Youth Of Today is by far and away the most important band of the “youth crew era” in the late 80’s in New York City – no one else comes even close. It’s always struck me how far apart YOT stands from the rest – it’s so much faster, so much harder, so much more intense. I think it’s because they were the first. They kind of started the whole “athletic, clean cut kids from the suburbs playing fast hard positive punk music”. Their 7″ came out in 1985, long before the rest of the stuff that came along in 1987-1988, so everyone else was ultimately taking queues from YOT. These other bands saw a formula of “clean cut hardcore” all around them. Since YOT came first, they didn’t have any other “youth crew” bands to follow or be influenced by – it simply didn’t exist yet. So they were exposed and influenced by a more “punk” side of things. They were influenced by what they had seen right before them – Minor Threat, Bad Brains, 7 Seconds, early Boston straightedge like SSD and DYS, or any of the obscure NYHC records – the Abused, Urban Waste, Antidote, Agnostic Front, etc. They took the raw “fuck you” of these early NYHC singles, the hard edge from Boston (yes, pun), the “thinking man’s hardcore” from Minor Threat and 7 Seconds, added some athletic gear, weight lifting, and positive conscious lyrics, and the YOT monster was born, haha. Because of this difference in influence, YOT is quite simply: faster, harder, angrier, more lyrically relevant, and just sounds more frenetic than any of the other late 80’s NY youth crew crowd. When I see photos and videos of YOT shows, I just see arms and legs everywhere. It just looks and feels more intense than all the rest, even 20+ years later in print. To top it off, Ray’s vocal delivery is one-thousand percent above all the rest. It sounds energetic and “live”, even on the actual recordings. It sounds like he’s about to jump out of your speakers and start choking you out if you don’t act upon what he’s trying to say right this moment. When I said “frenetic” up above, I think I’m mostly referring to the vocals. It just sounds like he’s going wild. That delivery makes all the positive lyrics feel that much more compelling, urgent, and worth listening to. Say what you will about Ray or Porcell or any of the other guys – I’ve never met them and I don’t pass judgement on people I haven’t had my own relationships with… What I do know is the influence they’ve left behind on multiple generations of young people cannot be denied, and that alone has done a whole hell of a lot of good for the world. The fact that I’m writing what I’m writing right now, as a 31 year old vegetarian straight edge adult, is a testament to that influence. That’s why over the years I’ve grown the most attached to my YOT and Minor Threat vinyl collections.
The “Can’t Close My Eyes” 7″ was originally released in 1985 on Kevin Seconds’ (7 Seconds) label, Positive Force Records. The first copy shown is a first pressing – black labels, red lettering. 2nd copy is 2nd pressing – blue labels, white lettering. See below for close-ups and descriptions of the other two copies with white labels, plus the orange vinyl on Revelation.
This is the “Some Records” pressing. These 100 copies had blank labels and were hand stamped with “Some Records” stamps and sold exclusively at NYC’s local record store, Some Records. The record store was run by this dude Duane. That ties in nicely with another white label copy, described below.
This is a strange variant which has a 2nd pressing blue label on the a-side, but a blank white b-side label with a hand-written message. Supposedly the band found a few of these while on tour, wrote random things on the labels, and sold them at shows. Mine has a hand-written b-side label: “Duane is the hardest dude in N.Y.C.” – obviously referring to Duane from Some Records! This copy also has a cool old YOT sticker, printed old-school style: really shitty b&w printing on a peel away backing. I’ve also seen variants of this 7″ with have blank white labels on BOTH sides with hand-written messages. These could be “Some Records” pressings that never got stamped, or they could be random plant mistakes like mine above, who knows.
Though not an official Revelation release, Ray and Jordan at Revelation released this Orange vinyl copy of the Youth Of Today 7″ right around the time of the early REV #1-3 singles. Ray and Jordan used the original plates from Positive Force to press 100 “Revelation copies” on orange vinyl to trade for toys, like GI Joe action figures, among other things. In the Revelation photo documentary, you’ll see several early Revelation advertisements, offering records for toys – for example, Warzone on orange, Together on orange, and this YOT 7″ on orange vinyl. Most of these orange vinyl copies have batman or superman stamps, to represent the trade for toys. Mine has Batman stamps and the labels are hand-written. See the close-up below.
