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Nancy Vandal, a name that brings up looks of confusion and befuddlement all over this country of ours. The origins of this unique band can be traced back to 1988 when Fox Trotsky and J.J. Lamoore were in University and thought that instead of studying and stuff, they’d better their guitar playing skills and form a band. The two (mainly Fox) spent more time coming up with album/song titles and drawing album art rather than practicing and writing songs. The band was to be called Meataxe and they only ever played one four-song set, yet became rather well known around the Uni. The songs played at the Talent quest were all covers, “The Beatles” Daytripper “Spy Vs. Spy’s” AO Mod, “The Angles’” After the Rain and an apparently painfully dodgy encore with “The Troggs’” Wild Thing.

 

About the same time period, Fox was contemplating entering the University of NSW band competition with the band name ‘The Pieces of Shit’. The band of ‘Meataxe’ was disgusted at the idea and beat Fox with lumps of iron (or so my friend down the road told me). Fox and J.J. however got and old mate of theirs Marcus ‘Rofle’ Rolfe and made a covers band. They played pubs and Uni Parties in exchange for free beer. The band was dubbed ‘Hard Axe to follow’. The band consisted of Fox Trotsky and J.J. Lamoore on Guitar, Marcus Rolfe on lead vox, Mal Ridley on bass and completing the line-up on drums; Graham Randall. The band, like nearly all starting bands, were pretty crappy and defunct a few years later. But J.J. and Fox still had star dreams and convinced Marcus to take up bass as well and vocals and (after answering an ad in the paper asking for “a fuck-wit who could hit stuff”) Tommy Lee Turnip on drums. This was the line up that was destined to become…(checks notes) Nancy Vandal

 

After a short while, Fox took over on lead vocals leaving Rolfe to simply play a few notes on bass. Some money was saved up and an EP was made the band was then known as ‘Nancy Vandal and the Pop-gun assassins’ and the CD wad called “Return of the Zombie Skate Poets from Planet Sex” (1994). It was 11 tracks and 23 minutes of unique rock sounding stuff. 6 months later the debut album was ready “1, 2, 3 Baby Yeah” stretched to 35 minutes in length with a 5 min gap before a secret track (a cover of ‘Macho Man’). Whilst the album was being released, Fox was working on a double-sided (turned 40 page) zine known as ‘The Vandals Voice’. It was given out to friends, strangers and enemies and ranted about rock ‘n’ Roll and also had drawing and stuff by fox Trotsky. It in-fact released 2 compilation CDs (on Nancy Vandal’s own label “Half Arsed Records”). The first being ‘Shithot 95’ featuring covers of old-schools songs (including Nancy Vandal’s cover of Foot-loose and Frenzal Rhomb’s cover of ‘Sweet and Sour’). And another compilation named ‘Bust-a-Move 96’ which was all dance tracks and shit like that. The Zine’s high point came in 1994 when Brian Mannix (one-time front man from 80’s Aussie rockers ‘The uncanny X-men’) wrote to Fox saying, “When in doubt, take the money”. Taking this advice, Nancy Vandal’s music style would change whenever they felt like making different amounts of money. Now the year was 1995, 1996, the nu-wave punk rock movement was in full swing with bands like Green Day, Rancid and the Offspring being chart toppers; the band released an EP via the Vandals voice. “Slippery when Crap” was a 6 track punk cover EP of ‘classic’ Cock Rock songs by bands such as “Motley Crue”, “Def Leppard” and “Bon Jovi” (and others). After that EP was done, Marcus Rolfe was executed from Nancy Vandal and the door was open for a new bass player.

 

Frenzal Rhomb singer Jason Whalley (christened Jason Jason Beers in Nancy Vandal) took up playing bass for the band. As you can guess, Nancy Vandal sales and Shows went through the roof as hoards of Frenzal fans flocked to see Jason making and arse of himself as he attempted to play bass. It was this time Nancy Vandal released their first punk album in 1996; “The Debriefing Room” which including the songs “Ray Martin has a shed full of giant robotic killer wasps” and “Cock Rock’s Not Dead”. The whole album was heavily influenced by Beers and is evident, as the punkier songs sound quite Frenzal Rhomb-esque. This line-up also recorded the Nancy Vandal song (Y.M.C.A) for Bust-a-move 96.

 

In 1997 Beers was kicked out of the band and it was time for a genre change. J.J. moved to bass. New members were Gilli Pepper (on saxophone and vocals), Telaviv Skywalker (on trumpet and back up vocals) and Lickerov Finetesticles (on trombone and Keyboards). All three of these women were from the band ‘Loose and the Horny Chicks’. This line-up recorded 3 tracks real quick and put them on the split with FugG, ‘Selling your faeces for fun and profit’. They got ‘Poofy Arse Bogan’ (ex Loose member) to play guest sax on a few tracks for the most Ska influenced album “Bikini High Pool Party Massacre 3…Who Invited the Undead?” in 1997. This album actually had 3 videos made for it and naturally, 3 singles as well. These were ‘Rock and Roll Concert’, ‘Move Over Satan’ and ‘Clean out your desk loneliness – You’re Fired!’ Triple J played them all a fair bit and Channel [V] occasionally played them when they had the punk off program.

 

The band toured a lot around the country (often with Frenzal Rhomb) and the decided it was time for a new album. This time Telaviv left and the band recorded their quirkiest album, “I’ve Wasted My Life” in 1999, which included the singles ‘Sex Toy’ and ‘Prom Date with no eyes’. Fox Promised to have the bands numbers down to two by 2000. This was not to be, as the band called it quits late that year. Fox released a compilation containing the EPs ‘Zombie Skate Poets’ and ‘Slippery when Crap’. Also on the compilation was the album “1, 2, 3 baby Yeah” and all the bands B-Sides. This double CD had 50 tracks and was appropriately titled “50 Faves from Beyond the Grave”. The band reformed for one gig in 2003. This reunion gig contained most of their songs and line-up changes occurred on stage, Jay walking on and off, the brass section coming on the for the last couple of albums. Little more can be said about Nancy Vandal (although Fox is considering writing a book, so obviously, I’m Wrong), but one thing remains sure and that is…bah! Bugger it. 

 Nearly Everything on site is copyright Andrew McDonald 2004