89-06-10 (Netwerk) False Prophets – Victims Family – Snuff – Dirty Scums

Filed under: Netwerk, Aalst — Tags: , , , , , , — smurfpunx @ 14:39

Smurfpunx (Aalst 89, False Prophets) PRESS

cf.: Netwerk, Aalst, 6 oct 90 (False Prophets)

Smurfpunx have a very good name as organisers of punk- and hardcore-concerts but it was ages ago when they asked us, ‘The Dirty Scums’, again for a gig . As usual it took place in ‘Netwerk’ in Aalst and the organisation was great, again, at last. Is it so difficult for people to organise a concert? Just make clear agreements with the bands, take care of a decent P.A. and some light, make some publicity in advance, and off you go. A pity it doesn’t happen more. As a band who’s played a respectable number of gigs, it starts to become difficult to find the necessary energy when it turns out an organiser has messed up. But we’re wandering off: this time there wàs a good organisation, and also great bands. The average hardcore-crowd does however tend to become lazy though…


I can’t tell much about the concerts of ‘False Prophets’ in Belgium because I was in the original ‘False Prophets’, which broke up in 1987. The re-formed version that did this show [tour] contained only one original member – lead-singer Stephan Ielpi – and none of the musicians who wrote songs like ‘Taxidermist’, ‘Scorched Earth’, ‘Blind Obedience’ and ‘Faith’.

So in effect, people were getting something like the version of the ‘Clash’ without Mick Jones and Topper Headon. If you liked it, you should hear what the original band sounded like. Check out the ‘Blind Roaches and Fat Vultures’ album on ‘Alternative Tentacles’. It contains the first ‘False Prophets’ album, the early singles and several unreleased songs.

A revived ‘False Prophets’ has done several shows in New York over the last three years; with Stephan on vocals, Nick Marden from the ‘Stimulators’ on bass, original bassist Steve Wishnia switching to guitar and Eric Blitz on drums.

If you want to ask about my other experiences, I’ve got a million stories and philosophies, been a musician and writer and radical journalist since I was a teenager and I’m 54 now. Yeah, a lot of great things came out of punk but people got too obsessed with the purity of the uniform. I’m not into hipster subcultures and there’s a big difference between the theatrics you can do in art and the practical things you need to deal with in political organizing. (Both are necessary.)

Steve Wishnia

‘False Prophets’ were fantastic. Very unusual for the HC/punk-scene: violin and synths (6 people on stage) – but all very well integrated in the rest of their music; no ‘doom’. The vocalist is a real mass-manipulator (in a positive sense): he was constantly talking to the audience, said very intelligent things, changed costume all the time and used all kinds of props (from a big suitcase) to illustrate the songs. A real spectacle, a look-and-listen-show. One of the more intelligent, honest and sincere bands from NYC.

‘Victims Family’ was marvellous (to cut things short)! This 1989 tour (two months) was their 1st time in Europe; it was set up by Konkurrent (the Amsterdam record-label). Their drummer Devon VrMeer had left the band so Eric Strand came along to fill in (on some of the songs roadie Tim(othy) ‘Bucky’ Solyan jumped in, after this tour he would replace Eric). ‘Snuff’ from London was supporting them. (see: Larry Boothroyd (bass-player) and Eric brought their girlfriends, and then there was Tim and Ralph Spight (guitar & vocals). The driver/roadie was Gigs (drummer for ‘Visions Of Change’ / ‘Joyce McKinney Experience’).

‘Snuff’ played very melodic HC and were really good.


Anthony Sepulveda replaced Steve W. [who quit in 1988 and didn’t do the European tours] and was the ‘False Prophets’ bassist in Belgium, etc. There’s a good history of the band on the YouTube channel ( that Anthony and I created. Stephan Ielpi is out in San Francisco now and guitarist Steve Taylor, who also played on all the European tours, has written a book called ‘False Prophet: Field Notes from the Punk Rock Underground’. If anyone has a video of our show with ‘Victims Family’ (one of my favorite bands!): we will post it on the ‘False Prophets’ Youtube channel.

Debra Adele (‘False Prophets’ guitarist)

One of the best concerts I ever went to in my whole life. Stephan was a real showman (‘bête de scène’, we say in French), the audience was hypnotised by his performance (I certainly was) and the musicians were excellent. I had the occasion to discuss with Debra and him after the concert: these mere few minutes also showed me the human quality of those people. That’s also a memory that I have from those years and the people that were near to me: the human quality! A lot of simple and honest people, capable of putting their own problems aside and try the best they can (‘se couper en 4’) to help one or more mates with their needs. I think that those things haven’t really changed from that point of view; in any case: the few active people today in Lille tend to work in harmony – even if the scene has become a bit smaller, there is always some solidarity that stays – that’s what punk is about.

Steph Ll.

I remember the gig. It was on our first ever tour of Europe with the original 3 piece. The tour was organised by the Konkurrent.

Duncan (drummer/singer for ‘Snuff’)

‘Snuff’ (Simon – Duncan – Andy); picture by Sned

‘Victims Family’ were touring with ‘Snuff’ and we (Karen, my girlfriend at the time and myself) knew Giggs the driver (who played in ‘Bad Beach’, ‘Visions Of Change’, ‘Joyce McKinney Experience’) so we blagged along for the ride, after visiting our friend Frank in Leiden. Saw them in Eindhoven, Groningen, Nijmegen,…and stayed in Amsterdam every night with Marcel (from ‘B.G.K.’, Konkurrent label, etc.). The Aalst gig was the last of the tour that we were at, I think we’d have then gone to Liège but I am guessing now… It was ‘Snuff’s first tour abroad and they were so excited and a great laugh. I saw Simon [Brob: the orginal guitarist/vocalist] the other month actually [2010] with his band ‘Southport’, great guy, hasn’t changed a bit either.