“BATMAN in color. What grows up while growing down? A duck.” Haha, weirdos. I don’t think I get it. I kinda do, but, not really. Also note batman stamp on the labels, and the sweet dinosaur stamps, haha! I swear to god I had a complete set of dinosaur stamps just like these when I was a kid. I was crazy into dinosaurs! I would have been 7 years old when they were stamping these things, so it’s very possible I had the same sort of stamp sets around that time, ha!
“Can’t Close My Eyes” was originally re-pressed on 12″ format on Porcell’s own label, Schism Records. These are shown in the first row in the photo above. 1st pressing on Schism had white labels, 2nd had red labels. The second row is a 12″ release on We Bite Records in Europe. The first copy is a test pressing on We Bite, followed by yellow vinyl and black vinyl. Finally in 1997, Revelation released “Can’t Close My Eyes” on 12″ format with a different cover. This is shown on the 3rd row. The first copy is an original test pressing, out of only 4 copies. The first pressing was on green vinyl out of 217, and a bunch on black. The yellow vinyl was done sometime in the 2000’s. Recently Revelation returned to the original 7″ cover artwork and pressed red and purple vinyl to coincide with the YOT reunion shows in 2011. I didn’t pick up either of those.
Close-up of the 1st pressing Schism labels. The b-side label is a live photo. The 2nd press labels are totally different. Not only are they red, but the A-side label lists only the A-side songs, and the B side has an identical label that lists only the B-side songs. There is no live photo on the b-side like on the 1st pressing.
Comparing the inserts over the years. The top row is the original insert found with the Schism release (both 1st and 2nd press). Bottom left is the We Bite Records release in Europe. Bottom right is the Revelation Records release.
So, this record has been pressed a billion times over the years, and I had to show them all together. This photo actually shows the rarest record I own, as well as my favorite record I own – I’ll point those out later. I purposely put the best stuff at the bottom of this picture so it would show up better. Down there you’ll find what may be the mini collection I’m most proud of – the original YOT BDTW pressings on Wishingwell Records.
Break Down The Walls was originally pressed in 1987 on Wishingwell Records. Wishingwell was run by Pat Dubar, singer of Uniform Choice. They had just released one of the best hardcore LP’s of all time – U.C. “Screaming For Change”, and followed it up with YOT BDTW. Not bad. In the top row, you’ll find an original Wishingwell test pressing, which is probably the rarest record that I own. I believe there were only 8 of these, and I’ve only heard of one other ever becoming available. I remember some online posts in the early 2000′s regarding one mailed out by Tim McMahon of Mouthpiece in a record trade… It got broken in the mail, with pictures to prove it. Talk about heart breaking on both sides. So now, I guess there’s probably only 7 of these. .
I absolutely love the ice blue color on the blue vinyl copies – yet another weird shade that’s never really been duplicated very often. Wishingwell pressed 150 of each color, but while the band was in NYC for a show at CBGB’s, their van was broken into and everything was stolen. A few copies had made it out of the van for sale already, and the label had sold some in SoCal and hung onto some others, but it’s estimated that there couldn’t be more than 50 on each color really available. Of course, those copies that were stolen could have made it into circulation, but with the rarity of these things seemingly impossible to get, we all really doubt it. They probably just ended up in a dumpster somewhere…
You’ll also notice a copy of the weird “2nd pressing” on Wishingwell with the black and yellow cover. If you can believe it, I found this copy 100% still sealed for $8 at Cheap Thrills in San Luis Obispo in 1999 when I was in my 2nd year of college. It had been sitting there since 1988, for 11 years, untouched. Even at the time, that record was worth $60-$90, so it’s not like it had just been “passed on” by a bunch of people. For some reason, it had just never been stumbled upon by a collector before! That same day I picked up a Bad Brains – Black Dots LP on white vinyl, still sealed. You can honestly say that could never happen today.
Anyway – on to the actual Revelation pressing of the record! In 1988, Revelation repressed the LP using the new blue and yellow cover, which is what you see in the top row of records in the original picture. Unfortunately, I missed out on a first press testing pressing on eBay back in 2008 – it had the “Electrosound labels“, the pressing plant used on the early Rev LP’s (example: my 1st pressing Bold – Speak Out LP test).
I actually own two copies of the 1st pressing with blue/yellow labels, as seen on the first row of the main photo. The difference is simply this “Loaned For Promotion Only” stamp on the back of one copy.
