Dave Rubinstein

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David Rubinstein
Dave from reagan youth 2014-02-04 02-35.jpg
Background information
Also known asDave Insurgent
BornSeptember 5, 1964
OriginForest Hills, Queens, New York, United States
DiedJuly 3, 1993 (aged 28)
GenresPunk rock
Years active1980-1990
Associated actsReagan Youth, House of God

David Rubinstein, also known as Dave Insurgent (September 5, 1964 – July 3, 1993), was an American singer and co-founder of the New York-based hardcore punk band Reagan Youth. Rubenstein founded the band 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 Reagan Youth members attended Forest Hills High School, the band performed regularly at CBGB's and other venues on the United States' budding punk rock circuit. They never recorded a single, only some self-published tapes and an album that was turned into a seven-song EP. That EP sold more than 40,000 copies. The band also appeared on several compilations albums, including Live at CBGB's. They toured cross-country twice, in 1984 and 1987, sharing bills with punk bands such as Dead Kennedys, U.S. Chaos, Agnostic Front, Bad Brains and Beastie Boys. They were a mainstay at CBGB's Sunday matinee concerts and performed at Rock Against Racism concerts in the early 1980s.

Reagan Youth was a left-wing anti-racist band, often using Ku Klux Klan and Nazi Party imagery as political satire. In their original 1980s incarnation, they sought to address the parallels between the policies of president Ronald Reagan, the Christian Right and American conservatives and the beliefs of hate groups.[1] Their eponymous song, "Reagan Youth", uses a tongue-in-cheek rhetoric to draw parallels between Young Republicans and the Hitler Youth. The fact that Rubinstein's parents were Holocaust survivors added to the urgency of the band's message.[1]

By the late 1980s, the Reagan Youth members were frustrated and worn out from years of touring, drug use and not making money in the music industry. When Reagan left office, the band officially disbanded. Rubinstein and several other band members continued to play music together, such as in the band House of God, which never achieved the same success as Reagan Youth.

Personal problems and suicide[edit]

By the time Reagan Youth broke up, Rubinstein had developed a serious heroin addiction and was dealing drugs.[citation needed] During a drug deal, another drug dealer beat up Rubinstein with a baseball bat, leaving him in a coma. ."[2][verification needed] While admitted at the hospital Rubinstein received a lobotomy to relieve brain trauma and save his life.[3] When he got out of the hospital, he returned to his parents' home. There, Rubinstein 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 then, between the assault and his continued drug use, he was no longer as energetic, and had become dishevelled. 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.[4] He had told his parents that she was a dancer. Bresciani financially supported the couple and their drug habit with prostitution. Rubinstein would often wait for Bresciani while she serviced a customer, and then accompanied her to buy drugs.[5] Around this time, Rubinstein's mother died in a car accident.[1]

On June 24, 1993, Rubinstein and Bresciani were waiting on Allen Street when a familiar customer pulled up in a Mazda pickup truck. Tiffany got in, telling Rubinstein that she would return in 20 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, two New York state troopers were patrolling Long Island's Southern State Parkway when they pulled over the truck after a high-speed chase, finding Bresciani's decaying body in the back. They arrested the driver, Joel Rifkin, one of Long Island's most infamous serial killers, who was later linked to killing numerous prostitutes.[4][5][6]

Depressed and alone after the unexpected loss of his girlfriend and mother, Rubinstein headed into a downward spiral, and less than a week after Bresciani's murder, on July 3, 1993, he committed suicide by a drug overdose.[3]


  1. ^ a b c "Reagan Youth : Biography". New Red Archives. Archived from the original on 2016-09-04. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  2. ^ Paul "Cripple" Bakija (2014-06-04). "I'm the Living Proof of Reagan's Lies". Paulcripple.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  3. ^ a b Stewart, Alison (April 11, 2013). "After unspeakable tragedies, Reagan Youth is trying again". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on April 2, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Newton, Michael. "Joel David Rifkin: New York's Most Prolific Serial Killer" Archived 2014-01-10 at the Wayback Machine. TruTV, accessed August 21, 2011
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ Kasindorf, Jeanie Russell. "The Bad Seed", New York Magazine, pp. 38–40, August 9, 1993

External links[edit]