“Orange County punk veterans the Vandals trace 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”. – Steve Huey, All Music
We couldn’t have said it any better than that guy. With 11 full length studio albums in the rear view mirror, and all the EPs, singles, comps, DVDs, “best ofs”, etc. that go with that kind of a catalog, the Vandals have been taking it easy lately, selecting only the “most fun” occasions to play, often limited by drummer Josh Freese’s touring schedule as a member of Sublime w/ Rome, Weezer, Devo, and Sting. It has actually become more of a men’s club than anything else. With the same 4 guys playing together for over 25 years, it’s just good fun to get in a tour bus, or on a plane, and go play some of the goofiest punk rock ever recorded for loyal fans across the globe. Recent performances include Offspring’s Summer Nationals, Soundwave, Heavy Montreal, & Soundwave Australia, plus the annual Christmas shows.
I wasn’t until the mid 1990s when the Vandals turned pro and started recording and touring the world full time with bands like No Doubt, Offspring, NOFX, Pearl Jam and dozens of headlining tours in the U.S., Europe, the UK, and Japan. During this period, the Vandals prospered from being accepted by the Warped Tour culture and the explosion of punk rock fans that arrived in 1994. The Vandals are actually featured in the film “1994” about this era of punk music.
Of course, the Vandals had a rich history before this flurry of activity, appearing in Roger Corman’s “Suburbia,” Penelope Spheeris’ “Dudes,” and featured in the documentary “Urban Struggle” about the legendary Orange Country night club The Cuckoo’s Nest.
In 2004 a bit of controversy began to surround the Vandals when they were first sued by the Hollywood trade publication “Daily Variety” for “trademark counterfeiting,” “misuse of a font,” and other such trumped up absurd charges in connection with their release “Hollywood Potato Chip.” Christmas of that year found the Vandals performing for the troops at forward operating bases in war torn Iraq. In response, the European concert circuit organized boycott’s of the Vandals February 2005 European tour and the band was almost ripped to shreds by an angry Greek mob in Athens, shutting down the Vandals attempted performance, and their once lucrative European career. “It was over: over-night actually,” said bassist Escalante, “but we doubled down and went to Afghanistan to entertain the troops again the first chance we got, and we would do all of it all over again the same way, despite the costs.”
2010 found the Vandals being sued again by the Daily Variety but this time the Vandals one, and the Daily Variety was sold and taken off the news stands. Yay!
Personally, the singer still owns an alcohol distribution company, the guitarist still scores films and works on the children’s shows Aquabats Super Show and Yo Gaba Gaba. The bass player is still a radio host and record label owner, and the drummer is still a famous drummer. Look for the Vandals on the current season of I.F.C.’s Comedy Bang Bang portraying the “Ska-Abiding Citizens” while hilarity ensues.