Smurfpunx

09/12/2009

87-10-11 (Netwerk) Lethal Gospel – No Pigs – Creep Insanity – SixtyNine

Filed under: Netwerk, Aalst — Tags: , , , , , , — smurfpunx @ 08:41

Smurfpunx (Aalst 87, Lethal Gospel) bis

Kockie gave me (Brob) some pictures of ‘No Pigs’. My own band ‘Repulsives’ had played with them in ’86, near Antwerp, and they had impressed me for sure; especially the bassplayer was manic. That’s also the feeling I get when I see these shots back. The line-up at that time was: vocalist Maarten Luijendijk, bassist Guy Pinhas, guitarist Nils Koning & drummer Robert van der Meyden. Here’s the action…

for extras: Netwerk, Aalst, 11 oct 87 (Lethal Gospel, No Pigs, Creep Insanity) photos

[more photos below…]

One band that I fondly remember is ‘Lethal Gospel’ (LG) from San Francisco. Mokka and Brob went to visit them over there [Brob: after their 3rd tour; which we organised]. Smurfpunx organised three concerts in ‘Netwerk’ for them: one in October 1987 and another in September 1988 [Duco forget to mention the 3rd in 1989; the flyer features a drawing by Mattx that shows Mokka & Brob.]. Although I did help to organise the second one, I never attended it because I quit the scene rather abruptly in June 1988. ‘Lethal Gospel’ brought a refreshing repertoire of hardcore-punk and blues. They first sent a demo-tape to Mokka and we decided to give it a try. And rightly so, because it was definitely a hit among the audience and one of the better and more memorable gigs. After that, if I’m not mistaken, they had other Belgian gigs in Leuven or (and) Jette.

The LG blokes stayed at my parents’ house, then in a large orchard a bit outside of Aalst, for four days during a pause in their European tour which was great fun for both my folks and myself. Before their first gig, I went to pick them up with my dad at ‘De Gele Limonade’ one rainy and foggy evening. They were interesting company. The laconic drummer – whose name I don’t remember – seemed like the one who managed the tour and was more a Jewish university liberal type. The bass-player – whose name I don’t recall either – was more of a slick Midwest fitness and sports type and a quite silent lad. And then – tatataaa – there was the band’s front man with his steely blue eyes: singer-lead guitarist Mattx Bergren, then looking, all in leather as he was, like a mixture of Lemmy and Viggo Mortensen in his role of Aragorn.

Back in the car, after he had seen Mattx, my bemused dad hissed between his teeth: “If they puke all over the living-room and throw the TV set through the window, you’re out as well!”. :-) Once home, I remember my mother saying: “You’re most welcome, lads, but you smell bad. It must have been a long road. The shower and towels are upstairs.” During their stay they were great company. I won’t forget the sight of leather-clad Mattx with his heavy metal bullet belt helping my mother washing the dishes and the creaky king-size bed that once belonged to my great-grandmother that they had to share, with a bulky mattress where you rolled off. My dad took them to visit Gent as well. Usually, bands that came from further away stayed overnight in sleeping-bags either in ‘Netwerk’ or ‘De Gele Limonade’, or were put up at private homes or flats like we did with LG. Putting up bands in hotels was somewhat ‘not done’, associated as this was with rock-stars (which today sounds stupid to me… ) and too expensive (which was true given our low-budget DIY standards… ).

By the way, I had a hoot when I saw that the first things that comes out when I did a Google search for ‘Lethal Gospel’, is an article by a theology professor about ‘Islamic terrorism’. Mattx and the other blokes would have loved the irony I guess.

I think on the first ‘Lethal Gospel’ gig, ‘No Pigs’ did show up. The other acts on the second LG gig (1988), ‘Ripcord’ [see earlier gig] and ‘Political Asylum’ [singer Ramsey was a good friend of Mokka & Brob], were both good be it musically quite different bands that we already knew and nice blokes too. [Brob’s second band ‘Yuppies’ Death’ also played.] Brob, myself and the bass-player (a cousin of Brob) of ‘Repulsives’ visited ‘Ripcord’ in Weston-Super-Mare in 1987, and I had seen ‘Political Asylum’ in Lübeck once. But why the heck we agreed to put on rubbish like ‘Sixty-Nine’ (the name speaks volumes…), a moronic metal-band from Brussels made up of types with ‘German-football-player-haircuts’, as a support act on LG’s first gig in 1987 is still beyond my understanding.

