Interviews | Back to Issue 4

(cog graphic swiped from

Performed September 4th, 1996 by John at the Black Cat in Washington, DC. Interviewed are Warren Fitzgerald (guitar), Joe Escalante (bass), and Brooks Wackerman (drums). Singer Dave Quackenbush was busy being massaged.

NIMBY: Mind if I ask you guys a few questions I have written down?
Warren: The fact that you have questions puts you in the top five percent of interviewers.
NIMBY: What does Bob Dole think of the Vandals?
Warren: Bob Dole loves The Vandals!!
Joe: I donít see any reason why Bob Dole would not like The Vandals. The Vandals like Bob Dole.
NIMBY: Are you going to vote for him?
Joe: Iím going to vote for Bob Dole. I donít know about the other guys in the band. (To Brooks) I donít think heís registered.
Warren: Well, he donít have a driverís license. I canít imagine heís registered.
Brooks: I canít vote.
Joe: Ever since Pat Buchanan dropped out, Iíve been limited in my choices.
Warren: Iím going to vote for Frank Zappa.
NIMBY: Any stories about the humble beginnings of the Vandals?
Joe: We used to play for people over 21 and it was really bad.
NIMBY: Where at?
Joe: At bars. We gave that up.
Warren: We gave that up because we realized the youth of today was about todayís youth so we said OK.
Joe: The youth of today turned us on to the youth of today.
NIMBY: So what boring, lame-ass questions do you get asked all the time?
Warren: The exact one you just asked.
Brooks: Thatís like Ďwhatís your favorite color.í
Warren: Thatís a self-referential question. This is the new worst kind of question: if John Lennon and Jerry Garcia got in a fight, who would win?
Joe: Ian McKaye!!
Warren: Thatís the new kind of worst question ever.
NIMBY: Did you leave anyone out on your list of people to make fun of on your new album (The Quickening)? You got Agent Orange, Muslim  fundamentalists, teachers, vegans...
Warren: Now youíre in the top three percentile because of the fact youíve heard the new record.
Joe: And youíve put together a theme. We didnít make fun of... uh... Jesus or Ronald Reagan.
Warren: ĎCuz theyíre the same person.
Joe: No religions we thought weíd meet anyone in.
Warren: And thatís not making fun of that religion (Islam).
Joe: ďAllahĒ (off The Quickening). Dave is actually interested in that religion.
Warren: All you have to do is look around you, really. Thatís my answer. Thereís so much left to make fun of.
Joe: Exactly.
NIMBY: Whatís your definition of a sellout band?
Warren: Well, thatís a good question.
Joe: Goldfinger!!
Warren: Thatís a one-word answer.
Joe: Goldfinger, because hereís what they did. Theyíre a perfect example. I donít know what kind of music they really like, but they were playing... Chilli Pepper, fucking, metal funk rock.
Warren: Faith No More metal funk.
Joe: All right, now this seemed to be where their hearts were, but when it failed as a commodity, they broke up and jumped on the punk-ska bandwagon. I mean, do they really like  that kind of music? The guyís got a Bad religion sticker on his guitar, but anyone can buy one of those. I donít know. Maybe all of a sudden they got bonked on the head and decided they like punk rock, but if they didnít get bonked on the head and lose their memory and like punk rock, then I think they sold out their musical tastes to make money from a current trend. And they went straight to a major label.
Warren: Right. Thatís why I  respect a band like Quiet Riot. Metalís fucking down the toilet, but theyíre still hashing out in the clubs doing their some rocking set.
Brooks: Theyíre just waiting for it to cycle.
Warren: Absolutely. Theyíre just waiting for the fucking wave to come back.
Brooks: Which it will. Give it two years.
Warren: ďSelloutĒ is a tricky thing. A lot of people perceive a sellout as a band thatís popular.  ut itís  not that simple. Thereís a lot of bands that are popular I wouldnít consider sellouts at all.
