1. David Rubinstein sang and wrote or co-wrote all songs.
2. Paul Bakija played guitar (and also played bass on Volume 2).
3. Al Pike played bass on the first LP. He also produced their live album "Live And Rare".
4. Steve Weinstein played drums on the first LP. He left the band to go to college in the Midwest.
5. Victor Dominisis played bass with the group at live concerts.
6. Javier Madariaga pka "Johnny Aztec" played drums on the 2nd LP.
Reagan Youth, along with the Misfits and Kraut, were the most influential early Punk bands in the New York area. However in their almost ten years together, they only managed to record 1 EP (Youth Anthems For The New Order). This was mostly due to drug consumption which also caused the bands final demise and death of singer Dave I (Rubinstein). The first EP was reissued as 'Volume 1' by New Red Archives, remixed by Dave and Nicky Garratt, with extra previously unreleased tracks from the 'Youth Anthems' session. After the band folded , members reunited to record a number of songs which hand not been documented. This was in turn released as 'Volume 2'. In recent years, Reagan Youth have become icons in Punk circles with many cover versions of their songs being recorded and even the film 'Airheads' using one of their songs in the sound track.
David Rubinstein was born in 1964. He formed "Reagan Youth" with guitarist Paul Bakija when both were in high school in Rego Park, Queens. While they were still in high school, the band played the punk clubs of Manhattan. In fact, David's science teacher became a roadie for the band. (That high school teacher was so into the punk scene that he shaved his head and as a result almost got fired by the school administration.)
As the members graduated from high school, Reagan Youth performed regularly at C.B.G.B.'s and became a well-known band. They recorded a single, then an album. They toured cross-country many times, performing with all of the great hard-core punk bands of that era. At the "Rock Against Racism" shows in the early 1980's, Reagan Youth shared the bill with the Dead Kennedys, the Bad Brains, and others.
Reagan Youth recorded its first album and signed a simple contract, hand-written on the back of a poster for a gig. That album sold over forty thousand (40,000) copies. The band also appeared on several compilation albums, including Live at C.B.G.B.'s. They were a mainstay at C.B.G.B.'s Sunday afternoon hard-core matinee concerts.
Reagan Youth's music was ironic and political. They preached the gospel of "peace punk". David was known as "Dave Insurgent." The name "Reagan Youth" was ironic, given David's parents were holocaust survivors. The cover of their first LP featured a photo of Hitler shaking hands with an emissary of the Pope (this photo is also printed in the booklet of the enclosed CD). Their song titles included "Jesus Was A Communist" and "New Aryans".
By the late 1980's, the members of Reagan Youth were frustrated and worn out from years of touring. They had never made money in the music industry. When Ronald Reagan left the White House, they officially disbanded. D avid and several other band members continued to play music together, although their new group never achieved the same success or momentum as Reagan Youth.
By this time as well, David had developed a serious heroin addiction. He was also dealing drugs, although he was not very shrewd at it. David would sometimes consume the drugs he was supposed to be selling.
In a drug deal gone bad, another drug dealer violently beat up David. He was hospitalized for weeks. When he got out, he returned to his parents' home. There, he continued to use drugs, despite his parents efforts to help him recover. Eventually David left his parents' home and moved back to the lower East Side. 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.
In 1993 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.
Around this time, David's mother died in a freak car accident. A few weeks later, David and Tiffany were waiting on Houston Street when a familiar customer pulled up in a pick-up truck. Tiffany got in, telling David that she would return in twenty minutes. She never came back. David called the police with a description of the truck and went to all the hospital emergency rooms in the city searching for Tiffany. A few days later, on Long Island, the police pulled over a truck and found Tiffany's body in the back. They arrested the driver, Joel Rifkin, Long Island's most famous serial killer, who was later linked to killing numerous prostitutes.
Depressed and alone, after the unexpected losses of his girlfriend and his mother, David headed into a downward spiral. One month later, David Rubenstein p/k/a "Dave Insurgent" committed suicide.
David always told his father "someday I'll get a record deal and be famous." That never happened, although David's music has received greater recognition since his death
One of Reagan Youth's signature songs was "Degenerated." His friend Jesse Malin later formed the group D Generation and recorded "Degenerated" on their albums for both EMI Records and Columbia Records. (Jesse Malin also operates New York nightclub Coney Island High.) D Generation always closed their live concerts with "Degenerated" and dedicated the song to "Dave Insurgent."
"Degenerated" is also featured in the film "Airheads" (starring Adam Sandler) and is on the soundtrack album (Fox/Arista Records).
Reagan Youth's "Anytown" is on the compilation "Sunday Matinee: New York Hard Core" (Profile Records, 1994). Reagan Youth's records remain in print on the New Red Archives label and continue to sell. In 1995, New York group Sweet Diesel covered Reagan Youth's "Go Nowhere" on the album Punk Rock Jukebox (Blackout/Cherry Disc Records), an album that also featured The Goops, The Swinging Utters and Murphy's Law.
In light of the incredible cultural impact of the suicide of Kurt Cobain (of Nirvana), Dave Insurgent's story is a parallel from a time when punk rock was a closed sub-culture and not yet commercially viable. David seems to have used drugs as a way to deal with his career frustrations.
The media tends to focus on the rags-to-riches stories of entertainers and their subsequent problems with drugs, depression, etc. But David's life, although the particulars are quite unusual, is in many ways the more universal experience of struggling musicians, especially those whose point-of-views are ahead of their time.
1984 1st LP released.
1989 RY signs with New Red Archives to release 2 LPs:
Vol. 1: Includes the 1st LP, with 3 additional songs from the original sessions (after remixing the entire LP).
Vol. 2: In 1989 RY recorded old songs that had never been recorded. NRA released this in 1990.
1992 Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 released on 1 CD: "A Collection Of Pop Classics"
1997 "Live And Rare" is released. These are live recordings and previously unreleased studio cuts, all from the early 1980's by the first album lineup.
FUN FACT: At the beginning of the Beastie Boys' "Check Your Head" album, DJ Tim Sommers mentions a recent Reagan Youth concert.
Reagan Youth is published by LoveCat Music.