The Vandals

Taking the handle since 1982
*special introductory paragraph!
*Peace Thru Vandalism EP
*When In Rome Do As The Vandals
*Live On KPFK
*Fear Of A Punk Planet
*Sweatin' To The Oldies: Live
*Live Fast, Diarrhea
*The Quickening
*Play Really Bad Original Country Tunes
*Oi To The World! Christmas With The Vandals
*Hitler Bad, Vandals Good.
*Look What I Almost Stepped In...
*Internet Dating Super Studs
*Live At The House Of Blues
*Hollywood Potato Chip
*Shingo Japanese Remix Album
*BBC Sessions & Other Polished Turds

The Vandals are a really clever, funny punk band from Orange County that I first heard (way late) roundabouts mid-2000. My wife remembers their first EP from herMaybe you do too! Or maybe, like me, you first heard their music on a popular episode of The X-Files that also featured famous young actors Giovanni Ribisi and Jack Black. Their lyrics? Brilliantly incisive and humorous! Their music? Catchy, catchy, ever-so-catchy! (and usually fast)

Peace Thru Vandalism EP - Epitaph 1982.
Rating = 8

The six-song debut, classic among certain punkers! These guys are from Southern California and, at this point in their career, played music that sounded like early TSOL, but jokey. Very fun, excitable high-speed punk rock, messily played and amateurishly produced. Some hilarious lyrics in here if you listen close, especially on "Anarchy Burger (Hold The Government)." Other classics include "Wanna Be Manor" and "The Legend Of Pat Brown." Not much else to say. Early So Cal punk. If you've heard early Bad Religion or Agent Orange, you know what to expect. Catchy, simple, rough and raw.

Interestingly, only the drummer stuck around longer than a few more years. And now he's not even the drummer anymore!!! What is this, South America??? Where things change all the time and there's nothing that you or I can do about it??? Why can't we force band members to stay in their bands???? The Beach Boys are touring with just Mike Love and a bunch of dickheads!!! Why??? The Guess Who??? Come on!!!! This is the worst day of my life! Baseball is the same way!!!! Why are the Atlanta Braves still called the Atlanta Braves when they don't even have Al "The Mad Hungarian" Hrabosky on the team anymore???? And America!!! We don't even have George "The Crazy Dicklicker" Washington anymore!!! Why are we still called America??? It's like eating an apple pie and finding a big hairy cock in the middle!!!

No, actually it's not like that much at all.

Reader Comments
I'd give it the same rating. Its just too short. The Legend Of Pat Brown is unquestionably the best song the old lineup ever wrote, just ahead of Anarchy Burger. (JJ)
hey Mark, you didn't mention that a line from "anarchy burger" was mentioned in that Vin Diesel movie Triple XXX when he's in that communist/ russian ice bar and says" remember that old punk song about walking into a deli and urinating on the cheese" it fuckin drove me crazy, like "its triggering somthing, but im not sure what, i know ive heard that somewhere?" thanks for the cool site (Matt Easton)
One time someone put on Dance With Me by T.S.O.L. and I said "hey, this sounds like The Vandals" and everyone laughed at me. I know you'll help me kill them now though.

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When In Rome Do As The Vandals - National Trust 1984.
Rating = 6

Uh oh! The joke is already wearing thin. Quite frankly, this just wasn't the most intelligent line-up the band ever had. At fault is probably original singer "Stevo," who makes EVERYTHING sound like a dumb gag. He sounds like the annoying jokester friend you had but never wanted in high school. Plus, the "humorous" lyrics aren't funny, and they're all repeated about 500 times in each song. Jokes about skinheads, mohawks, pedophiles and rap music -- not funny. Bad cover of "Hocus Pocus" by Focus - not funny. Music - punkish like the EP, but, aside from two or three great tunes, not as catchy. A change was desperately needed, and came in a nutshell when Joe Escalante replaced the entire band with a smarter line-up in time for the next album!

Reader Comments
Jeez, this one's too long. I'll say 7, because Viking Suit cracks me up, and shows that when they wanted to, the old lineup could play the hell out of their instruments, even if the chord progression is lifted straight outta Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue, which is essentially Walk Don't Run. (Wow. Vandals to Ramones to Ventures. Guess everyone really does steal from everyone else after all.) Really though, there's only about two other good songs here, or two and a half if you count the acoustic Mohawk Town, which I don't. The live version is much better.

Joe Escalante
I agree with the reviewer 100% on his comments, but I give it a 3. (Brother Goyo)
Stevo RIP 8/20/05

Stevo will be missed. He was a true Vandal, no matter what.

Chalmer Lumary (x Vandal)
There has not been a song on the radio since this album.

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Live On KPFK - Bootleg 1985.
Rating = 7

The Original line-up (original enough anyway -- with Stevo on vocals) runs through the entire first EP, three decent songs from When In Rome and a couple of interesting unexpected parodies ("Ghost Faggot Riders In The Sky" and "Dachau Cobana"). It doesn't have the most phenomenal sound in the world perhaps (the drums and bass are mostly buried under the loud, thick distorted guitar thrashing), but the songs are played pretty well ("Anarchy Burger" loses some energy, but I'm not sure why - maybe because the drums are so buried), and the dreaded (by me) "H.B. Hotel" is cut off after one verse, pleasing my energies and riling my senses to a state hitherto unmodulated.

But what really stands out about the tape is (A) the way Stevo wastes his obvious charisma and confidence as a punk rock frontman by telling unbelievably lame, gross jokes the ENTIRE TIME, and (b) the excitement of an '80s hardcore show! Turning to the Stevo file first, the guy finds it necessary to recite pre-written "advertisements" for "Vandalco Products" like "Doggy Douche," "Vaginal Vinyl" and "Anal Drainal." Nobody laughs, nobody cares. He also turns nearly everything on the album into a fag joke (something that my fans know I would never, ever do), including aforementioned "Ghost Faggot Riders In The Sky," screaming disgusting sexual nonsense throughout "Hocus Pocus" (by Focus) and changing the ending of "Urban Struggle" to "I couldn't make it as a HOMO!" The thing is -- it totally sounds like he's just trying to imitate Lee Ving's performance in The Decline Of Western Civilization (something that my fans know I would never, ever do). So where do I see this charisma? Oh I don't know. He just has a voice that's nice for yelling, and he's clearly comfortable speaking to a crowd. I just wish he wasn't so GROSS about it! The whole thing just reeks like a pussy with green mucus coming out of it, oozing slowly down a syphilis-infected cock.

As for the punk rock excitement - the kids in the crowd are LOVIN' IT! Throwing stuff (including furniture) at the band the entire time, laughing and screaming and twice bonding together to shout "BRING BACK MAXIMUM ROCK AND ROLL!" I don't understand this joke, having only read one issue of that boring-as-SHIT magazine in my entire life, but maybe you do and that alone makes the whole thing worthwhile.

In conclusion, Government Issue just re-issued everything they ever recorded (and more!) on 2 awesome double-CDs. Buy them! G.I. was a good band!

Reader Comments
A freaking seven?! Jeez,'s not that good. I'd say five or six, but Stevo basically ruins this thing, especially on "Hocus Pocus" and "Ghost Riders In The Sky." INSTRUMENTAL SONGS DO NOT NEED VOCALS. Plus, the longish pauses between songs just mean more of Stevo being himself. The other band members get all of maybe three words in.

The crowd is great, though, (all 30 of 'em) and some of Stevo's interaction is priceless: "Looks like we've got some abortion survivals in the front row."

"Dachau Cabana" is way too tasteless, though. Brilliant song to parody, but the way they did it...well, at least Stevo includes a verse of the orignal. The second verse in the studio version isn't much better than the first, although the studio version does have the tacky, ass-covering "all Nazis die" right before the end.
Prindle and Binder (now THERE'S a law firm I'll never patronize): I'm thinking you two fellows must never have gone to any hardcore shows in the early 80s. For crying out loud, they were all like that! All the singers did the smart-assy between-song patter thing, even the really really "serious" political guys. Stevo ruins this thing? More like Stevo MAKES this thing! Hell, the songs were good but they weren't that damned good. Oh, and quit with the complaints about Stevo's jabbering during "Hocus Pocus" (by Focus). The original had vocals and they didn't make any sense either. Besides, what's a punk frontman supposed to do during an instrumental? Plus, he's dead!

