August 27, 2020 3 min read

The reformation of YOT in early 1988 seemed to condense a lot of activity in a short period of time. Despite each member having blossoming or ongoing projects (GB, Side By Side, Judge, Project X, Schism…), YOT wrote and recorded a full brand new LP (WNITA), re-packaged Can’t Close My Eyes, began playing out again with a reformed line-up that put Sammy on drums, released the new album and began planning the ’88 Summer Tour.

As a fan, the sound, delivery, look and presentation of YOT at this time in early 1988 absolutely crystalizes and epitomizes Straight Edge Hardcore to us. Everything seems to have been firing on all cylinders, perfectly executed.

The March 20, 1988 show at City Gardens is some of the best video documentation of the live explosion of the band at this time.

It really appears to be a group of guys on stage who have completely established their message, assembled their vehicle, and are on their way with more energy (strength and vigor?) than ever before.

With this “lighting in a bottle” period of time in mind... - Gordo DCXX

What was the first time you remember rehearsing or jamming with this line-up of Ray/Porcell/Walter/Sammy?

I think we first rehearsed with Sam at Giant Studios on 14th Street. Giant was the go-to rehearsal spot for all the HC bands at that time. You could get a room there for $8 an hour in one of the shittier rooms (and they were all shitty). There’d be a Roland Jazz Chorus and a Marshall Mosfet (transistor) amp for guitars, Peavy MK IVs for bass, your choice of wrecked Ludwig and Rogers drum sets with cracked cymbals to match. Once Sam was in YOT, we started rehearsing at his Dad’s place on West 11th street which was much nicer. He lived in an old warehouse building that had been in Sam’s family for generations. The photos for the Disengage 7” were taken on the staircase there.

YOT Ken Salerno

Photo: Ken Salerno

How was this line-up different (sound or chemistry) from previous line-ups that primarily saw a continued rotation of drummers?

With Mike and Ritchie, YOT was (besides me) an all-star line-up. Those guys all knew what they were doing, I had literally been called up from the minors of cassette demos. Mike had a very deep pocket that you can hear on the 1st Judge 7” and Ritchie’s fluid guitar style was a perfect compliment and force multiplier to Porcell’s more steadfast approach. When Sam joined we got more streamlined. With less guys in the band all of our roles suddenly became more important. Sam was super psyched to be there and I think the rest of us quickly recognized that while our previous lineup was amazing, the new line up had an equally exciting energy all its own.

How did Caroline Records enter the equation for WNITA? Was the money at that time significant?

The offer from them came at an interesting time. We had just gotten banned from CB’s which shoehorned well into a wider backlash against YOT in New York. Even though Ray was instrumental in supporting the bands and building the scene in New York, there were plenty of people who resented him and YOT’s growing popularity. The money from Caroline was great considering our age and expectation, but what weighed larger was that Caroline presented the opportunity to reach more people. Back then there was what seemed to be a very finite amount of people that could possibly like our band and they all fit in CBGB’s. You’d see this with almost any band that could sell out a show at CB’s. The question that arose was: where can you go from there?

Caroline was in a different league than Rev or Wishingwell. They gave us enough money to record at Chung King (which can suck it…but we were psyched at the time) and have enough left over to buy some equipment and a shitty van. Signing with Caroline had the affect of putting any doubt about YOT continuing on as a band to rest. It’s difficult to gauge whether the jump to Caroline did much for us because we didn’t continue as a band for very long after WNITA was released, but they did get us a license for Europe which lead to our tour there and I believe they paid for the No More video, so I have no regrets.

To be continued...

YOT Ken Salerno

Photo: Ken Salerno