Originating in 1979, the band’s first venture was called L.A.’s Wasted Youth but had the same tendencies and originality of packing as much sound into a 13-minute 12-inch record. Their debut under the original name released in 81 blasted in large letters, L.A.’s Wasted Youth, Reagan’s In. Opening with “Fuck Authority,” the record from the first track immediately paints imagery of smashed skateboards and shaved heads as a stance against anyone in the way.
“We can live our own lives, fuck authority. What is wrong, we’ll decide, fuck authority. You need not to fight, fuck authority. Stand up for your rights, fuck authority,” describes Danny Spira on vocals over a boulder of blitzing percussion and strings. Covering the drums is Allen Stiritz and then Jeff Long works on bass to cover with Chett Lehrer on the guitar. Before the first track can resonate and gain some ground to stand on with the audience, Wasted Youth sweeps the leg and moves into “You’re A Jerk.”
With an average track run time of around a minute, the rushed nature is intense but demands for moshing and stage diving kids in a basement somewhere off the Sunset Strip. Other pieces like “Punk For A Day” are more refined and have tension building moments instead of a straight-up fistfight off the cuff.
Once the track ramps up though, Wasted Youth is a machine of well-oiled hardcore aggression. The lyrics that describe, “You will never find me if you want to catch me. Cause you’ll never find me, it’s a game of hide and seek…. Cause now I’m gone for good” but are delivered within 10 seconds near the end of the track so they get lost under the sea of ripping instrumentation.
The last track is almost built to be highlighted as “Born Deprived” is both catchy and exciting as it transitions from the verse to chorus and gives Spira an amazing platform to preach on. Describing, “Raised by money they been deprived, look at them with bleeding eyes. They laugh at the sounds of all your cries.” He continues on later, “You got no balls to break the mold, you have to do as you are told. We are the mindless, useless ones, the ones you shit and spit upon.” It might seem like a desolate response, but Wasted Youth is almost a martyr here, prepared to die amongst the mass graves of hardcore in a raging fire rather than slowly decaying away.
Even while they were just kids when the record would drop, the artwork of Pushead was iconic and the stage dive on the back cover was even more signifying of the coming hardcore tidal waves. From Black Flag to Wasted Youth, Reagan’s In covered the infinite cries of teens that wanted change through sound.
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