and I was happy for the chance to see and talk to him again.
The book, double vinyl, CD and DVD was well worth what I paid for it, not only is it a nice addition to my already full bar room but it is a nice look back at the good old or not so good old days depending on your memories.