90-09-14 (Roxy) M.D.C. – Spermbirds – Hell’s Kitchen

Filed under: Roxy, Dendermonde — Tags: , , , , , — smurfpunx @ 17:36

It was back to the roots for this one – the Roxy , where things had started out for Smurfpunx – because Netwerk was not available. The Roxy is a bigger venue but slightly less cozy. But perhaps it was safer to use a bigger place this time: 700 people showed up for this bill (biggest crowd we ever had) – a scaring amount, even by our standards (and ‘controlling’ such a crowd is hard work: one ‘sparkle’ and the whole thing can ‘explode’; we never used ‘bouncers’, always tried to resolve things in an amicable way – but that’s more difficult when there’s a lot of people who usually don’t come to the shows). I can’t remember much of the gig either, probably didn’t enjoy it as much as I should with all those things to arrange, running around and stuff… It was to be expected: ‘M.D.C.’ was b.i.g. (hence expensive – but there was room for negotiation about their ‘fee’; their -Belgian- roadie knew about our situation) and had gotten themselves a reputation (but they weren’t the rockstars some people claimed they were) over the years so a 1st gig for Smurfpunx sounded promising. The entrance (€ 7,50) was a bit more than usual because the rent of the venue was more expensive. We had met Dave Dictor in San Francisco and he had told us to contact Dave Pollack (Destiny recs; singer of ‘No Allegiance’) who organised this tour. About a year before they were already planned but that tour got cancelled (drummer in prison?)…

‘Spermbirds’ (almost family at that time) played for our collective for the 3rd time and the metalheads were pleased to see those Americans named after New York City’s neighbourhood ‘Hell’s Kicthen’ (actually they’re from California) back for the 2nd time that year…

The majority of the collective saw this as an opportunity to pay our debts and hopefully build up some financial reserve (even though the admission was € 5 as usual) but I had started to move away from the hypes and the bands flirting with commercial attitudes (not necessarily these here), wanted to really go back to the grass-roots and was already booking smaller bands (e.g. ‘Can’t Decide’, ‘Alians’, ‘Juggling Jugulars’, etc.) in other venues. My connection with the Vort’n Vis (Ieper’s autonomous youthcentre) was growing tighter… But I also continued with Smurfpunx. For others in the collective (Mokka e.g., who was thinking about giving it all up) this one was a motivation to go on…


‘Spermbirds’ tourposter

Some pictures by Philippe Anthonis:

Lee, the big maestro, had to conduct the orchestra sitting on a chair because he busted his knee…

Isn’t he a master at playing the public…

Markus seemed hurt too…

Some more action!

‘M.D.C.’ was touring with the former bassplayer of ‘Operation Ivy’ (Matt Freeman) in 1990…

Smurfpunx’ Ludde listening carefully to what Dave Dictor has to say…

‘Spermbirds’: Lee Hollis (vocals) – Markus Weilemann (bass) – Matthias ‘Beppo’ Götte (drums) – Roger Ingenthron (guitar) – Frank Rahm (guitar) (photos by ‘Kockie’; Brob in the background…):

90-09-14 Spermbirds guitar crowdsurfing (Roxy) by Kockie

90-09-14 Spermbirds Beppo (Roxy) by Kockie

90-09-14 Spermbirds bass (Roxy) by Kockie

90-09-14 Spermbirds Roger (Roxy) by Kockie

We were back 5 months after the first tour [see: Netwerk, Aalst, 3 mar 90 (Hell’s Kitchen)] and played with ‘Spermbirds’, they were great guys. This show was big fun for us. I was nursing a bad knee from a mid-air collision with Troy @ Gilman street earlier that year, I was totting around that knee-brace on the first European tour, so when Lee hurt his knee at this show I broke out that brace but Lee chose the chair for support over trusting my brace. ‘Knee Brace the 7 Deadly Sin’. Hahahaha! It’s in one of the songs on ‘Fistful of Chicken’, the line was “Embrace the 7 deadly sins, somebody loses somebody wins”. I t was a running joke within the band. Yeah, I still wore that thing on stage as a reminder.