A bit of context which may explain the gross-out jokes: this show was in early 1983 (or maybe maybe late 1982), which was right around the time Blanche Knott's "Truly Tastless Jokes" came out and was a huge underground hit on high school and middle school campuses back in those pre-Internet days when there was no such thing as porn and nobody ever molested children. True fact! So gross/shocking humor was even more popular than usual among the innocent, pre-9/11 youth of America during the 82/83 school year, is all I'm saying.

"Maximum Rock & Roll" was a radio show before it was ever a zine. KPFK used to feature it late on Friday or Saturday night, and then for some reason they didn't anymore. That's what the kids are chanting about (if you listen carefully, you can hear one kid suggesting it to the other and counting to three). The other chant that keeps popping up--"hand grenade, hand grenade, hand grenade!"--is a reference to Stevo's already legendary penchant for pulling a (fake?) hand grenade from his pocket and scaring the shit out of people, especially promoters at shows.

One thing you can't really hear on the recording is the sound of a studio full of drunken suburban punks destroying irreplaceable KPFK audiotape archives...

This show, as the title suggests, was broadcast live and uncensored. At that time, you could truly say or do whatever the fuck you wanted on the airwaves after 10:00 PM. The FCC didn't care and was too underfunded to do anything even if they did, which they didn't (although the Christian right was in its ascendancy, they didn't own the Supreme Court yet).

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Fear Of A Punk Planet - Triple X 1990
Rating = 8

That's a very low 8, mind you.

Finally, all the Vandals are here! Dave Quackenbush and Warren Fitzgerald have joined Mr. Escalante to create a tight punk rock band with oft-clever lyrics. The music is, unfortunately, often a bit too predictable in its 4-chord Bad Religionisms. Still catchy though -- as catchy as this type of music needs to be anyway. Best song titles: "Join Us For Pong," "Girls Turn 18 Every Day," "Kill My Tenant" and "The Day Farrah Fawcett Died." There's also a death metal song about the robot girl from the show Small Wonder, if that's any indication of where these guys' heads are at. Total pop culture reference-isms and ironic sexism. Irony? Oh, the irony! Never turns into mean-spirited sarcasm though. Some fantastic turns of phrases on here too, as good as anything that the overrated Beck has ever thought up. Sample lyric: "Don't be fooled by world peace or an economy that's stable/The CIA's just got more time to watch you through your cable." Hee!

Maybe the music isn't any smarter, but it's tighter and the lyrics are, as a whole, MUCH better. Though not all of them. "The Rodge," for example, appears to be some sort of incredibly unfunny inside joke. Who needs crap like that?

Oh! Another thing -- great vocal harmonies begin on this album. Very quivery vocal harmonies by guys who probably shouldn't be attempting vocal harmonies. Gives it a very bizarre, enjoyable, unique sound! So close to going out of tune, and in fact they occasionally do -- but oh, the effort! Would you please appreciate the effort for once in your hornswagglin' lifetote?

Reader Comments
The Vandals sucked after Stevo the clown left. Warren is a dickhead that should have never been in the band.
I like the Vandals before fear of punk planet came out, but the band is still fucking hilarious, there even funny live. hey punk rock needs some humor.
Hey! I need crap like The Rodge! Of course, it's about a minute too long and rather unfunny, but man, what a riff. (Simple as it may be.) I'll agree with an 8, as Girls Turn 18 Every Day and Pizza Tran are still two of my ten favorite Vandals' songs, but some of this album sucks. (Like the guitar tone.) The bonus tracks kick ass, especially the cover of Kokomo with a solo that makes Greg Ginn seem like he plays in key and China Town, which rags on Asians so much you just know Prindle wishes he wrote it. (Chuck T)
While I agree that "The Rodge" is an unfunny song, I don't think it's really all that inside of a joke. I assume that it's a reference to one of the main characters from that wacky show from the '70s called "What's Happening." As far as the Vandals and inside jokes go, I wonder who the hell Pat Brown is or what they've got against GE Smith ("blonde Frankenstein with dutchboy hair" HA!).
I thoroughly enjoy this album and it is one of my favourites of all time. Great guest appearances and overall good vibe throughout the album. I found this album to be like a stencil to what became in the later albums. By far china town just does it the most outta all the vandals tunes for me.
The newer Vandals sans Steveo should have changed to another name. I honestly like both versions of the band, regardless of the differences. Steveo's work with the Vandals, when taken in context to when it came out was fucking brilliant.

The Escalante Vandals are great too. They have written tons of great songs, and make me laugh as hard today as Steveo did in the early 80's.

Sneering down your nose at Steveo reminds of a movie review I read of the original King Kong that was written a couple of years ago. The jackass who did the reviewing spent all of his time jerking off to the lack of plot, the inconsistencies, the racial stereotypes etc. He is absolutely right from today's standpoint. However, King Kong rocked when taken in its historical context. No one had ever seen anything like it before, and it was the granddaddy of all special effects movies.

Boy am I long winded or what. I am old.

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Sweatin' To The Oldies: Live – Triple X 1991
Rating = 7

The current line-up playing mostly songs by the original line-up, along with some at-the-time new songs from Fear Of A Punk Planet. If I may so bold, a lot of the early songs just sucked – "Mohawk Town"? "Lady Killer"? "H.B. Hotel"? "The Master Race In Outer Space"? I can't even figure out why the current line-up would have agreed to play shit like that. Just awful, awful, stupid songs. Plus the sound is raggedy and the vocals don't sound nearly as good without all those neat vocal harmonies. Talent reigns supreme at the end of the day though, and Warren Fitzgerald acts like a hyperactive sexist nincompoop the entire time which somehow comes across as really fuckin' funny though he may very well be a "dickhead," as a reader on this page calls him. As a whole, it's a good solid record with good solid adrenaline and some classic riffs like "Anarchy Burger" and "Hey Homes!," but it's no place to start your Vandals collection. They got MUCH better right after this was recorded. Like, that very same night. They finished their set and then got really good. Fie you, thee Timing Overlords of Coldflame!

Reader Comments
I stand by my original statement. Nitro's rerelease is definitely a 10. To quote Warren Fitzgerald from Pirate's Life, "Fucking God damnit fucking FUCK God damnit." I couldn't agree more. Classic indeed. And hey, some of us like those stupid songs like the ones you listed.

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* Live Fast, Diarrhea - Nitro 1995. *
Rating = 10

Perfection. One of the funniest, smartest, tightest, fastest and catchiest punk rock albums I have ever heard in my life (and I've heard quite a few!). Every one of these 15 tracks is a fucking riot. The subject matterconcerns the annoyances of everyday life. The backdrop is high-speed Epitaph-type punk rock - not necessarily innovative, but always infectious as a groove. And the lyrics are incredible. Sharp, witty -- basically brilliant from beginning to end.

You need examples. Okay. There's a grindcore song about waiting in line for amusement park rides. The chorus is "Up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, WHEE!" In a grindcore song. Another song is entitled "Not In My Back Yard." With such an innocuous title, what could the song possibly be about, you ask? It's about a city council passing an ordinance banning G.E. Smith from the Saturday Night Live band from moving into their town ("We must live free of this Hall and Oates reject"). Elsewhere on the album, they trash Rage Against The Machine ("I'm a lazy piece of shit/an animal on handouts from an evil government"), brag about how they never change their pants ("Wanna make sweet love to you...pants"), warn against the evils of the mustache ("Mustache is authority/the world is run by assholes/They try to run our lives/from their golden mustache castles") and urge all to appreciate the sanctity of a birthday ("It's my birthday and I'll do what I want to/Fuck you, it's my birthday"). And folks, EVERY song is like this. From beginning to end, filled with hilarious rhymes, non-sequitors and ludicrous obscenities.

