Formed in 1979 or by the three Stern brothers, Shawn Stern on vocals & guitar, Adam Stern on bass & vocals and Mark Stern on drums & vocals.
The Stern family had moved to Beverly Hills, CA from Canada cause their father was working in the film industry in 1978. The brothers played in a number of cover bands until they found punk rock. Their first band was called The Extremes in which Shawn sung with a British accent. The band didn't see much success and soon folded.The original idea behind YB was to start a skinhead swing band called Skin Swing. Skin Swing had a number of different members but they couldn't seem to find six people willing to shave their heads. Though they would realize this idea with years later only to be asked to leave after Youth Brigade reunion tours started getting in the way.
It's hard to talk about Youth Brigade without mentioning the Elk's Lodge Riot, Better Youth Organization and Skinhead Manor. This is because all four helped to shape, not only the focus from the first generation punk scene of Hollywood to the DIY Hardcore movement but also they were a bridge from the arty punk scene of Hollywood to the suburban Hardcore scene that would shape the punk scene of the 80s. After coming back from the Elk's Lodge Riot to Skinhead Mannor on Highland Ave in Hollywood. The Manor was a small mansion rented by the Shawn and others. It was meeting place of the scene at the time and home to the two older Stern Brother. Shawn was so angered by the police violence at the Elk's Lodge Riot that he formed BYO. The idea of kids running the shows, bands, promotion and etc..thus controlling and helping their own scene outside of the normal music industry.
After the manor was abandon, Skinhead Swing became Youth Brigade. They went on as a six for a short time until become a three piece. They promoted and played in a number of shows under the BYO banner. Where they began to make an impact on a national level is the "Youth Movement 82" show . It was a benefit to raise money to release a record. The show was a huge show case of the bands that were shaping the hardcore scene including True Sounds of Liberty, Wasted Youth, Social Distortion, Youth Brigade, the Blades, and others. After a lawsuit was settled and BYO got it's money, produced their first record with the compilation 'Someone Got Their Head Kicked In'. The complication featured the best of the best in the LA area at the time and for most the first time they were heard outside of Southern California. Social Distortion, The Adolescents, Battalion Of Saints(1st release), Aggression(1st Release), The Joneses, Blades. Bad Religion, and Youth Brigade(1st release) all appeared. This was quickly followed by the release of Youth Brigade's 'Sound and Fury'.
The summer of 82 Youth Brigade began a tour with Social Distortion headlining. Shawn organized and managed the tour which played a new of cities that had not yet been exposed to Hardcore Punk. The tour was filmed by Adam Small and Peter Stuart and was released as the Documentary Another State of Mind. The film also featured Minor Threat and focused on a number of different areas of the Hardcore scene including Straight Edge and the Yo Positive Movement of the 80s. It's real impact was felt when it was released to cable TV and showed a number of times on Night Flight and other late night music video shows in the mid 80s.
After finishing the tour, they returned to LA and re-recorded 'Sound and Fury'. The band was unhappy with the original release of 'Sound and Fury'. So, they let the first version of the record sell out of print and in 1983 released a new version with a different cover, additional song and completely different recording of the songs .They went on to release the singles called 'What Price Happiness' in1984 followed by a European Tour. The tour was important because they were one of the first American Hardcore Punk Bands to tour the underground behind the Iron Curtan. Playing 50 dates through out Europe including Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.
in 1985 they released 'Sink With Californ!a' on AA Reords/BYO Records. The last Youth Brigade show was at Fender's Ballroom in June of 1985. Adam Stern left to go back to Art School while the other two brothers continued on as The Brigade which was in more of a post hardcore straight ahead rock style. The Brigade released a 12" EP called Come Together with little reaction and continued until they called it quits in 1987.
The brothers took a break until Mark and Adam got involved with Royal Crown Revue though Shawn continued BYO Records. In 1992 the brothers met in a bar in Germany and decided to reunite. Their first reunion show was at the in April of 1992. This was followed by a tour of Europe and release of 'Come Again' and 'Happy Hour' in 1994. Soon after came.the addition of Jonny 2 Bags Wickersham on Guitar and the release of 'To Sell the Truth' and the Split with the Swingin Utters.
The band continues to tour at this point off and on.