Tuesday, January 27, 2009

RJ Vail - "Break Down The Walls" 1987 Summer Tour Roadie


Youth Of Today at Gilman St. on the "Break Down The Walls" tour 1987

I distinctly remember driving through Flemington New Jersey in 1990, a town that is a mere 15-20 minute drive from my own home town and being told by my friend Jay "The Regulator" about a dude named RJ Vail who roadied for Youth Of Today on the "Break Down The Walls" '87 tour and lived in that very town. I remember being pretty surprised that a guy that roadied for Youth Of Today lived so close and I had no idea. As the years passed, I met more people that knew RJ and every conversation always came back to him touring with Youth Of Today.


Now jumping ahead to 2008, I get a message from RJ regarding Double Cross. Some how or another he ended up on the site and wanted to shoot me a message praising what we were doing. Of course since I recognized his name, I asked if he was interested in sharing some stories and memories from the "Break Down The Walls" tour. RJ happily agreed and from that point on it was just a matter of us catching up and making it happen.

This past weekend, RJ and I finally got a chance to meet up. His son was in my town for a hockey game, so after the game we all met up at a diner for breakfast. After breakfast we made our way back to my house, where at that point his son Jake teamed up with my son Trevor for a little Wii and a light saber duel and RJ and I sat down with the tape recorder rolling. The following is part one of what transpired, more to come. -Tim DCXX


RJ Vail with the mohawk and shades, along with Navy Jim, Mark Struble and crew 1986

I grew up in Butler, New Jersey which was a stone's throw from Montville and a quick train ride into New York City. Like everyone, skateboarding played a big roll in introducing me to a lot of great people and of course punk and hardcore. In my town I was hanging with guys like Steve Vivino (the guy standing on stage at the Anthrax in the Underdog shirt on the cover of "The Way It Is"), Navy Jim Nargiso (Beyond, PX, etc. roadie) and a guy named Mark Struble. We were skating and hopping trains into NYC for shows at CB's sometime around '84 and '85. Then by 1986, through skating, I met Mike Ferraro (Judge) and Jimmy Yu (Judge). We all quickly became good friends and started hanging out regularly.

In 1987 when Youth Of Today was planning for their "Break Down The Walls" tour, Mike was playing drums and had asked me if I wanted to go on the tour as a roadie. Somehow or another Mike and the rest of the band had the impression that I was handy with cars. They said they needed someone who would be able to help with the tour van if they ran into problems and I told them, sure, I could help out with that. Honestly though, I didn't know shit about cars and was telling those guys anything that they wanted to hear so that they'd bring me along for the tour. Little did I know that I was actually going to be needed for that sort of thing, but we'll get to that.

So the line up for Youth Of Today at that time was Ray, Porcell, Walter, Richie and Mike. Civ also joined the tour as a roadie. I'm pretty sure the tour was kicked off in New York City or Connecticut. I know we made our way down to D.C. for the Rock Against Reagan show that was happening right there at the National Mall by the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. The bands were playing on the back of a flat bed tractor trailer and there was a ton of people there. I remember the Bad Brains playing and of course Youth Of Today. Me being a guy that's always leaned to the right, I stood on stage during Youth Of Today wearing a mesh hat with USA across the front and I was flipping off all the hippies. We were there to play, I don't think any of us really cared about "Rocking Against Reagan". It was a gig, it was with the Bad Brains and there were people there to see us, so that's all that mattered.


Mark Struble and RJ punked out, back in the day

After the Rock Against Reagan gig we stayed at the Dischord house, not sure who arranged that. I know when we got there someone told us to watch out for the naked guy. Ian wasn't there and I don't remember anyone from Dischord actually being there, but rest assured, we did run into the naked guy. Every once in awhile you'd catch this buck naked dude walking in and out of a room, walking around a corner and even sitting in a lawn chair on the front porch, buck fucking naked. Dude didn't say a word, just hung out naked all day long. I remember going down to the basement and seeing the drums set up for practice, it was like nothing was ever changed since Minor Threat. A memorable stay for sure.

Eventually we made our way down to Florida. As luck would have it, the drive shaft on the van broke. Everyone said, "RJ, get to work man, you do know this shit right?" Hah, the truth came out, I didn't know a damn thing about fixing cars or vans. We ended up at a garage in Miami where they told us they would need about $300 to fix it, problem was, we had no money. Someone had the idea to offer our services to the garage in exchange for them fixing the van. The mechanic told us that they had a junkyard and asked if any of us had any particular skills that we might be able to help around the junkyard with. I did have some experience removing windshields, so they sent us off to the junkyard and agreed to fix the van if we removed some windshields. Somehow or another Ray never made it to the junkyard, not sure where he ended up, but the rest of us found ourselves working away in that hot junkyard. At some point Walter sits down in a nest of fire ants. His legs get covered by these ants and they bite the shit out of him. Walter was freaking out like crazy.


RJ Vail and Goob, Clifton Speed Center 1986

Eventually we get out of the junkyard and meet up with Ray. Now at this time, Ray was really into vegetarianism, organic food and natural healing, so Walter asked Ray if he had any remedies for bug bites. These fire ants had bitten Walter's legs really bad and they were all red. Walter was clearly very uncomfortable and desperately looking for relief. Ray told him that he had a remedy and the next thing you know he's covering Walter's legs in peanut butter, mayonnaise, banana peels and whatever else he could find. There Walter sat, legs completely covered in this disgusting concoction of food and Ray asked, "You feeling any better?"... Walter paused for a minute, "No, acuually, I'm not feeling any better at all!!!" At that point Ray cracked up laughing, turned out that Ray knew nothing about any remedy and this concoction that he had mixed up and covered Walter's legs in was all a big joke. Man did we ever get a laugh off of that. That became a running joke for the rest of the tour.