An absolute must-own album. Hell, the lyrics sheet alone is a must-own, and the music is great punk rock too!

Reader Comments
Fuck, this is a 10 too. Except for Soup of The Day and I Have A Date, this is the quintessential 90's pop-punk record. But hey, your Blink-182 loving peers will love I Have A Date. They'll love it, just like how they love being retarded. If Pat Brown was the songwriting culmination of the original lineup, then N.I.M.B.Y. is the culmination of the new lineup. I would consider this to be one of the five greatest punk albums ever made. But I wouldn't call this Epitaph-type punk rock. It's just too damn good. How Johnny Twobags didn't become a radio hit is beyond me, because it's catchy as hell. Then again, this whole album is... even Take It Back, which took a while to grow on me.

Gerald Young
I guess WBinder007 doesn’t realize that “I Have A Date” is a cover of a great song by the old Orange County band The Simpletones (who were NOT a ska band even though the word “tones” appears in their name). In fact, they were one of the bands on the Beach Blvd comp. And if you’ve seen the video the Vandals did for it, where Warren plays a male prostitute, there’s no way you could not like the song. While I have an appreciation for the Vandals, at least up until the last two albums, I totally hold them responsible for the abomination known as Guttermouth.
Hey, I'm from Uruguay (South America) and yes, things change all the time over here, but they always get worse with every change! And your government has a lot to do with it!

Ok, about the Vandals, I owned "Fear of a punk planet" when I read your reviews, so I bought "Live Fat Diarrhea" after reading the thing (spending a lot of money to get it from the U.S. 'cause you can't find their records here) and I just love it and it was worth the money and more! Should I say thanks for the service? Nice review.

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The Quickening - Nitro 1996.
Rating = 8

The slightly disappointing follow-up. Still tons of bright, brilliant lyrics, but a few too many parodies of love songs ("Marry Me," "But Then She Spoke," "Hungry For You" and "I'll Make You Love Me") and a couple of situations where the band finds it necessary to preach to their audience, which is kind of unexpected and unwanted ("Marry Me" is an unfunny rant against marriage and "Tastes Like Chicken" is an MDC-esque attack on meat-eaters).

Otherwise, as great as always. Utilizing the same tight, produced, high-speed punk music as the last couple of albums, they present some bonafide should-be classics making fun of Islam, that old punk band Agent Orange (in the song "Aging Orange" - ha!) and MTV's "Rock The Vote" campaign ("Now let me get this straight/you want MTV viewers/the world's biggest losers/to vote?/The idea's wrong/in fact there ought to be a law/If you can sit through a Silverchair video/you shouldn't be allowed to vote at all").

And one other song must be mentioned here - "Canine Euthanasia." As a new puppy owner, I was prepared to be thoroughly turned off by this song, but what do you know? It is a sincere and heartbreaking goodbye letter from guitarist Warren Fitzgerald to his beloved dog Arfy, who has grown old and sick and must be put to sleep. So sad. It made me sad. A wonderful song that you simply wouldn't expect from a bunch of lifelong jokers like The Vandals.

Reader Comments
Yeah, 8 sounds good. Why the fuck did they switch the guitar tone?! It was perfect! Ah, fuck it. Marry Me may not be all that funny, but the music kicks ass. Hungry For You ain't all that bad either. It's A Fact, Aging Orange, Allah... wow. Close to a 9, but there's a few too many throaway songs, like (But Then) She Spoke and How Did This Loser Get A Job. Choosing Your Masters would be a great song, but oh, thats right, it's backed by just about the worst music any Vandal, past or present has ever come up with. (Gee, thanks Joe.)

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Play Really Bad Original Country Tunes - Kung Fu 1999.
Rating = 7

This is a repackaging of a rare 1989 album called Slippery When Ill that was created by Dave Quackenbush on vocals, Jan Nils Ackermann on guitar, Joe Escalante on drums, and one "Robbie Allen" on bass. This isn't the funniest Vandals release ever (in fact, they pretty much play it straight on about half of the album) -- it IS, however, an entertaining one. As the title suggests, our Vandal boys concentrate on cowpunk and warped C/W on this record. And they do it well! Dave doesn't sound completely confident in his role yet (he hits the notes fine, but sounds a little stiff), but Ackermann proves that he knows his C/W scales just as well as that guy in Social Distortion! And though the guitarwork is much less distorted than on most Vandals releases, many of the songs are still punk speed, since country and punk share the same "boomp-chick" drumbeat. Even if you hate this type of music, it's still The Vandals so you're still probably going to enjoy it.

More hilarious poetry for your enjoyment: "Clowsn are neato Clowns are fun/Clowns are loved by everyone/Cops n' commies even fags/Everybody loves a gag." Ha!

I really like The Vandals! They even cover a Bob Roberts song on this album! A goddamned Bob Roberts song!!!!! I saw that movie THREE TIMES the week it came out! Yes, it was obvious preachy propaganda, but Tim Robbins just kicks so much ass, I couldn't help but fall for it. The Dylan video parody, the creepy kids who were obsessed with Bob - all of it, Jeeves. Mangalopia! Really Bad Original Country Tunes? More like "Really GOOD Original Country Tunes," if you ask Pee!!!!!

Oh, did I write "Pee" there? Sorry about that. I meant "Really GOOD Original Country Tunes," if you ask Pee!!!!!

Reader Comments
Ehh, my dad likes country and this kicks the shit out of what he likes, but I wouldn't give it a spin when I could grab Live Fast instead. I say it's a 6, and I think the difference between the country scales on this and Mike Ness' is that Warren (I think he played on this, but I wouldn't know as I don't have the original on vinyl) isn't a junkie loser trying way too hard to be Johnny Cash. Sucks that Dennis Danell died though, he seemed like the only cool one in that band. The lyrics on this one are great, though, and the music is impressive when you consider that The Vandals were coming off of When In Rome when they originally did this. Closer to a 7. (Jeff Fortin)
I guess I don't like the fact that they kinda apologized for this re-release be calling it "Play Really Bad Original Country Tunes." They should have called it "Slippery When Ill" and being a traditionalist, they should have included the entire album, but for some reason they replaced "Illa Zilla Lady Killer" and "Sh'ite Punk" with two other songs. This is the reason that I will stick to my tape version of the original and not buy the new version. It would be like taking the Beatles "Revolver" and replacing "Good Day Sunshine" and "She Said, She Said" with some recording room throwaways. Nonetheless, I loved "Slippery When Ill." I would give it a 7.5. I was totally pissed when I originally bought it because I was expecting to hear more tunes like "Pat Brown" and "Anarchy Burger" and I got this country crap. Eventually it grew on me and my friend Chuck. We absolutly loved this album (and the movie "Dudes") and had talked about moving west to become cowboys (we wisely decided on college instead).

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Oi To The World! Christmas With The Vandals - Kung Fu 1996.
Rating = 9

So I was in a record store last weekend (a few days before Xmas) and they were playing some R'n'B gospel Christmas shit blues album that stupid old people like, and the stupid old bag that owns the store very loudly and conceitedly said to his young metalhead co-employee, "This is probably the best Christmas album ever recorded." And of course, all I could think to myself was, "You're old."

This album is pure genius from start to, well you know, the part at the end. And it's not just because of obviously funny songs like "My First Xmas, As A Woman," "A Gun For Christmas" and "Christmas Time For My Penis." It's more than that. It's the hardcore version of "Dance Of The Sugarplum Fairies." It's the most unbelievably hilarious Subhumans parody you could ever imagine, "I Don't Believe in Santa Clause." It's the slow, suicidal-inducing album closer, "Hang Myself From The Tree." It's the vocal showcase by mealy-mouthed bassist Joe Escalante, who warbles his way through "Here I Am Lord" like the retarded kid in the holiday pageant. It's all this and more. Filled to the Jim with the same extraordinary lyricism we've come to expect from The Vandals, Oi To The World! is the punk rock Christmas album that you'll want to listen to all year round!

