Smurfpunx

08/29/2009

Smurfpunx’ start in ‘Netwerk’

Filed under: Netwerk, Aalst — Tags: , , , , , , — smurfpunx @ 16:06

I used to be an active member of Smurfpunx, though not one of its founding members. How I go ‘into it’? Well, the question is interesting enough to widen it up: how does somebody gets into hardcore, punk or another subculture for hat matter, in the first place?

In my specific case, we have to go back to the first half of the eighties. First, there’s the town of what was to become the temporary hardcore-punk ‘mecca’ of Aalst and the task of having to grow up there. The circumstances of life compelled my family to live there for thirteen years. Of course that’s subjective. I can imagine that Aalst has its charms and advantages, though that depends on you and on what you aim for in life. Aalst is a province-town roughly situated between Brussels and Gent that tends (or at least tended back then) to take itself for a metropolis in its own right. Back then, if a self-respecting teenager wanted more than carnaval and weekend binges in whatever pub was in vogue, in the illusion to escape overall mediocrity, he or she could either leave or go for ‘something unusual’. That’s what I did. And I found that ‘something unusual’ with the first punk- and hardcore-‘products’ I coincidentally laid my hands on in ‘Solbemol’, a grotty record-shop with a worn-out owner in a small side-street in Aalst.

That must have happened somewhere in 1984 if I’m not mistaken. It was a spilt-EP (more than a single but less than an album and, euh?!, made of vinyl: CD’s did exist already but were a gadget for yuppies and technology-buffs) of ‘Zyklome A’ and ‘Wulpse Varkens’. Both Belgian bands. And there was also a live-album of an English punk band called the ‘Anti-Nowhere League’: ‘Live in Yugoslavia ‘((!) yes, that country still existed). It stuck. Later I wrote directly to ‘Punk Etc.’ the label wo put out the ‘Zyklome A/Wulpse Varkens’ split-EP, to ask if the bands were set to perform somewhere so that I could try to go and see them live. The reply contained a couple of fanzines: the ‘Nieuwe Koekrand’ from Amsterdam and a zine published by Werner Exelmans called ‘Extreme Noise’. These opened a new world for me: the global hardcore- and punk-scene. They spoke about punk- and hardcore-bands in what were then somewhat unreal places for me like Finland and Milan (until then, punks were only something I’d only seen around Brussels’ central station, in London and a bit in Gent too). What especially catched me was the direct contact and the absence of any hierarchy or distance. I mean, this was not a thing that was handled by farty PR- and management-bureaus sending out standard replies and merchandise lists.

Second, there were the early eighties. The Cold War and arms-race were still in full swing. So did reaganomics, new conservatism and yuppiehood. Ethiopia was ravaged by civil-war and mediagenic famine, and eventually the violence came very close to our sleepy Belgian doorsteps with the CCC (Belgium’s junior answer to Baader-Meinhof and Action Directe) and the so-called ‘Bende van Nijvel’ (‘les Tueurs du Brabant-Wallon’ in French, a roving death-squad specialised in supermarket-shootings and allegedly linked to a right-wing plot within the Belgian gendarmerie and the military). The violence both shocked and fascinated me. Probably this climate, or at least my impressions of these times, were best reflected in the brutality of hardcore-punk music.

So it went. From one came the other, as we say. Later I got involved in a couple of ephemeral bands like ‘The Inapt’ (which never made it on stage but did published one track on a Swiss compilation-cassette whose name I forgot) and in ‘Pigs in Blue Glue’ (PIBG), one of the older Belgian punk-bands which knew a brief ‘resurgence’ in 1985. PIBG’s ambition (or arrogance?) was to be a bit of a Belgian answer to ‘The Ex’. In its last line-up, PIBG existed for some 8 months and played three gigs: in ‘De Gele Limonade’ in Aalst, ‘De Waag’ in Antwerp (where, to my delight, we managed to irritate the assholes of ‘X-Creta’ to such an extent that they just left) and in a small club in Leuven whose name escaped. It was great, yet things never really ‘stuck’ between the older (the singer and bass-player) and younger (me on guitar and a drummer I am still friends with) ‘parts’ of PIBG. So, one day, it just ended.

During my time with PIBG, I also organised two gigs in a moribund, sort of post-68 ‘alternative’ pub called ‘De Gele Limonade’ in Aalst. The first (with ‘X-Creta’ before they became unpleasant and the apparently undestructible ‘Dirty Scums’) went well, the other (with ‘Pigs in Blue Glue’ and ‘Vortex’) ended in a fiasco after a brawl with a skinhead-gang from Brussels. Man, that was a mess! [Brob: I know…I was there. Got to know Mokka that evening and the whole thing became subject of one of Repulsives’ most popular songs: ‘Fascist Skins’.] It had lasting effects too: not so much in the sense that it sent a shock-wave through Aalst (that was rather funny) but that it was the end of my planned gigs-series in ‘De Gele Limonade’. Its ‘board’, actually a post-68 club, was in shock and decided not to allow any more punk-gigs. “That chases away our regular crowd!” As if they had that… :-) LOL

After the split of ‘Pigs in Blue Glue’ and the skinhead-fiasco in ‘De Gele Limonade’, I was ‘technically unemployed’ and looking for new challenges, new and *commited* people to work with: both for a band as well as for organizing shows. I’m a person that rather takes things in hand and explosive/determined in nature. Being active with one’s own music, I thought, was fantastic. In that period the Smurpunx got busy in the ‘hood’: concerts in the ‘Roxy’ in Dendermonde and in the ‘Madelon’ in Aalst. The pieces of the puzzle started fitting together spontaneously. My first contacts with Smurfpunx and ‘Hate Crew’ were with Guido and Kris [Brob: lead-guitarist and singer; the latter was a member of Smurfpunx too.], with whom I got a good personal contact.

The contacts with ‘Netwerk’ [Brob: At that time an ‘alternative cultural centre’.] were my initiative. We were looking for a permanent venue. At first I was thinking of something in Gent but what I found was too small and could only hold some forty people. Then there was the idea to squat a place in the same street as ‘Netwerk’: the ‘Rio’, an old cinema where they used to show porn. In fact I was dreaming of setting up something in the vein of ‘Blitz’ in Oslo. [Brob: Famous autonomous centre in Norway’s capital.] But that soon turned out to be unrealistic, also because of the shabby state of the ‘Rio’ (collapsed roof) and because a few arrogant characters in the leftist scene (‘the Student Committee’, who were to collaborate) had, as usual, a lot of talk but didn’t do much when push came to shove.

