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A brief chat with the Vandals


Cali-punks the Vandals play Riot Fest this year, so we chatted with founding member Joe Escalante.C

Yellow Scene: It’s been a while since the last studio album – is there one on the cards?

Joe Escalante: We’ve recorded a few tracks here and there in the studio, but we haven’t really agreed on when to release or what form to do it in. There’s so much to consider now. One day, it’s all, “People don’t want a whole album now, just release some tracks.” The next day it’s, “You’re a punk band, don’t worry about these trends and just release a whole album. The next day it’s, “Maybe we can just do an EP with five really good songs so we don’t have the five traditional terrible songs.” Coupled with that is the fact that our careers seem to be going much better now that we’re not releasing new music. There’s not a lot of pressure.

YS: Are you looking forward to Riot Fest? It’s a hell of a bill…

JE: Absolutely. They don’t really tell us who’s playing when, but we have a certain idea of who’s going to be on our day. We haven’t come to Denver since we played a corporate pot dispensary event, which is a euphemism for a stoner party.

YS: Do you like playing Colorado?

JE: Yeah, we just haven’t played enough. I feel like the last time we played it was a private corporate thing, and now we’re playing this massive festival. It would be nice to play the Gothic Theatre or a place like that.

YS: What can we expect from the set this time?

JE: We have new songs, and songs we haven’t played in 20 years. We’re gonna rock out.

YS: When Riot Fest is over, what’s next?

JE: We all have other jobs. Our drummer Josh Freese will go out with Sublime – he’s been playing with Sublime mostly. I’m a TV writer and I’m working on a show for the Discovery Channel. We’re going to distribute more booze too. We’re really good friends and we live close to each other, so we’re just going to keep working on ideas. We’re playing the It’s Not Dead Festival – all the bands that used to play Vans Warped.

The Vandals play Denver Riot Fest; August 28-30; riotfest.org/denver.


Brett Calwood
Brett Callwood is an English journalist, copy writer, editor and author, currently living and working in Los Angeles. He is the music editor with the LA Weekly. He was previously a reporter at the Longmont Times-Call and Daily Camera, the music editor at the Detroit Metro Times and editor-in-chief at Yellow Scene magazine. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brett_Callwood

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