Unless, of course, you have "good taste." If that's the case, go pick up a REAL Christmas album and leave the good stuff to us smart people.

Or rather, to ME and the smart people. I'm not particularly smart. But at least I know I'm not. I'm not laboring under any misconceptions here. So at least give me credit for that.

Reader Comments
Well, I think this should have been an EP with only six or seven songs, because it seems like a few on here were written at the last minute. Still, the title track kicks ass (even if No Doubt did butcher the fuck out of it) and the Subhumans parody almost made me piss my pants. If nothing else, Here I Am Lord proves that Joe should never sing, and Jackass proves he should never use Dexter Holland as a co-writer on a song.

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Hitler Bad, Vandals Good. - Nitro 1998.
Rating = 8

Why are three different songs on here that sound like "Pachelbel's Canon"? That offends my nose and yours too. Lyrics hilarious, music has more in it like brass and lead guitars and stuff. Fantastic punk cover of "So Long, Farewell" from that musical you like. Also songs about mullets and rednecks and girls and things. Funny and good. So tired. Monkeys, helicopters, guys getting older. Look at the picture they lok older than before because with age people get wrinkles and such. The songsa are good. Still fast! But with most stuff in the mix like I said, like on the Xmas laumbm too. It snowed a lot here this morning and all day and my puppy kepps fgoing tin to the neighbor's yard - he goes tover the plant and also behfind the snow sno wis os o cold i put a mnoutnain of it under the bench and it was so cold it hurt my fingers and my pupy got mad tat me for stomething and he joeneidn a cut in my hadn but that's oka6y the oimpotrant thing is the ath te Vandla have madea nother great album 3with vunnyt lycird snt ahgt will make ytiou lau8gh and jyou'll dance to the punk rokc ktheis i hwahts' it's ahboolr about ain lifkea i'm tnont a doctor nor do i have any plans to be a doictor.

Reader Comments
My first encounter with the Vandals. For being insanely radio-friendly when compared to Live Fast, this is still incredibly enjoyable. I'll give it a high 9, but it would be a 10 if they didn't have the two truly classic albums already under their belts. I can't think of a song that sucks on here. Oh, wait- the music People That Are Going To Hell gets on my nerves, but other than that... well, My Girlfriend's Dead is hideously overrated, but it still kicks ass.

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Look What I Almost Stepped In... - Nitro 2000.
Rating = 8

They're getting older and tired of not having any money. So they're trying really, really, really hard to have a hit single. Recording Everclear-type easy-on-the-ears faux "pop-punk" like "The New You," "San Berdu" and the DISGUSTINGLY annoying "Kick It". Hell, even some of the BEST songs on here ("Jackass," "Behind The Music") are radio-friendly pop-punk salvaged only by anti-radio-friendly lyrics and (I'm ashamed to say it) astonishingly catchy pop riffs.

I can see this album pissing off a LOT of old Vandals fans. This really does sound like a sellout. The production, the guitar playing, the vocal melodies - they all sound calculated for radio success. But man, they're STILL catchy as hell (aside from those first three songs I mentioned, which I really do actively HATE) and a good half of the songs are good old offensive, hilarious Vandals goodness ("Go" is a call-to-action from the lazy to the lazy, "That's My Girl" is a wonderful Beach Boys send-up about the joy of dating the most obnoxious girl at the party and the album-closer "Fourteen"...... sigh. Well, it's about the narrator's disappointment about not being able to make love to the object of his affections because... well, I suppose you can figure that out from the title).

So yes, it's a different type of Vandals album. Not nearly as punk, more radio-friendly and poppy, still funny and smart though. And quite frankly, "Jackass" SHOULD be a hit single. It may be slow and Offspring-esque, but it sure is catchier than anything Matchbox 20 have come up with thus far!

Reader Comments
Hey, just wanted to say the follwing: It's about fucking time you reviewed the complete Vandals catalogue. Well, almost: You forgot the Sweating To The Oldies: The Vandals Play Live album. It was recorded before Live Fast Diarrhea, but Nitro records re-released it with some songs from Live Fast live on KUCI Radio. Let me just say, it is amazing. It should be the 10, not Live Fast, simply because it is the current Vandals line-up playing all of their old songs. I'm pretty sure the songs are: (in no order whatsoever) Anarchy Burger, Pizza Tran, Legend Of Pat Brown, Pirate's Life, Mohawk Town, Master Race (In Outer Space), Lady Killer (with a studio overdub of Warren's guitar solo), Wanna Be Manor (with a short cover of TSOL's Superficial Love in the middle of the song), H.B. Hotel, Urban Struggle, Join Us For Pong, Girls Turn 18 Every Day, Hey Holmes, and Teenage Idol and the bonus songs And Now We Dance, N.I.M.B.Y. and But Then She Spoke.

Overall, its the best Vandals recording, and not just because of the stage patter. Not just because of the set list. (Although I could do withou Pirate's Life and Hey Holmes) Not just because it's 66 friggin' minutes long, but because it is quite possible the most entertaining live record ever made. If you thought the original versions of the old Vandals stuff sounded good, this will blow you away. Warren Fiztgerald can play better one-handed (which he does, get the concert video) than Jan Ackermann ever could, and Josh Freese truly is the best drummer in the world right now. I urge you, get the album and the video; you definitely won't regret it. Finally (my God I'm blabbering) I'm a little confused about the album ratings. You rant and rave about Look What I Almost Stepped In containing some really, really shitty songs, yet give it an 8. I like about half of that album. (to be specific, Behind The Music, Jackass, 14, San Berdu, Flowers Are Pretty, Thats My Girl, Go! and Get A Room) Then, at the same time, you give the vastly superior Hitler Bad, Vandals Good the same rating. What gives?

It's been awhile since I gave this one a spin, and it shall get no higher than a 6. Too much filler. Kick It blows big donkey dick, and suddenly Jackass seems incredibly generic. I can only hope for their next release they revisit their glory days of the mid nineties. I doubt it though. When I say them live (May 5th, great show) most of what they played was off of this or Hitler Bad.

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Internet Dating Super Studs - Kung Fu 2002.
Rating = 8

Unlike on their distressingly kinda radio-ready (but great regardless) last release Look What I Almost Stepped In, the Vandals aren't trying to have a hit record anymore. They're back to what they do best, which is superfast poppy melodic punk with great harmony vocals, clever lyrics and dozens of little quirky thingamajigs happening in the music. If you need some uplifting, you are going to love the happy vibes of

this CD. Guitarist Warren Fitzgerald pulls off some of the most exhileratingly infectious lead breaks of his life in Instant Camera like "Appreciate My Honesty," "We'll All Get Laid" and even a SCOTTISH style break in "I Can't Wait." The drummer is tight as a knuckle fuckle and bassist Joe Escalante plays that bass like a guy with a bass guitar all playin' it and throwin' it around and juggling it on his ass. Vandals = Great! They spraypaint your car and tie you up with a chain and drop you off a boat!

THINGS THAT ARE DIFFERENT: There's this frigging hilarious song called "Where's Your Dignity?" attacking fellers who pine and whine and cry and sigh about an ex-girlfriend who is just laughing at them. If you are one of these people, you need to take a step back and realize that you're not missing ANYTHING if the girl doesn't want you. If she doesn't want you, FUKKER. Get someone new that's better and isn't dating her professor. I'm just speaking in general. And the song - wait I forgot, this is why I brought it up in the first place - it's 50s style doowop! And "I'm Becoming You' has beautiful harmony vocals! The best ever ever! And "Disproportioned Head" is HILARIOUS! It's about a guy with a disproportioned head! Guess what it's called! And "The Unseen Tears of the Albacore" is a serious, sad song about poor fishies getting eaten for food, unlike things that are eaten for clothing. And "My Brain Tells My Body" has a Frampton-style mouth-guitar solo! And "My Brother Is Gay" features a harmonics-based guitar line like that Smashing Pumpkins song that goes "BANANA-GEE-GOO-GOO-GOO-BANANANA-GEE-GOO-GOO-GOO" - i THINK Its' bcalle "Zero the Hero By Black Sabbath Featuring Its Star Ian Gillan." The melodies are great too! They're new! They're alive! They're excitable, energetic melodic happy punk!

