Increasingly popluar independent Southern California new school punk band. Members are Joey Cape (vocals), Chris Flippin (guitar), Chris Rest (guitar), Jesse Buglione (bass) and Dave Raun(drums). Joey Cape is the primary song writer.

Lagwagon formed in the late 1980's as 'Section Eight', a heavy metal band of all things. It wasn't until around 1990 when Joey Cape ran into Fat Mike (of NOFX fame) at a bar, where an early Lagwagon demo tape changed hands. Mike apparently liked the recording, and Lagwagon became the first band (after NOFX) to sign on Fat Wreck Chords.

In the early 1990's, the band released two albums as Lagwagon: Duh and Trashed. These albums are akin to hardcore without the edge, and give a glimpse into New School punk. Many Lagwagon fans insist that these two albums are by far the best. Lagwagon have referred to themselves as being a hardcore band during that period.

The name of the quintet lends itself from the bands' first touring van (which appears on the sleeve of their album Trashed). The van looks to be an early 80's model Ford full size.

After some success establishing themselves with these two punk/hardcore albums on Fat, Lagwagon broke out on the Fat Wreck Chords compilation 'Fat Music for Fat People,' which featured two of their songs, including the lyrically clever 'Mr Coffee,' which was catchy and numbingly fast for 1994.

The band's third album, Hoss, eventually broke 100,000 sales, and generally is the favorite album of many fans. This album brought the perks of nice production (via Fat's growing budget), and a blend of tunes that was moving away from hardcore, and turning towards more melodic, and even faster, songs. The album cost around $40,000 to record and produce. Most notable on this album is Fat Mike's appearance on 'Violins', and the song 'Razor Burn', which is an amusing (and true) song about how Joey Cape's wife left him for a gent in Italy, which ends in a rendition of 'Come All ye Faithful'.

Lagwagon found themselves touring more and more in the mid to late 1990's, and Fat Wreck Chords was enjoying relative success (as the world's largest independent record label). It is interesting to note that some of the first bands on Fat arguably helped mold what is now known as the 'So-Cal punk sound,' contributing to the popularity of new school punk.

In 1997, Lagwagon's drummer up and left, to be replaced by Dave Raun. Dave was largely considered to pale in comparison to their previous drummer after the release of 'Double Plaidinum', Lagwagon's fourth album.

'Double Plaidinum' showed a definite shift in the band's style, and is almost universally considered by Lagwagon fans to be a flop. The songs were somewhat flat sounding, and the traditional Lagwagon melody, wit, and catchiness wasn't there for many. Due to the success of Hoss, this was a widely anticipated album. The final mixdown of the tracks sounds unfinished and flat, and friends of Lagwagon apparently complained that it was ruining speakers in car stereos when played too loud (as poorly dubbed tapes are known to do). This is interesting, because directly before the release, Joey Cape is credited with saying that it was the first album he was satisfied with in every respect.

All five members absolutely shine in Lagwagon's fifth album, 'Let's Talk About Feelings.' I found this album very satisfying in terms of content and production. This recording sounds like a million bucks, easily matching the production quality of somewhat similar bands with a much bigger budget, such as Blink 182. The song 'May 16' appeared on the soundtrack to the video game 'Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2', and Fat's fifth compilation 'Life in the Fat Lane.'

In 2000, Lagwagon released 'Let's Talk About Leftovers', a collection of discarded tracks and B-Sides from over the years. This whopping 20 song+ album has a bit of everything, and those familiar with Lagwagon's various offerings can easily tell what era (and possibly album) each track is from.

Lagwagon play a hilariously energetic live set. Most songs are played at well over album speed, and they mildly revise some songs, many times just to find ways to poke fun at the various members of the band. Lagwagon's on stage antics are a must see, particularly Joey Cape's impressive skills at various calisthenics during bridge parts. They did all of their played-out classics, which they are undoubtedly sick of playing at every show, though they threw the crowd into a frenzy. After their encore, they threw dozens of bottles of water into the crowd, and several sets of drum sticks. I flew halfway across Canada to see them live and it was worth every penny.

The various live Lagwagon bootlegs do them no justice, and their live sound is stunning; you will find it particularly stunning if you are familiar with the album versions of the songs. Hilarity and awe abounded at the ad-libbed metal-style guitar solos, and the overall tightness on the fast songs was impressive.

Facts:

  • Lagwagon were the second band on Fat Wreck Chords
  • They have been described as chain smokers and party animals on tour
  • They've done one video, for 'Island of Shame'
  • Lagwagon rejected at least two major record deals
  • Have went through one guitarist and one drummer
  • Joey got involved in Lagwagon after another band's vocalist stole his girlfriend. Quote: "He had it coming. He took my girl and I took his band. All's fair in love and bands."
  • They have roots in skateboarding, but decided not to continue doing it on tour after an accident.
  • There is usually a sixth member in the band pictures on Lagwagon album sleeves.
  • Like many Fat bands, it seems Lagwagon prefer to record with Ryan Greene of Motor Studios.
  • Lagwagon fans tend to favor either the first two albums, Hoss, or everything but 'Double Plaidinum'. I like all six.
  • When we saw them live (a 1500km trip), a friend broke her ankle walking up the stairs to the balcony of the venue and had to go straight to the hospital. After the show, we somehow got to meet them, and received a free shirt and a get well note scrawled on a piece of paper by Joey. So they're nice guys too.
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