The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
The Rockpit 2013 Interviews The Vandals Warren Fitzgerald



The Vandals seeming have always been with us. If you love your So-Cal punk then they are indispensible. If you just want to know where all this rekindled love with the pop-punk genre came from these guys are responsible. The Vandals play Soundwave this year and they ore one of the bands you shouldn’t miss.



Mark: Hi, Warren, how are you?


Warren: Very good, how are you? Hey what time is it there?


Warren: I know I love it there, we’ve been to Perth a couple of times now and you’re right it’s like ‘Where is everybody’ while in California you can’t even find a place on the beach.


Mark: One of the big surprises for me this year, was seeing your name on the Soundwave bill, how did that all come about?
Warren: It’s been basically been discussed over the year, a lot of the bands on the bill; we’ve actually been to Australia with before with a lot of the bands on this bill and so we couldn’t wait to get back.


Mark: You have some side dates arranged with Blink 182 and The Sharks as well, do you know those guys?
Warren: Oh yeah, definitely love the guys.


Mark: I know you guys have a lot of other things going on as well as the music, with your last album out in 2004, are there any plans for anything new?


Warren: Actually, I am in the middle right now, of finishing an EP that will be coming out digitally in a couple of weeks. It is an EP for, and about Australia! Four songs, three originals and one that you might know “Waltzing Matilda”. Every time we’ve been to Australia it’s great to just see people kick off and sing that song! You all just know it!


Mark: How it’s not our national anthem, I’ll never know!


Warren: I researched it and found out it was about a hobo stealing sheep, what a cool idea for a song, I didn’t realise that!


Mark: One of my favourite things about The Vandals is your sense of humour, you were one of those punk bands, and that when you first came out, it was very clear you were very irreverent, liked to have fun, let’s say! Where does that come from?


Warren: You know it’s kinda just an appreciation of things like farts, and just our personalities, you know punk rock is that sort of movement that is so silly and bratty that we just thought it required a clown show, we didn’t want to be serious, though there is a serious side to punk rock and that’s fantastic – us? We like to fuck around!


Mark: (Laughing) Tell us about the ‘Daily variety’ lawsuit is that all over?


Warren: Yes, you know I always liked the ‘funny song’; it was a big deal growing up and thought why not, there’s funny movies, funny everything and we just did a funny song.


Mark: And you’ve been keeping yourself busy in-between The Vandals scoring music for movies?


Warren: Yeah I’ve been scoring the new Aquaman TV show for kids! I enjoyed that very much, I guess the show has already started showing down there?


Mark: I’ll have to check the schedules on that one, I don’t get to see too much kids TV, well not that I’ll admit to abyway.
Warren: (Laughing) it’s a great show.


Mark: I read also that you’ve been out playing some pretty dangerous places, performing for the troops? Any scary stories from those roads?


Warren: Well when we were in Iraq in 2005 I guess then it was just about as bad as it ever was. We were there over Christmas and New Years and it was more surreal than anything when we were there. Looking back at the film when we got back it was like ‘Whoa shit, this is crazy!’ but while we were there it didn’t seem that strange. The only danger was actually afterwards when we were in Greece when the crowd though that as we had played for the troops we were advocating the war! But it was never a political thing for us, but the mob that showed up in Greece obviously thought otherwise and wanted to try and beat us up!


Mark: You can see how people would think that and the war obviously polarises people but equally I’ve spoken to a number of bands that have played to the troops and motives are varied.


Warren: Exactly, most of the kids in the army need something to get them through.


Mark: With so many albums now under your belts does the set-list get harder and harder to write with each tour?


Warren: Actually I’d say it gets easier because each album we put out is different and some of the songs are obvious choices, some are kind of a pain in the ass to learn to play live, so with a couple from each album that stand out over time it kind of gets a little easier. Some I guess we’ll never play live.


Mark: What song do you think you could never get away with not playing?


