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Y & T

A legendary live band that arguably never managed to translate its electric on-stage intensity into its studio albums, Y&T stood within reach of the Grail of rock & roll stardom many times in their long career -- but through a series of mistakes, bad timing, and sheer bad luck, the ultimate prize always seemed to elude them in the end. Taking their name from a Beatles song, the group was originally formed as Yesterday & Today in San Francisco, around 1973, by vocalist and lead guitarist Dave Meniketti, bassist Phil Kennemore, and drummer Leonard Haze. After stealing rhythm guitarist Joey Alves from a rival band, the group began to gig constantly around the Bay Area, opening for such heavyweights as Journey and the Doobie Brothers, while building a strong local following. They were eventually signed to a contract by London Records, which released their eponymous debut in 1976 and its follow-up, Struck Down, two years later, but dropped the foursome when neither album delivered any hits. Luckily, the band persevered through a few lean years and was duly rewarded with a new long-term deal from A&M Records in 1981, signaling this fresh start by shortening its name to Y&T.

Earthshaker, their first album for the label, came out later that year and was a resounding success, earning Y&T a number of high-profile opening slots with AC/DC and Kiss, and culminating in a memorable performance at the next year's prestigious Pink Pop Festival in Holland. By then, an optimistic Y&T were already recording their next album, Black Tiger, in England with producer Max Norman, who, despite his growing résumé (the Tubes, Ozzy Osbourne, etc.), civilized raging on-stage anthems like "Open Fire," "Barroom Boogie," and "Forever" under a meticulous but somewhat lifeless studio sheen. The LP didn't quite match the acclaim and excitement of its predecessor and, although 1983's succeeding Mean Streak added a livelier sound (courtesy of new producer Chris Tsangarides), and notched a monster international hit with "Midnight in Tokyo," Y&T had yet to make a major impact on the American market, where hard rock and metal were enjoying unprecedented platinum sales from the likes of Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, and Mötley Crüe.

Y&T's next effort, 1984's In Rock We Trust, was another disappointment by comparison and yielded no hits, but the band's well-received appearance at the 1984 Monsters of Rock Festival at least inspired A&M (whose inexperience for promoting hard rock and metal was becoming increasingly evident) to transpose Y&T's blistering greatest-hits show into the following year's revelatory Open Fire set. And among the live recordings was snuck in a studio track as irresistible and catchy as it was premeditated, called "Summertime Girls," which finally scored a major radio and MTV hit with its unprecedented layers of keyboards and Meniketti's deliberate karaoke on Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth. Such were the '80s, though, and after being hastily reprised on the band's next studio set, Down for the Count, in late 1985, the song climbed as high as number 55 on the Billboard charts, and landed Y&T more tours opening for the Crüe and Aerosmith, yet ultimately signaled their departure from A&M (the obligatory greatest-hits set, Best of '81 to '85, emerged in 1990).

Of course, Y&T were no strangers to second chances, and when hotshot record executive John Kalodner -- best known for orchestrating Aerosmith's incredible career resurrection -- approached them with a tantalizing offer to record for on-the-rise Geffen Records, the planets seemed to be aligning at last. Unfortunately, the same calculated image and musical overhaul (add hair spray, subtract aggression, equals glam metal heaven) that had worked so well for Aerosmith mysteriously misfired for Y&T on 1987's once again average-selling Contagious (whose title track's video even seemed to have been filmed on the same set as the 'Smith's "Rag Doll"). And the ejection of longtime drummer Leonard Haze to make way for the infinitely cuter (and, to be fair, extremely competent) Jimmy DeGrasso rubbed many longtime fans the wrong way -- regardless of Haze's reported ongoing struggles with substance abuse. This was also rumored to be the cause behind Joey Alves' replacement by Stef Burns prior to 1990's Ten, whose songs sounded more like classic Y&T but failed to strike a nerve with fickle hard rock consumers, still preoccupied with image instead of substance. Tired of fighting a losing battle, Y&T would officially disband a short time later (their passing eventually mourned via the release of their farewell gig as 1991's Yesterday & Today Live), increasing the void of quality hard rock bands amid all of the bubblegum glam casting a pall over the birth of the '90s, yet also sparing them from the ruinous fate awaiting all of those opportunist bands when grunge finally emerged.

