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The Vandals, Independent Label Superstars

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The Vandals, Independent Label Superstars

Fear of a Punk Planet

Formed:


1980 - Huntington Beach, CA

Original Lineup:


Steven Ronald "Stevo" Jensen - vocals
Jan Nils Ackerman - guitar
Steve Pfauter - bass
Joe Escalante - drums

Current Lineup:


Dave Quackenbush - vocals
Warren Fitzgerald - guitar
Joe Escalante - bass
Josh Freese - drums

The '80s:

The Vandals appeared in Orange County in 1980, and quickly became notorious for their often out of control shows. While they were often banned from concert venues, they also attracted enough attention to get signed to the young label Epitaph Records, who released their first ep, Peace Thru Vandalism, in 1982.

Although the Vandals would attain a decent following throughout the '80s, constant lineup changes would prevent them from creating a consistent sound or a diehard fan base.

Establishing a Sound and a Following:

Although their goofy songs and adolescent humor clearly paved the way for more popular punk bands like the Offspring and All, it wasn't until 1989, when they solidified with their current lineup, that they began to enjoy real success.

Some diehard punk fans are critical of the current lineup with only one original member. This hasn't prevented the band from maintaining a popularity that has granted them main-stage appearances on the Warped Tour, and attracts newer, younger fans each year.

Josh Freese - Superstar Drummer:

Perhaps the most unnoticed, yet most successful member of the band is their drummer, Josh Freese. Since joining the band in 1989, he has played on every album but rarely tours with them.

The youngest member of the Vandals, Freese is an accomplished session drummer and musician. He has played with Guns N' Roses and DEVO. He is the drummer for A Perfect Circle, plays with Nine Inch Nails, and is on drums for the newly-formed Replacements. When they tour, the Vandals use a rotation of drummers.

Joe Escalante - Jack of All Trades:

Joe Escalante, the only original member of the band, also has a wide range of experiences outside the band. He has a law degree from Loyola Law School and has served as an entertainment lawyer for various bands, including Sublime.

Escalante is the founder of Kung Fu records, which carries the Vandals as well as other punk bands. He also hosts the radio show Barely Legal Radio in California, which offers callers free legal and entertainment advice.

Essential Album:


Fear of a Punk Planet
Although some may claim that this lineup doesn't consist of the "true" Vandals, 1991's Fear of a Punk Planet represents the first time the band's current lineup really gelled, and defines the sound of the Vandals we know and love today.

Stuffed with adolescent humor, songs like "The Day Farrah Fawcett Died" and "Join Us For Pong" make you laugh while giving you a fast punk beat, and their covers of "Summer Lovin" and "Kokomo" never get old.

Discography:


When in Rome do as the Vandals (1984)
Slippery When Ill (1989)
Peace Thru Vandalism/When in Rome Do as the Vandals (1989)
Play Really Bad Original Country Tunes (1990)
Fear of a Punk Planet (1991)
Sweatin' To The Oldies: The Vandals Live (1994)
Live Fast Diarrhea (1995)
The Quickening (1996)
Christmas with the Vandals: Oi! To The World (1996)
Hitler Bad, Vandals Good (1998)
Look What I Almost Stepped In (2000)
Internet Dating Superstuds (2002)
Hollywood Potato Chip (2004)
Live At The House Of Blues (2004)
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