Well, there is something to say about that. I remember that there was a constant tension and discussion within Smurfpunx about how to deal with that metal and crossover thing that came up at the time. There were people who were into that and wanted more metal and crossover on the programme. I will not name and blame, and I do not go scot-free either for giving in thinking to please. Personally, I liked ‘Motörhead’ and ‘Gore’ (an instrumental metal band from Venlo) and wanted to give it a try. But once we got involved with the likes of ‘Sixty-Nine’, ‘Cyclone’ and similar bands, it soon became obvious that it was a recipe for disaster. OK, they did their thing, we did ours and should have kept the metal out. For one, our audience changed and not for the better. It also contributed to a wider malaise that eventually resulted in my departure.

Duco

Nowadays Mattx runs his own company ‘Reliable Distribution Inc’: “a free magazine and promotional materials distributor with locations in California, Nevada and on The West Coast”. He’s also a family-man as you can see…

LG - Daddy Mattx

The other day I googled ‘Lethal Gospel’ just for shits and grins, and came across this article. It’s great to hear such fond memories. I played alto-saxophone for LG from 1984 through 1991. For various (and regrettable) reasons I was unable to come along on our 1987 and 1988 European tours but finally made it in 1989. I’m mighty glad I did because it remains one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. I also remember Brob and Mokka coming to visit California – that would be the spring of 1989 [Brob: summer of ’89; right before the 3rd tour that I organised for the biggest part], if memory serves.

Those are excellent descriptions of everybody, especially of Mattx and the Lemmy/Viggo resemblance. Right on the money, I’d say! The “laconic drummer” you mentioned would be Dan Seelig – haven’t heard from him for years; I assume he’s still out there drumming someplace. As for the bass-player, there was a different one on each tour but the one you described is most likely Fred LaRose – again, I’ve lost touch with him.

Ironically, IMHO the band reached its musical pinnacle in the years following those tours. After numerous personnel-changes we reoganized with a new rhythm section consisting of John Munger on bass and Rob Sham on percussion, both superb musicians, especially Rob, who could pick up practically any instrument and master it in short order.  I believe he’s now with a band called ‘Pie Rats’. We recorded a wealth of great material which, to the best of my knowledge, sadly remains unreleased.

As I was rather ‘butt-swamped’ with work and school, I left the band in 1991 and barely picked up the horn again for 10 years. In 2001 I joined another group, this time on tenor-sax. Since then I’ve played with several other bands in the Bay Area and in Reno, NV, where I now live. LG, meanwhile, continued to do some short tours and play local gigs, but eventually everyone went their separate ways.

It was heartwarming to read your article after all these years. 20 years ago it wouldn’t, of course, have been possible to see something like this, and it gives me a renewed appreciation of the effort you guys had to go through to organize a tour in those days – all the letters, postcards and costly phone-calls at odd hours over sometimes tenuous connections. How did we ever get along without email, ‘Skype’ and ‘Facebook’?

In any case, thanks again for posting. [Brob: that was Duco]

Dave ‘Papa’ Cherry (www.pighead.org)

[Here’s a bit from the first letter I got from the drummer of ‘Lethal Gospel’  that gives an idea of how things went then. It’s written on stationery of their ‘Salmon Eye Records’ label (San Francisco); the beginning of years of collaboration:]

My band ‘Lethal Gospel’ is touring Europe in sep/oct to promote the release of our 3rd album. We have some shows booked but at this point, none of them are in Belgium. We would really like to play there so I was hoping you might be able to do something for us. Describing our music, I would have to say it’s hardcore, roxy music, not thrash but most enjoyable. I’m sure you would like it alot. We are touring the usual way, not asking for a lot of money, not bringing much equipment. So maybe you can help with rental/borrowing eh? Write us or call collect after midnight US West Coast Time.

