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The Vandals

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Orange County punk veterans the Vandals traced their roots back to the earliest days of their local scene, but didn't really make much of an impact as recording artists until the '90s. By that time, their snide, terminally juvenile humor and catchy punk-pop had done a great deal to set the tone of Orange County's thriving punk and ska scene. Clear spiritual forefathers of bands like the Offspring, blink-182, and Less Than Jake, the Vandals took their cues from early punk comedians like the Dickies and the Descendents, ratcheting up the wiseass factor and delighting in dumb, lowbrow jokes. Sometimes satirical and mostly silly, the Vandals also remained staunchly independent for their entire career, releasing records on a variety of punk indies that afforded them financial and creative control. What was more, their steady lineup from 1989 on afforded them a degree of stability uncommon in punk circles. Solid career management allowed the Vandals to thrive up into the new millennium, over two decades after their formation. The Vandals were founded in Huntington Beach, CA -- also home to the Crowd and T.S.O.L. -- by guitarist Jan Nils Ackerman in 1980. Their inaugural lineup was completed by vocalist Stevo, bassist Steve Pfauter, and drummer Joe Escalante. Their riotous early shows around Orange County got them banned from several venues, but also worked up enough buzz that their 1982 debut EP, Peace Thru Vandalism, was released by Bad Religion's Epitaph label. It featured signature early numbers like "Anarchy Burger (Hold the Government)," the local radio hit "Urban Struggle," and "The Legend of Pat Brown," about a real-life roommate of Escalante's who went after some undercover cops with his car at a Vandals show in Costa Mesa. The following year, they appeared as themselves in director Penelope Spheeris' punk drama, Suburbia. The Vandals continued to play around Orange County when they could over the next few years, including a tongue-in-cheek benefit show for the Young Republicans in 1984. The following year, they issued their first full-length LP, When in Rome Do as the Vandals, on the small National Trust label; it featured new bass player Chalmer Lumary, as well as the local radio hits "Lady Killer" and "Mohawk Town." Substantial personnel shifts ensued over the next few years; ex-Fallen Idols singer Dave Quackenbush joined up later in 1985, and Escalante switched from drums to bass. More members came and went; guitarist Warren Fitzgerald came on board in 1987, and drummer Josh Freese joined in 1989, completing a new Vandals lineup that would endure for over a decade afterward. The album Slippery When Ill, a snarky piss-take on country music that was later reissued under the title The Vandals Play Really Bad Original Country Tunes, was released in 1989. The group subsequently signed with punk indie Triple X, with which they made their first big splash via 1991's Fear of a Punk Planet. With their back catalog out of print, the Vandals next re-recorded much of the band's early material on the 1994 live album Sweatin' to the Oldies. In the meantime, Fitzgerald moonlighted as the guitarist for Oingo Boingo until the group's dissolution in late 1995. Freese also began to branch out with recording sessions for Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves; by the late '90s, he had become an accomplished session drummer for a wide variety of pop and alt-rock acts, and also served stints in Guns N' Roses (the inactive, studio-bound incarnation) and Maynard James Keenan's prog-metal side project, A Perfect Circle. With the California punk revival in full swing by 1994, the Vandals switched over to the Offspring's new imprint, Nitro Records, for which they cut two albums -- 1995's Live Fast Diarrhea and 1996's The Quickening. Later in 1996, Escalante and Fitzgerald formed their own label, Kung Fu, which was designed to ensure the band's financial independence in the wake of their growing cult popularity on the punk scene. They inaugurated the label at the end of the year with the holiday album Oi to the World: Christmas With the Vandals, and soon set about signing other acts as well. The Vandals returned to Nitro for the 1998 set Hitler Bad, Vandals Good, and completed their contract with 2000's Look What I Almost Stepped In. Having built up Kung Fu into a viable enterprise, they subsequently left Nitro to stick with their own label. Meanwhile, Fitzgerald embarked on another side gig, playing lead guitar with the newly electrified Tenacious D on their 2001 debut album. Freese's session career was also booming by this time, and although he remained a studio regular, he was often replaced during live gigs by a rotating cast of four to five drummers, the most prominent of whom was Brooks Wackerman (later of Bad Religion). Now firmly committed to Kung Fu, the Vandals returned in 2002 with Internet Dating Superstuds. ~ Steve Huey
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Albums by
The Vandals

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    13 songs

    On Air

    Hollywood Potato Chip

    14 songs

    On Air

    Internet Dating Superstuds

    14 songs

    On Air

    Look What I Almost Stepped In...

    16 songs

    On Air

    Fear Of A Punk Planet: Anniversary Edition

    14 songs

    On Air

    Hitler Bad, Vandals Good

    13 songs

    On Air

    Christmas with the Vandals: Oi to the World!

    15 songs

    On Air

    The Quickening

    11 songs

    On Air

    When in Rome Do as the Vandals

    4 songs

    On Air

    Peace Thru Vandalism

    16 songs

    On Air

    BBC Sessions & Other Polished Turds

    11 songs

    On Air

    Japanese Remix Album

    10 songs

    On Air

    Play Really Bad Original Country Tunes

    23 songs

    On Air

    Live at the House of Blues

    18 songs

    On Air

    Sweatin' to the Oldies: The Vandals Live [Bonus Tracks]

    15 songs

    On Air

    Live Fast, Diarrhea

    16 songs

    On Air

    Fear of a Punk Planet

    17 songs

    On Air

    Peace Thru Vandalism/When in Rome Do as the Vandals

    17 songs

    On Air

    Peace Thru Vandalism

    14 songs

    On Air

    Hitler Bad, Vandals Good [LP]

    14 songs

    On Air

    Look What I Almost Stepped In... [LP]

    15 songs

    On Air

    Quickening [LP]

    15 songs

    On Air

    Live Fast, Diarrhea [LP]

    10 songs

    On Air

    Slippery When Ill

    13 songs

    On Air

    Sweatin' to the Oldies

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Top Songs by
The Vandals

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Wanna Be Manor
  3.   Marry Me
  4.   My Girlfriend's Dead
  5.   Hocus Pocus
  6.   I Have a Date
  7.   Let the Bad Times Roll
  8.   Pirate's Life
  9.   The Master Race in Outer Space
  10.   Urban Struggle
  11.   Sheena Is a Punk Rocker
  12.   Judy Is a Punk
  13.   Oi to the World
  14.   Anarchy Burger (Hold the Government)
  15.   Lady Killer
  16.   Summer Lovin'
  17.   I Don't Believe in Santa Clause
  18.   Rico
  19.   Thanx For Nothing
  20.   Teenage Idol
  21.   Sorry, Mom and Dad
  22.   My Brain Tells My Body
  23.   Too Much Drama
  24.   People That Are Going to Hell
  25.   Behind the Music
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
The Vandals

    On Air

    Classic Punk

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    Pop-Punk Classics

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    Punk Rock Love Songs

    On Air

    Coachella 2016

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    The Ramones: DNA

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    Punk

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    Alt. Country


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