NIMBY: Letís say Green Day and The Offspring.
Warren: No, Iíd say neither of those bands are sellouts.
Joe: Neither bandís a sellout.
Warren: I have respect for both of those bands. Itís like they won the lottery. I like to see punkers win the lottery.
NIMBY: It could be you tomorrow.
Joe: No, that will never be us... we donít buy the tickets.
NIMBY: So why did you move to Nitro from XXX?
Joe: Oohh, thatís a good question. Thatís like saying why did you move to the U.S. from fucking... Canada.
Warren: Thatís like saying why did you move to the U.S. from a torture chamber.
Joe: Itís just like that. Why did you move out of the torture chamber that you had to pay high rent in?
Warren: Look, I donít want to name any names, but one label completely sucks shit and oneís really cool. You do the math.
NIMBY: How did you guys get involved with ďThe X-FilesĒ?
Warren: Thatís a good question too.
Joe: Weíre from Hollywood. We have our Hollywood connections. I worked in television the last four years--Iím a lawyer. We knew the executive producer, he likes punk rock, he likes to be wacky, and we got on. Weíll be on ďFriendsĒ next year.
NIMBY: What kind of lawyer are you?
Joe: Iím an entertainment lawyer. I used to work for CBS, but when I started getting too busy with the band, I quit.
NIMBY: So how much time does that take up?
Joe: Well, I can review a contract while being interviewed by a punk fanzine. I just kinda do it for...
Warren: Money.
Joe: Yeah, money. Iíve been doing it for TV, and now that weíve started our record label, which is Kung-Fu Records by the way, I can still make money by doing it, so I do it.
Warren: Joe has a  talent and a skill, and I  donít see whatís wrong with anyone using that.
Joe: And I have a gift to give to the punkers.
Warren: Absolutely. Like Iím a contortionist and heís a lawyer, we all have those special things we do.
NIMBY: What does he (Brooks) do?
Warren: Heís a drummer.
Joe: He reads Metal Edge magazine.
Brooks: Sure do. With pride. And I hate white people.
NIMBY: Youíre kind of screwed, arenít you.
Brooks: Itís OK to hate my race.
Warren: Isnít it ironic.
NIMBY: Donít you think? What do you think of punk today? What are some of the bands doing a good thing?
Warren: The Bouncing Souls are my favorite punk band out right now.
Joe: I like the Bouncing Souls.
Brooks: No Doubtís my favorite punk band.
Joe: I like Lagwagon and...
Warren: Mr. T Experience.
Joe: Mr. T Experience kicks ass.
Warren: Thereís a lot of good music out there, what can I say.
Joe: NOFX, Pennywise.
Warren: Pennywise is a good band and a good friend of ours.
Joe: NOFX is a good friend of ours: reggae band, theyíre inspiring theyíre so good. Weíre thinking of putting out a compilation called MoFX, with bands that sound just like NoFX.
NIMBY: Which would be quite a few.
Joe: But it would end up being a whole series.
NIMBY: Is any member of the band married to or dating a member of the Lunachicks?
Warren: (Laughs) Is one of us married to or dating a member of the Lunachicks.
Joe: Iím going out with Jake.
Warren: No, but he have compatible genitals.
NIMBY: Are you guys getting any more agitated in your old age?
Joe: You want agitation, go visit our t-shirt booth. That guyís bitter.
Warren: You want agitation, go visit our singer. He also has a great knack for picking out something to hate about everyone: ďI hate the way you breathe, stop doing it.
Brooks: Youíd never realize how much of an ass he is.
Joe: Brooks is the brunt of most of it.
Warren: Brooks is the focus of most of his agitation, as you so eloquently put it.
Brooks: He does not mean well at all.
Warren: At least I mean well.
Brooks: Dave Quackenbush--thumbs down. (Laughs)
NIMBY: Iíll be sure and tell him if I see him.
Brooks: He already knows.
Warren: Heís well aware.