The Vandals are so much one of my favorite bands that I'm giving this a 8. And "Lord Of Dance" has annoying corny synth bloops! And I drank too really big alcoholic drinks tonight! And I'm really down on myself tonight because I'm too fuciking STUPID to write a decent conference call speech for American Tecnical Seramics (misspelled to thwart google search - GOTCHA!)

Certainly there are a few songs that don't grab me completely - "Soccer Mom" takes too long to turn from a generic pop song into a generic hardcore (and thus, great) song. And "Little Weirdo" is a huge fucking ripoff of October Sky, so much so that I'm considering suing the band for copyright infringement even though I didn't write OCctboer Sky. It's GREAT to hear this band return to their old sound instead of trying to sound even more like whatsername - OFFSPRINK. Because the Vandals have always been better than the OFFSPRINK and it's a sin and an insult to think that OFFSPRINK is better because they had two really bad hit singles. "WE'LL ALL GET LAID" has maybe the greatest lead guitar line Warren has ever played, but it seems to lose its way about halfway through the verse. GODDAMMIT, SONG! You've got to hear me and believe me when I say BUY ALL THE VANDALS ALBUMS (except When In Rome Do As The Vandals, unless you're like 6). We hopped in a cab tonight and forgot that I didn't have any money. So I jumped out to go to an ATM by our apartment and the cab driver threw my wife out. FREE RIDE! Busted for being free! Busted for being me! The Vandals' singer has a fantastically likable voice. I want to be his friend when I listen to him sing! I was supposed to at some point interview the bassist/founder Joe Escalante, but who knows what's up with that. I put way too much pressure on myself - if you could take some off of me, that would be great. I can't seem to do it. I make myself do so many things all the time. Then there's work where other people make me do stuff. One of these days I'm going to wake up and realize I'm dead. And what do I have to show for it? Nothing but a bunch of Benson episodes I wrote under pseudonyms. Baseball gloves are like women - They're great for handling balls.

Trees are like gay people - They're always attached to a root.

Bic lighters are like black people - They'll both help you light your crack pipe.

Yes albums are like Mexicans - You can't understand a single fucking word from either of them.

I made up every single one of those punchlines within five minutes after randomly writing down the "jokes." Do you understand what this means? For one thing, it means that "Weird Al" Yankovic isn't any good at all. Secondly it means that I'm not talking about the Vandals anymore. Third, it means that I need to sober up and deleteteteteetetetetetetetetetetetet my HUGE ASS HAIR. Dangling down my left trouser leg, dragging along the ground. Guy steps on it, it pinches me, I exclaim "Death to a4rj89jaoeriojijikj



Reader Comments
how the FUCK could you forget to mention Josh Freese!? He is by far the best drummer there has ever been. All these people nowadays are like "Oh, Dave Grohl is in this band, he's the best drummer ever" but they don't know shit about anything. Josh Freese has worked with countless bands. He's been on all but the first 2 Vandals albums, he did drums for A Perfect Circle, a couple of DEVO albums, hell, if you want an almost complete discography, go here and see just how truly godlike he is. He even has a fucking one man band in which he plays guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and sings! I swear, if he and Les Claypool ever form a band, I would die a happy man.
Dreadful, dreadful band. I can't believe you think a no-joke band like the Vandals are even worth mentioning, let alone reviewing. (Edd)
I just read your vandals review and was disappointed by the emphasis on the lyrics and vocals all the time. I know its a factor, but you didnt seem to mention or take any other instruments into consideration. Josh and Warren are excellent musicians, but hardly any mention of them. As a whole, nice work though.

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Live At The House Of Blues - Kung Fu 2004
Rating = 8

Episode 9 of Kung Fu Films' top-selling The Show Must Go Off DVD concert series is another fine offering by Kung Fu Joe's own personal band That Vandals. Kung Fu Joe's band has already released two concert DVDs, but one is literally fifty billion years old and the other one focuses only on their hilarious Christmas-themed CD Oi! The The World. So long-time fans like me (I became a fan in 1999, a full century ago) should be overexuberated by this sassy, energetic horse ride through their full-flavored library of punk rock hits. They don't play anything from their first three releases (which featured a revolving line-up of band members aside from stalwart then-drummer, now-bassist Kung Fu Joe), but otherwise every album is represented here in all of its good-time high-speed fun-loving glamour! (Specifically, 1 song each from Fear Of A Punk Planet and Oi! To The World, 2 each from The Quickening and Look What I Almost Stepped In, 6 each from Internet Dating Super Studs and Hitler Bad, Vandals Good, 4 from Live Fast Diarrhea, 2 from The Quickening, 1 from Oi! To The World and 6 from The Quickening, for a total of 58 songs)

Two things hit home really hard at me while listening to the attached CD. And these are good things, regardless of my confusing and agrammatical set-up. The first is that the Vandals' high-speed chord-driven punk rock is incredibly exuberant and HAPPY. I guess I always knew this, but in the live setting with stage banter and what-have-you, it's just so much more obvious what a fun, funny and positive punk unit they are. The second is that guitarist Warren Fitzgerald is the Rick Nielsen of punk rock. And I mean that only in the most positive sense. Not only does he sheepishly wear a hat to hide his baldness, write hilarious lyrics about sometimes questionable subject matter and manically shout silly things on stage like a hyperactive clown, but his guitar riffs are clearly based on pre-existing music (for Rick, it was Beatles power pop; for Warren, it's three decades of punk rock), yet they ring new because of his distinctly quirky, humorous and inimitable approach to the form. Listen to his darn-near-VAUDEVILLE guitar hooks (not to mention Kung Fu Joe's bass line) in the 5000-mile-an-hour "My Brain Tells My Body" and try to think of ANY other punk rocker who would dare to put that kind of musical humor into his songwriting. If the punk genre is sometimes accused of putting attitude over substance, Warren is the antidote. Just as Rick Nielsen did back when he was any fucking good AT ALL (1980?), Warren Fitzgerald at his best writes lead lines and breaks that are spastic, bizarre, intelligent and as catchy as the day is also catchy.

This item can be purchased as either a CD with bonus DVD or as a DVD with bonus CD. But I really must warn you that three of their most infuriatingly cliched songs are included; "An Idea For A Movie," "People That Are Going To Die" and "My Girlfriend's Dead" are ALL based on the melody of Pachelbel's "Canon In D." I've complained about this before, but Kung Fu Joe just won't listen to reason. What's his deal, that Kung Fu Joe?

By the way, as far as I know, nobody actually calls him "Kung Fu Joe," so let's all start doing it just to annoy him.

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Hollywood Potato Chip - Kung Fu 2004
Rating = 9

"The Sweater" by Mark Prindle
Parody of "The Letter" (Wayne Carson Thompson)
New lyrics by "Strange Mark" Prindle

Gimme a ticket for a pair of pants
Ain't got time to go to a high school dance
I just wrote that verse
Surprised it wasn't worse
Although I guess it could have been better

I don't care how many verses I gotta write
I could sit here writing lyrics all night
I'm filled with hilarity
And so I write this parody
Of the famous Box Tops song "The Letter"

Well, I'm writing "The Sweater" 'cuz I couldn't li (*is stabbed to death by own pencil*)

If you live in Orange County like I do, you've likely been following The Vandals' every move for the past two decades. And through all the changes and upheaval -- the entirely different line-up of the early '80s, the high-speed hilarious hardcore of the early '90s, the slight, half-hearted attempts to streamline into a more straightforward pop-punk hit machine in the late '90s -- you've wondered, "How long can they keep writing such great tunes? They aren't going to give up their eccentricities and turn into a normal serious 'singing about girls' band, are they? If so, I will no longer have any reason to live in this cesspool of shit they call Orange County."

