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


  1. Dave, during Ieperfest few years back, when I played my final ‘Liar’ show, we talked about the ‘M.D.C.’ show with ‘Dead Kennedys’ in the 80s. You remembered the exact date as well… It was ‘M.D.C.’ that got me into the harder kinda music. As a kid I was listening to the ‘Sex Pistols’ and ‘The Ramones’…but prefered my punk harder after that. And more with a message…

    Comment by Hans Verbeke — 07/21/2016 @ 17:59

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