The post-68 schoolmasters who were running the stagnating ‘Netwerk’ – in fact more as a theatre- and exhibition-hall – at that time, showed quite some resistance against our presence at first. Yet Mokka and I managed to convince one younger staff-member who had had a bit of a punk-past himself and was still fond of ‘The Ex’ and ‘Crass’, and somehow felt sympathy for us, to let us try one gig. The rest followed when they saw that we had insurance and when we brought up the perspective of a considerable bar-turnover – the entrance-money was for Smurfpunx, the bar for ‘Netwerk’- in case of a successful turnout. For its part, Aalst’s local punk-scene at the time, which was basically centred around a bunch of posers and pretentious wankers who patronised a café called ‘De Cactus’, did not welcome us. In fact, they ran a bit of a hate-campaign against Smurfpunx.

So the first concert that Smurfpunx organised in ‘Netwerk’ was the one with the Berlin band ‘Ceresit’ and ‘No Pigs’ from Amsterdam [Brob: Along with my own ‘Repulsives’]. ‘Ceresit’, a band who, like ‘Vorkriegsjugend’ and ‘Inferno’, brought metalcore in German, showed up with an entourage of ca. 30 people. The next day, they had another gig in Limburg. There was also an opening act from Limburg called ‘Astrant’ (then just re-named ‘Dawn of Liberty’), not a bad band either. ‘No Pigs’ cancelled a few days before the concert (can anyone refresh my memory on who replaced them, if anybody? ‘CPD’?) allegedly due to illness of the drummer. As far as I remember, there were about 300 people, which was a success. That’s how we got started for a few very intensive years…

Last but not least, this… Those of you who are born in the eighties and read this may have a hard time (or a bemused laugh) to imagine how we worked, technically. There were no laptops nor even widespread PC’s: the first were something futuristic and the latter did already existed but were a luxury or confined to engineering-bureaus, academic institutions and an administration here and there. There was no internet, no e-mail, no mobiles or text-messages and – What?! Nooo!!! – no Facebook and Twitter either. Medieval? No, boys’n’girls: that was the case even until well into the nineties. What we did have were: a) the classical post, called ‘snail-mail’ in today’s lingo, b) the landline-phone with tariffs for inter-zonal and international calls being a multitude of what they are today and c) when it was urgent, a telegram. Some of our correspondent bands or gig-organisers, for example those living in squats, did not even had phones of their own. So we had always to leave messages with parents or girlfiends with phones. Paypal, credit-cards of bank-transfers? Pfff. Yeah, right. Payments were either done in cash when we met the relevant people at gigs or else, by post, well-hidden and folded between several sheets of paper. There was also that hilarious trick to put soap on post-stamps so that the post-office mark could be removed and the stamps used again. Man-man-man… Likewise, there were no computer-programmes to design gig-flyers and -posters either. The master-copies were produced by hand (many by me), literally drawing, painting, cutting and pasting, and then xeroxed – black and white of course, because a colour-copy could only be made at one or two places in Gent or Brussels at € 2,50 or more per A4-page. To get the message out, we had to do our ‘tours’ with supplies of flyers, posters and scotch-tape calling at the relevant gigs, pubs and record-shops which are also becoming a rarity these days… If we had the gig info in time, we could also have it advertised in ‘De Nar’, a bi-weekly (yes, made of paper and not in PDF!) ‘alternative newsletter’. Apparently, it still exists.

Duco

08/28/2009

85-12-21 (Roxy) Combat Not Conform – Lärm – Funeral Oration – Dirty Scums – Vortex – C.P.D. – Statskirielja

+eerste Smurfpunx (Roxy 85)

Me and my ‘Repulsives’ buddies went over to attend what was the first ever Smurfpunx-gig. Although I thought the group of people that organised it, didn’t call themselves like that yet; the flyer does state ‘Smurfpunx’ festival… And if I remember correctly: people were tossing about a Smurf-doll. My personal involvement would start a year or so later.

It happened every now and then that the flyer mentions other bands (especially in the early days): some cancelled, some were added later on… ‘Combat Not Confirm’ were probably added last minute…

It was a memorable night where we discovered quite a few new great bands and founded the basis of what would become intensive and long-lasting friendships. Remember: hardly any bands had vinyl out (CD’s didn’t exist yet) and we had to wait weeks to get a tape in the mail (no email yet either)…

‘C.N.C.’ were a great band from Kreuzberg (Berlin, Germany). They sounded very impressive. Not in the least because the strong female vocals by Yvonne Ducksworth. The rest of the band (bassist Matze, guitarist Ilja Schellschmidt and drummer ‘General’ a.k.a. ‘der Franz’) delivered a powerful rocking sound. The sticker I got from them that night is still prominent on my guitar until today. They released an album called ‘Love’ (on Destiny recs) that, even nowadays, is still a milestone for the international HC-scene. ‘Combat not Conform’ is described as skatecore-band by some but it doesn’t serve them right to restrict it to just that… In the review of their lp I wrote for the 1st issue of my zine Tilt!, you can read: “One of the best gig I’ve ever seen.”. Yvonne soon went on to sing for ‘Manson Youth’ and later for ‘Jingo De Lunch’ (still existing).

Brob

Let me start to tell that this little piece of history is my personal view and memories of that time-period, I might have forgotten some things and facts, other people may have another view on things.

In 1977 I was 15 years old and I was living in a very small and very dull farm-village Westrem, near Wetteren. The biggest event was the annual ‘Bal van de Burgemeester’ [Mayor’s Ball]… A friend who went to school in Gent gave me a tape of the ‘Sex Pistols’ lp ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’ and I knew this was it !!! No more ‘Abba’, ‘Bay City Rollers’, ‘Boney M’ and all that crap. To make a long story short: by 1980 I had a punk radio-show on a free/illegal radio in the garage of a friend in Oordegem; we did this until the government confiscated our equipment in 1982. By that time I started going out in Wetteren, where we had the ‘New Age’ pub – a hang-out for all freaks and weirdos from miles around. And it was a place where you could meet other punks without getting into trouble for looking different. It was there that I met the people who later became the founding core of the Smurfpunx-collective: Ludwig ‘Ludde’ De Bock, the brothers Kris and Pascal Fiers, Guy Temmerman, etc.