Years passed, though; grunge came and went, and 1995 unexpectedly saw the final Y&T lineup reconvene for a new studio album entitled Musically Incorrect and, two years later, the aptly named Endangered Species, after which Dave Meniketti spent some time exercising his blues kicks on 1998's On the Blue Side. He later formed a new touring band under his own name and released the Meniketti album in 2002, but with interest in Y&T finally in resurgence, the timing seemed once again ripe for a reunion. This began to take shape by way of some long-needed reissues of their classic catalog (boasting worldwide sales exceeding four million by now) and a pair of Unearthed rarities collections, after which Meniketti and old sparring partner Phil Kennemore resumed touring across America as Y&T, with the help of guitarist John Nymann and drummer Mike Vanderhule. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Luv Y&T!
mean streak sounds like quiet riot
Best YnT song!
:-:-:-:-
Dave Meniketti = One of the best rock vocalists ever.
Thanks for the updated bio
Love Dave Meniketti vocals from the Stars Hear 'n' Aid recording.
I have no problem keeping up with the joneses.
the guy singing this song writes and arranges all of their music.did I mention he also plays lead guitar.thank s Dave you are a true artist!
Just saw them in Denver last Friday night. They performed a 2 1/2 hour set and were amazing. My first time ever seeing them live...why'd I wait so freakin' long?!
best Y&T song ever!!!
Keep on Rocken...yea h : - P : - P : - P
2 more months to enjoy Summertime Girls.
Wana say wat up to all the truck drivers out there!this is for all the hard work that we do !!!if your truck driver fallow me!!
Saw Y&T at Monta Vista HS in Danville in 85'. 10 feet away from Dave on a teacher's chair!
Facemelter is a great album the last with Phil Kennemore. RIP.
Saw them 30 years ago. Cant remember anything
I love this song,vhave never heard it before, but I will again. Y& T rockin , The World.
I thought I saw the robot flying amidst all the snow.
Good song good band
Mean Streak, Lipstick and Leather, these guys were great. Awesome lead singer and guitarist.
Been rockin to Y&T for the last 30 years .my dead head band. see them every year when they come to modesto! happy 60 dave. miss you phill.
Wicked lead break
They just announced Y&T is San Luis Obispo on March 1st and the whole town's buzzin! (At least those of us who know what's what!!) They always rock the house, even on the Contagious tour! (Can't really stand Summertime Girls!) The new album rocks like always, Phil would be proud of the boys!!! Turn it up and keep on rockin!!!1
timothyvanho o s e 2 3 2
they have been my fav band since the first time i heard them back in early 80s.
The most rock & metal stations on Pandora Radio!
Every time I hear thunder in the sky I think of you Uncle Phil...R.I.P love you
dvinsonwfg
Saw them down here in Tempe a while back. Still bitchn.
I. Finally saw them after 42yrs, chasing them in my bucket list , they are truely an american rags to riches lifestyle, since then i've seen them 4 times, always&forev e r one of my greatest of all time. Peace out !!!
you got that right
These guys rock so hard. I like the raw unpolished sound they have. No bells and whistles just straight up rock and roll. Dave is an awesome guitarist and his voice is killer. GREAT F****N BAND!
love them if you do to follow me
Y&t crushes
Awesome band that just never got the big break or any breaks to tell the truth but it is a fact that they were always KICKASS ROCKERS !! They pulled their name from a Beatle album title not a Beatle song as the bio states.....
just saw them n chico ca a ew months back they are still the beslve band ive seen the rock grew up in thbay area and saw them all the time my girl mom went to school wit em, my favorite band and also most of my friends fav...
I saw them last year and back in 1985, they were .awesome.
i love it
Got to see them with Phil in Oregon-- Loud and proud, man what an ultimate stage show!! Rock on boyz!!
Was only fortunate to see them live once (Contagious Tour) and after seeing bands live such as Motley Crue, Scorpions, Queensryche, Dokken, etc. thought their stage sound was better then most if not all I had seen. Dave M. is very underrated as a musician (check out The Blue Side). Became a huge Y&T fan when I first heard Mean Streak and have actually enjoyed that they did not go glam and stayed ROCK!!!
michaelmccui s t 6 7 8 3
10th grade... God I miss those days!!!
Both my dad and I were huge Y&T fans, and I was lucky enough to see them live 3 times with Phil, sadly I didnt get to see them when they passed through last year, but when they pass through again I have to see them, I just hope that theyre new bassist is up to Phil's standard, I still cant believe how much rock they bring to the stage for how long they've been around, just goes to show that they do it for the sheer fun of the music and the loyalty of the fans. Y&T ROCKS!
savage642003
THEY ROCK!!!PLAIN AND SIMPLE!!
ericswanson8 6 8
hello leo i miss mom talk to me
dcoppock77
y and t is the only band that i went to see never hearing them. I saw them in a small club in Petaluma ,Ca. They were so freakin bad a** my GF and I were hooked. I believe it was the coming out of black tiger. Then they played co-headliner s with the Scorpions, Ratt, Metallica opened the show and sucked so did Ratt. Even tho i Like those bands, that day they stunk. Y and T freakin smoked everybody. Even Scorps tho scorps were as usual damn good.
Y & T is so good. I saw them over 20 years ago in Pocatello, Idaho. They opened for Heart and blew them away. It was a cold November night, but alot of people from those little towns in my home state came out and new every Y & T song. It was awsome.
dreames3
i want to hear don't be afraid of the dark ,but it does not come up when i search
saw them open for heart in 88. blew heart away, wasn't even close.
Saw them 3 months ago... still kicking a**!
dathrasher
A legendary live band that arguably never managed to translate its electric on-stage intensity into its studio albums, - Who in the hell wrote this SH&t anyway?
Their albums were every bit as good as they are live.
Saw them 2 years ago and was blown away.
Great live band, great songs and great rock n roll.
If you havent seen them, do yourself a favor and get out and check em out.
gercone
I was a huge Y&T fan back in the 80's while in the Navy stationed in California. Got to see them once in Long Beach opening for Heart and they were fantastic! Too bad they never got the attention they deserved... Dave is killer!
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