Tempest Over Vandals Name Seems Becalmed

The return of the Vandals from Europe had promised to ignite a fight on the local rock scene over control of the band's name, but it could be slow in brewing--if it comes about at all.

While the group led by bassist Joe Escalante toured overseas this summer, three former Vandals, including the band's founder, Jan Ackermann, and its original singer, Steve (Stevo) Jensen, staged a one-show reunion in late July, billing themselves as the Original Vandals.

While the Escalante-led Vandals plan to keep on playing (including a show Saturday at Night Moves), it is unclear for now whether they will continue to be challenged by the Ackermann-Jensen Vandals.

Guitarist Ackermann said that his version of the band has "further plans, but nothing concrete yet."

"We're on idle right now," said Chalmer Lumary, bassist of the Original Vandals. "I don't know if we're going to do anything else. It's up to Stevo if he wants to do more shows." For now, Lumary said, Jensen is away in Northern California, visiting his mother. Escalante said he knew before leaving for Europe that his former band mates were planning a reunion while he was gone.

"I talked to them all and said, 'If you're going to do that, be aware that the only time you'll be able to get away with it is while I'm in Europe.' " Although Ackermann is the Vandals' acknowledged founder, Escalante, who joined the band in time for its 1982 debut album, said he has legally registered the Vandals name as his trademark.

But Ackermann also claims a right to the Vandals name, contending that Escalante continued to use it improperly after Ackermann either dissolved the band (his own account) or was fired (Escalante's account) late last year.

According to Escalante, Ackermann's day job didn't allow him to play out-of-town dates with the Vandals, and the other band members eventually insisted that he either make a firm commitment to the band or drop out.

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