We had a lot of problems with rockers and other tough guys but we stood our ground. The police was a bigger problem: they were on our backs all the time. I remember being stopped because I was wearing a ‘Nazi-punks fuck off’ patch (‘Dead Kennedys’) – you know: the one with the prohibition-sign with the swastika in it. I had to go to the police-station because I was wearing a nazi-symbol in public!?!?!? It took an hour before I could find a cop who understood I was anti-nazi…

We started to go to gigs all over Belgium: Antwerp, Aarschot, Gent, Wolvertem, etc. We had to take the train witch meant that after those gigs we had to hang out in a city we didn’t know waiting for the first train home. It became better when I got my drivers-license and I could borrow my dad’s car from time to time.

At these gigs we learned about the DIY-principle and by the end of 1983 we took the decision we would set up one big show. Why only once? Well we were convinced that we would only could do this once in Wetteren. After one show nobody would rent us a venue anymore…

But we didn’t have any money, so we started our own savings-program: every week we put 50 BeFs [€ 1,25] or what we could miss in a box and after a few months we had enough money to rent a place. But after a fight we had with some rockers at a dance-party at the annual fair we couldn’t rent a hall in Wetteren: nobody trusted us… So we had to look elsewhere .We went to a ‘Claw Boys Claw’ gig in the ‘Roxy’ in Dendermonde and the same night we asked the owner if we could do a festival over there and he said yes!!! That’s why we ended up Dendermonde.

This was the start of endless discussions of which bands we should ask to play. Because I was doing a tape-label ‘Smurf Punk Tapes’ (mostly international compilation-tapes) at that time, I was the one who had the most contact with bands. That’s why I asked ‘Funeral Oration’, ‘Gepöpel’, ‘The Dirty Scums’ and ‘Vortex’. ‘Censured’ and ‘Stadskierielja’ were local, and we also asked ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ but I can’t recall why they didn’t play that night. After ‘Gepöpel’ broke up, they asked if ‘Lärm’ could take their place. Which was no problem for us.

On the day itself around noon we got 2 phone-calls: one from Werner Exelmans [‘Extreme Noise’ fanzine, concert-promotor from Scherpenheuvel/Zichem and ‘Hageland Records’] who asked if this German band ‘Combat Not Conform’ could play and somebody of a band called ‘C.P.D.’ begged (joke!) us if they could play. We said yes ‘cause the night before we had decided that ‘Censured’ couldn’t play because they were not only in a band but they were also a part of Smurfpunx and they all had enough work that night (doors, bar, stage, backstage, etc.) Being our first fest we were all quit nervous…

‘Mokka’

<<[…] Seven bands for only 200 BeF (€ 5). No complaints about attendance… but the venue was enormous so it was difficult to create a good atmosphere. First there was ‘C.P.D.’ (‘Complete Political Disorder’) and they sounded very reasonable. […] The second band was ‘Statskirielja’ and there show was not so good. They’ll know that for themselves … but what do you want if you can’t or aren’t “allowed” to rehearse? The ‘Dirty Scums’ are drawing a lot of attention with their lp out, which is ‘to be expected’ in this little country. […] There isn’t a great deal to write about their live music. A question of taste. The chaps in the ‘Dirty Scums’ sure are funny guys. Next band was ‘Combat Not Conform’… They were probably the best of the evening. A German band with a Canadian female singer. […] She sometimes sang ‘D.R.I.’ tunes and it sounded good. Apart from that they played as fast as them. Excellent. ‘Vortex’ sounded, as has been the case before, not so good. It wasn’t bad but it could’ve been better. Their drummer was, as always, good. Next was the straight-edge band ‘Lärm’. Speed-maniacs from the Netherlands, you could call them. How many songs would they have played? Numerous. It all sounded fantastic. […] Last up was ‘Funeral Oration’ from Amsterdam. Sounded melodic…and great. […] A pity their set was rather short. Eh oh yeah: thanks to the person who emptied that fire-extinguisher in the venue. If it was meant to be a joke: he did not succeed…>>

‘De Vergeten Jeugd’ #3 (’86; Belgian fanzine)

I already questioned whether ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ played then. ‘Mokka’ wrote – quote: “We also asked ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ but I can’t recall why they didn’t play that night.” – unquote. Since this gig was on 21 dec 85, I would assume ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ was no longer; I went on to form ‘Ear Damage’ (must have started up around that time) with which we did a first concert in ‘Q104’ (Leuven) in april 1986.

Dirk Ceustermans

Recently [2010] Natasja & me moved house and I decided to throw the Smurfpunx-smurf [picture: Roxy, Dendermonde, 10 may 86 (Indirekt)] away, after all this time. I regret it already but we can’t hang on to everything, can we?

Guy Temmerman (cook-smurf, amongst other things)

Dendermonde was the first gig I did with ‘Funeral Oration’. I remember we only did 10 songs because that was all I could play at that moment… We had practiced twice with a guitar of inferior quality that had to be tuned after each song. Can ’t remember more. Did think it was cool; playing ‘abroad’ immediately. ;-)

Hayo Buunk, guitarist ‘Funeral Oration’

I didn’t keep track of all places and dates we played but I would’ve been there ‘cause I was in the band from the beginning to the end! ;-) Ferry Fidom was the drummer on the first tapes and the first 2 records (Communion & Shadowland). When we went to the Basque Country in 1985, he quit. From then on Erik Jansen drummed for ‘Gepöpel’ & ‘F.O.’. He kept doing that for years. After ‘Gepöpel’, he played for ‘Yawp!’. [Erik died in 2008 after a tragic accident.]

