Smurfpunx

05/20/2010

90-10-06 (Netwerk) False Prophets – Feed Your Head – Scraps – Exhaustless Revolt

Filed under: Netwerk, Aalst — Tags: , , , , , , — smurfpunx @ 10:42

It’s great to see the history of the Smurfpunx collective here! The Smurfpunx shows were well organized and really fun!! I lived in Mons, Belgium with my family for a year when I was fourteen so it was great for me to be back in Belgium playing with False Prophets.

There are clips on the YouTube channel from shows in Germany that will definitely give a sense of what our European shows were like. We toured Europe three times, focusing on shows in squatted houses and put on by collectives like Smurfpunx. By our third tour, we were playing to pretty large audiences of around 800 to 1200 people and it was still very important to us to play the squats and collectives. Luckily, our road-managers Lorelei and Syd Migx (from the great Italian hardcore band ‘C.C.M.’) were also very committed to the squats and supported our decision. [Brob: they ran their booking ‘Big White Flash at Six’ from the famous Van Hall squat, where they lived]

Coming from New York City , which had a neo-Nazi problem in the punk-scene at the time, we also believed strongly in supporting the Anti-Fa (anti-fascist) movement throughout Europe. When we played the Leoncavallo squat in Milan shortly after the police had raided and damaged it, for example, we donated the money from the show to the squat to help them rebuild. We did the same at Haffenstrasse in Hamburg. We were chased through Poland by Nazi-skinheads and snuck into East-Berlin to play an illegal show in a church. It was wonderful for us to have these opportunities to show our solidarity with anti-fascists and support our friends living in totalitarian conditions.

It was very exciting for us to see how strong squats like Blitz in Oslo or Ungdomshuset in Copenhagen (where we played with our friends ‘Fugazi’) were. Back in our neighbourhood in Manhattan’s East Village, squats were having a very difficult time establishing themselves due to government and police pressure. We demonstrated and were involved in the Tompkins Square Park police-riots, Rock Against Racism, Refuse And Resist, Rock for Choice, ALMS (Artists for Limiting Military Spending) and other activist-groups.

Back in Europe , we were also excited to work with collectives like Smurfpunx that took good care of the bands and the audience and provided great places to play that were not nightclubs. Our soundperson, Caroline Moos, came from a collective of sound-technicians in Berlin that shared sound equipment and gigs and it was very cool for us to see how well the collective model could work.

Debra Adele (‘False Prophets’ guitarist)

cf.: Netwerk, Aalst, 10 jun 89 (False Prophets & Victims Family)

‘False Prophets’ bio

‘False Prophets’ are doomed to always be referred to as a hardcore-punk band, which they often were. However, at times they were also an aggressively political folk and, a hard-edged funk outfit, and a crack new wave band led by a prolific poet. To say that this music stretched the limits of hardcore is to understate how diverse it all was – this is hardcore as cabaret, complete with lyrical passages, a cappella sections and song structures rivaling progressive rock dinosaurs. The only other band to ever make hardcore this interesting was the ‘Minutemen’ and that’s good company for anyone. ~ Richard Foss, All Music Guide

NYC’s ‘False Prophets’ debuted in 1980 to 43 noise complaints and police termination of the performance after only six songs – an appropriate debut for one of hardcore’s first bands. The first single, Overkill (1981), was followed in 1982 by Good Clean Fun, which Rockpool called “one of the classic singles of the era”. In 1986 Jello Biafra tracked singer/poet/activist Stephan Ielpi down on the Lower East Side and signed the band to Alternative Tentacles. The resulting album, FALSE PROPHETS, was “one bitchin proud rampaging brain-melting slab of vinyl” (Jim Testa, The BOB). It captured the band’s sense of humor and intelligent take on “traditional hardcore themes like war, authority, violence and rebellion” (Trouser Press). In addition to Ielpi, who wrote all the lyrics, the line-up was Steve Wishnia on bass, Peter Campbell on guitar and drummer Ned Brewster. Campbell quit before the album was released and was replaced by George Tabb and Debra Adele on guitar.