Ghert was the driver and booked this second tour for us. We we were informed [2011] he died of a heart-attack. His wife got in touch with me through Facebook and told me they played a few ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ songs at his funeral: “Hurry up and Die & Bang your head until your dead, those were his favorite H.K. songs”, she said, “I hope you don’t mind if we used those songs.”, we loved him I told her and wished we could have been there to lend support and play them live for him one last time… R I P. G-MAN…

Weird System was the record-label that put out Fistful Of Chicken.

P.S. Matt and Mike (our drummer) joined forces with Lint (Tim Armstrong, ‘Rancid’) to form a cool band called ‘Generator’. They lasted for about 8 months before Matt and Tim started ‘Rancid’ I Think Mike might have a four-track recording of some of it…

Jimi ‘Haze’ Hayes, singer for ‘Hell’s Kitchen’

‘Hell’s Kitchen’ tourposter

Gosh…a 1990 gig with the ‘Spermbirds’ in Belgium… The tour was booked by Doug Karin (an American with an Italian girlfriend) who is currently missing in action as far as I can tell. It was booked starting and ending in Rome on our tour ‘All Roads Lead To Rome’. Fitzjoy (I believe a Belgian guy) was the roadie and van-driver and we piled into his older classic euro van for a 30 day tour. The ‘M.D.C.’ line-up was with Matt Freeman of ‘Operation Ivy’/’Rancid’ [bass] fame, with Bill Collins [guitar] of the East Bay California scene and with Al Shvitz on drums and me on vocals. I remember very little of the show except that it happened. Belgium, in the 1980s and early 1990s, was sadly always a mystery to me… It wasn’t ‘til the 2000s tours that I really focused on Belgium, realized there was a Gent and that there was a Lintfabriek. I do remember that the Belgium gigs were always friendly as were the accommodations.

Dave Dictor


89-10-01 (Netwerk) Verbal Assault – Lethal Gospel – H.D.Q. – The Abs

Filed under: Netwerk, Aalst — Tags: , , , , , , — smurfpunx @ 16:49

This concert was the end of the tour that Mokka and myself organised for ‘Lethal Gospel’. ‘Papa’ Cherry, their sax-player, drew the poster: drummer Dan, singer/guitarist Mattx and bassist Geoff walking zombified through a sinister, rainy landscape; on a flyer marked “our hosts” are the heads of Mokka & Brob…

Things started difficult with the tour because the van broke down in the South of France, someone had to come down there with another one. But we managed to keep everything going. The day of this last gig for them, I started working in Netwerk at 11 a.m. (building the stage, setting up the PA,…). I was already tired when the first people entered. I got stressy when ‘H.D.Q.’ phoned they had a flat tire: ‘The Abs’ came along with them and they were meant to start playing at 3 p.m. (they arrived at 5!). They both made that up with very good sets. Also ‘Verbal Assault’ were fantastic. Finally ‘L.G.’ hit the stage and they overwhelmed the crowd even though they were a bit affected by the tiredness.

I spent the night in our ‘Gele’ pub where ‘The Abs’ and ‘H.D.Q.’ slept. It was rather late when we hit the sack: there was a lot to talk about (nice blokes!). The next morning I went to wave ‘L.G.’ goodbye at the airport, drove home and collapsed… We didn’t loose any money; the crowd was big enough even though 50 km away ‘Bad Brains’ and ‘Hard-Ons’ were playing.

‘The Abs’ had a mini-Lp out entitled Mentalenema. ‘Fatty Ashtray’ Jon Simpson played the bass on that. The others were Barrie ‘Baz’/‘Boggs’ Oldfield (guitar & vocals) and his brother John (a.k.a. ‘The Rev’, ‘The Reverend’, ‘Rev John D’; drums.). ‘B. Funnunyon’ Bryn Jones played guitar.