Warren: Um, let me see here, there’s a few, but our audience has a few ‘lifers’ that tend to gravitate toward a few specific weird songs, you know what I mean? And so they have these songs they like to hear just because they think a casual fan wouldn’t know it. It’s weird! But there’s a few I guess, the standard ones that always make the set list, but I’m the worse person to ask as I can’t even remember the names of the songs off the top of my head!


(We pause while we both laugh at that one)…


Mark: I spoke to a band a while ago that had a great anecdote about a fan shouting out the name of a song from the crowd and they turned round convinced it wasn’t one of theirs and told them so, only to find out when they got back to the hotel it was!


Warren: I can understand that, especially when you have a few albums over the years, It’s like every job you can’t remember everything. With some songs you write it very quickly, you record it, things are very intense with it for a while and then you never want to hear it again!


Mark: Do you ever listen to your own material or do you find that really hard?


Warren: I don’t. Well I guess I have done but mainly by accident, like a few times on I-tunes when I’ve not know it was coming. When that happens I get an honest reaction to the song – I either like or I think this is crap or somewhere in between, and I’ve had all of those reactions!


Mark: What’s the punk scene back in the OC these days? (The Vandals pretty much created the scene down there many years ago)
Warren: It’s kind of weird, I guess the way I look of it is a sort of Peter Pan think, I the way that there will always be Punk kids there will always be Goth kids, any scene attracts a certain personality type. I think music hits a certain chord with certain types of kids and these days the Southern California scene is weird I was around for the first wave, but I see kids with the same t-shirts on I wore when I was 13! It’s crazy.


Mark: I love that answer I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there mate.


Mark: If you could have been a fly on the wall for the recording of any classic album ever…


Warren: Oh wow, I like this question!


Mark: … what would it have been and why?


Warren: It’s not a secret but Led Zeppelin is my thing, I mean Jimmy Page! Wow! For me then it’s any Led Zeppelin album, but preferably mid-era! I mean I’m a great reader and I read so much about Rock, I would have loved to have been there just to see John Bonham play! I’m a fan! It’s embarrassing but I am!


Mark: It’s a good thing!


Warren: OK, I’m with you!


Mark: And finally sir, what is the meaning of life!


Warren: Oh that’s another good one and I do have a very specific answer for that. It is all a hoax! The Universe has manifested us with little overactive bubbles of consciousness to torture and fuck with us and at the end of it all when we get back absorbed into it we get to go ‘OK that was a kind of funny joke’.  I think it’s a big play, that’s my take on it.


Mark: That’s got me thinking now; no one has ever come up with one like that before.   


Warren: Actually make that more of a prank!


Mark: What are you going to get up to when you get over here?


Warren: Well there’s a lot of travel in this one, so a lot of airports and a lot of moving around and then recovery from that first flight! But I’m sure we’ll have some things to do but maybe hangout with someone we know and drink some VB or Tooheys or whatever they have in the State we’re in.


Mark: And I hear you might have something special for us that you might want to remind the people at home about again?


Warren: Oh yeah the Australian EP, especially for Australia. I’ve been polishing it and putting the final touches to it after doing a crash course in Australia for the past two months so that I could work out what to write about and add a few of our own experiences. It’s nice to be able to go somewhere and know a little about the history as like most Americans we don’t even know a lot about our own!
Mark: We’ve not been around that long, I guess it’s mainly sport then!


Warren: We’ll I’m not a huge sports fan so I avoided that. I mean you look at cricket or Aussie Rules and it’s basically chaos!  That’s what it feels like anyway – like it’s some big joke on me ‘hey here we are playing this game and you’ll never understand it!’.


Mark: You’ve worked us out!


Warren: Yeah that and the ‘Drop Bears’ that you tell us Americans about – it’s awesome and I love a good gag!


Mark: You’ve worked us out there mate! Thank you so much for taking the time for talking to the Rockpit – see you when you get over here!


Warren: Cheers mark, take care.




By Mark Diggins February 2013




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