The Young and the Useless was the band in which Adam Horovitz played in the early 1980s before he joined the Beastie Boys. The band line-up was Horovitz on guitar, Adam Trese on drums, Arthur Africano on bass, and Dave Scilken on vocals. The Young and the Useless were managed by Nick Cooper, who would line up shows for the band to play as well as to promote them.
The Young and the Useless played many shows in New York with bands such as Bad Brains, Ramones, PiL, Dead Kennedys, and the Necros. In December 1983, while still a member of The Young and the Useless, Horovitz joined the Beastie Boys when guitarist John Berry left the band. Following the unexpected success of Cooky Puss, Beastie Boys began playing more shows, which drew Horovitz' time away from the Young and the Useless. Sadly, by late 1984 the Young and the Useless had fallen apart as a band. On October 28th, 1984, they played their final gig at CBGB in New York.
Dave Parsons, who put out the Young and the Useless' only known recordings on his Ratcage Records label, fondly remembers the young punks as his favorite New York hardcore (or better called art-core) band. "They had the potential to be larger than the Beastie Boys," said Parsons. "I can recall people calling from California wanting to book the Young and Useless, and all of a sudden they didn't exist anymore. Just look at the cover of their Real Men Don't Floss EP. They would have been the biggest punk band from New York. They were way ahead of the pack. So young! Everybody wanted to see them. Dave Scilken had great ideas and was such a clever kid. He was way hip and had a different take on everything. Scilken had been hanging with us since the 171A days. He even had a fanzine, but I forget what it was called [Editor's note: it was called Blister]. I had never met or saw Adam Horovitz prior to Scilken bringing him into the store. Following the period after which Scilken gave me the Young and the Useless tape, Horovitz began coming into the [Ratcage Records] store. I remember that he would run down to the 2nd Avenue Deli to pick up the fries with gravy every morning."
Sadly, Dave Scilken died in 1991 from a drug overdose. The Beastie Boys' 1992 album Check Your Head is dedicated to him.
As for Arthur Africano and Adam Trese, they both went on to work in the entertainment business. Africano has worked as a cameraman on a number of well-known television shows and movies. He also helped film both the "Intergalactic" video for the Beasties Boys, as well as the "Buddy" BS2000 music video. His credits include TV shows Picket Fences and The Practice.
Adam Trese works as an actor. His acting credits include the films Laws of Gravity (1992) and 40 Days and 40 Nights (2002), and TV shows Law & Order, The Sopranos, 30 Rock, and Rescue Me.
In late 1984, the Young and the Useless (2)* reformed with different members. The band line-up was Adam Horovitz on guitar, Adam Yauch on bass, Kate Schellenbach on drums, and Dave Scilken on vocals.
This formation of the band was Adam Yauch's idea. After the Beastie Boys and Def Jam Recordings were picked up and signed to the parent label CBS Records in spring 1984, Kate Schellenbach was forced out of the Beastie Boys by Rick Rubin, who "didn't like women rapping, the sound of women's voices rapping, or something ridiculous" according to Schellenbach. Yauch had the idea of still playing the hardcore songs with Schellenbach under a different name--that of the Young and the Useless.
In a 2006 interview with Beastiemania.com, Kate Schellebach recalled her days playing drums in the Young and the Useless (2). "We did record at the studio Yauch was working at--Arthur Baker's Shakedown Sound Studios. I don't know if there was a plan for the recordings per se," said Schellenbach.
In a 2006 interview, Tom Cushman also remembered the Young and the Useless (2) demos, stating that there were three songs: "(Come on Baby) Let's Do Some Work," "Reuben Is Groovin'," and "Shish-ke-bob."
"(Come on Baby) Let's Do Some Work" had the first line of "Listen up baby and listen good, you're gonna do the job that you know you should, listen up baby and listen good...come on baby and do some work..." which was played over a fast progression built around Adam Horovitz having just learned to play the pseudo-jazz root cord from the Jimi Hendrix song "Purple Haze." Throughout the song, Dave Scilken yells "The show is over, it's getting late!"
The second song "Reuben Is Groovin'" makes reference to former Beastie Boys and the Young and the Useless manager Nick Cooper and his father Neil Cooper (then owner of ROIR Records).
With Dave Scilken singing the vocals, Tom Cushman recalls this song having a "fuckin' amazing Yauch bassline that comes on slow and then builds in power and speed. I was always trying to get him [Yauch] to steal it back for a Brooklyn song, but we came up with 'Gratitude' instead."
The third song, "Shish-ke-bob," uses a somewhat familiar Beastie Boys lyric, "worm is the spice," which later showed up in the 1994-95 original version of "Intergalactic."
The 1984/1985 formation of the Young and Useless ended when the Beastie Boys were booked to tour with Madonna on her 1985 Virgin tour.