After working on my punk and spirituality project – Conversations With Punx – for a decade now, having engaged in over 80 deep meaningful conversations about creativity, community, love and life in general with people from the punk world that have added value to, and inspired, my life through their art—I can say that the last conversation for it finally happened. It’s a chat with my friend, Wade Youman from Unwritten Law. We ended up talking for hours about all kinds of things including his punk rock beginnings, aliens, creating, punk art, magic, being of service, the importance of family and of being a good friend, facing your demons, Fugazi, songwriting with Bad Religion’s Greg Graffin, his friendship with Scott Russo and a whole lot more. As with my recent conversation with my pal, Ian from Japanther, it was really emotional and we got teary. In Wade’s words during our chat he said: “You’re really starting to get to the core of things Barbara Walters!” Below is a little sneak peek extract from the convo.
You’ll be able to read the entire chat in my next limited edition zine – Conversations With Punx #9 “Magick” – which will be out in a few weeks. It also includes in-depth chats with people I adore: Keith Morris (OFF!/Circle Jerks/Black Flag), Ian Vanek (who I mentioned above), Chuck Dukowski (CD6/Black Flag), Don Foose (Spudmonsters/Lifeline) and Gary Lachman (Blondie/esoteric author). It’s shaping up to be my favourite CWP zine yet. I’ve also started on the layout for the CWP book for this project that will be released next year. I’m really, really excited! To people new to this project and my work welcome and to those that have stuck by me, encouraged me and supported me throughout this journey, thank you! I fucking love you. OK, without further ado…
BIANCA: Tell me about the first punk show you went to.
WADE YOUMAN: My first punk show was insane! It was at a hall in San Diego. I was in Ramona for two years but I found punk rock with this crew and then I moved back down to Poway and found older friends that were punks. I finally got to go to the show with these older punks…Those older punks got me into punk rock and I just knew that was my vision, you could say. Me and Chris Mussey came up with the name Unwritten Law. We were listening to punk rock and I thought it was cool and Unwritten Law was kind of just a make-believe band. Immediately I knew, this is how I’m going to get out how I feel about the world.
There was this comic book at the time about war tales and I was really scared at the time about the Cold War and nuclear missiles, stuff like that. Problems like that in the world really affected me. The only way I could scream out about it was punk rock. It was the only way that I found to express how scared I was about the world being really fucked up. Punk was my vision, I knew it was what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to make money with it, I just wanted to play music. After I went to that first punk show, it really evoked those feelings in me. The show was Agnostic Front…
B: What was the show like?
WY: It was scary as fuck! I was like thirteen, maybe fourteen.
B: Why was it so scary?
WY: Oh man, because the punk rock scene when I was a kid in San Diego was fucking scary. The skinhead movement – SDSH – were really gnarly. The punk rockers were just scary, you’d get your ass kicked a lot. I was a little kid there! It was spooky but as soon as Agnostic Front went on and that circle pit started, oh boy man! I remember flipping out and running in place and my friend Chris going ‘look at him!’ I wasn’t even in the pit [laughs]. Craig who is an older brother, pushed me right into that pit, into that current and it was on—it was fucking magic! Oh my god, it was so gnarly.
B: It’s good for you to remember it, it’s good to still get that magical feeling from thinking about it, it shows how much you were truly moved by that experience.
WY: Yeah. That current! The San Diego punk scene back then was so insane. We bailed after Agnostic Front and there were some fights. That started the entire thing for me.
B: What are some things that punk rock has bought into your life?
WY: Wow! That’s a big question.
B: It is!
WY: There’s so many ways to explain what punk rock is. Back in the day, it helped everything for me. It was an alien culture. Now thinking back, there’s aliens on the planet and we all belong to the same spaceship but, we were different. Punk gave me meaning in my life. It gave me individuality. We were a crew. We were able to express ourselves. You could say ‘fuck you, I don’t care what you think’ and punk gave me that vehicle to express it…
B: Tell me about Wade the artist.
W: Being an artist is everything to me too. Sometimes I take it for granted. There’s a duty to it. Through my experience as an artist I’ve learnt that it’s my job to report back to the community and to be of service. You show what you see going on in the world and you share that with others to help educate, share information and experiences. It all makes you feel connected, like you’re not alone. We’re in this together. I’ve always felt a function of art should be to benefit the community, that’s important to me you know…
Peep the clip/song from Wade’s musical project DEMASIADO:
Stay tuned to conversationswithbianca.com for further details of when the zine is out so you can read the rest of our chat!