Youth Of Today, Photo: Jordan Cooper
Here is the second chunk of a gigantic interview I did with Shaun Sheridan, who ran The Anthrax with his brother Brian. This originally appeared in Impact Fanzine, and we will continue to reprint some worthy stuff from there from time to time. Click here to read the first part:
Youth Of Today...well, Ray had been the drummer for Violent Children. It was a cool band, he wasn't all that good a drummer, but he became the vocalist for Reflex From Pain, when their original vocalist had to go work on a nuclear sub or something. I saw a bunch of Ray's earlier shows, up in Boston and down in Philly, and even then he was a good front man. After he left Reflex, there was the influence of Kevin Seconds and a degree of Minor Threat and Ian MacKaye, then suddenly he wanted to "be there for the kids." He wanted to show them "the way" and "the light." He always had a messiah complex. But it was also natural talent. He could sing and project. He was also a lot of fun, he was a cool and goofy kid. He'd occasionally have a few beers, smoke a little pot. It was like, "Yeah, here's a cool kid."
As far as how it all developed, me and my brother were old school, punk rockers. We were way more into seeing a band like Negative Approach play, or Angry Red Planet, Dr. Know, RKL, The Melvins. We were meeting people from all over the country and being exposed to a lot of different music. You began to realize the sound of the Northwest was different than the sound of the East Coast, Orange County hardcore was much different than, say, San Francisco hardcore, that Battalion of Saints from San Diego don't really even sound like the other guys from Orange County. It was kind of an interesting development. We tried to be as broad and open as possible...we figured anything's punk rock that wasn't this mainstream, Bon Jovi, big-hair bullshit or some Zeppelin/Doors rehash.
It's kind of interesting that Youth of Today isn't credited as a CT band, even though they pretty much came out of that scene. Even as early as with Porcell and Young Republicans. He came from upper-Westchester. It took Youth of Today a couple of years to really gain a following. They weren't really that good at first. After so many years of playing simple music, you're going to get better if you're really interested in doing it. The whole Krishna thing had very little to do with The Anthrax. But there were tons of other bands, on a national level. We did lots of the so-called "youth" bands because, at the time, it made money. I won't say we were totally jaded by their music, but how many times can you hear the same shit over and over?
Youth Of Today at the Stamford Anthrax, Photo courtesy of: Matt Warnke
I still remember, we had Uniform Choice play and I think one of the best fucking decisions my brother, Brian, ever made was to have Crucial Youth open that show. If you've never heard of them, they're like joke hardcore. Ian MacKaye's grandma lived up there, so they'd go up a couple times a year, and they'd check out who was playing. So he was there and Joe Crucial gets on the mic and says "We're happy to be here, we hear Ian's in the crowd tonight. You're so great and wonderful, but, why do you have to use the F-word so often?! That's not very positive! This song goes out to you! Those Who Curse Are the Worst!" The thing was, I hadn't talked to Ian yet that evening, but I looked over at him and he just thought it was hysterical, because he's never taken it that seriously. It's not this Rah! Rah! thing for Ian, at all. He pretty much said "This is no set of rules." I don't know if he's, exactly still like that. The drummer for Uniform Choice got so upset, he went running to Bill the sound guy, who only occasionally drank, but at that time he wasn't doing anything, and started yelling "Shut off the PA! These guys can't play anymore! They've just blasphemed my God!" One of the most amusing things I've ever seen. Ian was like "Guys, don't take it seriously." If kids EVER did the slapping beers out of hands thing in my club they'd be out. It was alcohol-free, but I was old enough to drink on MY own private property with my friends. You're upset by that? I don't care.
The booking for the club was my brother and me, but I could say my mom did it because at that point there was no answering machines and my dad rarely picked up the phone. However, when The Klingons called from Anchorage, Alaska to get a gig, that's when it really blew my dad's mind, he was like "I don't knowhow you guys are doing it, but if you have a band calling you from Anchorage, Alaska you must be doing something good." But they were always supportive, they were always like "no problem!" Finally we got a phone at The Anthrax, not that we could afford it, so my mom dealt with all the bands for so many of the years. My dad was a milkman so when The Dead Milkmen were calling up, she found it amusing as hell! But she didn't even bat an eye when the Dayglo Abortions called. It was just one of those things...she would just get all the names, numbers. Brian, I think, still has all the lists of all the bands that called. She always said everyone had the best phone manners. There was only one time that someone was rude to my mom, I can't even remember who, she didn't write down the information. It was interesting that all these "wild looking punk rockers" were so sweet on the phone.