One of the finest hardcore bands to emerge from Los Angeles during the punk era, Youth Brigade was formed by a trio of brothers (Shawn, Mark, and Adam Stern) at the end of summer 1980 in Los Angeles. Originally supplemented with other members, the group went back to a trio in early 1982, the same year they founded their own independent record label, BYO (Better Youth Organization). Later that year, the group issued their very first release, the three-track EP Someone Got Their Head Kicked In, before recording their full-length debut, Sound and Fury. Their debut hit a snag, however -- shortly after its initial release, the group halted further pressings when they realized they weren't entirely satisfied with how it came out, resulting in the release of a reworked version in June 1983. Another three-song EP, What Price?, hit the racks in the spring of 1984, resulting in Youth Brigade's first tour of Europe.
But despite being able to obtain success entirely on their own terms, Adam Stern decided to leave the band in 1985 in order to return to art school. Adam's final show was scheduled in June of the same year at Fenders Ballroom in Long Beach, CA, which was recorded and issued as the Sink with Kalifornija album, and Shawn and Mark opted to carry on without Adam. Eventually Adam returned to Youth Brigade, as the trio toured both North America and Europe. In 1991, the group took a break as its members concentrated on other projects (Mark and Adam with the swing revival band Royal Crown Revue, and Shawn with the pop-punk outfit That's It!). Youth Brigade would pick up where they left off shortly thereafter, as they issued several albums throughout the remainder of the decade: 1994's Happy Hour, 1996's To Sell the Truth, and 1998's Out of Print. BYO Records also continued to operate strong through the years, releasing albums from bands like Pinhead Circus, the Unseen, the Business, and many more; the label also began a well-received series of split releases (Leatherface and Hot Water Music being the first), which Youth Brigade took part in on a 1999 split with San Francisco's Swingin' Utters. ~ Greg Prato