Revisited: The Vandals – Look What I Almost Stepped In
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Brooks Wackerman and Bad Religion returned last month with their stunning new album The Dissent of Man. A decade earlier he'd just worked on an equally awesome, if completely different, record – The Vandals' Look What I Almost Stepped In. We sat down with Brooks and got the skinny on the making of a modern-day punk classic.
How did you become involved with The Vandals?
"I started playing with the Vandals in '94 or '95. Josh was getting busier and I got the call and auditioned. I did a lot of tours opening up for bands like No Doubt and The Offspring and just continued touring with them when Josh was busy. When it came to recording the album Josh was busy so they asked me."
How was the recording process?
"It was great. I've never laughed harder in my life than when I was around those guys. Those guys and Tenacious D, of course. It was a great record to make. I sat with the music for a few weeks and then we had pre-production and we were pretty well rehearsed before tracking it."
Where was the album recorded?
"It was recorded at Grand Master Studios in Hollywood, which was the same place I recorded New Maps Of Hell with Bad Religion. Most of my takes were finals after two or three. That's always my favourite way of working. I've worked on songs all day long and it's never healthy."
It sounds like a fun record to work on
"Yeah. The lyrical content can't be compared to any other record. They cover a lot of ground lyrically. I was honoured to be a part of the album."
Did you try anything different on the album to what you'd typically done before?
"It was my first time using Octabons. I had two Octabons on my left. I'd thought it'd be crazy sounding and I'd never heard a punk record with Octabones on it, so I had to be the guy to do that!"
Tell us about the kit you used on the album
"It was a hybrid of DW and Ayotte. It was just mis-matching between the two. I always use kick, two racks and two floors."
Do you have any favourite tracks on the record?
"I think the first track, 'Behind The Music', just because it's such a drum track. I was really able to play over the bar line with that one. The first fill is just ridiculously long. I love the song 'Fourteen' as well, and 'You're Not The Boss Of Me', which is the most technically challenging on the album. There's a lot of syncopation in that one, it was one of two tracks that we did to a click."
A lot of people think that Josh played on the album
"Well, his picture's on the CD! But if you look in the fine print it says all drums by Brooks Wackerman! It doesn't bother me. Josh has been in The Vandals longer than I have and if you pick up their record Live Fast Diarrhea, they put my picture on that record and Josh's picture because I think they thought I was going to be more of a band member, but at the time I wasn't able to. So my picture's on that record and I didn't play on it and vice-versa on Look What I Almost Stepped In."
What were your first impressions on hearing the finished album?
"I was elated. I was really happy with the tight, punchy drum sound. The guy that mixed the record also mixed The Colour And The Shape by Foo Fighters, so we knew he was the real deal! I think everyone's performance on the album was top notch."