Vans Unleashes New Record Label

Vans, Inc. (Nasdaq:VANS), the leading worldwide brand for Core Sports”!, today announced the creation of Vans Records, a music label that develops and distributes music by new artists from emerging music scenes including those popularized by skateboard, snowboard and surf culture.

Headed up by Jim Lindberg of the veteran punk band Pennywise and supported by Vans’ corporate resources, Vans Records is a natural extension of Vans’ involvement with the Vans Warped Tour(the leading alternative music and Core Sports festival that travels to more than 45 U.S. cities each year and drew more than 450,000 attendees in 2001.

Kool Keith and the big Vans Warped Tour stage.

Vans Records’ library will include compilations as well as full-length albums from artists and bands that have signed exclusive contracts with Vans. Vans Records will distribute through traditional music outlets and through skate and surf specialty shops plus Vans retail stores, Vans Skateparks and at Vans events such as the Vans Warped Tour and Vans Triple Crown Series.

“Vans Records is a perfect complement to the Vans Warped Tour and is a natural move for us considering Vans’ long-time position at the heart of Core Sports, music and youth,” said Gary H. Schoenfeld, president and chief executive officer of Vans. “Vans Records is the latest element in our efforts to forge an emotional connection and build loyalty with our core customer through sports and music.”

Here comes trouble: The Volcom Stage at the Warp Tour.

The leadership of Jim Lindberg brings Vans Records additional credibility as Lindberg provides more than ten years of music industry experience as the lead singer and songwriter for Pennywise. Lindberg co-produced all seven of Pennywise’s albums, which sold more than 2 million copies worldwide. “We’re going to create a label that is very artist-driven,” said Jim Lindberg, Pennywise frontman and Vans Records director. “I’ve been on an independent label for over a decade, and I plan on treating our bands with the same respect and creative freedom that Pennywise has demanded over the years.”

Vans Records is led by Lindberg and Steve Van Doren, Vans’ vice president of promotions, while Kurt Soto, long-time Vans entertainment marketing manager, will handle many day-to-day activities. Housed in Vans’ corporate offices, the label will also benefit from resources already in place such as Vans’ marketing, graphic design and administrative departments and existing venues for distribution and promotion such as Vans’ retail outlets and skateparks and the Vans Triple Crown Series, which airs nationally on NBC Sports and Fox Sports Net. Vans’ involvement with the Vans Warped Tour over the past six years particularly places the company in a unique position to launch a viable, progressive music label and gives Vans Records’ artists the opportunity to perform in front of nearly half a million fans each year.

“We have a built-in farm system for artists in place,” said Steve Van Doren, Vice President of Promotions for Vans. “Over the past six years, we have worked with nearly 300 bands annually with the Vans Warped Tour, allowing us to develop relationships with thousands of new artists.”Adds Lindberg, “”Many of the top skaters in the world like Steve Caballero and Tony Trujillo are in bands and we think people who follow the skate world would be interested in hearing what type of music they’re into.”The label is already on the lookout for new bands that are starting to make some noise in the underground scene. “Whenever my band plays a show I usually leave with three or four demo tapes that someone has stuffed in my pocket,” declares Lindberg, “With help from all the pros that ride for Vans, we already have a built-in A & R department.Upon Pennywise’s return from the Vans Warped Tour in Australia in April, Vans Records will celebrate its debut with an industry and media party featuring several of the new label’s artists at Hollywood’s Key Club on April 25. More information about the event will be available in upcoming weeks.

The first two Vans Records releases are expected to hit stores this spring, just time in time for the summer 2002 Vans Warped Tour.

Vans (Nasdaq: VANS) is a leading worldwide brand for Core Sports”! specializing in performance and lifestyle footwear, apparel, snowboard boots and bindings. Its contributions to Core Sports include the Vans Triple Crown”! Series, the operation of eleven large-scale Vans Skateparks, the High Cascade Snowboard Camp”!, majority ownership of the Vans Warped Tour( and the continued sponsorship Vans World Amateur Skateboarding Championships”!. Vans collections are sold in the United States through 158 company owned stores and factory outlets as well as a network of independent retailers. Vans also distributes to more than 50 countries internationally through distributors, sales agents and its subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.