Punk’s Big Four are hitting the road this summer starting on July 29 in Pittsburgh, PA.
Back in 1994, four of the biggest names in punk rock got together to perform on the same stage for a show dubbed Punk Rock’s Summer Nationals. Bad Religion, Pennywise, The Offspring, and The Vandals tore shit the fuck down at the Hollywood Palladium. Of course, I wasn’t there for this particular show considering I was only 13 at the time and traveling to the west coast from the east coast was a huge no no. Well, guess what? Its 20 years later and Punk’s Big Four are hitting the road this summer starting on July 29 in Pittsburgh, PA and ending the tour at Council Bluffs, Iowa on September 11. For our New Yorkers out there, the tour rolls through our city on August 4th and 5th at Terminal 5!
… all the major labels were circling the band like hungry sharks.
If you can remember 1994, it was a pretty big year, especially for two of the four bands on this list. It was on April 8th, 1994 that The Offspring would release the album that would catapult them to the mainstream stratosphere. That album was Smash released on independent label, Epitaph Records. The record sold 16 million units in practically no time after its release, garnering massive recognition for both Epitaph and The Offspring alike. Epitaph’s founder and CEO is none other than Brett Gurewitz, who is also one-half of the songwriting team that makes up Bad Religion. Here comes some irony for you. Back in 1993, Bad Religion signed with major label, Atlantic Records so they could get their music to reach a much wider audience. The Offspring’s album, Smash, pretty much put Epitaph on the map with the help of the HUGE single, “Come Out and Play (Keep ‘Em Separated)“. So you see? The move to Atlantic was unnecessary. Bad Religion would go on to release four albums on Atlantic starting with 1994’s Stranger Than Fiction. Brett left the group shortly after the release of the album to focus his energy on the demands of his thriving record label following the success of Smash. The Offspring jumped Epitaph’s ship, because now that they had a hit, all the major labels were circling the band like hungry sharks. The money won. The Offspring would go on to sign with Columbia Records in 1996. I’m pretty sure there was some sort of bad blood between these two bands, but no more my friends!
In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Punk Rock’s Summer Nationals tour, kilScene.com will be dedicating the next four Desert Island Thursday‘s to Punk Rock! Specifically, we’ll be featuring one album every Thursday by Punk’s Big Four, starting today with The Vandals and their 1982 EP, Peace Thru Vandalism!
I figured just put it on repeat and let the album seep into my bloodstream.
When I had set about to complete this undertaking, I realized that although I knew of the Vandals, I wasn’t all too familiar with their albums. I know, right? Shame on me. It’s nice to have punker friends though because when I told my punker friend what I was planning on doing, he loaned me a burned copy of Peace Thru Vandalism. I immediately uploaded it into my iPod (I know, how punk, right?) so I could listen to it on my walk back home. Here’s the problem though: Home was 45 minutes away walking and the EP’s running time was a mere fifteen minutes and twenty-six seconds. Oh well. I figured just put it on repeat and let the album seep into my bloodstream.
The galloping bass, the blatant “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” theme. Could it be? Yes it was!
The first song on the EP took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting the instant power surge of “Wanna Be Manor“. There was something very familiar about this singer’s voice but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. “Wanna Be Manor” was one thing, but it could’ve gone downhill from there. It didn’t. That’s when I heard it, the galloping bass, the blatant “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” theme. Could it be? Yes it was! The song that for the last 15 years I thought was called “I Want To Be A Cowboy“, which I first heard in James Merendino‘s fan-fucking-tastic film, SLC PUNK! was actually a Vandals song called “Urban Struggle“. Okay, this was no fluke. This EP is the balls!
…”Stevo” Jensen is kind of lackadaisical in his delivery of the song, that is until the Vandals “Vandal-ised” it …
“The Legend Of Pat Brown” initially sounded like the punk rock version of “Train Kept-a Rollin’“, but then it kicked in and it was just all sorts of in your face gutter punk. I was in love. “Anarchy Burger” is instant aggression. You could be having the shittiest hum drum sort of morning, just press play on this one and you’re wide awake and ready to murder the day. The Vandals are not without a sense of humor. The band shows us that even punks have influences which they happened to grow up on and the Vandals showcase one such influence with their song “H.B Hotel” (Come on… think about it. Figured it out, didn’t you?) Original vocalist, Steven “Stevo” Jensen is kind of lackadaisical in his delivery of the song, that is until the Vandals “Vandal-ised” it to make it all there own.
When I started this particular feature, I was a little worried because I knew that I was going to have to write about the Vandals and I knew nothing. I spent hours in front of the laptop, pounding away at the keys while listening to Peace Thru Vandalism (on repeat. For hours), I can honestly say that, I can add another to the list of my all time favorite punk records because Peace Thru Vandalism, and by extension The Vandals, just made the list.
I really hope you enjoyed the first Punk installment of Desert Island Thursday featuring one of the Big Punk Four. Next week, Mr. Joshua Peters will be gracing us with his own Desert Island Thursday featuring Pennywise!
Please feel free to pick up Peace Thru Vandalism right here!