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Sweatin' to the Oldies: The Vandals Live

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Album Review

L.A.'s Vandals have more or less parlayed a novelty hit on the early-'80s version of "modern rock" radio, off their first LP (on then-fledgling Epitaph Records), into a sporadic decade-long career, much like a more punk, less-metal Suicidal Tendencies (their L.A. scene contemporaries), only the Vandals' record was better. That song, "Urban Struggle" — better known by the tag line "I want to be a cowboy" — is here, as well as the other good songs on that punk/comedy record, "Pirate's Life" (this is actually their best-ever song, but it's done way too fast here), "The Legend of Pat Brown," "Anarchy Burger (Hold the Government)," and their goofy trashing of Elvis' "Heartbreak Hotel," known as "H.B. Hotel," no doubt, in tribute to Huntington Beach, CA, and its infamous hardcore scene of that time. Part Fear (from whom they got the string-of-obscenities stage banter), part Dickies, part plain old obnoxious cretins (see their tasteless new lyrics to Grease's hit "Summer Lovin'"), these guys are your basic snot-nose punks/no-goodnicks who don't care 'bout nothing and have reverence for no one. The songs off later records are not as fun, as funny, or as good, and vapid juvenilia wears thin (if it wears at all!), but this live, "Up Yours" LP has its moments. It's also available as a full-length VHS video as well.

Biography

Formed: 1980 in Huntington Beach, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Orange County punk veterans the Vandals traced 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...
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