Young Alcoholics

(United States - Santa Cruz, CA)

            Young Alcoholics was a Santa Cruz punk band (1981-1984) involving former Scrud editors Scot E. Wheeler and Myk Erxn, both of whom were in high school at the time. Never particularly organized, the band had several semi-incarnations and was known at various times as K-Mart Shoppers, Cyanide Kool-Aid, The Pedestrians, Skin A Dog, and/or The Breathing Toolsheds. Long since ballyhooed in Scrud, the band lurched into existence when The Scapegoats approached Scot E., then 14, and asked if he had a band that could open the Circle Jerks show at The Warehouse (Coral Street) (so the Scapegoats wouldn't be perceived as the opening act). Scot E. deadpanned, "Yeah, I have a band. It's called Skin A Dog." Skin A Dog turned out to be Scot E. on vocals, Joey Peters' 12-year-old brother Johnny Peters on guitar, and Myk Erxn on nothing. There was no bass player, drummer, or repertoire. In short, there was no band. A rehearsal was held at the last minute with Joey on drums and Henry Hample on bass. This configuration opened the Circle Jerks show.Following his acquisition of an actual guitar, Myk became the band's guitarist and clown prince, and their name was changed to the Young Alcoholics. Their next major appearance was at a private party, to which the Scapegoats were coyly invited so that their equipment, and a bassist and drummer, would be available.

Later, a UCSC student named O'Bituary Cunningham was brought in as lead singer, so Scot E. switched to drums. Bassists came and went in revolving-door fashion. (One such "bass player" was the singer of local junior high punk band Alpo, Joel Loya, who later did album covers for both Blast and the Swinging Utters.) YA's music became even more free-form at that point, if such a thing was possible. For example, one song performed at the Santa Cruz Art Center consisted of O'Bituary screaming "Wash Rob's pan, it's your responsibility!" over and over into the mike while the rest of the band made as much random noise as possible. If nothing else, they were absolutely hilarious. At some point YA hooked up with the newly formed Camper Van Beethovan and "played" at a number of UCSC parties with them. Some of the most notorious were at the "Acid Couch," a college house located behind the Grog Shop on Hubbard Street. One such party resulted in the famous "woke up with skinheads on my lawn" Camper Van line after they found a number of YA members sleeping in the bushes in front of the house the following morning.

Steve Stevenson, the guitarist from M.A.D., once told KOA Fanzine: "Young Alcoholics, they're our main influence. They're so shitty they're good."  


        There is one live YA song on Germany's MT (eMpTy) records

                 "Bored of Directors" compilation cassette tape.