Reagan Youth Biography
David Rubinstein was born in 1964. He formed "Reagan Youth" with guitarist Paul Bakija when both were in high school in Rego Park, Queens. While they were still in high school, the band played the punk clubs of Manhattan. In fact, David's science teacher became a roadie for the band (That high school teacher was so into the punk scene that he shaved his head and as a result almost go fired by the school administration).
As the members graduated from high school, Reagan Youth was performing regularly at C.B.G.B.'s and an established band on the country's budding punk rock scene. They recorded a single, then an album. They toured cross-country many times, performing with all of the great hard-core punk bands of that era. At the "Rock Against Racism" shows in the early 1980s, Reagan Youth shared the bill with the Dead Kennedys, the Bad Brains, and others.
Reagan Youth recorded its first album and signed a simple contract, hand-written on the back of a poster for a gig. That album sold over forty thousand (40,000) copies. The band also appeared on several compilations albums, including Live at C.B.G.B.'s. They were a mainstay at C.B.G.B.'s Sunday afternoon hard-core matinee concerts.
Reagan Youth's music was ironic and political. They preached the gospel of "peace punk." David was known as "Dave Insurgent." The name "Reagan Youth" was ironic, given David's family background as holocaust survivors. The cover of their 2nd LP featured a photo of Hitler shaking hands with an emissary of the Pope. Their song titles included "Jesus Was A Communist" and "New Aryans."
By the late 1980s, the members of Reagan Youth were frustrated and worn out from years of touring and drug abuse. They had never made any money in the music industry. When Ronald Reagan left the White House, they officially disbanded. David and several other band members continued to play music together, although their new group never achieved the same success or momentum as Reagan Youth.
By this time as well, David had developed a serious heroin addition. He was also dealing drugs, although he was not very shrewd at it. David had the bad habit of consuming the drugs he was supposed to be selling. He was a loudmouth. When a supplier would ask him for money that was owed, David would sometimes reply, "You'll get you money when I say you get it."
In a drug deal gone bad, another drug dealer violently beat up David with a baseball bat. He was hospitalized for weeks. When he got out, he returned to his parents' home. There, he continued to use drugs, smoking pot in his bedroom as his parents tried to help him recover. Eventually David left his parents' home and moved back to the lower East Side. By now, between the violent assault and his continued drug use, he was no longer an energetic anarchist. He had become a bit disheveled, and many of his friends from the punk scene no longer associated with him.
David began dating Tiffany B., a prostitute who worked on Houston Street. David had told his parents that she was a dancer. Tiffany supported the couple and their drug habit by turning tricks. David would often hang out on the street with Tiffany, waiting while she serviced a customer, and then going with her to score drugs.
Around this time, David's mother died in a freak car accident. One night, David and Tiffany were waiting on Houston Street when a familiar customer pulled up in a pick-up truck. Tiffany got in, telling David that she would return in twenty minutes. She never came back. David called the police with a description of the truck and went to all the hospital emergency rooms in the city searching for Tiffany. A few days later, on Long Island, the police pulled over a truck and found Tiffany's body in the bank. They arrested the driver, Joel Rifkin, Long Island's most famous serial killer, who was later linked to killing numerous prostitutes.
Depressed and alone, after the unexpected losses of his girlfriend and his mother, David headed into a downward spiral. One month later, David Rubenstein p/k/a "Dave Insurgent" committed suicide.
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punk rock | Reviewer: carlos | 12/10/08
i was just searching REAGAN YOUTH on a whim, not having thought about them in several years. I knew the music as a teen from california who listened to indie punk and hardcore. at the time, their nyc roots were lost on me, it was just great music with a social/political message that i loved. Images of the vocalist with long dreadlocks etc confused me (they are punk; should he have short hair? etc) but it was the music that mattered. flash forward to the where are they now curiosity, and i found out that the vocalist committed suicide shortly after discovering his girlfriend was the final murder victim of some notorious serial killer. OKAY. what a crazy sad world we live in. i know the band has played some reunion shows with new members (2 of the original lineup are dead), and that's cool. keep the music and the message and the memories alive. Peace & anarchy.
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