Warren Fitzgerald - guitarist, Vandals / Oingo Boingo
Van's Warped Tour - Oakland Arena parking lot - Oakland, CA - July 3, 1999
Warren Fitzgerald, a.k.a. Mutant Boy, guitarist extroirdinaire - when he actually plays his instrument - for L.A.'s legendary band, The Vandals. One of the most underrated musicians in the punk scene, if not in music altogether. Warren has been a mainstay of The Vandals for most of their career and has definitely made his name known - mostly for his antics. Outside of The Vandals, Warren has lent his musical abilities to the final version of Oingo Boingo - base of the legendary film scorer, Danny Elfman. Warren also writes screenplays and scores films himself. During the July 3rd stop of the Van's Warped Tour '99, we had the opportunity to babble with Warren on all things irrelevant and musical. Behind the twisted mind of Warren F. is a constant ticking thinker. Follow us as we travel through the worlds of songwriting, touring, film scoring, being double-jointed and masturbation techniques to keep men from treating women as sex objects.
K2K: We're here with the Vandals.
WF: Hey, it's our boy from the Cactus Club [in San Jose, CA].
K2K: When did you guys play there last?
WF: I think it was New Year's Eve. We did so good in San Jose that we figured we'd go there every other week.
K2K: You weren't originally in the band and then you left and then came back. Why did you quit?
WF: I never quit. I never left. I swear to God. I missed one tour, a European tour, in 1988 and that's it. Every band show after that, I've been there showing my sweet ass.
K2K: How did you end up playing for Oingo Boingo?
WF: Cold call. The Chili Peppers wanted me to play for them. I said fuck those guys. Then their manager was friends with the manager for Oingo Boingo and said, "we want you to come down and audition", so I said, "OK". Actually, I want to score films. That's my big fantasy. So I was like, I'll just hop in with the big guns and see what happens.
K2K: How long were you with them?
WF: Two albums. About three years.
K2K: And you were on the last show with them?
WF: Absolutely. I'm on the video tape. Grammy nominated video, by the way. Long form video. It was us, Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles and Bon Jovi. For some reason, the Beatles won. I had prepared the biggest acceptance speech and I was astounded. But they give you a medallion that you can wear, so...
K2K: How long have The Vandals been around and how long have you been with them?
WF: The Vandals have been around since the early mid-80s and I've been a part of them since the late mid-80s. I've been in the band longer than they've been a band before I was in the band.
K2K: What other bands have you been in?
WF: I've been in Oingo Boingo, millions of random local bands that didn't amount to shit, you know, the typical musicians career. Let me see, I've performed with a few other interesting characters, but I produce records and that's my main thing. It's nice though. You get to join the band for a month or so and you get to pretend that you're the fifth or sixth member and you get to dictate how you think it sounds, how you think it should sound. It's nice.
K2K: Is it almost like selling out and going "big business"?
WF: It's not a corporate thing. It's an artistic thing. You can't really put a price on that.
K2K: Are you now doing film scores?
WF: Film scoring? Absolutely. I've played on a couple of Danny Elfman scores. I played on "To Die For" and "Freeway". I've scored three films of my own. I did a film score for the production company who did "Clerks" and "Short Subject" and we have television show on the Internet called "Fear Of A Punk Planet". WWW.DEAN.NET. I act and also do the musical supervision and scoring part.
K2K: How is it working with Danny Elfman?
WF: It's like hanging out with Bach when he rocks. It's rock with Bach.
K2K: Is he dictatorial or is he cool?
WF: He understands the nuances of rock musicians and says, "Here's my idea and you bring to the table what you can." Plus, on tour, I would go out and bring chicks back so he could get laid. So he loves me.
K2K: How has the Warped Tour been?
WF: Great. Kicking ass. Very nice.
K2K: You're touring for the last album, "Hitler Bad, Vandals Good"?
WF: Yes, but we're also writing a new album. We brought recording material on the bus and we'll be right in the studio as soon as we're done with another followup, as yet untitled. Same as "Hitler Bad..."
K2K: In my opinion, the last album doesn't seem to fit with what you guys had been doing.
WF: Well, here's what you have to do. You have to listen to the Christmas record. When we did the Christmas record, it changed our whole attitude of recording. We said, "We're going to have "Jingle Bells" and we're going to have keyboards and we're going to fuck it all up and have some fun with it and really have a sense of lyrics and the hooks. So, this record is a direct result of the Christmas record. There's a couple of funny sounds here and there, but I would say, lyrically, it's the same exact vibe and musically we had an opportunity to stretch out a little bit. The songs are 2 1/2 minutes long instead of 2 minutes long, which is the main difference.
K2K: It just seems more rock rather than the punk feel that you used to have and it lacks the humor that you used to have.
WF: Here's the thing, which is why I like lyrics, you can tell a joke with your mouth but not with a guitar. So that might make sense. Honestly I think the next record will be the most expressive, fun, and irreverent record so far.
K2K: Concerning your playing style, are you ambidextrous also?
WF: I can jerk off with both hands if that's what you're asking. Yes. Absolutely. I can masturbate with both hands.
K2K: (laughing) Yes, I was curious about the masturbation but was afraid to ask.
WF: No, no, no. It's not a touchy subject.
