The Punk Vault
Selections from The Punk Vault [Pleased Youth]

Selections from The Punk Vault [Pleased Youth]

Pleased Youth

Pleased Youth – Dangerous Choo-Choo LP (1986 Buy Our Records)

Yes I know, it has been far too long since I’ve done one of these. I always like to try and get some band member involvement in these things and lately band members have been quite sparse. As luck would have it, a former band member posted a comment on this site which enabled me to get in touch with him and that leads us to today’s selection; Pleased Youth.

I first discovered Pleased Youth on the New Jersey’s Got It compilation LP on Buy Our Records. I bought that album because Adrenalin OD were on it and I loved that band. The pleasant result of that purchase was discovering a whole bunch of New Jersey punk bands that I never heard before and I ended up liking nearly the entire album. It wasn’t long after the release of that compilation that Buy Our Records released the one and only record of Pleased Youth, this LP. This LP also has the distinction of being one of the earliest things a label ever sent me to review in my fanzine, Spontaneous Combustion. I couldn’t believe someone would want to send my tiny little fanzine free records to write about at that time. I thought I had hit the lottery. and in many ways I did.

This leads me to the history. I asked Greg Walker to provide a little history on the band so I could do this post and he was kind enough to take some time to accommodate me. What follows is the Pleased Youth story.

The NJ scene of the 1980’s is really divided into two groups. Pleased Youth were part of the central/north Jersey scene along with bands such as Adrenalin O.D. , Bedlam,etc. The other major scene was the shore area/south Jersey scene which focused around the Brighton Bar and Mutha Records in Long Branch. I really don’t know much about that group, so I won’t comment on it.

I remember getting into hardcore when I was about 14 in 1979 and hearing the Dead Kennedys, the Circle Jerks and the Misfits for the first time and being blown away by the power and speed of the music. In NJ at the time the predominant music was Bruce Springsteen, hair metal and cheesy new wave bands. The band started in 1983 when Greg Walker left his band, Bodies in Panic, and met Andy Skovran, a bass player who had just disbanded his group NJF (New Jersey’s Finest) which was one of the area’s first hardcore bands. He started jamming with Andy and other former NJF band-mate Paul Decolator who played guitar. Second guitarist Doug (Sluggo) Vizthum joined the band as well as Adrenalin O.D.’s drummer Dave Scott who took on vocal duties. The name Pleased Youth was chosen as a goof on all the negative “youth” band names at the time (Wasted Youth, Impatient Youth etc.).

This lineup recorded a demo and played mostly in the New Brunswick area, the band’s home base. Due to Dave’s demanding schedule with A.O.D., he was forced to leave the band and was replaced by Keith Hartel. The band played extensively with this lineup in NJ , NY, Philadelphia , Baltimore and Connecticut and eventually recorded an album on Buy Our Records. The band was friendly with the B.O.R. guys and often played shows with other artists on the label. Andy eventually left the group and Keith took over bass as well as vocal duties.

This was the band’s best and tightest lineup. In 1986, Pleased Youth toured the east and Midwest venturing as far as Chicago and playing shows along the way with D.O.A and Toxic Reasons.

The band broke up shortly after this tour due mostly to in-fighting between members. The arguments had been ongoing since the band’s inception and always made for interesting live shows. The arguing often spilled over and involved the audience as Paul and Sluggo were usually feuding with someone.

Where are they now ?
Dave Scott – continued to play with Adrenalin O.D. until their breakup. Eventually moved to Florida where he has drummed for various bands.
Andy Skovran – started an “Oi” band called Niblick Henbane with NJF band-mate Harpo. Played around for quite a few years before eventually calling it quits.
Doug(Sluggo)Vizthum – Started his band Bad Karma playing guitar and singing. Still playing in the New Brunswick area.
Keith Hartel- moved to L.A. where he joined The Nymphs. Moved back to NJ where he played with various bands over the years and is still an actively working musician with his band True Love. Besides creating their own music, his band serves as Richard Lloyd’s (Television) backing band. Keith’s website is Trueloverocks.com
Greg Walker – switched to bass and joined Moby Dick, a heavy drum and bass post-punk band. He later joined an early version of Loose. Greg is not currently playing in order to devote time
to his wife, kids and career as a director of an alternate education program for disaffected teenagers.
Paul Decolator- The true heart and soul of the band. Paul was responsible for bringing many touring bands to NJ and setting up shows as an independent promoter. He also was the author of caustic fanzine Tips n’ Tours. After Pleased Youth he played with G.G. Allin and later with his own band Loose who scored a major record deal only to see it fall apart. Sadly, Paul
passed away in 2002. There is an excellent tribute to Paul at http://www.jerseybeat.com/decolator.htm written by Jim Testa.