One of the unforgettables! I had seen the ‘False Prophets’ in W’wijk (ChiChiClub) but here they had a big stage and this is a band that needed this space. Fantastic spectacle!

Victor ‘W.C.F.’

First Smurfpunx show I ever attended, unaware of their awesome previous gigs but more than happy to finally mix in with a crowd that shared my thoughts, beliefs and most importantly musical preferences. The only band I actually heard music from at that time (I was 15 and had been chewing on metal for a number of years) was ‘Dirty Scums’ being a local band. Can’t remember much about the rest but being able to buy tapes, zines, LPs, etc. and talking about it with people I just met, was a big change…

Tom Van Hauwaert

‘Victims Family’ live at Netwerk & out on the town in Aalst (pics by Sned)


  1. ‘False Prophets’ page on the ‘Alternative Tentacles’ website (written by Steve Wishnia):
    >>False Prophets were formed in June 1980 by singer Stephan Ielpi, bassist Steve Wishnia and guitarist Peter Campbell. Matt Superty, Stephan’s cousin and scion of a long line of drummers, joined soon afterwards. We quickly made a name for ourselves with raw, danceable energy and Stephan’s welcome-to-my-nightmare theatrics, playing gigs at Max’s Kansas City and pre-dawn sets at the A7 Club. Our first single ‘Blind Obedience’ b/w ‘Overkill’ and ‘Royal Slime’ came out in June 1981. Musically, we were part of punk-rock’s second generation, which included the ‘Undead’, ‘Heart Attack’, ‘Reagan Youth’ and DC transplants the ‘Bad Brains’ in New York, and the ‘Dead Kennedys’, ‘Black Flag’, ‘D.O.A.’ and ‘Minor Threat’ in the rest of the world. We also drew on British post-punk bands like ‘Joy Division’, ‘Public Image’ and the ‘Gang of Four’; pre-punk rockers like the ‘Kinks’ and ‘Stones’ (Steve and Peter) and ‘Alice Cooper’ and ‘Mott the Hoople’ (Stephan); and rap, reggae and funk, the sounds of the boom boxes on New York’s streets.
    So we never quite fit the hardcore stereotype, being too varied musically and not thuggish enough personally. ‘Good Clean Fun’, our second single, released in 1982, was both our first hardcore-speed song and a criticism of mosh-pit violence. Matt quit soon after, replaced by the Undead’s Patrick Blanck, Donna Baril and Ned Brewster, who made his debut at an all-night anarchist ball on New Year’s Eve, 1983. We recorded our first album the next summer, financed largely by Stephan’s uncle hitting the triple at the Aqueduct racetrack in Queens.
    ‘Alternative Tentacles’ put the album out in early 1986. By then Peter was gone, having quit after a Southern tour in the summer of 1985. The band toured heavily over the next two years with new guitarists George Tabb and Debra De Salvo, recording the ‘Implosion’ album in early 1987. It broke up during a disastrous West Coast tour that fall. Stephan and Debra then re-formed it with new musicians and kept it going for several more years, releasing one EP. (Steve and George went on to form ‘Iron Prostate’, while Ned eventually wound up in punk-blues stalwarts the ‘Senders’.)
    Ronald Reagan was inaugurated a couple days before our first two-night stand at A7, ushering in a new era of greed, puritanism and hate. We wanted to rage against all that and did. We also wanted to write great songs, have fun, and get possessed and out of our heads playing rock’n’roll. Listen to ‘Blind Roaches and Fat Vultures’ and see how we did.<<

    Steve Wishnia's book 'Exit 25 Utopia':

    Comment by Brob — 09/05/2009 @ 15:14

  2. Here’s a link to the publisher’s page of my book:

    Comment by Steven Taylor — 05/14/2010 @ 08:19

  3. I’m sorry, but having seen multiple incarnations of the ‘False Prophets’, starting in 1985, I can say that “the original” FPs were NOT akin to the original ‘Clash’, with some declivitous slide from there on out.
    As if. Over time, the band bucked the punko-rock-hardcore trend of lax musicianship and got tighter as time went on.
    It’s fine if an original member wishes to preserve his or her own legacy but don’t do it as the expense of the musicians that came after. Don’t do it at the expense of the truth.
    These were shows performed in front of an audience, thereby providing thousands upon thousands of witnesses to the band’s musical evolution. I’m one of them. [Brob: include me!] Sorry, the whole “oh, man, the band was better way back when” could surely be applied to other Alternative Tentacles acts (‘Dead Kennedys’, anyone???) but not the ‘False Prophets’.
    I respect nostalgia but not historical revisionism. Puh-leez!

    Comment by Been There, Seen That (Lily Burana) — 05/14/2010 @ 18:14

  4. As I wrote: I remember this one with – one of the best in my whole life. :-) Both bands’ performances were quite impressive, with ‘V.F.’ playing their music insanely fast, and a sweating and spitting Steph Ielpi at his best. Talked with Debra (in French) about her childhood in Mons, with Steph about the rise of the far right in France and Europe. Fond memories!

    Comment by Stéphane Ll. — 01/08/2016 @ 11:22

  5. ‘False Prophets’ live (Amsterdam, Hol, 89-04-27)

    Comment by smurfpunx — 12/17/2016 @ 09:21

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