The Youth Ahead Biography
On an ordinary January night in 1995 two friends, Shawn and Jay, thought it would be funny to try to start a band. Six years later, they are still happy with the decision they had made. "I had a guitar from way back when” , says Shawn, “and Jay had some drums he got for Christmas. We had no musical experience, we just wanted to have fun!" Well, having very little musical background, and the maturity level of five-year-olds, they would take this "joke" farther than they would have ever imagined.
"It only took a couple of months of messing around to know we loved doing this more than anything we've ever done before." says Jay. Friends soon noticed there was something there. They encouraged the band to bring their act to the stage, but with no bass player it was impossible (and besides, they didn’t even settle on a name for the band yet). After a lot of thought (about 5 minutes), Shawn and Jay came up with the name "The Youth Ahead", in an attempt to tell the world that the future brings a generation that will sing songs about masturbation, nudie bars and the greatness of being young. Since they still did not have a bass player, they had a friend fill in. After only four months, The Youth Ahead got their first gig at their local high school. "The feeling of playing a show is indescribable. If the show goes bad, its the worse feeling in the world, but if the show goes real well, it’s a feeling you can’t ever express to someone who has never done it. ", Shawn explains. Needless to say, their first show went better than they had ever expected and they knew this was something they wanted to build a future on.
Soon , TYA found a permanent bass player. He had recently left another local band and joined them. Finally, they felt like a real band. TYA continued to move upward in every way. They played more shows, built up a fan base and caught a lot of people’s attention. However, after only a year, their bass player decided to leave the band. Again without a bass player, TYA started another search. After a couple of auditions, they failed to find anyone who "clicked" with their style and dedication. As they were about to give up hope, Jay stumbled upon an ad in The Aquarian for a bass player looking for a band. Jay called, and a couple of days later, Chris came to audition. Almost immediately Chris seemed to fit in perfectly. Although he had a different taste in music, he had the state of mind and dedication TYA was looking for. No more then a week had passed before they called Chris back and invited him to join the band. Obviously, he accepted. From then on, they started playing more and more shows and, basically, made TYA a part-time job. They played shows every weekend and even during the week. "There was a time, I remember, when we'd play Thursday through Sunday every week and then I'd go to work on Monday morning only to do it all over again." says Shawn.
It wasn’t long before TYA recorded their first album "Keeps Ya Movin". It was a compilation of everything they've done and a taste of what was ahead. " ’Keeps Ya Movin’ gained a lot of attention, which opened the door for us to play more shows”, says Chris.
In 1999, with the help of Punkture Point records, TYA put out "A Day At The Park", their second release. This album helped them gain the exposure they were looking for and created a buzz throughout the U.S.. This gave them the opportunity to open for such bands as Lit, Less Than Jake, Fenix TX, New Found Glory, Jimmies Chicken Shack, Shades Apart, and a highlighted spot on the Ernie Ball stage at the 2000 Warped Tour.
Most recently, in December of 2000, TYA released their third album, "The Oneder Years" on GIG Records. A mix of old songs and new ones, "The Oneder Years" best represents The Youth Ahead’s growth and hard work. "If someone told me five years ago we'd be here right now, I'd would have asked what they were smokin’. " says Shawn, "If we could make it this far on what was supposed to be a joke, who knows what the future holds. I just know we’re ready for it.”