Richmond Virginia based folk/punk outfit the (Young) Pioneers featured "Born Against" alum guitar/vocalist Adam Nathanson, harmonica player Neil Burke, and drummer Brooks Headley. Burke's tenure was brief, and his departure after the group's debut EP on Vermiform Records was followed by Avail singer Tim Barry joining on bass guitar in 1994. Barry was replaced in 1995 by bassist Martin Key, aka Marty Violence (ex- Universal Order of Armageddon). Key's entrance into the band signaled the change from an acoustic to a full fledged electric outfit. Headley left the group in 1997 and was briefly replaced by Jonathan Fuller (of Sleepytime Trio) and more permanently by Fred LaPier, who played with the group through their final years. After several tours with bands such as At the Drive-In, Avail, Peechees, Karp and The Locust, they disbanded in February 1999.
Their best songs describe the relationship between struggling individuals and the machinery of oppressive politics-images of lovers in a riot or a Vietnam veteran writing to his wife about his fear off death. Their hyper political charged music sparks a Minutemen-meets-Husker Du punk sound. The pioneers were at their best when framing political discontent with catchy punk and emo.
Lookout! recognized THE (YOUNG) PIONEERS as one of the most exciting, though underrated, revolutionary rock'n'roll outfits in existence in the punk scene. With strong political ideas and personal sentiment and powerful music. For 6 years, the Young Pioneers released several albums on Vermiform before releasing On Trial, Free the (Young) Pioneers Now! and The Fall of Richmond on Lookout!
Nathanson and Key continued to perform music together under the name Teargas Rock with drummer Randy Davis (of The Great Unraveling), although the group did not release any major releases and is currently on hiatus. Key currently plays with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Headley went on to perform with Wrangler Brutes and Skull Control, Fuller in Denali and Engine Down, and Burke in Men's Recovery Project, while Barry remained in Avail and has also become active as a solo artist.