Willi Steinhäuser, bassplayer ‘Funeral Oration’

Photo of ‘Combat Not Conform’ (by Kurt Boelens):

85-12-21 Combat Not Conform' (Smurfpunx)

‘Lärm’; Menno – Jos – Olav – Paul (pic by Kockie):

Some scans from ‘De Vergeten Jeugd’ #3 (’86; Belgian fanzine):

‘Combat Not Conform’

‘Funeral Oration’

‘Lärm’

‘Vortex’

‘C.P.D.’: Hugo (bass & vocals) – Jaak (drums) – Bart (guitar) [the 1st line-up was without Rudy]

‘Statskirielja’: Koen Schepens (drums), Dirk Tondeleir (guitar), Martine Moreels (vocals), Ludwig De Bock (bass)

Photos of ‘Funeral Oration’ (by Annick Clerick & Kockie):

85-12-21 Funeral Oration' (by Skina)Hayo Buunk – Peter Zirschky

85-12-21 Funeral Oration (drum = Erik Janssen)Ferry Fidom

85-12-21 Funeral Oration (bass) +OlavWilli Steinhäuser

Photo of ‘Dirty Scums’ (by Kurt Boelens):

85-12-21 Dirty Scums (Smurfpunx)

08/25/2009

89-03-19 (Netwerk) Youth Of Today – [Lethal Aggression] – Decadence Within – Mind Exit

Smurfpunx (Aalst 89, YOT)

The band  ‘Lethal Aggression’ that was supposed to be touring with ‘Youth Of Today’  got replaced because their singer was “a nuisance” who nagged all the time (they asked them to leave the tour). ‘Project X’ (Porcell-Walter-Jordan*Revelation-Sammy) played… And for those who don’t know, ‘Youth Of Today’ at that time was: Ray Cappo (vocals), John ‘Porcell’ Porcelly (guitar), Walter Schreifels (bass) & Sammy Siegler (drums).

tour-poster:

promo-pics:

It was Sammy’s 16th birthday so (after a lot of whining for Brussels’ waffles), Hans gave him a birthday-cake…

Sammy YOT gets a cake on his 16th birthday in Aalst Belgium

Somewhere along the line Hans also got his nose punched (broken?) by one of the guys in ‘SixtyNine’: “There was some trouble when metalheads threw beer on stage while ‘Y.O.T.’ were playing, these were anxious to react to the provocations (Porcell jumped in with his broken leg aiming for one of the guys) and there was some hassle that ended in a few kicks/ punches  and a twisted shoulder for me [Brob], and a broken nose for Hans.” […] “One could’ve expected a more mature attitude from them [‘Y.O.T.’] (It wasn’t the 1st time they had to deal with that: in other countries it was worse. ) like e.g.  leaving stage and waiting until the thing clears itself… Instead, they started using their fists immediately (A bit strange for someone who’s a Krshna…).” Things calmed down when ‘Y.O.T.’ left for the Netherlands where they still had a late-night show.

There’s a clip on YouTube and this is definitely at ‘Netwerk’ allright… Who filmed this? (Youth Of Today – Live in Aalst, Belgium ’89)

[The whole video, approx. 50 min.: Youth Of Today – We’re Not In This Alone – unfortunately music and sound don’t seem to be synchronized…]

Brob / Hans

This is definitely at Netwerk… I recognize a lot of people actually.
My sister is on stage, Marc H. (‘B.T.D’.-‘Betray’), Michiel (‘Man Lifting Banner’), etc. I did my military service at that time and skipped the army for an entire week to see various ‘Y.O.T.’ shows… So I was kind of AWOL.  There was a pretty hostile atmosphere at the show… A bunch of people came to see ‘Lethal Aggression’ and had to check ‘Project X’, instead. There was some yelling, some beer-throwing stupidity and finally, in a brawl, a dude from the metal-band ‘SixtyNine’ broke my nose… Had to go to the military hospital and got one month extra on my service in the army for being ‘absent without leave’. I have the entire YOT/PX show on video here… Amazing stuff and sweet memories.

Hans

Brob at YOT‘Y.O.T., pic by Bart Van Mulders (Brob in the left corner)

YOTRay Cappo, ‘Y.O.T., pic by Kockie

Peter Hoeren (Crucial Respons recs), Georg Opora & Andreas Grüter

Y.O.T. ‘rider’. Can ‘t remember if the got the money (€ 650) they asked…

That was a great tour. I know there were two shows where ‘Project X’ had to play because ‘Lethal Aggression’ went home (after fighting with Martin [Strodthoff], the promoter, from Bremen). One of Martin’s friends, who was called ‘Godz’ (a nickname), drove the van for ‘Y.O.T.’ most of the time. Martin was someone working with Funhouse recs who released ‘Y.O.T.’s lp ‘We’re Not In This Alone’ in Germany. I don’t remember the details of the scuffle between Martin and ‘Lethal Aggression’ but John (‘L.A.’s singer) and Martin fought a couple of times and the 3rd time Martin told them that was it or maybe they decided to go home. Something like that but I’m not sure of course. John or Martin could probably tell the story now. John from ‘Lethal Aggression’ has been in touch once or twice since the internet got into our hands so he’s probably alive and kicking somewhere in NJ.

I remember the punks having a near riot-fight with metal-heads in one show in Belgium. I was outside when the fight happened but I saw people fighting as they came out the door. Doug Carron (‘Y.O.T.’s U.S. booking-agent) was there for some reason – I think he was on most of the tour. He was part of the brawl but as I remember it, other than that, it was a great day. We had all made some friends at the show and at some previous shows so it felt a little more familiar than some of the other ones.

Someone asked me for photos of the show a few years ago and I scanned through my pictures looking for them but I didn’t take pics at every show…

Jordan Cooper, Revelation recs

The ‘Y.O.T.’ tour… We finally (in the end and after so much trouble) arrived in Belgium. Schweers, Benno, Goetz and me were pretty exhausted… It was pretty tough to do all that without PC or mobile-phone during these times. Joerg (Funhouse, Hannover) did pay the posters but wasn’t involved in the tour. Three of my friends and me did the tour (Thorny Trip Laboratories, Bremen) in too many places between Oslo, Yugoslavia, Spain.

Too bad that there were not more videos (just two boot-legs) from that time.

The trouble with John (‘L.A.’) isn’t worth a word after more than 20 years. I think he sees it the same way. But it’s true that he was jettisoned at Paris Airport just before we arrived in Belgium.

