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Interview with BYO from Flipside 32

This "interview" was conducted backstage at the Whisky in June. Present were many people, including the three Stern brothers, Eugene, Dana, Brian, etc... It was impossible to tell who was saying what, except Shawn Stern did most of the talking.

Anybody is the BYO (Better Youth Organization), anybody that comes to a show is in the BYO, because by coming to a show, they support it, and that money goes back into the scene...

The idea for the BYO came after the Elk's Lodge Massacre in 1979. The idea came then, but nothing really happened. Then Skinhead Manor started in in late fall 1979, after Sham 69 came, and by Spring of 80 Skinhead Manor was really getting good. The Fleetwood was closing down and everyone was coming there to meet and hang out. That's where everybody met. The Manor was a place where people like from Huntington, Oxnard, some from the Valley, all the Hollywood people hung out, it was the meeting place and everybody had these great ideas and we wanted to do all these things. Like we wanted to do a bootleg radio station out of the top, we had a stupid there, were bands played, like the Circle Jerks practiced there. The ideas started to happen and we put out a pamphlet at the Urgh show which was like a comic strip that Adam (Stern) drew and some stuff we wrote up. It got a good response. We made homebrew there from a big grape tree out back--we made wine, we did speed, we had a coke machine socked with beer until Eugene broke into it and broke it ("I didn't break into it" --Eugene). So then the Manor kind of fell apard because we got too many assholes that didn't give a shit. And there wasn't any money to support the ideas. That's the most important thing, you need capital. So we split, the land lady wanted ups out too. Then the place was mysteriously burned down. Somebody said, "If we can't have the Manor, nobody shall," so somebody, we won't mention names, but he's in this room and he's waring...("Believe me, I didn't burn it down." --Eugene).

Then the Youth Brigade started playing and we kept in contact with each other. We wanted to do stuff, but we didn't have any money, we just fucked around. Then when Youth Brigade broke up for a while, Mark was playing drums in No Crisis and that's how he met Frank ("Booooo, booooo, mistake!" "Hey, I got all you guys jobs for 2 1/2 months." --Mark). So Frank had this place (Godzilla's) and we got the whole BYO working, we called everybody and got all punks to work there. We had a security system made up of punks from all over--Huntington, Long Beach, the Valley, Oxnard, Santa Monica, Hollywood. It worked pretty well, it was cool. There was some unnecessary violence, but it was a trial and error thing.

The main thing about Godzilla's was we got the reputation and we got the capital so we could go on and do things ourselves. So when Frank started getting greedy, we bailed out. We didn't believe in what he wanted to do, which was make a lot of money, and it wasn't necessary to be an asshole about it. You can put on shows and charge a fair price and do good bills and let everybody in. We put up a headliner with bands that haven't played much. A chance for new bands, that was the whole idea--to better the scene.

(Talk goes to how the BYO created Godzilla's and how things fell apart because things that were supposed to be legal weren't, greed, etc...)

So we had some money and we did the Palladium show--which was a success. We had to show Frank, among others, that we could do it, that it wasn't just idealist dreaming. The BYO can and did do it on our own. We did the Palladium and that's the fanciest place, how we got there, I don't know--a lot of fast talking. There was almost 3000 people there, but they're holding the money. Some rag whose father's name is Ken Berry, who does TV commercials and was on F Troop, she got drunk, came in on out guest list and fell off the balcony and is suing the Palladium for a million dollars.

So the Palladium is holding all the money that was made on that show. That money was supposed to be used to put the album out (the album is called "Somebody Got Their Head Kicked In" and features 8 bands doing 18 songs and will sell for 5 bucks--it should be out by the time you read this).

Hopefully we will get the money when the case is over. They owe us about $5000. We had to scrounge up the money for the album and a lot of people have been really cool--like Mystic Studios has helped us out a lot. Hopefully the Upstarts show will help us out. (That show was at the Florentine Gardens Jun 18, but didn't do so well).

We just want LA to know that BYO is run by kids and is for the punk scene and all the money that goes into it goes back into the scene by putting on shows, putting out records... We're trying to put on a show at KXLU once a week sponsored by the BYO. We help bands when they come out here, like Anti-Pasti, Upstarts, Effigies, Misfits, Minor Threat who will be here, Husker Du.

If we get people to do a similar thing like what we're doing here all across the country--set up shows where bands can make money, set up tour schedule, put up bands, etc., it would make things a lot easier.

Also, any shows we do, if you think the prices are too high, they should talk to the bands and tell them not to charge us so much. These bands are getting out of control, the big 4 you know. They have to deal with the cost of the show, overhead and all. $7 for 7 bands at the Palladium is totally fair, and people bitched about it, but would go pay $9.50 for the Damned or $12 for the Clash--2 or 3 bands! It's not a gig, it's a concert--concerts are for hippies, gigs are for punks.

We try to be as fair as possible, but we can't do it if we're gonna lose money. This is gonna be a big summer--so people, don't be idiots and blow it, we wanna do shows. Other people won't take chances either.

(BYO also has a school bus that they will fix up and do tours around the country in and also plan to put out their own magazine.)

read the Youth Brigade interview from the same issue

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