by Kung Fu

The Vandals have announced a 10-day trip to Southern Asia to play for the armed forces troops deployed in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The band previously stoked controversy with their Christmas 2004 trip to Iraq to play for troops deployed there. They will play 4 to 6 shows in the Afghan region during their 10 day trip beginning April 5, 2006 on a tour arranged by military entertainment contractors AKA Productions.

Joe Escalante discussed the trip:

We've played a lot of fun shows in a lot of interesting places in our 17 year history but believe it or not, none has been as satisfying personally as playing for soldiers that are laying down their lives for their country, The thing is, most of these soldiers really don't want to be there, just like many of people that end up at our shows state side.

For the tour, the drum position will be filled by Pennywise's Byron McMackin who will be filling in for Josh Freese who is performing with Nine Inch Nails. The band released their last studio album, Hollywood Potato Chip in 2004.

The Vandals also performed for Army troops in Frankfurt Germany last March with 80s icon Richard Marx and plan to release a documentary about their experiences playing for the soldiers in Iraq. Following their first trip to Iraq, the Vandals were greeted with a less than warm reception on their next regularly scheduled tour of continental Europe. Promoters and radio stations in Austria and Italy organized a boycott of the band's engagements causing some to be cancelled.

Guitarist Warren Fitzgerald explained the European situation:

"The Europeans and the Greeks were unwilling to grasp the difference between supporting the soldiers and supporting the war, It is obvious to most of our fans around the world that we are extremely a-political having more songs about diarrhea than current events. And these are kids we are playing for, mostly reserves- same age as the average warp tour attendee, that want to go to college and play X-Box but have unfortunately been called half way around the world… since they are stuck there, visiting them and hoping to make an hour or so nicer for them is hopefully a small nice thing we can do for these "kids" and I do mean kids…