Class of 1981
Current Residence: Seal Beach
Musician, producer, lawyer, network executive, on-air radio personality, bullfighter, tv scriptwriter — these are just a few sides of Joe Escalante.
During his time at Los Al, Joe learned to play drums and began performing in local garage bands. In 1980, at age 17, Joe joined the punk rock band The Vandals, and would remain the sole constant member of the band throughout the rest of their career. The band became a fixture in the Orange County punk rock scene and released their debut EP Peace Thru Vandalism in 1982 through Epitaph Records. In 1984 Escalante and the other band members appeared in the Penelope Spheeris film Suburbia and released their first album When in Rome Do as the Vandals.
Not wanting to put all his eggs in the fickle entertainment basket, Escalante continued his education, receiving a B.A. from UCLA (Emphasis on Old Norse) and a law degree from Loyola Law School where he specialized in anti-trust litigation (he is actually published in the field). After graduation, Escalante worked for CBS Television in their business affairs department.
In 1996, Escalante left CBS to start Kung Fu Records, funding the new label by opening a law practice with a roster of many music industry clients. The Vandals, which Escalante, by now the sole surviving member, had re-organized, once again began to perform regularly, even traveling to Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan to entertain U.S. troops.
Joe ventured into radio in June 2005, first as the host of Barely Legal, in which he used his entertainment law background to offer free legal advice covering film, tv, music, and literature. The show aired on Indie 103 FM in Los Angeles. In May 2006, he went full-time with his radio gig, as the the host of the Last Of The Famous International Morning Shows on Indie 103.1 FM M-F 6am – 10am. In 2008, Rolling Stone Magazine called Indie “The Best Radio Station In America.”
Escalante lives with his wife Sandra in downtown Culver City, although he returns to the area frequently and is active at St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church in Hawaiian Gardens. He is also an avid stand-up paddle surfer, and has enjoyed the distinction of being one of only a handful of U.S. citizens training and performing as an amateur bullfighter.