K2K: Oh yes it is! (laughing)
WF: It's a touchy-feely subject. I enjoy masturbating. I think it's very healthy because if you don't have an orgasm within 24 hours, you're walking around loaded and you're going to get yourself in trouble. Do yourself a favor and take some private time, empty your barrels, so to speak, and then you can have a conversation with a woman without staring at her, um, protruding things. I'm a sexual intellectual. What can I say.
K2K: Would you an Adam Corolla, from Loveline, ever have a "jerk off"?
WF: I've seen his Man Show. Not saying that I made up masturbation, but from the mid to late 90s I've been waving that flag high, from day one.
K2K: Can you play guitar with both hands?
WF: The main thing is, I'm not ambidextrous. I'm double jointed. I can do things that resemble it. I've tried playing left-handed guitar and it sounded like I did when I was fourteen and just started to pick it up. I think the guitar, right-handed, is really left-handed because all of the difficult things are on the left hand. You can hold your right hand up in the air and give the devil sign and just run through the riffs because all the freaky stuff is on the left hand.
K2K: How did you get started putting your double-jointedness into your act?
WF: It came from me trying to put my own weiner in my own mouth in bed and realizing that I was within a quarter-inch and I was onto something.
K2K: Have you ever been able to continue that task now?
WF: Well, I've come very damn close, but the real problem is even if you finish the deal, you end up with sperm on your face, which is the last thing I need. I've got enough problems.
K2K: How long have you been playing guitar?
WF: Actually, my next door neighbor, when I was 6 years old, was a big Led Zeppelin fan and taught me the beginning of "Stairway To Heaven". I decided then that that was what I wanted to do. To this day I refuse to play the intro to "Stairway To Heaven" in public, especially at a guitar store because it's just a faux paus. I'd rather play really badly or really loudly. I'm not into showing off. Feedback is an art unto itself.
K2K: Who were your influences when you first started playing?
WF: Keith Moon. Musically. The irony of Andy Kaufman. My musical influence, probably Jimmy Page. I like personalities. For example, Jimi Hendrix, I'm not a big fan of the music that much, but I like the attitude. It's fun. But then also like, Tenacious D. Their my favorite band right now. They're two chubby guys who play acoustic guitars with Dio type lyrics. It's the attitude.
K2K: Page, though, you say that you liked him growing up? He was sloppy.
WF: I'm a sucker for Zeppelin. Even though the pick doesn't hit the string at the proper time, it's the attitude. Someone who has little virtuosity who can not be afraid to let the little mistakes go by, I admire that. He sucks now, don't get me wrong, I'm just saying that him during the Led Zeppelin era. He also produced. I didn't know what that meant but I saw his name on the back of the record as producer and I thought, "That's what I want to do."
K2K: What do you want to do outside of The Vandals?
WF: I like scoring films. I like writing screenplays. I want to learn to tap dance, not so much in the fact that I like tap dancing, but if I could do it onstage I would feel that it would really alienate the audience and I would get a rush from that, bombing in that sense.
K2K: Do you achieve to piss people off or to entertain?
WF: It's a combination of both. If you can get people angry and then get them to love you afterwards, that's a major accomplishment. Andy Kaufman, that was his philosophy, or Norm McDonald for that sake. He loves to bomb, that's what I admire about his comedy. I love [his new TV show]. He refuses to act. He just reads the lines. I love that.
K2K: What is the weirdest thing that's happened to you on tour?
WF: I'll go with the generic answer. In Australia, I heard it was cool to be naked, so I was naked in front of 13,000 people. I managed to get the conservative newspaper, called the Manly Daily, I was on the cover with a big, overcompensating black mark around my wiener area.
K2K: They gave you more credit.
WF: Well, you know. God bless them. The rumor was, on the Warped Tour, that there was a warrant for my arrest. Going through customs, I was very scared. Then I realized later on, after watching all the Foster's commercials and after communicating with the locals, that being naked is totally cool. Being naked in front of a bunch of 10-year-olds is probably not that cool, but it's not something you get arrested for. The Australians are very loose. I've had other close calls in Hamburg and Paris. It was a No Doubt tour and their audience is very young. They don't need to see a 30-year-old naked man dancing around them. I would agree. I probably should go to jail for that.
K2K: Aside from nudeness, anything else?
WF: It's hard to be specific like that. When you're on tour, it's like being on the Jerry Springer show for 8 hours a day. You meet the freakiest people. You meet 16-year-old girls who are smoking menthol cigarettes who have to leave early because they have to work the swing shift at Burger King. The cross-dressers. The freaky people. Olympic fencers. It's the kind of life experience that we need to sit down and write a novel afterwards just to keep it fresh. Everyone's a freak.
K2K: From doing interviews, some people have nothing to say and nothing's happened to them, or everything has happened.
WF: Well, here's the scenario. A lot of bands who are very popular. Good looking a popular and they still never get laid. It's amazing. They don't carry rubbers. For birth control, they use their personalities.
K2K: That's very prolific.
WF: Well, it's the sexual intellectual. You take the sexual scenarios and put it in a Logic 101 scenario and then things start to make sense.
K2K: Do you ever feel that you are just a pervert?
WF: Oh, absolutely. But I'm a harmless pervert. I'm the type of pervert that I can spot the pervert in the room and collaborate. Brainstorm. Make sperm.
Written by Philip Anderson

Philip Anderson is a musician, in addition to being a writer/photographer. He has performed as a guitarist/vocalist, as well as songwriter, in several bands over the past 20 years. As a writer and photographer, he has been published by several magazines and in several books, and had his works appear on television.

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