NIMBY: I found he looks a lot like Lee Harvey Oswald on the inside to ďThe QuickeningĒ cover.
Warren: Yes, he does, actually. Itís really strange. We brought a BB gun with us on tour and he picked it up and it was just like the picture off Time magazine.
Brooks: Whoís Lee Harvey anyway?
Warren: Whoís Lee Harvey Oswald?
Joe: Thatís Brooks who asked that question.
Warren: Thatís a good question. Heís an invisible bunny rabbit whoís seven foot tall.
Joe: Everyone wants to know who really is Lee Harvey Oswald, but we never will know because he was tragically struck down in his youth.
Warren: Ever heard of Jack Ruby?
Brooks: no.
Warren: Ever heard of JFK?
Brooks: Yes.
Warren: Ever hear that he got shot?
Brooks: Yeah.
Warren: All right. Well, he was the guy who got blamed for it.
Joe: But everybody knows who really did it.
Warren: You know who really did it?
Joe: The mysterious hoboes.
Warren: No.
Joe: Dweezil Zappa?
Warren: Arsenio Hall. Things that make you go hmm... eh? Think about that for a while. These arenít jokes, just things that make you go hmm.
NIMBY: So how often are you guys on the road each year?
Warren: Weíre going on tour 26 weeks this year. So figure that out, if thereís something like 200 weeks in a year, then weíll be on tour three-quarters of the time of those 200 weeks.
NIMBY: So what do you do with you free time when you get any?
Warren: Iím reading two books right now: Metamogical Themists: Search For Mind And Pattern...
Joe: And Get In The Van by Henry Rollins. (Laughs)
Warren: The other oneís a coloring book.
NIMBY: So do you consider Mr. Rollins on your list of sellouts?
Joe: He makes Goldfinger look like Fugazi.
Warren: That, my friend, is a very funny statement. I donít know, man. His anger seems so contrived, he gets mad about the silliest things and writes poetry about it. Did you hear the one poem about bank tellers and shit? Itís just trivial nonsense.
Joe: Itís very profound.
Warren: ďAnd then, my friend, you die. And then, my friend, you die.Ē
NIMBY: A quick question about one of your songs: ďSupercalifragilisticexpialidocious.Ē Was that a subtle crack at Bad Religion in there?
Joe: Thatís an homage to their fucking... stylistics to the punk rock styling.
Warren: Actually, it was more of a precognitive kind of thing saying that by using every big word we can in the song, weíll eventually come to that. I think, actually, around the turn of the century, they will actually do that song and get royalties from it, or Disney will.
Joe: We pay royalties to Disney for that. We keep gate prices down. By contributing to the publishing income.
Warren: Instead of $35.00, itís $34.99 thanks to us.
NIMBY: Where do you stand politically, or do you?
Joe: Republican. I want people to run the country that I would never hang out with. And Bill Clinton is someone I might hang out with. So get him the fuck outta there. Put people in there that are just robots that are like mean dads, just fucking whip everyone into shape.
Warren: itís the cool boss syndrome.
Joe: Yeah, the cool boss syndrome; you got a cool boss, the companyís going down the toilet.
Warren: I like Jerry Brown.
Joe: People who tell the truth, thatís what I like. Jerry Brown tells the truth.
Warren: Jerry Brown could be a right president.
Joe: Pat Buchanan tells the truth.
Warren: Bob Kerry, I like him too.
Brooks: Crackhead Bob.
Joe: Kenneth Keith Kallenbach.
NIMBY: Kenneth Keith Kallenbach for president?
Warren: Weíre friends with Kenneth Keith Kallenbach. I produced a record of his thatís yet to be released. Itís fantastic--at the forefront of retard rock, and if thatís what youíre into... oh my God, itís a cornucopia of goodness in that sense.
NIMBY: Any last words to the punks of America?
Joe: If youíre reading this zine, donít vote. Itís a waste of trees.