Friday, December 23, 2005


At one time Y&T were a fucking GREAT Rock band. They were local heroes from Oakland and I spent much of 1981-83 fanatically seeing them in clubs and halls around Northern California. I probably saw them at least 20 times.

Y&T's 1981 Earthshaker was an album that changed my life. Seriously. At the time, Y&T were still a local club band. It was an epiphany to my 17-year old Music Geek mind that there was a kick ass Rock band who I didn't have see in an arena or stadium. Y&T shows were at local clubs where I could be against the stage and watch from up close. I could reach out my hand and the guitarist would hand me one of his pics because he recognized me from other shows. I could even meet and talk to the band members after a show. WOW.

Y&T were the first band I ever saw in a club. They were the first Rock Stars I ever met. Y&T were the first band I ever waited after a show to meet. They were the first Rock Stars I ever asked for autographs. Y&T were the first band I ever photographed. A Y&T shot was the first photo I ever had published:

Umlaut's original shot and Northwest Metal #1 - Fall 1982

Phil Kennemore & Dave Meniketti - Sept. 1982

Here's my "Happy Birthday Jesus" gift to the 4 or 5 of you reading this who cared about Y&T as much as Umlaut did back in The Day:

Christmas 1982 (From the Umlaut Attic)

In 1982 Y&T were still just regular dudes. The band's Christmas card that year reflected it. It featured their manager in a Santa suit flanked by the band's 2 roadies. The photo is cheesy, but down to Earth. I like how guitarist Joey Alves (2nd from left - Alves was always the most Rocker member of the band) is wearing his Rock Star white leather vest. Dave Meniketti's sweater (far left) is dubious, but I was willing to cut him slack since he was such a Guitar God.

Christmas 1983 (From the Umlaut Attic)

Now, check out the 1983 Christmas card. Slick Rock Marketing has taken charge of the band photo. These people will take everything we love about music and strangle it. Within 2 years, Y&T would be wearing silken stage clothes and adopt a robot mascot named Rock (a very misguided attempt to duplicate Iron Maiden's mascot Eddie). Their songs would lose their edge. They would become LAME. However, before they derailed themselves in a bid for mainstream success, Y&T were one of the best fucking bands Umlaut has ever seen.

The last time Umlaut saw Y&T was at a 1985 Oakland Stadium show. It was the first time Metallica ever played a stadium in the U.S. and it was literally 10 minutes from where they lived. Metallica came on and blew every other band away. In contrast, Y&T were also playing in their hometown but at one point they had backup singers onstage. Y&T were the first band to let me down in a very profound way.

However, for a moment in time Y&T was a band Umlaut was 101% invested in and who I fanatically supported. On the eve of their 1982 European Tour I wrote a letter to Kerrang! magazine raving about them. The letter was printed with my address and as a result I received a huge amount of letters from Metal / Rock fans in the U.S. and Europe. A few of those people read this blog. I suppose I have Y&T to thank for these friendships.

If you're hungry for Rock, listen to Y&T's first 4 albums - Yesterday & Today (1976), Struck Down (1978), Earthshaker (1981), and Black Tiger (1983) - and you might appreciate what a fucking great band they were back then. Earthshaker is still one of Umlaut's All-Time favorite albums.

Y&T are still around in one form or another (the original lineup is actually playing a local reunion show this New Year's Eve), but they're a band I simply can't revisit. They meant so much to me at one time and I don't want to spoil the memories.

Anyway, I took ALOT of Y&T photos back in The Day:

The Keystone - Palo Alto, CA - 1982

The Keystone - Palo Alto, CA - 1982

The Keystone - Palo Alto, CA - 1982

The Keystone - Palo Alto, CA - 1982 (This one's for Lauraloha)

Civic Auditorium - Petaluma, CA - 1982

Sherwood Hall - Salinas, CA - Dec. 29, 1982

"It's a hurricane... and it's comin' down on you."

Submitted by Lauraloha:

Ahhh yes, Y&T. Once again Lauraloha and Umlaut meet on the Rock and Roll highway of memories, sipping coffee at the same truck stop.

I LOVED Y&T. More importantly, I LOVED PHIL KENNEMORE. Phil Kennemore was my first rock groupie obsession. Looking back at those pictures, I cannot tell you why. Why? I think growing up in Antioch screwed my mind up a little. But anyway......

