Dave Rubinstein

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people named Dave Rubinstein, see Dave Rubinstein (disambiguation).
David Rubinstein
Dave from reagan youth 2014-02-04 02-35.jpg
Background information
Also known as Dave Insurgent
Born September 5, 1964
Origin Forest Hills, Queens, New York, USA
Died July 3, 1993 (age 28)
Genres Punk rock
Occupations Musician
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1980–1990
Associated acts

Reagan Youth

House of God

David Rubinstein (September 5, 1964 – July 3, 1993) was an American musician (singer), the co-founder of the influential New York-based punk rock group Reagan Youth. He founded the group with guitarist Paul Bakija when both were in Forest Hills High School in Forest Hills, Queens. The band played the punk clubs of Manhattan while the members were still in high school.

Reagan Youth[edit]

As the members went to Forest Hills High School, Reagan Youth was performing regularly at CBGB's and an established band on the country's budding punk scene. They never recorded a single, only some self-published tapes and an album that got cut down into an E.P. They toured cross-country twice, in 1984 and 1987, performing with many great punk bands of that era. At the Rock Against Racism shows in the early 1980s, Reagan Youth shared the bill with Dead Kennedys, U.S. Chaos, Agnostic Front, Bad Brains, Beastie Boys, and others. They were a mainstay at CBGB's Sunday matinee concerts.

Reagan Youth recorded only a seven-song E.P. and never signed a contract. When Reagan Youth showed up in San Francisco in 1987, a hand-written contract on the back of a poster for a gig was signed. That E.P. sold more than 40,000 copies. The band also appeared on several compilations albums, including Live at CBGB's. Reagan Youth's music was ironic and political. They preached the gospel of "peace punk". Rubinstein was known as "Dave Insurgent." The name "Reagan Youth" was ironic, given Rubinstein's family background as Holocaust survivors. The cover of their second LP featured a photo of Adolf Hitler shaking hands with an emissary of Pope Pius XII. Their song titles included "Jesus Was a Communist" and "New Aryans." The song "Reagan Youth" was their signature tune and songs like "In Dog We Trust" showed their irreverence and creativity.

Break up[edit]

By the late 1980s, the members of Reagan Youth were frustrated and worn out from years of touring and drug abuse. They had never made any money in the music industry. When Ronald Reagan left the White House, they officially disbanded. Rubinstein and several other band members continued to play music together, such as House of God, although their new group never achieved the same success or momentum as Reagan Youth.

Personal problems and suicide[edit]

By the time the band broke up Rubinstein had developed a serious heroin addiction. He was also dealing drugs.[citation needed] During a drug deal, another drug dealer violently beat up David with a baseball bat, leaving him in a coma. After receiving a lobotomy to save his life, Rubinstein had permanent stitches around his forehead from ear to ear, and his eyelid was "swollen so much it reached all the way down to his upper lip."[verification needed][1] When he got out of the hospital, he returned to his parents' home. There, he continued to use drugs, smoking marijuana in his bedroom as his parents tried to help him recover. Eventually Rubinstein left his parents' home and moved back to the Lower East Side. By now, between the violent assault and his continued drug use, he was no longer an energetic anarchist but had become a bit dishevelled and many of his friends from the punk scene no longer associated with him.

Rubinstein began dating Tiffany Bresciani, a prostitute who worked on Houston Street and danced in strip clubs around the city.[2] David had told his parents that she was a dancer. Tiffany supported the couple and their drug habit with prostitution. Rubinstein would often wait for Tiffany while she serviced a customer, and then accompany her to buy drugs.[3]

On June 24, 1993, Rubinstein and Tiffany were waiting on Allen Street when a familiar customer pulled up in a Mazda pick-up truck. Tiffany got in, telling Rubinstein that she would return in twenty minutes. She never came back. Rubinstein called the police with a description of the truck and went to the club where Tiffany danced and all the hospital emergency rooms in the city searching for Tiffany. A few days later, on June 28, New York state troopers Sean Ruane and Deborah Spaargaren were patrolling Long Island's Southern State Parkway when they pulled over the truck and found Tiffany's decaying body in the back after a high speed chase. They arrested the driver, Joel Rifkin, one of Long Island's most infamous serial killers, who was later linked to killing numerous prostitutes.[2][3][4]

Depressed and alone after the unexpected loss of his girlfriend, Rubinstein headed into a downward spiral. Less than a week later, he committed suicide by anti-depressant induced overdose on July 3, 1993.


  1. ^ http://paulcripple.blogspot.com/
  2. ^ a b Newton, Michael. "Joel David Rifkin: New York's Most Prolific Serial Killer". TruTV, accessed August 21, 2011
  3. ^ a b Simmonds, Jeremy. "Dave Insurgent". The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars: Heroin, Handguns, and Ham Sandwiches, p. 301, Chicago Review Press, 2008, accessed August 21, 2011 ISBN 1-55652-754-3
  4. ^ Kasindorf, Jeanie Russell. "The Bad Seed", New York Magazine, pp. 38–40, August 9, 1993

External links[edit]