Martin Strodthoff

Basically I was pissed because Martin the tour-manager was spending a lot of the bands money on speed. It was such a hectic schedule and I can’t blame him for needing it but it left us in some shitty situations. Plenty of times they would dump ‘Lethal’ at the worst place to stay and then ‘Y.O.T.’ and the crew would stay at a house or proper accommodation. Yes, we liked to get high and they liked inviting Krshnas to hand out cookies and stuff. A few times I was trying to score some drugs on the street, and they literally would grab me and throw me in the van. It got to the point where I told Martin “I don’t know if we will ever see these places again so instead of leaving us in someone’s closet all day give me the keys to the van or our share of the money!”. He didn’t like that and threatened to leave us behind. We put up with ‘Y.O.T.’ and at quite a few shows I personally got in the pit to fight off a bunch of skins who were trying to attack them (Remember Yugoslavia and Austria, guys?). ‘Y.O.T.’ claim to be open-minded and such but they didn’t care that we kept getting stuck in these shitty places all day while they had the vans and could visit temples and whatever else. As for the knife-incident… That Doug character, who in my opinion was never supposed to be part of the tour, was in our van as we headed out of Italy. I was looking around for my headphones and noticed he was using them. I asked for them back and he said: “No, I want to use them.”; he didn’t ask, he just took them and then wouldn’t give them back. Not a smart thing to do to a band who decides to call themselves ‘Lethal Aggression’. Just as ‘Y.O.T. live the lifestyle their name espouses, so do we. We don’t take shit. So when someone is eating with a switchblade in his hand…give the guy back his headphones. I never attempted to stab him. Although the knife was in my hand because I was eating with it, I bitch-slapped him with my other hand and took back the headphones. This turned into a funny event at the next gig when all the ‘Y.O.T.’ guys pulled out there Swiss army-knives and started holding them out and throwing them at a dartboard. There’s always more sides to a story but since we are a cult band no one really cares to hear from us. A lot of our fans gave them shit at those last dates; that’s why you hear about fights, and packing up and leaving. It wasn’t all nazi-skins (if many at all), it was a lot of our fans pissed ‘cause we were kicked off the tour. Nazi-skins make a better story though. I got to see Ray and John in Texas (2011), and they tried to act all nonchalant about what happened years earlier. I gave them a copy of a song I wrote – called Project X – and told them to give it a listen. It starts off with an interview Porcell did, calling us loser alcoholic punks! I find it all kinda funny but apparently Porcell got a little nervous and excused himself as I was with some local Texas boys who could eat him and shit him out in a bite. All in good fun, I know they were watching there back that show. As times passed I wouldn’t have done anything different. You fight for what you believe in and when you know someone is ripping you off and conspiring behind you, well then you speak up for yourself. Yeah, we were crazy drunk drug addicts and we had a lot of fun. Thanks to them we got all the girls and all the beer. They got to share beds and cold showers. Build up the walls!

John ‘Saltz’ Saltarelli, ‘Lethal Aggression’ singer

For those who read German; here’s a piece with some info on the YOT/LA tour from Kabeljau #12:

I saw ‘Youth Of Today’ six times, including the show at the Netwerk in Aalst. Some of it I remember so clearly that it was like yesterday, some things faded and some are coming back. On the flyer it said ‘Youth Of Today’, ‘Lethal Aggression’, ‘Decadence Within’ and ‘Mind Exit’. As it happens ‘Lethal Aggression’ never played this show. I wanna stress it more than once: a new vibe was there, something positive. Everyone was stoked to see ‘Youth Of Today’. A lot of kids from all over Europe came to see them. It was magical. New friends were made, some of them I know till this today. I remember that Bart and Michiel (‘Profound’) came over. They had a pile of ‘Colt Turkey’ posters (famous fanzine with the Colt Turkey cartoon-character) made. It was 100% straight and 100% political and of course it was 100% fun. In 1990 they put out the classic ‘Colt Turkey’ 7“ which was full on straight with a communist edge I‘m friends with them till this day, though I don‘t see them very often. I remember Big (later played in ‘Profound’, ‘Man Lifting Banner’, ‘Mainstrike’, etc.) was also there. He was a 100% ‘Youth Of Today’ devotee like everyone else in our crew. Michael Müller from Counter Clockwise zine, Georg Opora, Andreas Grüter, Thorsten Benning and Morten Gass (both played in ‘7 Inch Boots’, the first hardcore from our area I really liked) and me drove to the show in Aalst. To be honest I can’t say anything about ‘Mind Exit’ and ‘Decadence Within’. I can’t remember if the were good or not. ‘Decadence Within’ were a quite popular band from Great-Britain. ‘Mind Exit’ were a Belgian band but that‘s the only thing I can tell. ‘Lethal Aggression’ would have been played this night but as it happened one of the band-members were fighting with the tour-manager. If I remember correctly he was threatening him with a knife. Everyone in our crew hated them. They were all druggies and that wasn‘t hip at all with us. We were kinda glad when they were kicked off the tour. But the best thing came when ‘Project X’ hit the stage to replace ‘Lethal Aggression’. Jordan from Revelation recs filled in on bass, Ray was playing drums, Walter on guitar and Porcell on vocals. Everyone was so excited to see them. It was unbelievable. I have a ‘Project X’ photo from the show which I used in the Voice Of A Generation fanzine [at the bottom of this]. They played all the hits from the 7“. ‘Youth Of Today’ came next, everyone was stage-diving. Marc from ‘Betray’ was a bit annoying, he was screaming all the time during the songs: “Hey Ray, stand fucking hard.” I can tell you he hasn‘t made lots friends during the show. There’s a video of the ‘Youth Of Today’ concert where you can hear him screaming all the time. You can also see me in the crowd still with long hair. I haven‘t seen this video in a long time. I wish I had a copy. I‘m sure I will find something on YouTube. I‘m not sure if ‘Project X’ got video-taped. There are lot of familiar faces in the crowd and this is a show I will always remember for ‘Youth Of Today’, ‘Project X’ and the new friends I made during the show.

Peter Hoeren (Crucial Response recs)

the crowd in action during the ‘Project X’ show (by Peter Hoeren)

For ‘Decadence Within’ this was the kick-off of a 1st short euro-tour that I set up for them… In ’89 I wrote to a friend: “Musically they’re very technical but powerful and energetic (I like it a lot) and as human beings, they’re kind, sympathetic people. I kinda feel ‘connected’ with them…” They seem to have impressed  Martin & Doug (tour-promoters) because they were offered a few extra shows with ‘Y.O.T’ because of ‘Lethal Aggression’s departure.

