Maty’s Corner #32 Keepin’ The Ape Drape Alive: The Vandals

Fish Tank #32

Keepin’ The Ape Drape Alive:

The Vandals

Starting 1980 outta Huntington Beach, CA is The Vandals! One of the most recognizable bands in punk. They are survivors of the 1980’s hard core scene who managed to stay punk and not just give up, even after the exit of founding vocalist Stevo Jensen. Along with being a legendary band, they also appeared in the punk rock favorite cult film suburbia and were a staple at the legendary Cuckoo’s Nest during its existence. All while poking fun at everything including punk itself.

1982,84 and 89 mark the Vandals’ first release. This was initially two separate releases being Peace Through Vandalism and When In Rome, Do As The Vandals. The compilation was released on Mike Ness’ Restless Records. These releases saw The Vandals as a strange mix of hard core and cow punk. It was different from the rest of the musical landscape of the time. These were the only two releases with Stevo as he chose to leave the band. This release contains many of the Band’s best known songs.

1989 saw Slippery When Ill which was straight up cow punk from this band. This was mostly as a joke on the resurgence in popularity of country music. A great, if not unconventional album. This was the start of Dave Quackenbush on vocals who was rather seemless as he sounded so much like Stevo.

1990 saw the beginning of The Vandals being a beloved skate punk band with Fear of a Punk Planet. They were still weird as always. This album even includes an odd cover of Summer Lovin’. This was the start of a new era for the Vandals.

1995 saw them sign to Nitro Records and release Live Fast, Diarrhea. This is a great album. It included the popular song And Now We Dance. The band gained notable popularity due to a song off this and a character wearing their shirts in an episode of X Files. This whole album is solid and has been a favorite of mine for years.

1996 came out with what was my first and still favorite album The Quickening. This album largely pokes at Anarchism and Nihilism. It tears into a few other themes as well. This and the first release are always what I refer newcomers to as far as this band goes. Another great track is Aging Orange that tears into the music industry.


Later in 1996 gave Oi to the World. The Vandals Christmas classic. It’s played in my home every year. Also gave the premise for the Vandals Winter Formal show that occurs in Anaheim every year. Aside from the title track my other stand out is Gun For Christmas. This album was released on Kung Fu Records where the band would later go on to stay.

1998 gave the release of Hitler Bad, Vandals Good. Another solid one from this band. This has a number of great songs such as People That Are Going To Hell, My Girlfriend’s Dead and Ape Drape. This album had a lot more humor than the face kick of The Quickening.

2000 gave us Look What I Almost Stepped in. It opens with another middle finger to the music industry. This album would see Brooks Wackerman leave to join Bad Religion (can’t blame him). From here The Vandals would leave Nitro for their own label of Kung Fu.

2002 saw Internet Dating Super Studs come out. It features 43210-1 which is the theme of The Show Must Go Off series. This album largely poked the humor at internet culture. A stand out off this is Unseen Tears of the Albacore.

2004 brought us The Vandals most recent release, Hollywood Potato Chip. The title is a reference to “love” stains left on a couch, you’re welcome for that. This album is a bit more aggressive than their last few. It’s like a lot off of The Quickening. So if ya didn’t know the Vandals, go forth and rock the fuck out now!

-C Fish

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