After a few years, Rev was switching pressing plants and had to re-make the test pressings if they wanted to re-press the Break Down The Walls LP. That is how we arrive at my favorite record I own – the 2nd press rejected Youth Of Today test pressing on GREEN vinyl. Only 10 copies exist, and I have this framed and hangs on a wall in my home. Rev was actually re-pressing a bunch of stuff at the new plant, and the plant must have just had an abundance of extra green wax laying around, so they ran the tests off on green vinyl. There are also green tests of the Bold – Speak Out LP repress as well as The Way It Is LP repress (unfortunately I’ve never owned either, though would be so cool to have the set of 3!). I’m not sure what exactly is wrong with this YOT test, but they rejected it and re-made the tests.
After rejecting the green vinyl tests, they re-made the test pressings, this time on regular black vinyl. The BLACK test pressing with the old Erika labels is 1 of the 8 accepted 2nd press test pressings.
Once they got an accepted test approval, they made the 2nd pressing of the Revelation version of the BDTW LP. They kept the blue/yellow jacket, but they did away with the blue/yellow labels and went with new black and white labels with a band photo.
The second row in the main photo is the European pressing on We Bite Records. The first copy on that second row is the We Bite test pressing, followed by a yellow vinyl copy. Oddly enough I only have the We Bite release on the yellow vinyl – I need to get a regular black copy of this.
Back to Revelation pressings… After several pressings of the BDTW LP with the black and white labels and blue/yellow cover, they repressed the album in 1997 with a different cover. The new cover pressings are shown on the 3rd row in the main photo. These pressings also had new label art. They started with orange vinyl out of 217 copies, and tons of black vinyl.
This is just a photo that compares the various different labels they used over the years. Top row is 1st and 2nd press, which both came with the blue/yellow cover. Bottom row is 1997+ press and European We Bite press.
In April 2001, they repressed BDTW on colored vinyl again, keeping the same cover and labels, this time on white vinyl out of 500. 60 of the covers were damaged in shipment, so only 440 come on white vinyl with the regular cover. The remaining 60 white vinyl copies had a limited cover for Posi Numbers Festival 2002, printed on this strange black felt type material. So that’s the weird black and white limited cover you see in the 4th row (and in the photo above).
They also did 550 more black vinyl copies with the 1997+ cover, but they used the 2nd press “band guys in hoodies hanging out” labels from the 2nd press instead of the modern label art from the 1997+ press. They must have had some extra labels left over from the 2nd press. This version can be seen on the 3rd row, 4th copy of the main photo, as well as the close-up photo above. The second LP in the 4th row is actually a current pressing I got in 2010. They’ve gone back to the blue/yellow cover, but are using the 1997 label art.
The second Youth Of Today LP is their best LP. A lot of people would definitely argue with me, but I think “We’re Not In This Alone” kills the “Break Down The Walls” LP. The recording is way better, the song writing is tighter, and they seemed to step up their guitar work by adding in some extra second guitar stuff. The first row is the original release on Caroline Records. Both black vinyl copies are identical, except for the 2nd one has “Mix #2” etched in the matrix to denote a re-mix that they did for the 2nd pressing. The second row is the usual European pressing on We Bite Records. The first copy is a test pressing on We Bite, with the regular black vinyl next to it. Notice that they used the same cover as the Caroline release, but with a different color scheme. Also, I don’t think there was a colored vinyl pressing on We Bite, which is sort of strange since the first YOT LP on We Bite was done on yellow, and the GB Start Today LP on We Bite was on blue vinyl. The 3rd row is another European release on Funhouse Records. I’m not totally sure why they did different Euro releases, but based on the Flex discography, it says Funhouse came out originally in 1988 and then We Bite later in 1992 – I don’t know the details of why they switched from Funhouse to We Bite. The first copy is a test pressing on Funhouse Records, followed by a copy on yellow vinyl. There was also black vinyl for the Funhouse release, but I actually never picked one up – I need to do that. The last row is the 1997 Revelation re-pressing of the WNITA LP, with new cover art. There are 100 on deep red, 112 on deep purple, and tons of black vinyl. I figured the picture wouldn’t pick up the difference, but surprisingly the picture accurately shows the difference of red vs. purple vs. black.
While we’re looking at the back covers, check out the back of the Funhouse release. Kinda wack how they highlighted the X’s on everyone’s hand in yellow, haha. The layout for this Funhouse release is generally god awful, and this is just more of the same.
