Hazardous Youth

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Flyer from 1988

Hazardous Youth were a Chicago punk/hardcore band from 1987-1990. During that period they played tons of shows all over the city and released two demos. Three of their more popular songs were “Grass”, “Fucked-up”, and “Death by Meister Brau".

History by Bobby Douchebag

1987-88

In the fall of ’87 Barker and Douchebag were disillusioned with their band, the Maggots. We were fighting all the time and we had been playing together in different combinations going all the way back to 1980. So we decided to drive around and ask the first guy we say who looked like a rocker to play with us. We drove west on Addison and as we crossed the bridge between California and Western we happened upon Herb. We gave him a ride home and asked him to play in a band with us. He said his friend Timmy played guitar. We agreed to meet the next afternoon at the game room across the street from Lane on Western. The next day we met up and drove out to Blue Noise studio on Bloomingdale. We ended up writing six songs, three of which- “Grass”, “Fucked-up”, and “Death by Meister Brau”- would become Hazardous Youth staples. On occasion we practiced at “The Bank” in Humboldt Park where Tim’s sister Tina, then drummer of Barbie Army lived. It became more famous as headquarters for Urge Overkill in the ‘90s.

1988-89

  • Bobby Douchebag - Vocals
  • Tim Matlock - Guitar
  • Chris Splatter - Bass
  • Eric Herb - Drums

This is what I’d call the “classic” line-up. We practiced on Lake Street in what’s now called The Music Factory. We were almost the house band at Hell House, as we opened shows there nearly every weekend for awhile. During this time we recorded a demo with Alan Jones at Hell House. I wish I still had a copy. It was crude and raw.

1989 Part One

  • Bobby Douchebag- vocals
  • Tim Matlock - Guitar
  • K.C. West - Bass
  • Eric Herb - Drums

This was probably the strongest version of the band. Splatter had left to go on tour with a reconstituted Broken Bones (“That’s not Bones!”) and K.C. stepped right in. He was hanging out with us all the time anyway. Herb and K.C. were like machines and Matlock and I couldn’t always keep up. When our timing was slightly off Herb liked to sneer at us that it was “another ‘Whiplash’”- a reference to the Metallica song Timmy always found difficult. There were times when I was certain there wasn’t a better band than we were anywhere in the world.

1989 Part Two

HazYouthFlyer1.jpg
  • Bobby Douchebag - Vocals
  • Tim Matlock - Guitar
  • Gary Snooks - Guitar
  • K.C. West - Bass
  • Eric Herb - Drums

This version of the band recorded a nice demo with Jim Harvey at our Lake Street practice space. There might be some copies of it floating around, but the master got stolen from my car. Gary was good to have in the band because he knew “Sweet Home Alabama” note for note and I loved Skynyrd. Plus he was a U.S. Marine and that came in handy if any shit broke out. Nobody really wanted to mess with Gary. I can remember a party where a fight broke out between some skins and goons and Skinhead Dwayne, who was as bad as anyone I knew, grabbed Gary’s arm. Gary slowly turned and said something like, “Dwayne, if you’re gonna grab my arm, you’d better be sure you can hang on to it.” Dwayne laughed and let go. That’s a fight people might have paid to see. They were both my friends so I’m glad it didn’t happen.

1989 Part Three

  • Bobby Douchebag - Vocals
  • Tim Matlock - Guitar
  • Jimmy Kangels - Guitar
  • Lee ____ - Bass
  • K.C. West- Drums

This line-up was together for one show only. We had already booked the gig opening for All at the old Exit on Wells, but Gus was going to be on tour with Life Sentence. So K.C. slid behind the drum kit and we grabbed this guy Lee who lived across the alley from K.C.’s house on Division and Leavitt where we were practicing at the time. Gary had recently left the band. Lee used to hang out and drink with us. He was an older black guy. He seemed really old but he probably wasn’t even forty. Kangels was also hanging out and he started playing guitar with us. We played a good set that night. We bullied Bill Stevenson into letting K.C. borrow his cymbals and we stole most of the food from All’s buffet. Larry the promoter from Lick the Dog Productions paid us with a check. I cashed it and split the money. We each got enough for a forty and a burrito. Lee was pissed. Apparently he thought he was getting paid a lot more. He must have believed we were Van Halen or something. Larry’s check bounced.

1989-90

  • Bobby Douchebag - Vocals
  • Tim Matlock - Guitar
  • Jimmy Kangels- Guitar
  • K.C. West - Bass
  • Gus Roman - Drums

When Herb left the band, Gus started playing with us. Eric Brockman wasn’t too happy. He was already annoyed that Gus had worn a Hazardous Youth cap for the No Experience Necessary photo shoot. Gus had committed to tour with Life Sentence, but as soon as they came off the “Broken Bones” tour Gus quit and hooked up with us for good. Gus was a great drummer, though perhaps a bit too busy for Hazardous Youth. I always thought the songs worked better with Herb’s rudimentary pounding. We played our last show on Easter Sunday 1990 with Barbie Army at Club 950.

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