Okay, I live in Manhattan County, but there's so much asbestos removal going on, it smells like an orange.

Your answer to whatever question you may or may not have had is right here and it's "HOLY SHIT, IS THIS A GREAT GODDAMNED VANDALS ALBUM." Although I try not to tell people the "Secrets of the Celebrities," I must relate to you what founding Vandals bassist Joe Escalante told me about this record before my ears had come into contact with its wonderfulness: "When Warren (Fitzgerald, Vandals guitarist/chief songwriter) played me the new songs, I wasn't really into them at first. I felt like there were no hooks, no catchy choruses. But then I played them more and more, and they sounded better and better, and now I really like all of them. Basically, it's full of the kind of songs that YOU (meaning me, Mark Prindle, America's Patriot) would like. There's no 'My Girlfriend's Dead'/'People Who Are Going To Hell'-type songs on there."

This description not only excited all parts of me aside from my pecker (I'm unfortunately not gay, nor is Joe a woman), but it turned to be absolutely true. Like Joe, I listened through the songs one time and thought, "Umm.... okay, well that was certainly a bunch of songs. I suppose." But then I listened again and again, and different qualities of the work began shining into my canal. First of all, the mix is quite literally nearly twice as loud as that of the last Vandals album. The guitar tracks ROAR at you, and it sounds like there are about fifty of them in the mix at any given time. Secondly, the vocals are perfection in action. Half the time, Dave screams in that awesome higher register he used back in the olden Live Fast, Diarrhea days, and the rest of the time, his melodic lead vocal is accompanied by beautious poppitul ON-KEY harmony vocals of loveliness. Third of all, though it's not a straight-through hardcore album, it DOES contain three or four of the fastest, meanest hardcore songs the band has ever recorded, and the majority of the happier-sounding tracks are pretty damned uptempo too. Fourthly in this never-ending list of qualities, "Don't Make Me Get My Fat, Lazy Ass Off This Couch" is a wonderful, wonderful song. But I may only be saying that because it's playing right now. FUCK, IT'S SUCH A GREAT SONG!!! Listen to that vocal melody! GODDAMN YOU FOR RULING, YOU VANDAL PEOPLE!

Okay, calm me down. Back to the real list. Number five: As always, Warren ensures that the mix is full of DVD-like "easter eggs" that you don't notice unless you sit right between the speakers (so DO so!). The best of these would have to be the unbelivably stupid call-response rhythm guitar tracks in Dave's "Atrocity" (also highlighted by his laugh-out-loud emotional screams, "I'M BUILDING A BOMB! I AM! I'M BUILDING A BOMB!"), but there's plenty else too. Lots of goofy sci-fi noises and humorous guitar snippets and such. I think I'm on number 14 now, as far as numbers go, so let's relax our restrictive review format and just hang out for a while.


That was great. What's also great is number six: the most consistently clever lyrics you could hope for by a bunch of decrepit old aged concubines. The sentiments are as vehement and snotty as always, but even more veiled and depressed-sounding than before. For example, "Be A Good Robot" sure SOUNDS like a basic punk rock anti-conformity sentiment until you listen a bit closer and realize that Warren is trashing the PUNKS THEMSELVES for being so conformist: "Pierce your nose/Wear different clothes/And indicate that you will never be one of them/But that's how they win!" Other fine Fitzgerald compositions express desperation at the horrifying state of lazy, fat humanity 2K4: (a) the narrator of aforementioned "Don't Make Me Get My Fat & Lazy Ass Off This Couch" blames his life's failures on "the people who are in front of me" who "deliberately block me from my dreams and progress," (b) the protaganist of "My Neck, My Back" is overheatedly excited about his plan to "drop some bricks on my head" and live off worker's comp for the rest of his life, (c) Warren's disgust REALLY comes to fruition on the seething speedcore "Dig A Hole" ("You think it's stupid now? You'll see/We're only borderline retarded compared to where we'll be/The future generation has their work cut out for them/Keep lowering the bar and dig a hole to put it in."), before (d) he completely gives up hope on the CD's sparkling, hauntingly pretty coda, "I Am Crushed": "'You've got your life in front of you," and so I must reply/That that is just more bad news 'cuz I'd really rather die.... 'Keep looking on the bright side,' but that just hurts my eyes/And if you really cared then you would simply let me die."

Sure, there are a few chord sequences that could use a coat of original paint ("My Special Moment" and "Designed By Satan" aren't anywhere near as memorable musically as they are lyrically), but when you take a look at the overall project, with its rip-roaring production, wonderful vocals, oodles of interesting guitar playing, lyrics to jibe your woo, drums to look at, beats so fast you lose them, and a Queen cover so on-the-money that you'll suddenly recognize glam influences in a LOT of Warren's riffs. Seriously, "I Am Crushed" and "My Special Moment" are as anthemic as anything Messrs May, Mercury and (George) Michael (the true heartbeat of the band) ever wrote down on gay paper and recorded on gay vinyl. I'm more than willing to trash these hacks when they start to blow, but as it is, they appear to be pretty much better than they've ever been before (except for Live Fast, Diarrhea, of course, which All-Music Guide awards 1 star out of 5 because they're geniuses). So keep it up Steve-o, Jan and Chalmer, because you guys are at the top of your game!

Reader Comments (Austin)
It's too bad that you are old and a male.

You appreciate the Vandals and the New Bomb Turks. Two of my favorite bands. Usually, it's either neither or "that mullet song."

So I've read your past reviews of these two bands but then the Vandals released a new one and I wanted the scoop on it. Now I will buy it with confidence because your reviews are text-based Enzyte. At first I read this horrible review from a horrible domain name and I was slightly shaken but then I noticed that they can't even maintain the CD image on that page. Now I see a song about punk conformists and I again rejoice in the existence of the Vandals and see that as reason enough alone to buy the CD. Kinda like "Anti" on Fear of a Punk Planet, or "Anarchy Burger" on that old CD. But it sounds more direct this time. Now I'm just waiting for to give the Vandals a low rating because the Vandals are, I dunno, distasteful in their lyrical substructuring, not to mention childish.

You know, like they did with At Rope's End. QUOTE: What the hell is a farfisa? Whatever it is, the New Bomb Turks manage to incorporate it on their latest release. The astounding elusiveness of this theoretical instrument (my encyclopedias offered no insight) typifies what's happening on the record as a whole; strange sources of inspiration, not easily identifiable, not easily digestible, compel you to scream, "Okay! I submit! Average Band you are not; you have challenged my listening sensibilities, you have offered me something that fails to fall conveniently into any familiar schema; nonetheless, at record's end I'm not sure if I'm impressed, or just confused." I'm sure the author of this would have a similar response if I told him I used GOOGLE for internet searches. Text or even pictures . They even have a website, which I added the New Bomb Turks to. Maybe he should have typed the word farfisa into internet explorer at the top, which leads to a search, too. A thing many stupid people do when they are new to the internet. I think I'll copy and paste this portion of the e-mail to pitchfork and they'll ignore it. Now I'm satisfied.

Anyways, back to you and I. I think the extent of our relationship should be maybe the posting of this medley of comments wherever you see fit. It could be dangerous otherwise.

P.S. -- I apologize for the lack of bad grammar and punctuation, as well as the overall controlled writing style.
I just heard Stevo died of a overdose of Oxycontin yesterday on his home island of Maui.

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Shingo Japanese Remix Album - Kung Fu 2005
Rating = 8

In the words of Bob Dylan, "My pumps don't work and The Vandals took my sandals." Luckily even Shoeless Joe Prindle can find the wis and witdom of a presumably Japanese man horrifically sensational when conjoined with vocals from punk rock songs he has so enjoyed in the past.

