The Vandals – Across The Ocean

The Vandals

American punk rockers The Vandals are playing Soundwave 2015 and with ten albums to their credit their shows promise to packed full of awesomeness. The Vandals aren’t strangers by any means and look to continue their love for our great country which has inspired an EP full of Australiana and loads of other surprises. Warren Fitzgerald talks to Across The Ocean about Soundwave and his fascination for Australian culture.


So you’re in Adelaide right? Very interesting city and I have had some interesting experiences over the years there. It’s fascinating, I didn’t realise, I learnt a lot about as I was trying to write a song about it and I had to stop because I got stuck. Basically it was a song about the girls of Adelaide then when I got thinking about it I only had a few experiences with the whole thing of girls from Adelaide. The ones I met were crazy, like fun crazy but then again it might be what we attract any way.

Are you looking forward to Soundwave?

We had a great time when we did it two years ago. It’s great, you get to see everything and it’s a big mix and wide range of people you wouldn’t normally see hanging out together in airports, so it’s fun! It’s hard to get to Australia, you have to plan far ahead.

What do you love most about Australia and Australian audiences?

We’ve been embraced over there in a certain way. Australians recognise when people are taking the piss out of stuff or things don’t matter, fuck it have fun! It’s like let’s do a show, let’s be stupid is somehow embraced that’s not embraced in other countries. We like that!

Do have plans for your days off on tour?

There are a lot of things I would like to see in Australia. From my understanding Adelaide has the highest rate of serial killers and haunted houses of any city in Australia. It’s interesting that it’s the reputation, it’s spooky like a haunted house. Adelaide is like the king of Halloween and fun. That’s something I would get in the car and go and see. There are also lots of oversized things in Australia which is really cool. We wrote a song about Ned Kelly who we had never heard of and it was like wow, this is the most punk person. He’s almost like the ultimate anti-hero and it is like how did we not know about this. Last time we were down there we went to the Old Melbourne Gaol. I was excited, very star struck. This guy has so many rad and bad ideas and is kind of like our cowboy rebel too but way more rad because he got all punk about it. I have a real taste for Australian history particularly the mines. Isn’t that where words like ‘dinky di’ came from? We enjoy and wish Australia wan’t so far away.

How do you cram thirty years of material in to a forty five minute set?

We have so many songs, which is exhausting to think about but we play the ones people are most likely want to hear. If we’re going half way around the world we may as well play what’s likely to be received well.

Are there any new tunes in the works? Is it true that you’re releasing a cover version of Mark ‘Jacko’ Jackson’s I’m An Individual?

That is true, yep, it is done! It’s funny nowadays how quick the turnaround is. We did that one right around Christmas and it is a punk rock interpretation of it. When I heard that song I thought it was a punk song, if you break it down to its DNA its punk.

Did you watch any the footage of him playing football?

I love it, your whole sport situation down there is baffling! When I see some of those games it’s like what are the rules here. They get the ball and basically kill each other. It’s psychotic! It’s like watching drunk gladiators but I find it quite entertaining whoever wins. Cricket? Well, I know what a mollydooker is! It’s amazing that a five day game may not have a winner, I love that! It’s like how long can you stand on one foot or something like that. It seems so bizarre to me that I love it.

Playing Australian covers – is to rival Pennywise who covered Down Under at Soundwave last year?

We’ve recorded a few and played a few, there’s the one about Ned Kelly as well which will be on a five song EP and there is another song I wrote about being in Australia. From my point of view it is called No Worries. Every time I hear an Australian say no worries it usually gets me very concerned a bit like the word spider. They’re saying not to worry and I’m freaking out about it. That’s an observation like the words ‘oh, wow’ but as I said you guys are right, why panic! Do you guys still use ‘she’ll be apples’? Dinky di wins though! I just about fell out of my chair when I heard that one, are you kidding me? That is the raddest way of saying ‘hey that’s the real deal’.

What’s the plan for the rest of the year and will you come back to Australia sooner rather than later?

If we can get this thing out before the tour, have it there out there in the ether we will be more than happy to come back and do the circuit. We dig the place, it is so odd to us but so familiar at the same time. It’s a punk rock culture in my mind!

Rob Lyon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rob Lyon has been writing about all things music for well over ten years in Adelaide clocking up more live shows each year seeing the best going round.

Whether it is rummaging through vinyl at record stores such as Clarity and Title finding hidden gems to scouring the internet to find that album by the next big thing or chasing bands to get that elusive autograph and photo his passion is music all the way.
Rob Lyon

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