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The Young And The Useless Biography

Last updated: 11/21/2008 11:00:00 AM

Although it has been repeatedly and incorrectly stated over the years both in television specials as well as in magazine articles, the original Young and the Useless line-up was never considered to be an early incarnation of the Beastie Boys. Instead the two bands were separate entities with separate identities. The Young and Useless in 1982 consisted of Adam Horovitz, Adam Trese, Arthur Africano, and David Scilken (who all rehearsed in Abby Stoddard's basement), where as the Beastie Boys line-up in 1982 was comprised of John Berry, Adam Yauch, Michael Diamond, and Kate Schellenbach.

The first cross-over did not occur until the spring of 1983, which came when Adam Horovitz filled the vacancy created by absence of guitarist John Berry. It was at this point that Horovitz was concurrently playing in both groups. However following the unexpected success of the Cooky Puss album, the Beastie Boys began playing more shows thus drawing Horovitz’s time away from the Young and the Useless. Sadly, by late 1984 the Young and the Useless had slowly fallen apart. On October 28th, 1984 they played what was perhaps their last gig at CBGB’s club in New York. In about 18 months time, the Young and the Useless had gone from being regulars at CBGB OMFUG, to being the polar opposite performing only on rare occasion.

Dave Parsons, who put out the Young and the Useless’ only known recordings on his Ratcage Records label, fondly remembers the young punks as his favorite New York Hardcore or better said “art-core” band. “They had the potential to be larger than the Beastie Boys. I can recall people calling from California wanting to book the Young and Useless and all of a sudden they didn’t exist anymore. Just look at the cover of their Real Men Don’t Floss EP, they would have been the biggest punk band from New York. They were way ahead of the pack. So young! Everybody wanted to see them. Dave Scilken had great ideas and was such a clever kid. He was way hip and had a different take on everything. Scilken had been hanging with us since the 171A days. He even had a fanzine, but I forget what it was called. I had never met or saw Adam Horovitz prior to Scilken bringing him into the store. Following the period after which Scilken gave me the Young and the Useless tape, Horovitz began coming into the (Ratcage Records) store and I remember that he would run down to the 2nd Ave Deli to pick up the fries with gravy every morning.”

Thanks to the Parson's Ratcage Records online store, we have been blessed with the opprotunity to hear the Young and Useless boys performing live and at the top of their game. We at have heard rumors that an entire album's worth of lost Young and Useless sessions may exist. However until the day that album becomes a reality, we are content with the CBGB's Ratcage Benefit cd.