In the words of Buffalo Springfield, "There's a man with some gum in his hair." Likewise, Mr. Shingo - presumably a "Dee Jay" in a "Rap Band" - has on this release taken the vocals from 8 Internet Dating Superstuds and 3 Hollywood Potato Chip songs, and placed them atop phat rap-dance beats, fun jazz samples, synth lines, horn sections, sax solos, scratching, soul vocals and all sorts of other catchy things. In the process, he has created not only entirely new songs but DANCEY, LOVABLE ones that even girls with no interest in punk rock can enjoy. Take my wife -- PLEASE! I wrote that. But also, take my wife for example: she only knows the original versions of two songs on here ("Disproportioned Head" and "The Unseen Tears Of The Albacore") but she LOVES this CD. It's by far her favorite Vandals record and she's planning to put all of it into her "iPod," whatever in Christ's name that is (some sort of musical dildo, I think). So don't assume that you won't enjoy this unless you own the last two Vandals records. That will just make an 'ass' out of 'um' and e".

However, if you do own the last two Vandals records, you're in for a Tri-City Tasty Tray of a good time! Not only does Shingo replace the original punk rock instrumentation with his own; most of the time, he also completely changes the melody and thus the emotional tone of the song. At times, even the key is twisty-shuffled, converting the singer's vocal line into something it was never intended to be in nature. Please do understand -- as a non-dancey man, I expected to feel hate in my soul towards this CD. But it turned out to be as catchy and hooky as legendary Atlanta Braves catcher Captain Hook!

Highlights include:

- "" as swingin' flapper music
- "Appreciate My Honesty" as slow groovy lounge jazz
- "Disproportioned Head" as sweet horn-driven soul
- "When I Say You, I Mean Me" set to dark minor-key piano and slow sax line
- "The Unseen Tears Of The Albacore" with warbly "BWOOSH!" synth chords, fast dance beat and "Shake it; Shake your bum-bum" backup vocals
- "I'm Becoming You" as happy piano dance with intermittent "I wanna see ya baby!" vocal breaks
- "My Neck, My Back" as Japanese Fun-Fuzzy-Electro-Synth-Punk
- "Lord Of The Dance" as horn-driven swing music, complete with incongruous Jamaican man talking over tribal drum break
- Three other songs

It's too bad Shingo only had access to two of their albums (probably something copyright-related), but he certainly made a mountain out of his molehills -- plus there's a hidden bonus track that incorporates frozen moments from "Oi! To The World," "Thanks For Nothing," "Kokomo," "N.I.M.B.Y.," "So Long, Farewell," "Summer Luvin'," "It's A Fact," "I Have A Date" and possibly other Vandals recordings that I'm unable to place. Can you think of anything better? Probably so, but those in the latter stages of Alzheimer's Disease probably can't, and that's what's so sad.

Also, if you have a dog that you like a lot, you should sing it this thing I wrote to the tune of John Lennon's "Mother":

Henryyyyy (insert the name of your own dog here, of course)
You left me
To go to the next rooo-oooo-ooom
I-I-I called to youuuuu
You came to see me
So I-I-I-I-I
I just gotta tell youuuuu
"Good booo-oooo-ooy!"
"Goooooood booooooooy."
Henry don't go -
Have a Milk Bone!
Henry don't go -
Have a Milk Bone!
Henry don't goooooooooooooo!
Have a Milk Bone!

Many say it's inappropriate to convert a harrowing song about an abandoned child into the celebration of a good dog, but those people need to lighten up. Perhaps I'll send them a copy of my children's book, Henry The Dog's Kampf.

Reader Comments
Yes I agree, it was a shame that only songs from the last two albums were used. It would have been great to hear I Have A Date, Stop Smiling and NIMBY remixed. This album is pretty fun, but I say that the songs go on much longer than any self respecting Vandals tune should. (5 minutes!!!!). It's also great to hear Daves vocals witout being drowed out so much by the music, because it really highlioghts how great of a vocalist he is- combining the intensity and rage of Henry Rollins, with the comedy and sarcasm of someone like Jello or HR.

I wonder how the money from this album is split. Dave is the only Vandal to make a substantial apperance, but Warren wrote almost all the songs, and of course Shingo pretty much did all rest himself. And when I bought it, it was cheeper than most new albums. (Adam)
Once again you nail the Vandals with this, a review of their latest and most unorthodox offering to date. When I first heard the word of a Vandals dance remix album, I was skeptical and put off buying it indefinitely. Several months later I read your positive(ly hilarious!) review and decided to put the album on my "albums to watch out for in used-CD bins" list. Now, just a couple weeks after finding a reasonably priced copy of said punk rock Japanese dance remix album I am pleased to report that you, good sir, were once again 100% scientifically correct in your Vandals assessment! Not just a novelty, this album stands up to repeat listens as well as repeat rump-shakings! Well done Mr. Mark Pringles! You should be the official spokesperson for all Vandals music recordings! You always know just what to say!

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BBC Sessions And Other Polished Turds - Kung Fu (Digital Download) 2008
Rating = 8

As you know, the Internet has turned the music business all topsy-turvy and upside-down. A band goes into the studio and starts warming up, and ten minutes later their new album is on Rapidshare for unscrupulous young people -- and a single honest online record reviewer who uses the system merely for research purposes -- to download in two minutes free of charge. "Why should we bother paying for CD reproduction and booklet printing," today's young bands must wonder, "when everybody's just going to steal it off the Internet anyway?"

But they are responding, are these young artists. Young artists like Neil Young have begun streaming their new records online for free, hoping to entice listeners with morals to do the right thing and buy a hard copy for $5,000 or whatever they're charging these days. Other young artists like Radiohead have tried selling their albums as MP3s in exchange for monetary contributions, counting on their fans to not FUCK THEM UP THE ASS with 60 cents or some crap. Still other young artists like Brian Eno and David Byrne have chosen to skip the record industry middleman altogether and self-release their material over the Internet, figuring that anybody who contacts them to order a copy surely wouldn't be such an asshole as to post it on Badongo or something and foil potential future sales. And now, young artists The Vandals too have joined the 'Fuck You, Solid Product' train!

Finally putting their money where their album title was, these 'Internet Dating Superstuds' have released a hilarious collection of cover tunes and oddities that can only be purchased as a digital download. So all you people reading this review on a fax machine might as well take a hike because it's out of your jurisdiction. The rest of you, get out $8.99 and click RIGHT HERE because this is the stupidest, goofiest, funniest, funnest, fun, f YOU KNOW WHAT? Here, I'll give you the track listing and some brief notes about each song since you won't be reading about this one on Amazon (or even AllMusic, as far as I know. Do they review download-only records?):

1. "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker" - Ramones cover, 1991 - Originally released on a split-7" with Longfellow. Messy, ridiculous and laugh-out-loud funny. Dave keeps switching between off-key singing, snotty yelling and faux-Elvis crooning; Warren plays it like Vernon Reid, piling on hilarious divebombs, squeals and solos; Josh gets a drum solo in the middle (!!); and somebody shouts "1-2-3-4!" every few seconds. An absolute scream -- as long as you don't take your Ramones fanaticism too seriously.

2. "Judy Is A Punk" - Ditto. Dave uses a silly pinched-nose delivery; Warren plays it like Brian May, layering on a gigantic bombastic symphony of over-loud harmony guitar runs; and everybody contributes silly voices at whim. Trust me on this -- I own 46 different Ramones tributes (I collect them, because I'm a winner), and I have never heard these songs approached in this manner before. The Vandals, a punk rock band, take two songs by The Ramones, a punk rock band, and deliver them to you as cock rock jokes. If you like to laugh, you'll love them. If you love to laugh, you'll hate them. But if you hate to laugh, you'll be indifferent towards them.

3. "Long Haired Lover From Liverpool" - Little Jimmy Osmond cover, newly recorded. Say what you will about the strategy of starting an album with three noisy joke covers in a row, but this is yet another stone cold gasser. What begins as a sloppily-sung fey pop song (like Davy Jones used to sing) soon turns into a monstrosity of laughs as a choir of women and children join in. They should be ashamed of themselves for recording a song this stupid, and you'll be laughing with your head buried in your hands when you hear it.

