Madness-A-Go-Go with the Vandals: Joe Escalante of the Vandals told us about his Madness and the Go-Go’s experience at the Whisky in 1980.

Joe Escalante: According to the Internet, it started with The Go-Go’s, although I don’t remember much about their particular set because I had seen them so many times. It’s a blur, and a 17-year-old kid like me could order a Zombie from the bar window for $4.50 in those days. Everyone in the punk scene was in love with Belinda, and I was no exception. My last trip to The Whiskey featured the Dead Kennedys, but this gig promised to be much different. Beauty filled the club, on stage, and in the music. All the artists were dressed to entertain (i.e., no one wore a T-shirt with spray paint on it), adding to the positive escapism.

Madness began with a hype man: ‘Hey you! Don’t watch that! Watch this!!’

From the first note of ‘One Step Beyond’ the band moved and sounded like nothing I’d ever seen or heard before. I positioned myself right up close. The Whiskey provided magic that way. Get as close as you want! In the era before the violent meatheads invaded the punk scene, this was the best it would ever get. Madness ripped through their manic set, never slowing down, and I didn’t stop pogoing until after they closed their set with another round of ‘One Step Beyond.

It’s not like I bought a scooter and nice clothes after this, but I never went to a better gig.

Madness-A-Go-Go with the Vandals: The Vandals release the 25th anniversary reissue of the Hitler Bad, Vandals Good album on July 21.



























































































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