This is Part Two of our chat with Blacklist Union’s Tony West on the unexpected passing of his friend and hardcore legend Todd Youth on October 27, 2018. You can check out Part One here.
“He passed on (Stone Temple Pilots frontman) Scott Weiland’s birthday. I was a 12-Step Meeting and I was sharing about how I have so many friends that have died and, as I get older, so many people didn’t make it to my age. I was sharing about how grateful I am to have survived myself, because so many people didn’t. I remember, after the meeting, I went into my car and I didn’t have my glasses on so I can read, but I saw a text and it said, ‘I’m so sorry about Todd’. So I put my glasses on and I texted my good friend saying, ‘Dude, what are you talking about?’ and he goes, ‘He died,’ and I go, ‘That’s bullshit, man. That’s gotta be a mistake.’ Then he said, ‘It’s all over the internet.’ So I googled it and I just couldn’t believe it. I’m still in shock and disbelief, but listen to this, dude:
“I went to sleep that night, y’know, and I had shared with Todd many, many times about how I’d had deceased loved ones come to me in dreams. That night, dude, me and him were sitting in folding chairs across from each other in a dream, and I said, ‘Todd, why?’ and he said ‘I just couldn’t take it anymore.’ I said, ‘I forgive you,’ and we told each other we loved each other and then we talked a whole bunch more. I don’t remember anything after that, dude, but absolutely one million per cent for sure I believe that was him. He knew I was open to that anyway, and I’ve had that experience before, plus we were super close. I mean, it didn’t make it any easier. It was bittersweet that he came to me like that, but it’s been rough for everyone that loved him. He had three daughters. He had a wife… they were on the outs, but she still loved him, and she certainly didn’t want him to f*ckin’ die. There’s a lot of people that loved him – his family, his friends, his fans.”
Reflecting on Youth’s prolific influence on the hardcore scene, West mentioned how young Youth was when he started. “He was doing stadium tours when he was sixteen! He played in Agnostic Front when he was twelve. My son is twelve; that’s a baby. People might think that shit is cool and stuff, bro, but behind the scenes, he was exposed to way too much, way too fast, way too young.”
“One of the last times I saw him was in San Francisco. I was visiting my six year old daughter up there and his band Fireburn was touring with GBH. I sold merch for Todd that night for Fireburn, and… I’ve met everyone, dude, you name it, and I was like, ‘Todd, can you introduce me to Colin (Abrahall) from GBH?’ He saw me and was like, ‘What the hell?! You’re fanboying all of a sudden!’ Colin from GBH is a true rockstar from the 80s, and Todd was laughing at me, and that was one of the last times I’d seen him, and it was a fun, good memory.”
On the topic of memories, he shared his favourite time being around Youth. “Just writing the record and getting to perform together. What was cool was, I said, ‘Todd, you don’t have to be a fulltime member, dude. Let’s just write and we’ll do some shows together, and you’re free to do whatever you want.’ There’s no specific memory, really. I love the story he shared a couple of times about when he filled in for Phil Campbell from Motörhead. He said, ‘Dude, I walked up to Lemmy’s amp and I looked at his settings. Nobody knew what his settings were,’ and I was like, ‘…really? What was that like?’ and he was like, ‘Dude, everything was just turned up to the max!’ Before Lemmy died, Todd was one of the people he called and told him, ‘Come over to my house. I’m dying. Let’s spend some time together.’”
In memory of Youth, West decided to release ‘Back to Momo’ digitally for free download until December 31, 2018. “I wanted to do something. ‘Back to Momo’ has been critically acclaimed across the globe and it been compared to (Aerosmith’s) ‘Rocks’ and (Guns N’ Roses’) ‘Appetite For Destruction’, and so many people don’t even know it’s out there. I mean, Todd’s daughters didn’t even know about it. So, for all his fans and friends and even family that didn’t hear it, I’d like for them to be able to hear it without spending any money. I’m not looking to make any money off of Todd, y’know. I want people to hear it because his songwriting and playing on that is sick.”
“I wanna tell you a story about Evil Eye, which is on that record. It’s a song about my mom. Todd was auditioning for Guns N’ Roses and DJ Ashba got the tour spot that Todd was going for, before Slash and and Duff (McKagan) came back. Todd wrote Evil Eye for Axl (Rose). Axl didn’t want it, and then Todd played me the music and I was like, ‘Oh, hell yeah!’ so I wrote the lyrics and melodies and it became Evil Eye.”
On a Blacklist Union note, he added, “We would love to go to Australia. It’s funny because, on the third record, we covered Don’t Change by INXS, another Australian band. Australia definitely knows how to rock, for sure. I know they love their rock n roll. We’d love to come over. That’s been one of the obstacles for us is that we’ve never had any real representation as far as management, booking agents, and a label. It’s rough nowadays. I guess one of the things is that Todd really believed in me as a recording artist and performer, and now that the record’s out there and available for free, maybe he can pull some strings from behind the veil.”
GET YOUR HANDS ON ‘BACK TO MOMO’ FOR FREE UNTIL DECEMBER 31ST 2018 RIGHT HERE!