Formed by then 12-year-old drummer Wade Youman, San Diego's Unwritten Law have run the gamut from traditional SoCal melodic punk to TRL Top-40 pop. In that time, Youman's band has seen a dizzying array of members come and go, and a different major label for each of their three releases. In working on the band's latest album Here's To The Mourning, tension came to a head, both within the group and with their label, Lava. The end result was Youman, the last remaining original member of the band, getting the pink slip. With Youman becoming another casualty to the music business, Unwritten Law teamed up with Linda Perry (Pink, Christina Aguilera) to co-write their first single, "Save Me."
Unwritten Law play Tues Feb 8 at Crystal Ballroom
I read that you started Unwritten Law when you were 12, I assume a lot of people have come and gone in that time?
Yes I did start the band at age 12, over the course of time, these are all the members: Wade Youman, Matt Rathje, Chris Mussey, Craig Winters, Eric Barth, Nathon Rooney, Jeff Brehm, Shannon Woods, Donald Stone, Jason Hill, Vince "Sloppo," Rob Brewer, Scott Russo, John Bell, Steve Morris, and Pat Kim.
Did you ever fathom that the band would be around this long?
I never really thought too much about the longevity of the band until now. Since the beginning I was just pushing forward, searching for new ways to create new sound, new art, and new ideas into Unwritten Law.
For many your unique drumming style was often considered the highlight of Unwritten Law, have you noticed other bands whose drummers are influenced by you?
I think my drumming has influenced more of the younger drummers than most, but they are also an influence on me as well. I mean I'm not the most technical drummer, I just hit as hard as I can and play with all of my heart.
I know it's something you get asked a lot, but can you explain your exit from the band? Can you describe what it has been like to be asked to leave something you started, especially since the split has been difficult?
Scott's (Russo) girlfriend got [involved in] our songwriting process. When no demos were being recorded, the label gave the band two choices: drop Scott (the singer) and lose the record deal, or drop Wade (the drummer) and keep the record deal. Also I don't think the rest of the band was as enthusiastic to get involved and stand up for the kids as much as I was. Plus, they weren't willing to start over with a new singer. Money plays a big part in it too, Anyway--I am just sick of talking about this. I hope you understand.