Mokka and me put a lot of our own money in that tour. It got more and more difficult to get it done in our alternative/independent way with all these agency-vultures around. To deprave those from any prey we wanted to create a network of independent organisers which do things in a real-alternative way. We kept nagging and writing about it, tried to get rid of the business-parasites, to keep HC/punk underground… But it became more and more difficult, started looking ridiculous… Nevertheless there were heaps of people where we got positive energy from and bands/activists who really care. When I read ‘Fucked in the Head #2’ by ‘Dead Silence’, I knew we were not the only ones to have doubts but we tried to keep going…


‘Lethal Gospel’ (Dan, Mattx, Geoff) pictured by NN (kindly donated by Geoff)

Read here what ‘Papa’ Cherry remembers: Netwerk, Aalst, 11 oct 87 (Lethal Gospel)

The summer before the ‘L.G.’ tour Mokka & me visited the band in San Francisco. Of course we visited/met lots of HC-related places/people (e.g. Gilman Street, MRR House, Blacklist, Mordam, the ‘Yeastie Girlz’, Dave MDC, Daisy Anarchy, ‘Libido Boyz’, ‘Moral Crux’, Martin Sprouse, Murray Bowles, Tim Yo,  ‘Swiz ‘, etc. etc.) and gigs (other bands we saw: ‘Toxic Reasons’, ‘American Standard’, ‘Jawbreaker’, etc.). One of them was in a squat where ‘Verbal Assault’, ‘Neurosis’ and ‘Econochrist’ played (and where I met Kent McClard), so I already knew what a superb band ‘V.A.’ was…  The guys were a bit introvert  but they said they’d played one of their best concerts and appreciated the reactions from the audience very much.


Some photos of ‘Verbal Assault’ shot by ‘Kockie’:

the band in De Ridderstraat, Aalst (street of Netwerk & Gele Limonade at that time)

the band in action

Pete Chramiec

Christopher Jones

Doug Ernest

Dylan Roy Darren Mock

Sad to say, I don’t really remember that show…but hey, it’s been 20+ years! Anyway, we always had a great time in Europe; and ‘H.D.Q.’ was a cool band, so I’m sure it was a good gig… The picture of our bass-player is actually Darren Mock, not Dylan Roy. Darren was in ‘V.A.’ for both European tours – Dylan played on the majority of our recordings. I believe we hooked up with Konkurrent (and Hetty, who was basically running it) because they/she worked with Dolf Hermanstädter from Trust fanzine. This show here, in Belgium, happened, if I remember correctly, near the end of our first tour, after we got back from the UK (where we hooked up with ‘H.D.Q.’).

Christopher Jones (‘V.A.’ vocalist)

Chris is more senile than even I am. This concert was near the beginning of our second European Tour. It was a little bit similar to our only show in Belgium the year before as we rushed in and out and barely got much time to hang out. If my memory is correct, we were pretty late in arriving to this show and had to leave very quickly for another show. Of all the countries we played shows in, we probably spent the least amount of time in Belgium (due to having to travel). I remember being blown away by all the old architecture and regretting not ever having time to walk around.

From reading your post I remember ‘H.D.Q.’s flat tire followed by some general chaos as the show was pushed back later and later. Did we (‘V.A.’) end up playing first while someone went to rescue ‘H.D.Q.’? Whenever ‘H.D.Q.’ showed up, I recall them pretty much walking right on stage and completely rocking. They were really good dudes. I can’t exactly recall how we (‘V.A.’) did. Good, I hope. Thanks for having us 20+ years ago!

Pete Chramiec (‘V.A.’ guitarist)

I left ‘H.D.Q.’ in the summer of 1989. Terry Phipps played bass here…

Rob Bewick

Gig-review in Pyrobolum #2

Another gig with -to me- fairly unknown bands but that was all part of the amazing discovery-journey, knowing that even if the bands weren’t my cup of tea there would be plenty people to hang out with. Speaking of not being my cup of tea, this was one of those gigs… ‘The Abs’ and ‘H.D.Q.’ played very melodic kinda punk-rock and ‘hardcore’ from the U.K. (whereas the U.K. to me was all about whirlwind hardcore haha)… There was a nice crowd though. I have to be honest: can’t remember a single thing about ‘Lethal Gospel’… Then ‘Verbal Assault’ (also a new band to discover for this kid): nothing of the short-fast-and-loud I was into (and still am actually) but brought with so much passion and energy it really struck me…

Tom Van Hauwaert

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