Often called the “Disengage” 7″, this record is dope. The last recording from YOT, and like almost any band’s later material, the most melodic. Some folks don’t like that about it, but I love these songs.
Shown first is a 1st pressing test pressing from Rainbo Records. I got this copy from Sammy, the drummer of YOT. He’d kept it till 2009 when I bought it from him. “Youth Of Today” is hand written on the A-side. See below for an interesting B-side.
The B-side has this Revelation Records address stamp. Why is this interesting? Well, I’ve never seen this stamp or address before! All of the Rev releases had a New Haven, CT address on the back. I’d never seen a Hamden, CT address on anything else other than this test pressing. Weird? It could have been a short lived location right before they moved to CA, or it could have been a situation where they had an office location address (Hamden) and a warehouse/business/other address (New Haven). I’m sure someone will chime in and set me straight on this one. But I thought this was cool… I only noticed this as I was taking the photos for this blog – I’d never really noticed or thought about it before!
Included with the test pressing was the original layout specifics/instructions/order form that Jordan or Ray sent in to the printing plant for the 7″ covers. It’s cool to see this sort of stuff and how they used to have to lay everything out manually and include instructions, instead of the modern day method where you just submit digital art files. I worked on the yearbook when I was a kid in high school, so I’m a little bit familiar with laying out pages manually, etc. Seeing this 7″ layout instructions brought back some fun memories of yearbook class. Remember “pica’s”? haha.
The first pressing of this 7″ had a full color tri-fold insert – you can see it displayed with the 1st pressing copies on clear (out of 1,000) and black (5,000). The next pressing still had the tri-fold insert, but now printed in black and white. You can see it as the 4th record in the top row. These particular copies are kind of hard to find and I’ve only seen a few of them around. So this b&w tri-fold was probably only done on the 2nd pressing, but never again after that. I didn’t know this variant existed till I came across it in 2008. Anyway, Rev switched to a smaller single sheet for later pressings, and there are a billion pressed with this smaller insert.
The only colored vinyl originally available was the 1,000 on clear vinyl from the first pressing. Then in 2001 they pressed 327 on clear vinyl with white mixed in. I figured I’d show a photo here depicting the clear vs. the clear/white mix. Then recently they pressed 1350 on red vinyl for Record Store Day on 04/11/2011. Oh – something interesting you may have noticed in the photo above… Look at the cover of my first pressing copy. It looks like it has some weird square sticker in the upper right hand corner? That is not a sticker! It is actually part of the actual printing. I have no idea what is up with it! It looks like a small photo of a bunch of wood planks, like someone’s wooden deck in their backyard or something, haha! I know that all of the first pressing covers weren’t like this! It’s like there was some error with the actual films used to print the covers, as if some photograph of a wooden deck got dropped in the layout! haha. I’ve never seen anything quite like this.
My Youth Of Today collection, at its peak:
- Youth Of Today – Can’t Close My Eyes EP (1st press, RED lettering on cover)
- Youth Of Today – Can’t Close My Eyes EP (2nd press, WHITE lettering on cover)
- Youth Of Today – Can’t Close My Eyes EP (BLANK B-SIDE LABEL with hand-written “Duane is the hardest guy in N.Y.C”, WHITE lettering on cover)
- Youth Of Today – Can’t Close My Eyes EP (3rd press, SOME RECORDS press w/plain white stamped “Some Records” labels, out of 100. Cover is 1st pressing RED lettering sleeve)
- Youth Of Today – Can’t Close My Eyes EP (4th press, ORANGE vinyl w/batman stamp, out of 100. B-side batman stamped and hand written: “BATMAN in color. What grows up while growing down? A duck.”)
- Youth Of Today – Disengage (TEST PRESS, Revelation Records #17)
- Youth Of Today – Disengage (CLEAR, 1st press, tri-fold full color insert, out of 1000)
- Youth Of Today – Disengage (BLACK, 1st press, tri-fold full color insert, out of 5000)
- Youth Of Today – Disengage (BLACK, 2nd press, tri-fold b&w insert, out of ??)
