VANDALS – Hitler Bad, Vandals Good

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By 1998, when they released their seventh studio LP, Hitler Bad, Vandals Good, the band was at the pinnacle of their success. Produced by guitarist Warren Fitzgerald and mixed by Jerry Finn (Morrissey, Green Day), the album featured the Vandals’ current lineup, including Fitzgerald, singer Dave Quackenbush, renowned studio drummer Josh Freese, and bassist Joe Escalante, who remains the longest-running member of the group. Joining them were a variety of guests, including multi-instrumentalist Gabe McNair (No Doubt, Green Day) who played trombone on “F’d Up Girl” and No Doubt drummer Adrian Young, who served up breakneck bongos on “If the Gov’t Could Read My Mind.”

Other highlights include the sardonically poignant breakup tune “My Girlfriend’s Dead,” in which the protagonist laments, “My girlfriend’s dead you see / It’s a total lie but it’s easier on me / Than having to admit that she likes someone else.” Opener “People That Are Going to Hell” is a catchy number about the karmically doomed, while the irreverent “An Idea for a Movie” finds the band brainstorming wacky, Oscar®-worthy film plots. The Vandals also skillfully interpret Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “So Long, Farewell,” from The Sound of Music, while, in a more serious turn, they cover Pennywise’s “Come Out Fighting” in memory of the band’s frontman, Jason Thirsk, who took his own life a year earlier.

Released in June 1998, Hitler Bad, Vandals Good became an instant classic and, today, remains the band’s most successful title. Reflecting on the album, called Hitler Bad, Vandals Good “a turning point,” adding that “the band’s prowess and talent had been reinforced with [its] release.” AllMusic noted that “the Vandals have a nice balance of…[being] funny and musically inclined at the same time.” The Orlando Weekly called it “happy-core,” adding “Hitler Bad, Vandals Good is sure to entertain and influence a new generation of punk rockers.” Bassist Joe Escalante says, “we loved the current crop of punk bands that were part of the ’90s resurgence so we worked hard to create our best record possible to keep up with the excellent song writing coming out of bands like NOFX, Lagwagon, Bad Religion, Green Day, Rancid, etc.”

People That Are Going To Hell
Cafe 405
My Girlfriend's Dead
I Know, Huh?
Money's Not An Issue
I've Got An Ape Drape
If The Gov't Could Read My Mind
Too Much Drama
Come Out Fighting
Fucked Up Girl
An Idea For A Movie
So Long, Farewell