March 12, 2017 – Joey Alves (Y&T guitarist) was born Joseph Lenny Alves on August 3, 1953 in Oakland California. He grew up just south of Oakland in the small town of San Lorenzo. He was a 1971 graduate of Arroyo High School, after which time he learned to play guitar and played in just one local band before joining up with Yesterday & Today in 1974.
The Oakland area band Y&T (abbreviation for the Beatles album Yesterday and Today, found its roots in a unnamed cover band that started out in 1972. After a couple of rhythm and bass changes in the early years, the band found footing after Joey Alves joined and the band began to write their own songs. The initial powerhouse quartet—featuring Dave Meniketti (lead guitar/lead vocals), Phil Kennemore (bass), Leonard Haze (drums), and Joey Alves (rhythm guitar)—tore through the ’70s and ’80s with their own brand of hard rock. After two ’70s albums on London Records, they shortened their name to Y&T and released eight albums on A&M in the ’80s.
In 1976 they released their first self-titles debut album Yesterday and Today, followed by 1978’s Struck Down, 1981’s Earthshaker, 1982’s Black Tiger, 1983’s Mean Streak, 1984’s In Rock We Trust, 1985’s Down For The Count and 1987’s Contagious.
Even though they carried the torch of heavy metal long before we got Metallica, Motley Crue, Ratt and other, they somehow never never reached the level of top-attraction, other bands enjoyed. Yet, the band’s heavy metal sound was solid and created a strong following all over the globe with special strongholds in the Netherlands, Italy and England. In the US they were known to overpower the acts they opened for such as Van Halen, Journey, Boston and Queen as well as AC/DC, Ozzy and Dio.
Joey Alves played on the band’s first eight studio albums including the mid 80s hits “In rock we trust” and “Down for the Count”, which became their most appreciated efforts as they sold more than 4 million album copies.
Alves left the band in 1989 and was replaced by Stef Burns, before Y&T disbanded in 1991.
He briefly returned in 2004 and again as a touring guest in 2016.
Y&T’s sixth studio album, In Rock We Trust, released in 1984, became the band’s highest charting and selling album, reaching No. 46 on the Billboard 200. The album produced Y&T’s first big radio hit “Don’t Stop Runnin’ “; the rights to “She’s A Liar” were purchased by Dr Pepper and used in an ad campaign. To date, In Rock We Trust has sold over 450,000 copies. This album was the only Y&T album to chart in Canada, reaching No. 77 on the RPM chart.
The band’s 1985 hit “Summertime Girls”, off their album Down for the Count, became the band’s highest charting hit to date, reaching No. 55 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 17 on the U.S. mainstream rock charts. It received tremendous airplay worldwide, played frequently in the Baywatch television series, is featured in several feature films, received heavy rotation on MTV as well as MTV’s top video playlists, and gets regular airplay today on classic rock radio stations throughout the United States.
Joey Alves, by many insiders considered only second to Malcolm Young’s (AC/DC) rhythm guitar playing, died on March 12, 2017 from ulcerative colitis, having suffered for quite a while. He was 63.
This now makes three of the original members of Y&T in rock and roll heaven. Time to put a new band together.