- Youth Of Today – Disengage (BLACK, later press, condensed single sheet b&w insert)
- Youth Of Today – Disengage (CLEAR/WHITE SWIRL, Final press 04/27/2001, out of 327)
- Youth Of Today – Disengage (RED, Record Store Day 4.16.11, out of 1300)
- Youth Of Today – Can’t Close My Eyes (BLACK, WHITE labels, 1st press, Schism/Caroline)
- Youth Of Today – Can’t Close My Eyes (BLACK, RED labels, 2nd press, Schism/Caroline)
- Youth Of Today – Can’t Close My Eyes (TEST PRESS, out of 4, Revelation Records #62)
- Youth Of Today – Can’t Close My Eyes (GREEN, Rev repress, out of 217)
- Youth Of Today – Can’t Close My Eyes (YELLOW MARBLE, Rev final press)
- Youth Of Today – Can’t Close My Eyes (BLACK, Revelation)
- Youth Of Today – Can’t Close My Eyes (TEST PRESS, We Bite records)
- Youth Of Today – Can’t Close My Eyes (YELLOW, We Bite records)
- Youth Of Today – Can’t Close My Eyes (BLACK, We Bite records)
- Youth Of Today – Break Down The Walls (TEST PRESS, Wishingwell Records #4, yes finally – this is 1 of the 7 tests in existance. I don’t see myself ever moving this.)
- Youth Of Today – Break Down The Walls (RED, Wishingwell, there’s probably only about 50 of these that weren’t destroyed)
- Youth Of Today – Break Down The Walls (BLUE, Wishingwell, there’s probably only about 50 of these that weren’t destroyed)
- Youth Of Today – Break Down The Walls (BLACK, Wishingwell, RED/BLUE cover)
- Youth Of Today – Break Down The Walls (BLACK, Wishingwell, BLACK/YELLOW COVER, DEAD MINT condition, I opened the sealed copy myself)
- Youth Of Today – Break Down The Walls (TEST PRESS REJECTED, GREEN vinyl, Revelation Records, out of 10. There are 10 of these, does NOT have the “Nancy Loves Walter and Mike” matrix. This is the 2nd pressing of the 1988 press, NOT a test of the 1997 or later pressings.)
- Youth Of Today – Break Down The Walls (TEST PRESS ACCEPTED, BLACK vinyl, Revelation Records, out of 8. This is the accepted version of the GREEN rejected test. There are 8 of these, does NOT have the “Nancy Loves Walter and Mike” matrix. This is the 2nd pressing of the 1988 press, NOT a test of the 1997 or later pressings.)
- Youth Of Today – Break Down The Walls (BLACK, Revelation, 1st press, BLUE and YELLOW labels, matrix – “Nancy loves Walter & Mike”)
- Youth Of Today – Break Down The Walls (BLACK, Revelation, 1st press, PROMO STAMP on back, BLUE and YELLOW labels, matrix – “Nancy loves Walter & Mike”)
- Youth Of Today – Break Down The Walls (BLACK, Revelation, 2nd press, WHITE band hangout labels)
- Youth Of Today – Break Down The Walls (ORANGE, Rev repress 1997, out of 217)
- Youth Of Today – Break Down The Walls (WHITE, Posi Fest 2002 cover #50/60, Rev repress 04/27/2001)
- Youth Of Today – Break Down The Walls (WHITE, Rev repress 04/27/2001, out of 440)
- Youth Of Today – Break Down The Walls (BLACK, Rev repress 04/27/2001, band hangout labels from 1988, out of 550)
- Youth Of Today – Break Down The Walls (BLACK, Rev repress 04/27/2001, new 1997 label art)
- Youth Of Today – Break Down The Walls (BLACK, BLUE and YELLOW glossy cover, labels from 1997 pressing)
- Youth Of Today – Break Down The Walls (TEST PRESS, We Bite Records)
- Youth Of Today – Break Down The Walls (YELLOW, We Bite Records)
- Youth Of Today – We’re Not In This Alone (BLACK, 1st press, Caroline)
- Youth Of Today – We’re Not In This Alone (BLACK, Matrix = “Mix #2”, Caroline)
- Youth Of Today – We’re Not In This Alone (TEST PRESS, We Bite Records)
- Youth Of Today – We’re Not In This Alone (BLACK, blue and orange cover, We Bite Records)
- Youth Of Today – We’re Not In This Alone (TEST PRESS, Funhouse Records)
- Youth Of Today – We’re Not In This Alone (YELLOW, Funhouse Records)
- Youth Of Today – We’re Not In This Alone (RED, Rev repress, out of 100)
- Youth Of Today – We’re Not In This Alone (PURPLE, Rev repress, out of 112)
- Youth Of Today – We’re Not In This Alone (BLACK, Revelation)