Next to her is Todd, who is sixteen years old, born in New York City, been in the hardcore scene since he was eleven years old. Fifteen months in reform school, it says here Todd. Plays guitar for the band the Warzone. Junior high school dropout… — Regis Philbin introducing Todd “Youth” Schofield on ABC’s Morning Show, 1986.
While we were working on [Victim in Pain] Todd Youth replaced Adam Mucci, who quit to stay in Murphy’s Law. Todd was 13 years old when he joined Agnostic Front and he was a wild kid. He constantly ran away from home. His parents hired private investigators that would hunt him down…Usually, the investigators would show up with his parents at CBGB or another bar and take him home — until he ran away again. Detectives were always knocking on the door looking for Todd. It was annoying, but worth it because he was a good bass player and fit right in with our crazy environment. — Roger Miret, My Riot: Agnostic Front, Grit, Guts & Glory.
One need not adopt the simplistic prejudices and presumptions of the average morning television hosts or viewers thirty-plus years ago to acknowledge Todd Youth had beginnings which could most charitably be described as inauspicious. And yet what a legend this guitarist/songwriter/iconoclast fashioned from that crooked timber!
No one had a resume like Youth. No one. Sui generis. Preteen member of Agnostic Front. Played on Revelation Records’ seminal first release — Warzone’s Lower East Side Crew EP — at 16. Helped take Murphy’s Law to the next level. Wing-spreading outings — D Generation, Chrome Locust, The Chelsea Smiles, Son of Sam — and gigs supporting a ridiculously diverse array of rock n’ roll luminaries — Danzig and Samhain, Glen Campbell(!), Ace Frehley, Cheap Trick.
And then in recent years a triumphant full circle return, playing on two of the best, most interesting hardcore releases of recent years — the much-lauded Fireburn Don’t Stop the Youth EP and the mystifyingly under-appreciated 2017 Bloodcot full-length Up in Arms.
“Why worry about that?” Youth told Kathie Lee Gifford when she asked about his plans for the future in 1986. “It might never come.”
Alas, anyone who loves meaningful, real, visionary heavy music now mourns how prophetic this response truly was: Youth passed away at the far too young age of 47, in a musical prime that showed no sign of flagging. It’s a tragedy. Still, we must also be thankful that Youth gifted us with so much in his short time on this plane — that not only so much more future stretched out before him in 1986 than he might’ve supposed, but also that he made such wondrous and prolific use of it. What other choice is there?
We’ll use the space below to post some samples of that work — including footage of Youth paying tribute to his comrade Ray “Raybeez” Barbieri on the twentieth anniversary of the Warzone frontman’s death with fiery Tompkins Square Park performances.
RIP to one of the greatest.
I remember there was a bass in the apartment and I picked it up one day and started playing “N.I.B.” from Black Sabbath. Roger was like, “Yo! You can really play!” You know, back then, nobody could really play, with the exception of the Brains. [Laughs] So for me to be able to play something like “N.I.B.” on bass was impressive to Roger. They had recorded United Blood already, but it wasn’t out yet. Their bass player was Adam Mucci and he was also playing in Murphy’s Law at the same time. Well, I they gave him an ultimatum: either pick Agnostic Front or Murphy’s Law. I think because they gave him the ultimatum, he was like, “Fuck you, I’m joining Murphy’s Law!” [Laughs] So AF needed a bass player. Anyway, after Roger saw me playing bass, he asks me, “How old are you?” I was 12 at the time, but I go in the hardest voice possible, “I’m 16.” [Laughs] What’s crazy is that no one questioned it! Here I was, this little kid with a shaved head and a chain belt. Yeah, I joined Agnostic Front at 12-years-old. — Youth to Carlos Ramirez at No Echo.
Photo by Michael Anthony Alago.