Brob

The Aalst gig: well, what can I say? It was great – the best show of the week.  [There were 550 people.] We’ll always remember it as one of the best gigs ever. […] We went off to do another gig with Y.O.T. in the evening but there were lots of nazi skins so we didn’t get to do the gig and Y.O.T. only did a short set. […] Monday in Düsseldorf we had a car-accident, nothing too serious. The gig [Kiefernstrasse, AK 47‘] was great and we got a good meal & 300 DM [ca. € 150]. ‘So Much Hate’ were great band and nice people. Tuesday we went to Amsterdam and stayed with Syd & Lorelei; very sincere and kind people, and they looked after us. [Brob: When Smurfpunx stayed over at ‘Van Hall’ with them, they played ‘mommy and daddy’ for us too. Letting us sleep around the stove in their bedroom.] Wednesday, in Arnhem [‘Goudvishal’], we played with ‘Y.O.T.’ and ‘So Much Hate’ again. It’s a good venue and it was very full, so it was a very enjoyable gig. We were fed very well and paid fl. 250 [ca. € 70]. On Thursday we drove 8 hours to Göppingen. It was OK, we played well but the crowd were all into total noise (100s of ‘Naplam Death’ T-shirts)! Nevertheless we persevered and were very pleased. Again, we were well fed and were paid DM 400 [ca. € 200]. Friday we drove back 10 hours to Amsterdam where we played our last gigs in the the large room of ‘Van Hall’. An attendance-record was set of over 650 people and we enjoyed playing. ‘Y.O.T.’ were simply brilliant that night. They were nice people and we struck up quite a good friendship with them. We were paid fl. 700 [ca. € 320]. We had to cancel the gig in Frankfurt because some bug got to Mobs [drummer] – he vomited straight through the set in A’dam – and Kev had lost his voice. […] Overall it was a great week…

Slug, D.W. bassplayer (personal communication ’89)

I have great memories from the Centrum Netwerk in Aalst! It was a tough time to play shows in the UK and you were lucky to get a bit of petrol-money – you always made a loss anyway! And then we started coming to Europe – thanks to all the sterling efforts on your part, Brob mate (My old friend Andy ‘Tez’ Turner from the ‘Instigators’ helped us out over there too) – and we couldn’t believe that you not only got paid, but given good food and drink as well… It was a very nice surprise nót to lose money for once anyway! At the ‘Y.O.T.’ show, it was unfortunate that the fight broke out – I remember Sammy, their drummer, pulling some big guy’s jacket over the guy’s own head so he couldn’t see Sammy hitting him, which was pretty funny… We obviously got chatting to ‘Y.O.T.’ and they were amazed that we didn’t drink and were vegetarian, so we had a long talk about the UK anarcho punk scene and where we’d got óur influences from… I think they thought all UK bands were crusties! We were invited to follow them all the way to Holland to play another show with them that night but it was full of Nazis, so ‘Y.O.T.’ went on first and headed for their hotel and left us to headline… There was a curtain across the stage, that the promoter would pull back when the band was ready to play, but we told them to leave the curtain drawn so no one could see what we were doing and we packed all our gear back into the van and left, haha! For all I know, all those guys are still stood in that hall waiting for us to come on…

Slug, D.W. bassplayer

I remember the ‘Y.O.T.’ show being pretty crazy and them also getting involved in some aggro outside the show! Ah, they were the days! This was also the first time I met Syd from ‘C.C.M.’; don’t know if he was there – maybe it could have been later we hooked up with him (& Lorelei). I just remember spending time sat next to him in the van! I sure remember that this was the first time I saw the effect US bands had on European audiences!

Mobs, D.W. drummer

‘Mind Exit’ rose from the ashes of ‘Taartje Aardbei’. Bart ‘Kwalpol’ Schoofs (the later cartoonist), who alredy then was in for some absurd humor, played bass for them. The rest of the line-up was Dirk Verbeeck (younger brother of Mark, who played bass for ‘Zyklome-A’ & ‘Ear Damage’) on drums and vocals, and guitarist Tom Claes & Bart Gebroers. A leaflet they wrote at that time still makes us smile (sorry for non-Dutch-speaking but it’s impossible to capture the hilarious tone in English): “Zelf vergrijpen we ons wel eens aan een airke datsoortige muziek [metal], ten einde onze muzikale einders te verruimen (net zoals het wel vertoeven is in het land van resp. de Blues, de Jazz, de Flamenco, de Hiphop, de Funk, de Kleine Nachtmuzak, de Musica Reservata en de Ars Nova). Wat de attitude deze verchroomden betreft: Somtijds zijn jelui niet vriendelijk en ook heel dom, geloven in satan is ridikuul, bloed en kettingen zijn onmodieus, motorbendes kunnen een punt zuigen aan Fons De Wolf en swastikas zouden tot een ver verleden moeten behoren. […] Wij zijn voor vrede en gelijkheid, tegen alles wat dat verhindert, tegen autoriteit, we houden ervan om naakt door het bedauwde gras te slui…HOLA! We mogen al eens een alcoholletje tot ons plogen te nemen (zoals het ‘den burger’ betaamt),… Kortom wij zijn Goed. […] Wat betreft commercialiteit, zijn de Mind Exit-Jigsaw-Puzzels, de Mind-Exit-Action-Mannen, de Mind-Exit-Gijse-Mannen, de Mind-Exit-Fietsvaantjes, de Mind-Exit-Guano, de Mind-Exit-Samoeraizwaarden en de Mind-Exit-warenhuisketens op dit moment niet te verkrijgen. […] Onze lievelingsgroepen zijn: Death’s Dead, Evil Devils, Holy Jesus, Beer Innit, Death People Having Sex, Dag Brave Jung, Füunahä Pokjä, Gothic Warriör en Système U.” [sic]

Brob

Here’s a picture of Bart ‘Kwalpol’ that appeared in a local newspaper after their gig…

08/24/2009

Hardcore is More than Music

Filed under: Gele Limonade, Aalst, Ideology — Tags: , , — smurfpunx @ 16:31

Hardcore is More than Music

Smurfpunx-collective: we wanna do something about the ‘no future’ ideology

+ foto Smurfpunx -from L to R: Mokka / Natasja H. / Anmie / Brob / Natasja D. / Frank / Michel

bottom: Heleen’s feet

absent: Pascal / Ine / Kris / Guy / …

A free-minded translation of an interview in a local newspaper (autumn 1988)… The ‘journalist’ (Johan Velghe) obviously had a biased opinion of what it was all about and didn’t caputure everything as was intended or in its context!

