Artist Spotlight: Untamed Youth

– Parker Donovan, Roots N Blues Intern

When I first added Untamed Youth’s 1998 album “Youth Runs Wild!” to my Spotify queue, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Knowing nothing besides their background,, I never would have guessed that I would be instantly transported to the carefree beaches of California. Highlighted especially in their fun harmonies on “Girl Happy,” the guitar work throughout the album could only come from the instrument of surf rock, a Fender Guitar.. Untamed Youth sound like they got their start in sunny Southern California in the early 1960s, not in Columbia, Missouri in the late 1980s.

It’s true, Columbia’s very own surf rockers will be playing at The 2017 Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival. Thirty years ago, Deke Dickerson and the original line up of the Untamed Youth got their start playing at Mizzou frat parties and local venues in Columbia. However, it wasn’t long before Untamed Youth broke out of the confines of the Midwest. Untamed Youth proved to be a hot ticket in some of New York City’s underground music scenes, playing at just about any venue where people would listen.

They were living out the kind of fantasy life I would want to lead if I possessed any sort of musical talent. They were living the dream, traveling on the road together to and from New York City with crazed, intense fans following them across the country. These long, rowdy and hazy nights were set to the soundtrack of their own music. Most importantly, Untamed Youth had the ability to creatively express their artistic talents to people who actually wanted to hear them. These teenage boys from the exact middle of the country were living a true American dream.

By 1991, the boys had relocated to sunny California, where surf music has its roots. However, the California Dream didn’t last long; The Untamed Youth called it quits in 1993. Luckily, it wasn’t the last we saw of them. Reuniting together when they can, the band still proves to be powerhouse, even thirty years later. 2017 marks the thirtieth anniversary of The Untamed Youth; we cannot wait to celebrate with them at this year’s festival!

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