To be continued...

27 comments:

Larry said...

Transcribe faster.

lenny zimkus said...

2nd that.

Tony said...

I'm assuming the "Naked Guy" was Tomas Squip from Beefeater / Fidelity Jones.

Anonymous said...

Who are Youth of Today and walls are they trying to break down?

Oh did they do that song "PAAAASSSS THE DUTCHIE ON THEEE LEFT HAND SIIIDE..."

Just askin'

Jake Jacobs said...

A bit of hardcore trivia for the one or two of you who'll care - the 7 Seconds t-shirt that Ray's wearing in the first photo was "designed" by none other than Dan O'Mahony. Apparently, he was screening the shirt and the design wasn't coming out the way he wanted it to, so he pressed his inked-up hand against it out of frustration. Upon looking at it, he liked the way it looked, so he decided to keep the shirt. Ray either stole or borrowed it from him and wore it on that tour.

Isaac Golub said...

Jake....? Seriously... Shut up... Forever.

Jake Jakeobs said...

Okay, you got me Nez - I'M the only one who cares.

Anonymous said...

Is that Faggatini in that first picture?

Anonymous said...

It is Korri and he's smiling because he just balled your chick and stole your college book money.

Anonymous2 said...

^^ didnt recognize him without the forehead ink

Anonymous said...

He may have balled you and your chick, with his one ball, but not mine. He never stole a dime in from me either.

"You want to see something funny? You go visit John Bender in five years. You'll see how goddamned funny he is."

Anonymous said...

Didn't Dave Sine used to run with the Skins that Joe Nelson was writing about in his post?

Anonymous said...

Faggatini = Total Douche! Hopefully that scumbag has been dead of a heroin overdose for the past 10 or so years,

Anonymous said...

I don't know this RJ guy, but I love Sabatini.

Fuck You! That's My Name! said...

I dont know who either Sabatini or RJ are or if I like them. What I do know is I hate this Jake Jacobs guy., and wish he was dead of a heroin overdose from 10+ years ago. Because if he were then I wouldnt be subjected to his stupid comments, and even stupider Jake Jacobs Wigs Out story!.

Anonymous said...

Come on.... Give Sabatini a break. You gotta love a dude that gets a swazi tattoo on one knee and a kill whitey tattoo on the other. You only wish you were half as cool as this dude. And dont front, everyone has stolen something from somewhere or someone.

And leave Jake alone, he's Jewish. He is already in enough trouble as it is. I love him.

All I know is someone needs to get off Youth of Today's dick already.

DOUBLE CROSS said...

DCXX supports RJ (Class act), Jake Jacobs (Dig his stories), Korri Sabatini (dude took me to get my 2nd tattoo) and Youth Of Today (without question).

If you're looking for less Youth Of Today, this blog right here is not for you. Sorry chaps, there's no hopping off that dick.

Oh and yes, DCXX digs Musical Youth.

Chip Watson said...

Sabbatini's still around. Saw him at Mean Season / Chorus reunion at Showcase 2 or 3 years ago.

Jake Jacobs said...

"And leave Jake alone, he's Jewish. He is already in enough trouble as it is. I love him."

I love you too, Joe.

Joe Nelson said...

Sorry to inform you Jake that wasn't me. I'm on Isaac's side with your "O Mahoney Fun Fact"....However I'm also on Tim's side in thinking you are an alright dude.

D. Sine said...

In the interest of full disclosure brought up by an anonymous person, yes I knew Bobby Munoz and hung out with him from time to time. The Cornball character, yes I knew him but never liked him. It was a dark portion of my life and something I'm in no way proud of. Thanks for bringing it up.
On a light note, Jake is a good guy and I like his stories and comments.

Ben Edge said...

wearing a USA hat and flipping off hippies = punk....

NOT!!!!

Reagan never gave a fuck about anyone who was trying to be different. Especially young people. He sent the National Guard to my college in 1970 to beat the shit out of students who were protesting the Vietnam War. And that's just the very tip of the iceberg.

Korri Sabbatini - I always liked the guy, but in the early 90s he stole two giant change jars from my current roommate, worth a few hundred dollars in quarters. And that's just the very tip of the iceberg.

We were all young and dumb at some point. Keep the YOT stories coming!

Jello Biafra said...

Just one of the many reasons why I trashed YOT on my first spoken word record No More Cocoons.

Anonymous said...

That dude Sabbatini fucking blows. He stole from EVERYONE, especially when he was on tour. Worst dude ever

Joe Nelson said...

I love how a story about RJ Vail who's a great dude BTW turned into a trashing of Corey Sabatini. How does that happen? Regardless how you feel about Sabatini, that dude would be an amazing interview. One of the all time charectars

Don't even get me started on the 89 posts on my White Power story either. I mean seriously who are some of you people?

Turd Ferguson said...

I sure hope Sabbatini kept some journals back in his bangin' and stealin' days. I, for one, would LOVE to know why so many of the anonymous nerds around here hate him so much.

Anonymous said...

I love Sabatini.

I hate RJ and anyone else who loves Reagan.