Joseph Patrick “Joe” Escalante (born January 30, 1963) is a former television executive and entertainment lawyer, as well as an American musician, record label owner, radio host, film and music video director, and amateur matador. He is best known as the bassist for the punk rock band The Vandals, the owner of their record label Kung Fu Records, and the host of Barely Legal Radio on Indie 103.1 FM in Los Angeles/Orange County.
Education of Joe Escalante
Escalante earned his bachelor’s degree from UCLA, where he studied Viking civilization under Professor Jesse Byock, and his law degree from Loyola Law School.
He graduated from Los Alamitos High School in 1981 and was inducted into the Los Alamitos High School Hall of Fame in 2014. In 1985, Escalante attended the University of Iceland’s Reykjavik Graduate Program.
Joe Escalante Career
Career With the Vandals
At the age of 18, Escalante joined the punk rock band The Vandals, becoming their first permanent drummer and remaining the band’s sole constant member for the rest of their career. The Vandals released their debut EP Peace Through Vandalism on Epitaph Records in 1982.
In 1984, Escalante and the other band members appeared in Roger Corman’s film Suburbia, directed by Penelope Spheeris, and released their first album When in Rome Do as the Vandals.
They appeared in another Spheeris film, Dudes, in 1987. By 1989, Escalante had moved from drums to bass guitar. The current lineup of singer Dave Quackenbush, guitarist Warren Fitzgerald, and drummer Josh Freese released the album Fear of a Punk Planet in 1989, establishing themselves among an emerging new crop of southern California punk rock bands.
This lineup would remain consistent for the rest of the band’s career, releasing numerous albums, touring extensively, and establishing their record label.
Career in Television
Escalante joined CBS as an executive in the department of business affairs after graduating from law school in 1992. During his tenure at the network, he negotiated actor, writer, and director contracts for shows such as Everybody Love Raymond, Rescue 911, and Walker, Texas Ranger, for which he co-produced the theme song “Eyes of a Ranger” after convincing Chuck Norris to sing the theme song to his series.
He left CBS after four years to consult with the United Paramount Network, tour with The Vandals, and run his record label, Kung Fu Records, where he also produced concert films and low-budget features. Fear of a Punk Planet, one of the first streaming TV series, was ordered by the Digital Entertainment Network (DEN) in 1999 and was later released as a comic book in 2017.
Escalante was hired in 2015 by Discovery I.D./Discovery Channel to produce the scripted true crime TV series True Nightmares, for which he wrote scripts and served as production re-writer for the first and second seasons. He began writing for the History Channel’s sci-fi documentary series Ancient Aliens in 2017. Escalante has written scripts for shows such as Oxygen Channel’s Buried in the Backyard, Travel Channel’s In Search of Monsters, and History’s Curse of Oak Island as a freelance writer.
Escalante wrote the pilot script for the reboot of the 1960s hit TV series Hogan’s Heroes for original creator and two-time Academy Award winner Albert S. Ruddy in 2018, which is still in development with Albert S. Ruddy Productions as of 2022. The series is set in Guantanamo Bay this time. Monsters Across America, starring Kacie McDonnell, was sold to Fox Nation by Escalante in 2020.
Joe Escalante’s Net Worth
Joe has an expected net worth of between $3 million and $5 million. Joe made the majority of his money from his Yeezy sneakers. While he had exaggerated the size of his business over the years, the money he made from it was substantial enough to rank as one of the largest celebrity cashouts of all time. His primary source of income is his success as a lawyer.
What are His Religious and Political Perspectives?
Escalante is a daily communicant at St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church in Hawaiian Gardens, where he teaches Catechism. He is not a member of any political party. From 2008 to 2012, Escalante served as a volunteer temporary judge for the Los Angeles Superior Court before running for a paid position in a non-partisan race.
Shepherd Fairey, a street artist, created a campaign poster for Escalante, his first candidate poster since his iconic depiction of President Barack Obama. With the posters, Escalante raised $15,000 for his campaign and received 18.41% of the vote. To defeat him, his opponent spent a record $450,000.
Married Life of Joe Escalante
Escalante married in 1996. His wife, Sandra Escalante, made a brief appearance in his 2005 film Cake Boy, which he directed (as a member of the counseling group). They now live together in Seal Beach, California.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is He Still a Lawyer or Has He Retired?
Yes! He is still active in his profession and has been a lawyer for the past 41 years. He began his career in 1980.
When Was He Born?
Joe Escalante was born on January 30, 1963.