Dan Seelig (personal communication, spring ’87)

Can’t remember much of the concert in Netwerk… I dó know that there was some commotion about ‘SixtyNine’, because of their more metal oriented attitude. ‘Creep Insanity’ did want to build a bridge between metal and hardcore (trash ?), but I think that by the time we really had a set together, the scene was somewhat down-and-out. We didn’t get to do a lot of shows….

Kris joined us later, when ‘Hate Crew’ had split up. Peter De Zutter [guitarist] still plays (solid rock). Don’t think Bart (Bassie) [bassplayer] does… Myself, I got into jazz later and went to study music: first in Antwerp (‘Jazz Studio’) and after that the Conservatory in Gent. When I was about 25 I got a form of pneumothorax that was recurring (I had about 8 and got surgery for it) so I had to stop playing music (dragging about drum-kits was no longer an option). I dug into developing websites and later started programming (Flash/Flex/Actionscript) and teaching, etc.

Peter G. (a.k.a. Rabbit)

<<Everything started at 2 p.m. First of was ‘Sixty Nine’. A bit nervous but all of them first-class musicians as would turn out. [Brob: Some of them were in ‘Channel Zero’ later on.] They played very fast trash with alternating rhythms. The audience was immediately enthusiastic, and halfway their set the singer couldn’t restrain and dived into the crowd himself. After 2 or 3 encores, it was ‘Creep Insanity’s turn. We were quite twitchy because it was our first big gig. The guitar was out of tune and after the initial song the drummer already got a nervous breakdown (joke) [Brob: That’s Rabbit himself.]. The audience was so excited that they fell asleep, and so did the bass-player. Not a very successful performance although some were content. The stage was cleared for the 3rd band: ‘No Pigs’, from the Netherlands. To me they sounded chaotic but the crowd seemed to like ‘em. Most people weren’t quite awake ‘cause there wasn’t a lot of stagedivin’ and so going on. Next up was the American band ‘Lethal Gospel’. They played punk-rock with a bit of hardcore from time to time. They were far from bad, on the contrary. The guitarist/singer was the rough type (unshaven), the bassist looked more like Rambo and the drummer had a fantastic time until his snare and the pedal of the kick-drum went broken. While replacing the latter, the guitarist played a tune on his own (about a joint he couldn’t roll). A very successful concert; also the crowd kept shouting for encores. After that, all went their own ways to prepare for school or whatever, the next day…>>

‘W.O.M.’ #2 (’87; Belgian ‘Trash-Hardcore zine’)

‘Creep Insanity’ [must be ’88]: Kris (ex ‘Hate Crew’, vocals), Peter ‘Rabbit’ Ginneberge (drums), Peter De Zutter (guitar), Bart ‘Bassie’ Van Haele (bass)

Nils

Robert

87-10-11 No Pigs (Guy) @ NetwerkGuy

[photographed by Kockie]

No Pigs (vox) (87 question)Maarten

No Pigs (bass) (87 question) cutGuy

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4 Comments »

  1. Mattx and I grew up together, best friends through the days of high school. We picked each other up too many times from a floor littered with roaches and cans. We played a lot of music together. We were in a couple variations of bands as well. ALGO was great. like LG but more experimental. I still am in contact with Mattx, MOB rules, he is and always has been a caring man that few really knew or understood. He was once known as Non, Mr. Space, probably a few others as well. We came from the 60’s – 70’s music scene in the San Francisco bay area and we enjoyed many a show, many a party, many a lady, many a day. He will always be one of my dearest friends. I’m also looking forward to playing some music soon as he lives just an hour away. Time to dust off the equipment Mattx. You once again have a free reign to play.

    Comment by Geekfeck (Tim) — 12/25/2010 @ 20:42

  2. ‘Lethal Gospel’… I remember them very well: Heleen and me took the guys to quite some pubs – yeha!! For years I walked around in one of those ‘Martian Whores’ t-shirts (one of their songs)…

    Comment by Natasja H. — 10/28/2011 @ 17:24

  3. Whenever I think of ‘Lethal Gospel’, it’s the story of one of them running naked through the fields behind Duco’s parents’ house – think he swallowed something he shouldn’t have! ;-)

    Comment by Kent Nielsen — 06/09/2012 @ 16:38


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