“No names and pictures where we are recognisable.”, is the message the members of the Smurfpunx-collective, a dozen hardcores that move into the ‘Gele Limonade’in the De Ridderstraat in Aalst, convey at the start of the interview. A few buildings away from ‘Netwerk’ where they regularly organise concerts. People walking through the street might have noticed a strange but above all numerous, young public enjoying themselves. ‘John Doe’ piles up hardcore with punk, skinheads, new wave. Inspired by the punk-movement of some 7 to 10 years ago, it creates its on way of life with music, an ideology, an aversion against existing social situations – Has anything changed since 1968? – and external characteristics. The scouts-uniform has been thrown away and changed by the chequered shirt, the Chipie-jumper swapped with the hooded sweater.

“We’re a bunch of friends, a collective, an organisation without organisational structure. There’s about 15 of us, mostly from the region Aalst – Wetteren. When we went to hardcore-concerts in Leuven and Antwerp, we experienced the weirdest and most unbelievable things. Bad choice of venue, bands not showing up, a chaotic organisation. That irritated us. And since concerts in the area Gent – Aalst were lacking, we saved up about 20.000 BeF [€ 500] and this amount was used as the bail for a first concert in the Roxy in Dendermonde. We intended to organise the concerts in an appropriate venue, conveniently located for the public, with a good P.A. and decent publicity.”; the spokespersons of the Smurfpunx-collective state.

SMALL SCENE

The Belgian hardcore-scene is small. From West-Flanders to Limburg: the bands and the people attending concerts know each other. The contacts are intense and the bands play together often. Foreign bands that are touring, contact the organisers.

“All is based on friendship. There is little talk about finances. We break through the ways of the big rock-circuit, where everything is about money. We bring bands from the U.S. but the entrance-fees remain reasonable because the bands have little demands. In the rock-circuit this belongs to the country of the fables.

The hardcore-scene has kept the ways of the punk-movement, of making use of the establishment as little as possible. This puts us in direct opposition with the rock-circuit. Without spending too much money and in alternative manner, we’re also getting somewhere. That’s hardcore to us. It means much more than just music and it certainly doesn’t fit the image that the average citizen has about hardcore: a boozing freak with this hair in the air. The concerts are accessible to all. Hardcore was part of the anarchist scene in 1984 but nowadays the political content is realized at a personal level.

Hardcore and [fascist] skinheads are in direct contrast with each other. Skinheads have connections with the extreme right. For an outsider the difference is often difficult to notice but it lies in the behaviour and the words. There’s a lot of stereotypes in people’s minds but even youngsters think in stereotypes about hardcore. It’s supposed to be all about fast and noisy music. Hardcore-music does not easily fit one category. It ranges from plain noise, over reggae, blues, jazzy influences to songs that point out that hardcore is an underground-culture. While disco is nothing more than so many beats per minute, hardcore has to offer more.”

LITTLE ‘NATION’ ON ITS OWN

The Smurfpunx-collective may well have borrowed its name from a pub in Wetteren that was named after Peyo’s blue creatures, the collective has a philosophy about it. The Smurfs are a particular kind of ‘nation’. They live far away from society and provide for their own needs.

“We exist and think autonomously. There are anarchist elements in our line of thought but the main motive is to determine ourselves what we are and what we want. There are external characteristics. Newcomers tend to imitate all of this sometimes. We find that ridiculous. Someone isn’t hardcore for wearing the right sneakers or a chequered shirt… The features are there but we don’t exclude anyone, they’re not required per se. Above all one has to be one’s self.”

CRITICAL

The lyrics of the songs are critical and aimed against the powers-that-be. One sings against Apartheid, against Reagan, against vivisection, against eating meat, against multinationals… Stage-diving, pogo-ing and slamming are ways of expression to experience the music. Stage-diving came over from the metal-scene.

“Nowadays everyone expresses one’s self the way one wants. Stagediving is not that ‘in’ anymore. It’s mostly harmless. You’re pulled upright quickly after the dive in the crowd.”

The hardcore-audience consists mostly of 17- to 22-year-olds. The spokesmen of the Smurfpunx-collective indicate that they’re a minority. Society doesn’t tolerate hardcore. Hardcore won’t fit into the system and the members of the Smurfpunx-collective think it’s nothing to bring on national TV. The remain pure and real, hardcore has to be kept out of the commercial circuit.

“It’s no fun in 1988 to be the son of a doctor. You can’t stick a sociological label on hardcore but the working-class is dominant. In 1988 the ‘no future’ of 1977 is still actual. It’s not that propagated anymore as ten years ago. Everybody still realizes the threat of unemployment but it’s being approached in a more positive way. We want to do something about it. A hardcore is no whining drop-out in the gutter.”

NETWERK

The Smurfpunx-collective organises concerts in Centrum Netwerk in Aalst but also in Gooik, Gent, Jette, Antwerpen and there are ongoing contacts with Eeklo.

They’re pretty satisfied with Netwerk. “They’re not nagging when something goes wrong and they’re interested in what we’re doing. The collective has no real connection with Netwerk but they did propose certain things in that direction.”

Netwerk is not a very well isolated venue. That’s why the concerts end before 10 p.m.; something which can not be said about the disco-joints in town.

Aalst also has a hardcore-scene of its own with ‘Violent Mosquitos’ (who – in line with the hardcore idea – released their five track record by themselves), the recently split ‘Hate Crew’, ‘Heart Explodes’, ‘Rough Justice’, the recently formed ‘Myosotis’ (forget-me-not) and the ‘Pitbull Boys’ duo.

