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



  1. Thanks for the nice comments, Brob. We never had a better time than the tours we did for you and Mokka. I remember crossing over to Sweden on the ferry, in a slight storm, and thinking to myself..: “This ship could go down, I could drown and die, and I would have no regrets.” You guys helped me to live my life to the fullest and I’ll never forget that… After our third and last tour of Europe, we started concentrating on writing and recording a ton of songs. We got 23 of them recorded and started looking for a way to pre-$$ a couple of CDs. In the meantime, we started touring the USA again (not nearly as fun as Europe). I met the Love of my life in Canada, married her and have 2 beautiful daughters. I took about 12 years off, to be the best Daddy I could be, moved to Nevada, where everything stays open 24 hours a day, went full on Straight Edge and got the band back together again. Check out our cover of ‘The Avengers’ UH-OH on and a bunch of other sites. We are writing more new tunes, trying them out in small clubs in South Lake Tahoe and getting ready to record, press, mp3 and tour again. We would love to play Europe again. It’s like Heaven to us. I know I’m just a fallen Man with a wicked heart but I have been working VERY hard at becoming a better person. Subtracting H has helped a lot. (-‘,\ The band is sounding really good, give us 2 more months of intensive practice and we will be ripping it up again. We also don’t look too bad for a bunch of ancient Punks. You are always in my prayers. And you too Mokka, I always wish the very best for you. You had always been a great friend… Heck, I’m lucky you had enough compassion to hold back from kicking my ass a few times. You 2 have probably done more for Punk Rock than Malcolm McClaren & Legs McNeil combined. Long live SMURFPUNX. Eternal Love to you all, especially to those stunning women we met at every show. You all treated us so nice. It’s very stressful to be on the road and you made us feel at home and loved. Bless You and we hope to Rock the Fucking Shit out of your towns very soon!

    Comment by Daddy Mattx — 08/29/2011 @ 08:20

  2. Info on ‘Verbal Assault’:

    Comment by smurfpunx — 10/19/2011 @ 10:50

  3. I was the sole driver with ‘H.D.Q.’ in Aug/Sep ‘88 as none of them could drive! About 15 shows and 6.000 miles I think…around Holland, Germany and 1 gig in Switzerland. It was as tours are…frantic, chaotic, gruelling and fascinating, fun and fuckin fantastic! The band were happening at the time…all in their early 20s… Dickie H. on his Gordon Smith full of enthusiasm as ever, Golly the singer leaping about all over, Rob the bass-player also all over the place with a permanent grin on his face and young Lainey laying down the beats… We had the party-animal crusty lot ‘The Incest Bros’ as support for the first half of the tour behind our van all piled into a car… Accommodation was the customary floors and settees. Actual sleep ranged anywhere from none to 6 hours each night…sleeping in the van became the preferred option for me as I was driving and had to stay awake a little more than the others on the road… We had a few wobbles , a few heart in mouth moments on the autobahns due to too many clueless map-readers! We actually at one point got so lost traveling form Holland into West Germany that we ended driving for several hours and ended up going back into Holland!!! Border-guards were pretty lax, we bribed ‘em with records or t-shirts as we were off to play “a couple of private parties”, honest! I remember Dickie H. almost having a seizure in the front of the van and thought he was gonna go thru the windscreen when a gigantic bumble-bee came thru the window; “It was the size of a small dog…with wings!”, he screamed or something like that…. I kept us on the road but we did have 3 collisions: one in Oostende, Belgium with a tram on day 1 (a great start!). I didn’t know I was parked too close to the tram-lines I had never driven a van before! And so the tram goes by and scrapes the length of the van. I had had no sleep on the ferry and suddenly I got a tram-driver yelling at me through the window in Flemish! ‘Incest Bros’ backed me out of a tight spot to hit a concrete post, too much laughter… And then in Mannheim, a Mercedes pulled straight out and hit us on the front-wing…crunch!!! The radiator had a leak and the fan lost several propellers but it drove straight enough… Dickie H.’s “blind optimism” policy helped us on our way till the engine overheated soon after… A German trucker told us to put a raw egg in the radiator which we did, although we thought he was taking the piss…but hey it worked! The egg white-boiled and sealed the whole. We got to the garage and got it fixed up and were rocking! The drive through Bavaria and into Switzerland was stunning…fantastic landscapes like that off ‘The Great Escape’ and little clockwork-dolls houses through Winterthur to Zürich…where we piled into a cafe and bought 8 plates of chips and 8 cokes for megabucks! Anymore time in Switzerland could have bankrupted us… The gigs were in big cities as well as small towns who were very appreciaitive that we had gone there…Villingen-Schwennigen, Lübeck and Nagold spring to mind… The free beer was endless in Germany and the hospitality, food and gigs well organised. Nice one, Toddy Mergell! It was a great and knackering 3 and a half weeks and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. But…it was a stroll in the park compared to the 6 and a half week trip I did four years later with Dickie H. and Lainey in ‘Leatherface’ mush days…now that was a killller! The crunched van made it back to the rental company in Gateshead and I don’t think we got the deposit back… I just know I got a lot of letters from a German car-insurance company and couldn’t read a word of any of them!
    And the gigs were fuckin’ great too by the way! They only had You Suck out at this point. It was pretty good but not a patch on the live sound.
    Roadie Craig ‘Pancrack’ Hornby

    Comment by Craig ‘Pancrack’ Hornby — 07/03/2012 @ 19:39

  4. ‘The Abs’ promo-tape

    Comment by smurfpunx — 02/10/2017 @ 20:39

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