Pleased Youth Recordings
Demo tape- 1984
Dangerous Choo-Choo LP- 1986
Various compilation albums including New Jersey’s Got It? and Big City: One Big Crowd

Thank you Greg for sharing the Pleased Youth story for this site!

Listen to “Life on an Edge” from the album (right click it and save)






9 comments

  • As a teenager from L.I., my exposure to NJ hardcore was limited to whatever Pat Duncan(WFMU)was playing that week. Sure, I would take the train into NY for the hardcore matinee’s @ CB’s, but Jersey?, no way, not my scene. You know what?, my loss. The NJHC scene had the sense of humour that NY never had or quickly lost.Lets see,were you part of the “harder than you crew”?, what a joke. I’m still tempted to send my “United Blood” 45 back to Roger or Vinnie for ruining the NY scene.But I digress. NJ scene=Sloppy drunken punk rock, blazing fast hardcore,stupid ass lyrics, done. While never a part of the NJ scene, I became a huge fan of the bands; AOD, Deathrage, Bedlam, Public Disturbance, Teenage Depression, Futile Effort, Sacred Denial, and of course, Pleased Youth.Maybe I’ll go home today and dig thru my old cassettes of Pat that I recorded and see if I can find “I was poisoned”, been humming it all morning. Maybe I’ll look for Rogers’ address at the same time.

  • Pleased Youth were cool and the shows were good, kind of like AOD light. The two bands were so intertwined. One thing though – the record looks like shit. It came out at a time when bands were releasing the crappiest looking records (1985 until 1987 – a graphic design black hole). New Jersey had no shortage of shitty graphic design and Buy Our Records were the worst offenders. It’s something that has bothered me most of my life. Why couldn’t these bands put the word out that they needed artwork. I would have done it for free. AOD, Bodies in Panic, Pleased Youth, Bedlam, and Stetz all put out the great records with the ugliest covers.
    Actually, BIP has a cool cover…

  • It’s good to see people actually remember PY. I hate that alblum cover,it really does look like shit.

    One correction and some additions to Gregs notes. 21 years later Niblick is still together and playing shows. Greg actually filled in on drums for a few gigs back in 87.Doug does the booking for the Court Tavern in New Brunswick.
    Andy
    http://www.myspace.com/niblickhenbanenjoi

  • Sorry about that Andy. I haven’t seen you guys in a long time and I thought you may have packed it in. Niblick Henbane kicks ass !!

  • Glad to see that Greg Walker is still around. He was a kick-ass drummer and a really great guy, too bad he’s not playing anymore.
    Pleased Youth were a really good band, I used to see them playing around New Brunswick all the time. Sluggo and Decolator had a killer two guitar wall of sound. A very cool band.

  • Before Paul Decolator passed away Pleased Youth got to play a reunion show at the Court Tavern. After that show we discussed finally releasing the unreleased LP from 1983. If any labels out there are interested get in touch with me. The unreleased album is much more hardcore than the later Dangerous Choo Choo LP. Being in Pleased Youth was a great deal of fun and we got to play some insane shows (anyone remember Suicidal Tendencies at New York South?).

    • Dude, I remember the Suicidal show at New York South. That was one of the most fun gigs I ever went to.

      My posse showed up so early that hardly anyone was at the venue, and we wound up helping Mike Muir and co. carry their equipment in, from the van.

    • I’d definitely be interested to hear the unreleased album. If it’s good, it should see the light of the day on vinyl.
      I actually liked Dangerous Choo Choo and was surprised I had never heard more about this band. Glad to know I’m not the only one who has and likes that record. I played that America tune over and over again.

Advertisement


Subscribe to The Punk Vault

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 101 other subscribers

Advertisement