Youth Under Control, Photo courtesy of : Jason XXX
Jason Peterson played guitar in Youth Under Control and Wind Of Change, bands best known for putting the Arizona straight edge scene on the map in the late eighties. He also was the one behind the classic Step Forward artwork, perhaps his first creative graphic endeavor that would end up leading to some very, very major work in the advertising world.
My first shows in '83 and '84 were Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies, Dead Kennedys, Husker Du, Necros, and lots of local Clevo stuff. I was hooked. I studied every band, every fanzine and I would try to see every show. I started writing reviews for MRR and Alterative Press (a local Clevo zine at the time), as well as designing layouts for zines of friends. I started drinking and smoking pot at 13. I thought it was the punk rock thing to do. I was hanging out with a much older crowd. I used to get drunk before junior high school.
In the summer of '85 my stepfather was transferred to work in Phoenix. This was a new beginning for me. Straight Edge made so much sense to me, I have never considered another way to live my life. One of the first people I met in Arizona was this skater kid with dyed jet-black hair named James Palmer. We met at an outdoor JFA/Necros show. The show started at noon in the 110-degree Arizona summer. Palmer came from a very similar broken home. His parents ran a local bar so he saw first hand how fucked up booze could be. We were the only two kids at that show with X's on our hands so we naturally clicked.
The older west side guys like JFA, Mighty Sphincter and Junior Achievement established the Arizona HC scene. It was an awesome mix of dusty skaters, cow punks and Goth kids in creepers. They were always drugged out and sunburned. They were the furthest things from straight edge. "Beach Blanket Bong-Out" was not just a song; it was a way of life. Those shows were so much fun. Looking back, I think the diversity is the reason I was always open to everyone in the HC scene. It wasn't until a few years later that the proper Arizona straight edge scene developed.
Youth Under Control, Photo courtesy of: Jason XXX
Palmer and I started Youth Under Control in '85. We went through a load of different line ups in the beginning. We wanted a straight edge band in the vein of DYS/SSD. I think we printed shirts before we even had our first practice. Our description of a "tour" was pushing our amps in shopping carts and playing in our parents' garages. We struggled to find like-minded straight edge kids to be in the band. We tried to convince local skater kids to become straight edge but it never worked. I was always the SXE salesman but quickly learned that if you don't deeply believe you will not last.
We finally got it together in the spring of '86. The line up was Jim Wall, Palmer, Eric Astor and myself. We recorded a demo and opened up every show that would have us. We played with Justice League, 7 Seconds, Bl'ast!, Youth Of Today and every local band in the Phoenix area. I remember we somehow got booked on a show in Toronto with Youth of Today and 7 Seconds, we plotted every plan in the world to get there, but in the end couldn't pull it off.
Astor and Palmer left in '87 to play in Last Option. Al-X Dunham and Brian Fuller filled their spots. That summer, we played our only out of state show in LA with Insted, Underdog and Ill Repute. Youth Under Control ended up playing around 45 shows with the last show in a flower shop in downtown Tempe.
Wind Of Change started the very next day...