In ‘87 ‘False Prophets’ recorded IMPLOSION with legendary producer Giorgio Gomelsky & Ramones engineer Jorge Esteban. The album included guest-appearances from friends like Gordon Gano of the ‘Violent Femmes’, Jeanette from ‘Apple’, James White, Ed Pastorini and Lefferts Brown. “Light years better”, according to Ira Robbins of Trouser Press, “speedcore takes a back seat as ‘False Prophets’ reveal their expansive and temperate rock imagination.” Wishnia quit during the first US tour for IMPLOSION in ‘88. He was replaced when the band returned to NYC by roadie Anthony Sepulveda.

Over the next five years ‘False Prophets’ toured extensively throughout the US and Canada , including a stint sharing ‘D.O.A.’s schoolbus with “the Italian Black Flag”, ‘C.C.M.’. ‘C.C.M.’ lead-singer Syd Migx and his wife Lorelei became ‘False Prophets’ European booking-agents, bringing the band over for tours in 1989, 1990 and 1991.

‘False Prophets’ developed a large following in Europe, supporting the anti-fascist scene and playing squats, youth-centres and rock-clubs from Italy to Tromso, Norway . The band traveled into the Eastern bloc, playing an illegal show at a church in East-Berlin and performing in Poland and civil-war-torn Yugoslavia.

Not a fan of touring, George Tabb left in 1989 to form ‘Furious George’. His replacement, Steven Taylor, was also poet Allen Ginsberg’s accompanist. Taylor involved the band in the St. Mark’s Church Poetry Project scene and with such ‘60s activists and artists as Ginsberg, ‘The Fugs’ and Abbie Hoffman. The band recruited Billy Atwell on drums from El Paso’s great hardcore-band ‘Rhythm Pigs’ and old friend Nick Marden from the legendary NYC punk-band ‘Stimulators’ stepped up on bass. This was the band’s final line-up, which also included violinist Heather Hardy.

‘False Prophets’ formed a partnership with artist/activist Eric Drooker, who designed the band’s logo and merchandise for the US and European tours, and the cover/insert art for INVISIBLE PEOPLE (Cargo 1991). INVISIBLE PEOPLE received mainstream raves (“a record worth shouting about” – Paper; “For those who want to think while they thrash” –Playboy; “brilliant” – Reflex). ‘False Prophets’ continued to present its “astoundingly manic hour of blistering rock/consciousness-raising/guerrilla-theatre” (Domnion Post) and lend its support to Rock Against Racism, Refuse And Resist, Rock for Choice, ALMS (Artists for Limiting Military Spending) and other activist groups until it disbanded in 1993.

(more info: youtube.com/falseprophetslive)

Excerpt of ‘Field Notes from the Punk Rock Underground’:

<<October 6 1990: Aalst, Belgium. Network Club. Small crowd. Selling lots of merchandise. Stef goes to the plaza market and buys tacky Christian paraphernalia. Everyone is tired. Gigs remaining: Paris, Bristol, Bradford, Leeds, London. Sloan [Deb: Marc Sloan, bassist from ‘Ritual Tension’, who joined for that tour.] says: “Which side of the stage you playing on tonight?”. “I don’t know.” “Will you play on my side? I’m having trouble with being in tune and you and I are usually in, but Deb is out a lot.” She overhears this. Later she talks about having trouble relating to Marc [Deb: He and I are still great friends today.]. “He seems cold.” “He says he has problems playing in tune on your side.” I tell her I’ve heard her out several times on the trip. We discuss possible hardware problems. She thinks it may be because her guitar is made of poplar.>>

Steven Taylor, guitarist ‘False Prophets’

‘False Prophets’, another almost forgotten American band. While some US bands were making tons of money at this moment, others were grinding to a halt with little public support. In F.P.’s case I think they were just too far out, the singer was crazy and it wasn’t your typical moshpit garbage. Still I liked this concert a lot (reminds me I have to start looking for the LPs to add to my collection).