08/16/2009

87-06-27 (Netwerk) Ripcord – Napalm Death – Ear Damage

Filed under: Netwerk, Aalst — Tags: , , , , , — smurfpunx @ 17:25

Smurfpunx (Aalst 87, Ripcord)

When I got the flexi-disc (‘The Damage is Done’) from the British band ‘Ripcord’ from Onno Hesselink (‘Peace or Annihilation’ fanzine), little did I know this was gonna be the start of an amazing decade. I was blown away by their music and found myself phoning them, to see if they could come over to play a gig. Their drummer John’s mom called him out of his room and we ended up agreeing that I would try and get them some concerts in Europe… I had never organised a tour before but hey, “If I can do it in my hometown, I can do it anywhere!”, no?! After a few talks with John the next weeks, I heard they were gonna come over with ‘Napalm Death’, a band I didn’t know at that time… ‘Heibel’s singer Bollie informed me they played ultra-fast and had one of the wildest drummer’s he’d ever seen…

The first gig on the tour was gonna be in ‘De Marbel’ in my hometown Tielt, where I had set up a few great gigs already. Unfortunately, the place got closed down because of some fights (If I remember correctly at one of the anniversary-shows of ‘The Dirty Scums’: a drunk threw a bottle at a police-van and a whole bunch were taken to the police-station while a riot-squad blocked the street and the venue.)… Disaster!

At that time I was already friends with ‘Hate Crew’ (a band that my own ‘Repulsives’ played quite a lot of gigs with). Some of them were doing concerts with a group of people called Smurfpunx. I had already been to some of them and think ‘Repulsives’ already had played for them too at that time… Anyway I called Duco… He remembers me nervously asking to help me out. This was the start of me joining the Smurfpunx collective.

The ‘Ripcord’ / ‘Napalm Death’ bill was the beginning of their first ‘European tour’ [Baz mentions in ‘Trapped in a Scene’ that Armin Hofmann set it up but it was me. A. helped with a few german contacts. See Brob’s tours]. Arriving in the port of Zeebrugge, they found themselves unable to ‘import’ their guitars and amps (no certificates) so they had to leave the van with all their gear behind and some nice (Onno, Kockie, Kris F. & Natasja H. ?) folks drove from the concert-place to go and pick ‘em up so they could play that gig. I can remember panicking at first but I only had to cancel one show (in Eindhoven) the next day because we could arrange the paper-work for the gear so they could depart for Germany, Switzerland,… anyway. They played their Smurfpunx gig with the instruments and over the backline of a Belgian band… I remember they had to re-arrange the strings of a guitar because one of them was left-handed.

If I remember correctly the ‘Napalm’-ers at that time were Mick Harris (drums), Lee Dorrian (vocals; later ‘Cathedral’), Bill Steer (guitar; later ‘Carcass’) and Jim Whiteley (bass; later ‘Ripcord’, ‘Filthkick’, etc.). Not a lot of people had heard of the band at that time. They had just finished the recordings for the Scum LP… ‘Ripcord’ had recorded the track for the Defiance Of Power LP but I don’t think it was out yet; at that time the band was: John Millier (drums), Steve ‘Baz’ Ballam (guitar), Brian ‘Buzby’ Birchell (vocals) and Steve Hazzard (bass).

Brob

It was our (‘5Les’) backline. We had been rehearsing in the morning that day and everything was in our car. We even went to pick ‘em up in Zeebrugge: the van couldn’t get through customs because they missed a couple of stamps and papers.

I still wake up screaming at night with the thought of what volume the ND guitarist played my amp…

Onno H.

Thank you Brob for setting up the ‘Ripcord’ + ‘Napalm Death’ tour [6 gigs in 8 days: Aalst (Bel), Eindhoven (Nl) had to be cancelled because of the customs-story, Arnhem (Nl), Dortmund (Ger), Hamburg (Ger), Geislingen (Ger), Zug (Swi) ], it was a great experience and one we’ll néver forget! It went well and we were paid, fed and cared for ay every gig – so that as great. Next time we will make sure all the customs-forms, etc. are checked/stamped befóre we leave England! If it hadn’t been for everyone’s great kindness and organisation, we may never have got to play at all… Thanks for all that you’ve done.

John Millier, ‘Ripcord’ (personal communication ’87)

‘Ripcord’ – original line-up; pics by Kockie:

Steve – Buzby – Baz – John – ?

These ‘Ripcord’ photographs are taken on the first visit to Belgium (June ’87) as Steve (bass) / Buzby (vocals) were no longer in the band for the gigs in ’88.

There’s an additional page with extra photos of ‘Ripcord’ & ‘Napalm Death’.

Not a great start to a European adventure when you’re denied entry to mainland Europe because of some bullshit bureaucratic technicality. We were allowed into Belgium but equipment had to be returned to the UK along with the hire van & driver because in our ignorance we had neglected to have our ‘EEC Carnet’ docket officiated – we had to have this paperwork stamped to ensure that we weren’t going to sell our gear in the European mainland!? Why a touring band would wish to sell their gear is beyond me; it wasn’t as if any of us had any money to even upgrade anything! ? All of us had to beg and borrow money just to be able to pay for van-hire, ferry-tickets, fuel…  I think we had a few records to sell just in case things got really desperate. Saving us from a potentially disastrous situation before we’d even started the tour was a measure of the diligence and organisational skills of the ‘Smurfpunx ‘crew. They ensured that we were able to still make it to Aalst via various vehicles and helpful people. On arrival we were thankfully able to borrow the services of other peoples’ gear as we had no guitars, backline or drums whatsoever. The option of re-stringing a right-handed bass to accommodate my left-handed needs was deemed too troublesome & time-consuming so I (vaguely) remember just sitting on a beer-crate trying to follow what the rest of the band was doing – I couldn’t actually play standing up because the guitar-strap proved to be too problematic because of the shape of the bass. It’s best to be mindful that I was at best a very incompetent ‘musician’ (I still am, ha ha) and so I was placed in quite an awkward situation. Hopefully the PA operative would have just turned the bass off to the audience, ha ha…? ‘Ripcord’ had played a really tight and impressive set and I think that after we (‘Napalm Death’) performed, I was already sitting under a black cloud so I remember drowning my frustrations with free-flowing beer and sympathetic company. It transpired to be a great night; myself and Lee (Dorrian) I think managed to drink the entire beer-supply in the venue – more in a social manner than blatant hedonism – we weren’t exactly discouraged by the folks we were having a great time with! Wow, so this is how things are done in mainland Europe: appreciative audiences, actually getting money from gigs to buy food & fuel and free beer too?!! For someone stepping out from the Thatcher-ravaged economically bipolar UK it was quite a change from what we were accustomed to. On that last note then I don’t think that things have changed very much sadly…

Jim Whiteley ( ‘Napalm Death’ bassplayer)

08/15/2009

Start!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — smurfpunx @ 08:50

Be patient…

Letting the world know we’re here…

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