4. "Joe" - 1996. Originally released as Kung Fu Record's debut product: a split-7" with Assorted Jelly Beans. This song was written by Ray Bradbury, who was in Dave Quackenbush's first band The Falling Idols and went on to play bass for Pennywise. The first serious song on BBC Sessions, this is a tight, mean, fuzzed-out hardcore punk song about a respectable man who loses it all, for some reason I can't quite make out from the lyrics. It's a darn fine ass-kicker, and it's easy to hear why the Vandals decided to rescue it from oblivion.

5. "Costa Mesa Hates Me" - Supernova cover from same record as "Joe." Although Supernova's bubbly punk-poppy debut Ages 3 And Up is a fantastic must-own, the rest of their catalog doesn't come close. And that unfortunately includes this song, a boring generic happy midtempo thing. Three huzzahs to Josh Freese for managing to sound exactly like the helium-voiced Supernova singer though!

6. "Jilted John" - Jilted John cover, 1997. Originally appeared on Ark 21 Records' Generations I: A Punk Look at Human Rights compilation. The Internet tells me that Jilted John is a character created by English comedian/musician Graham Fellows, who released the two-chord single in 1978 at the height of the British punk hurrah. I've never heard Graham's version, but if The Vandals play it faithfully, it's awfully goshdarned funny. Dave sounds like Peter Noone! The lyrics include words like "telly," "bloke" and "poof"! One of the verses is "Gordon is a moron!" repeated four times!

7. "Change The World With My Hockey Stick" - 1996. Originally appeared on the soundtrack to Glory Daze starring Ben Affleck and Alyssa Milano. Finally a Vandals original! A fantastic one too -- fast happy hardcore-punk with speedy vocals and typically witty, absurd lyrics about a man who intends to practice hockey until he gets "so goddamned good that someone really super-rich will say, 'Here's a billion dollars you can spend it how you like! You can change the fuckin' world and turn it into something nice!'

8. "I'm Black" - 2002. Originally appeared on Kung Fu's Punk Rock Is Your Friend compilation. Written by future Bad Religion drummer Brooks Wackerman, this song was actually submitted to the band as "I'm Back," prompting them to reply, "You know, if you'd just change that one word to 'Black' instead of 'Back' and change nothing else, you'd have a Vandals song." Change it he did, record it they did, and wind up it did as an Internet Dating Superstuds outtake. Midtempo, palm-muted, earnest and a bit melancholy, the song isn't terrible but it does lack the idiosyncratic whimsy of the Vandals' writing style.

9. "Heigh-Ho" - Walt Disney cover, 2004. Originally appeared on Japanese label Avex's Mosh Pit On Disney compilation. With clanking bells, violin, xylophone, whistling and tons of silly voices, The Vandals channel the corpse of Spike Jones for this over-the-top cartoon-punk presentation. From the stomping "DIG! DIG! DIG! DIG! DIG! DIG! DIG! DIG!" intro through the hardcore "It's off to work we go!" chorus, this one's a winner with two 'n's!

10. "Poison" - Alice Cooper cover, 1993. Originally appeared on Triple X's Welcome To Our Nightmare: Our Tribute To Alice Cooper compilation. If you have anything even close to a sense of musical humor, you will laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh at this completely disrespectful cover of one of Alice's unfortunate 80s metal hits. 'Taking the piss' from the opening seconds (a slurred "Telephone is ringin'..." followed by "Poison"'s timeless guitar intro seemingly run through a defective tape deck), this tongue-so-far-in-cheek-that-it-pokes-out-the-other-side-and-flies-across-the-room cover features (a) a hardcore punk beat, (b) falsetto "ahhh! ahhh!"s in the chorus, (c) a drum solo, (d) an r'n'b/rap breakdown in the middle, and (e) such subtly re-worked lyrics as "Your mouth, so hot/Your web, booger snot/My socks, your breath/My butt, your face." Sweet Almighty Christ is this a funny cover. What better way to say, "Hay Alice Cooper, your '80s metal music is shit"?

11. "My Neck And My Back" (BBC) - And FINALLY we get to the BBC Sessions so proudly referenced in the CD title. This is a pretty faithful rendition of the great Hollywood Potato Chip track, probably included here because it features trade-off vocals between Dave and another band member (Warren? Joe? Barry?).

12. "Ball And Chain" (BBC) - Sublime cover. I'm sorry, but I don't think it's possible to make me like a Sublime song. With all due respect and condolences to the poor man, I fucking hate this band with every ounce of my musical taste. To stress how deep my loathing for Sublime resides, let me put this way: I'd sooner listen to 311.

13. "Mexican Blackbird" (BBC) - ZZ Top cover. A hardcore-speed cover of an obscure old ZZ Top country-western song!? WHY!!??? Dave even SINGS IT like the ZZ Top guy! WHAT THE HELL IS THE POINT!?!??! And more importantly, WHY DOES IT STRIKE ME AS SO FUCKING FUNNY!!?!?!?!?

14. "Canine Euthanasia" (BBC) - For this rare version of The Quickening's saddest song, Warren plays it alone on a piano, driving me to drunkenly email this note to the band last night: "'Canine Euthanasia' is the saddest goddamned song I've ever heard. The guitar version, the piano version - we love Henry The Dog so much. Please thank your guitarist for writing such a serious and heartbreaking and touching song about something that all of us dog-lovers must go through. It's so sad. And so true. I don't know if you other Vandals have ever had a dog, but they are wonderful, loving little creatures."

15. "Don't Stop Me Now" (BBC) - Queen cover. I'm not sure why they put this on here, honestly. It's a fine song and a fine performance, but seems a little redundant next to the gigantic anthemic Hollywood Potato Chip version.

16. "You're Not The Boss Of Me (Kick It R&B)" - I'm not positive, but I don't think this has been released before. Apparently some Mr. Show fan in the Vandals camp wondered to himself, "What would it be like if Three Times One Minus One did a Vandals cover?" And here it is! With Dave Quackenbush taking Baldy McGee's vocal spot, and genius funnyman Bob Odenkirk contributing some more of his sultry "Eww Girl Eww" asides, this cheesy keyboard'n'sleaze guitar r'n'b version of Look What I Almost Stepped In...'s corniest song is a knock-a-homa out of the parkball! Here, let me ruin some Bob Odenkirk lines for you:

"I will buy you a caviar hat... made out of gold."

"I wanna make Abraham Lincoln come back to life -- and play the banjo for you."

"I'm gonna give you everything, baby. Everything and more. I'm gonna take you down to the Everything And More Store, and I'm gonna buy everything they got. And if they can't deliver it, I'm gonna be like, 'Let me speak to the manager.'"

There are apparently lots of other rare Vandals songs hidden out there too (including "Dirty White Boy," "Theme From Glory Daze," The Day My Baby Gave Me A Surprise," "To All The Kids," "I Don't Think You're A Slut," "S.W.M.," "Why Are You Alive," "Count To Ten," two Slippery When Ill tracks that didn't make it to Play Really Bad Original Country Tunes, and three songs from the That Darn Punk soundtrack), so hopefully there will be some more Polished Turds coming our way soon!

And now that you've read the book, go buy the album! And if you're a child, don't worry because iTunes has it listed as BBC Sessions And Other Polished T**ds. Order its ass NOW!!!!

Scroll back up though, because I'm not going to re-post the url. Come on I got shit to do

Reader Comments (Adam)
Wow. I've always been an avowed won't-pay-for-digital-download-only-the-physical-copy type person but I think I'll have to make an exception for this. The Vandals are of course one of my favourite bands of all time, and this collection of rarities sound like a real hoot. Don't know if I'll be able to withstand an even sadder version of "Canine Euthanasia," though. My little childhood pug is on her last legs and I've already been thinking of the original song a lot lately. Hearing Warren singing it alone with a piano may be too much to bear!

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