Jeroen Lauwers

Mick Pye [who’s doing the band’s MySpace – feedyourheadonline] had left the band before the1990 gig. I just started ‘F.Y.H.’ again…

The gig we did with ‘False Prophets’ was part of a mainly French tour which was organised by Arnaud [Huftier] if memory serves me right. That was the last thing we did (Around Sept/Oct 1990) and Chad then went to the U.S. around Xmas that year. Frank didn’t do that tour- it was the only thing he didn’t do. All I can remember was all of us at some point talking to the ‘False Prophets’ singer and ‘Scraps’ doing a cover of ‘Another Brick in the Wall’.

The year before we did another one in Belgium on the ‘Oi Polloi’ tour. [see Concerts * POST Smurfpunx * 5 mar ’89 (‘Boterhalle’, Diksmuide): Oi Polloi (UK), C.O.T. (Nl), Feed Your Head (UK), Belgian Asociality (Bel), Dirty Scums (Bel), Get Stuffed (Bel)] Wasn’t this as part of a mainly German tour?

All I can remember is that we turned up late for that one and basically put what gear we needed on the stage, played, took it down straight after and then that was it… We were due to play earlier (it was a festival thing in a hall) and ‘Oi Polloi’ were one of the main bands. In the event, we played and then they played and that was the end of it I think. All a bit hazy in the grey cells… I think this is the gig were someone stagedived of an amp and it stopped working. We thought we could repair it and the whole thing fell apart!!! There were a lot of people there; from memory: 700+!

Unfortunately can’t remember much of individual gigs – but we always had a good time touring and we generally found mainland Europe to be friendly and helpful.

Chad has moved again – think he is in Canada now.

Robin ‘Rob’ Bain (‘Feed Your Head’) – with the help of Frank

‘Scraps’ were an exceptional moment in my life, and 17 years of concerts, meeting people, sharing… I remember you well and the excellent organisation of your gigs, the seriousness and respect for the bands… The concert with the amazing ‘False Prophets’ is a great memory! I took a look at the programming of the collective! It’s uplifting: all the important bands of the alternative scene have played there! Your work marked the hardcore-punk scene of the 80s/90s! Active members of ‘Scraps’ at the time were my brother David (singer; also in ‘Nation On Fire’), Tomoy (bassist; now in ‘Guns Addiction’ and other punk-bands’ in Lille), Xavier (drummer; squats in Barcelona) and Pierre (other drummer; now plays in a ‘surf-band’ from Lille)…

Raphael D. (‘Scraps’ guitarist)

Another great concert with a wide range of bands. ‘Exhaustless Revolt’, a young Belgian posi band from the Antwerp region (guitarist/singer Filip Staes, drummer Sven Bossant & bassist Ivan Marien) who really deserved to play ‘cause they were getting pretty good. ‘Feed Your Head’ – old friends – who play ‘Hüsker Dü’ like HC. ‘Scraps’- from France – who were enormously popular and moved away from their original drunk-punk type of music. ‘False Prophets’… What can I say? One of my all time favourites. A very political band with brilliant songs! I’d been really looking forward to meet Debbie and Stephan again after their first passage…

Brob

One of those Saturday-afternoon shows that past by without much excitement. ‘Exhaustless Revolt’ were a bunch of nice guys to hang out with but I think no-one remembers what they sounded like. [Brob: Sad to hear this because they definitely left a mark with me and I certainly remember how they sound…] ‘Feed Your Head’, I can’t remember playing, I like their 1st lp a lot but at this point I must have dropped out. ‘Scraps’ were in their more melodic period by then and ‘False Prophets’ were just plain weird, more like a costume-drama show. You could understand why they never were a big name and why not that many people came, they were amazing but just so different and weird that it was hard to swallow for a scene waiting to start another slam-dance.

By then, I must admit, I was going to a lot of shows and the novelty wore of, most gigs between 1990 and 1995 I was going to meet people and hang out, other people went to pubs or disco’s, I went to shows no matter who played. As time went by I even didn’t bother to go see the bands, I mostly had seen them already to much or I was having a conversation that was more interesting.

Jeroen Lauwers

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1 Comment »

  1. For a band-presentation of ‘Exhaustless Revolt’, go to Exhaustless Revolt (band-presentation Tilt! #6)

    Comment by smurfpunx — 12/17/2011 @ 15:50


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