I drove a 1978 Firebird Formula 405 with white interior. I was the ultimate mulleted Rock Chick. On the back of my car were license plates that read "2LITEUP" and a Y&T bumper sticker. Now, if I had access to my archives (safely stored in Antioch) I would have Umlaut insert a picture here for the full effect. I drove my Firebird up and down the California Coast following Y&T everywhere. Back then, not too many people did this. Later on in life, when I became a disciple of Jerry Garcia, I would join the travelling circus once again. This was my practice run - in 1983.

In high school we had shop classes that we had to take in addition to regular learning. Woodshop, Plastics, Mechanics, etc. In Plastics we would construct plastic rolling trays, bongs and elaborately lathed roach clips. One time we had a special class where we learned how to do glass etching or frosting as it was called. Well, I whipped out my Earthshaker album and created the most kick ass Y&T mirror ever. We all know why I needed a mirror, right? Yes, I went to rehab in 1984, but that's another story.

That mirror stuck around for years, it was my pride and joy. Even when I got sober I couldn't part with it. Years later, as I fell off the wagon with a thud, I picked the mirror back up and it became my sidekick until that fateful night in 1992 when my tweaker attempts at chemistry shattered it into tiny bits. Still a sad moment in time. LOL

Y&T was the first band where I actually became an obsessed groupie. It was the first band that I loved like that and it became part of the catalyst which eventually led me to Bill Graham Presents in 1988 looking for a job. All I wanted to be when I grew up was a roadie. Groupies were fun, but roadies were in the fire and got paid too!

Not that long ago I was listening to the radio while visiting The Mainland. A Y&T hit came on the radio and I knew every single word without even thinking about it. I hadn't heard that song in almost 20 years. And yet, it was still there just like yesterday.

Leonard Haze is now a stagehand at Shoreline Amphitheater. They hired him cuz we were all big Y&T fans. My friend Darcey Lewis, who is the Backstage Coordinator at Shoreline still goes and see Y&T wherever they play. She's 42 and still the most ultimate of all Rocker Chicks. Dave Maniketti has a pretty elaborate website where you can follow him around. Phil Kennemore probably looks like an aged pedophile and I am not in love with him anymore.

Now I love Robbie Williams.

Thanks Umlaut. You keep me young at heart with all your Rock and Roll highway stories. See you at the next truck stop!


Submitted by Rich Hellhound:

Wow, seeing those photos really takes me back. Umlaut and I "cut our teeth" at those Keystone Palo Alto Y&T shows. The energy was incredible. Y&T ROCKED, plain and simple. I still remember Umlaut and I driving back from those shows, usually on weeknights, ears so numb we could hardly hear, having to go to school the next day!

There was also the time Dave Meniketti spoke during Career Day at a local high school; Umlaut and I snuck in claiming to be Journalism students.

Then, they sold out. James Hetfield started mocking us for liking Y&T ("Y&Pee, Y&Pee!"). It was over. The 'Summertime Girls' video, with the lame robot at the end, completely destroyed their credibility. It was time for bigger and heavier things, like Metallica, who ironically would take a similar path further down the line, though without a lame robot.

Yes, yet another, sad example of the downside of hero worship. Funny how everything with Umlaut somehow ends up with Metallica!

Umlaut had forgotten about Meniketti's Career Day appearance! It was at a friend's high school in San Jose. Pretty hilarious, innit?! A Rock Star at Career Day!! Unfortunately, Umlaut didn't have his camera with him that day, but there are photos of the event out there. If anyone knows where Rob Sample is these days have him get in touch with me. Trivia: Metallica supported Y&T 3x.. In 1982 (Anaheim) and 1985 (Oakland and Sacramento).

Submitted by Teri:

I just read your Y&T page. What a fucking riot. I, too, did the Y&T thing back then. The first time I saw them was at Memorial Hall in Hayward and I paid $2. I think that was 1981. Keystone PA was my second home - I even worked there for awhile. Phil Kennemore was my dream god, and I used to hang with his brother Paul at the shows. I attended EVERY show between 1981 and when the lameness ensued after the Earthshaker album.

Thanks for the laugh.

Umlaut says: "Well I ain't foolish.. You better go away with your tricks.. Struck down!"