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Catching up with Allen Stiritz of LA’s Wasted Youth

When, where and why did your dream as a musician first begin?

Back when I was about 6 years old I was fascinated with an American TV show called The Partridge Family – they were a groovy family that were also a band and one of the stars was David Cassidy (R.I P). I loved to watch them play and was fascinated with the little brothers drum set.

When and why did you choose the instrument you did? Did this ever change, if so why? Also do you play multiple instruments, if so which is your favourite to play and why?

I chose the drums and was fanatical about that. Like I said, I must have been around 6 years old, I was dead set on the drums, nothing else. I did play with the bass a bit and actually played two Wasted Youth shows [on bass] in between getting a new bass player back in the early 80`s, I taught myself and played the whole set on 2 strings [laughs].

Major influences? A specific song, band, scene, etc.…

Well that’s clear and simple, my absolute Idol was John Henry Bonham of Led Zeppelin (R.I.P). I started out a total rocker, then was fascinated by KISS with their make-up, wild outfits and Peter Criss` huge drumset, even though I only played a 4 piec Slingerland. I was blown away, rock drummer God I used to think. Then in ’79/’80 someone turned me on to the Sex Pistols and things have never been the same in my life since.

Successes and failures along the way?

Started a band in high school called the Stiffs and we covered; X, Queen, and UFO – shit like that. We were having band practice one day in Mike`s (our guitarist) parent’s garage, all of a sudden the door opened and Chett was standing there. He said “I want you to be my drummer”, I was like “who the hell are you?” He was playing guitar apparently with the McDonald brothers from Redd Kross and was going to band practice. As he was driving down the street he heard my drumming and followed the sound, apparently he wanted to start his own band, and we did, We started up a band called The Runs and a few months later changed the name to LA`s Wasted Youth.

We [LA’s Wasted Youth] grew popular very fast with our fast, hardcore Southern California Surf City Punk Sound, we were fucking crazy and any and everywhere we played the crowds just exploded and went nuts. We recorded our first album ‘Reagan’s In’ which immediately topped the underground charts and was #1 on KROQ Rodney on the Rock show 2 months in a row with ‘Problem Child’. We had to replace our bass player who went off to college [so] we had Jay Bentley from Bad Religion on board – we were a power house. We were a tight-knit scene, we all knew each other. Our Guitarist Chett is the younger brother from Lucky from the Circle Jerks; Greg Hetson from the Circle Jerks, and Bad Religion sat next to me in high school in our History of Aerospace class so we were all kind of friends. Descendents; Black Flag; Bad Religion; JFA; Suicidal Tendencies; Social Distortion; Circle One; Adolescents; TSOL; Dead Kennedys…from San Francisco to San Diego we started a scene rolling and that’s just never stopped to this day..

Any funny stories – lessons learned?

Oh God, there are so many stories. We were on a South West tour with Social Distortion driving through the desert on our way to Phoenix (Arizona) in two mini-trucks packed with amps and drums, rolling down the freeway side by side, and Jay and I are passing beer back and forth between our two cars at 70 miles per hour, getting drunk. We had to piss in the empty bottles so we wouldn’t have to stop and toss them off the side of the freeway [laughs]. We should have been arrested and taken to jail, it’s a wonder we never got caught.

Oh jesus, once we drove for 8 hours from L.A. up to San Francisco to play with the Dead Kennedys and our Guitarist told Jello to fuck off [and that] we should be headlining. The Kennedys threw us off the show so we drove all the way up to ‘Frisco for nothing, and got kicked out of the show [laughs], so crazy, the stories go on forever. I don’t want to bore you with all our crap that we did.

Recommendations for those wanting to play your instrument or get into the business?

My recommendation to anyone who wants to be a drummer in the music business is: “if you love music and find a few friends that play instruments, start a band, and if your music is catchy and your attitudes are right, you have just as good a chance as anyone else. Just remember to believe in what you do – the competition is brutal – and don’t quit your day job until you definitely get established”.

Your future plans-upcoming tours, new albums, new videos, websites, etc.

Its been years since Wasted Youth. I still play, and live in Germany now. I am in a German rock band [called] ‘Don’t Touch Missy’ – check us out on Youtube ‘Don’t Touch Missy – Time’. Keeps me busy and we are working on a record in the studio momentarily. We are on Facebook too. I do also do a tribute to Wasted Youth’s  ‘Reagan’s In’ album with the guys from Scheisse Minnelli and Social Unrest, we post it when we play under the site called ‘Still Wasted’ on Facebook.

Which specific instrument you started with and what is a good starter instrument (i.e., if you play bass, which is a good starter bass?) How much should you be willing to spend on this start up instrument?

There is a great starter kit from the company Basix, or Mapex; 5 piece drumsets starting at like 280€. There’s a music store, Köln Germany, google it , they have every thing you need.

What you play now? Budget range?

What I play now is a Gretsch Catalina Maple, with Zildjan K series cymbals, about 1,600€.

What is your dream instrument/setup and how much?

My dream set up is a DW, kit with hardware all the way around, with Zildjan K series cymbals, starting around 3,500€ and up. Vic Furth Drum sticks 5B American Hickory, solid as hell.

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