Smurfpunx

01/07/2011

87-07-05 (Netwerk) Political Asylum – Spermbirds – Dawn Of Liberty – Indecency

This was a bill with bands that were rather new to me but were going to be quite a big part of my ‘scene’-life and/or influential. It was the first time I witnessed ‘Political Asylum’ live; a band that I got to know through Mokka’s (and Pascal’s) compilation-tapes (called ‘Smurf Punk Tapes’). Very melodic, tuneful stuff; rather unusual in that ‘grind period’. Mokka & vocalist Ramsey were good friends, and I got to know him as a very intelligent person aswell (would later visit him in Edinburgh and help distribute his books/pamphlets). Stephen, Keith & Ewan were nice chaps aswell…

‘Spermbirds’ were rather unknown then. This was their first gig outside Germany and hence in Belgium. I think Werner E. (Hageland) introduced them to us, or was it Moses or Armin? Anyway, they blew us away. A tight outfit (great musicians) playing powerful hardocre-punk; and an intrigueing, funny frontman in the person of Lee (who was an American soldier that stayed in Germany). That day, I remember him citing this little ‘poem’ (when there was a problem with one of the instruments or amps) to divert people’s attention: “Shitfinger, shitfinger … Where did all the toilet-paper go!?”. All these years later the absurdity still makes me smile… Beppo, Markus, Roger & Frank were friendly guys, and we would see more of each other the following years. If I remember correctly, the line-up at that time was Lee Hollis (vocals), Roger Ingenthron (guitar), Frank Rahm (guitar), Markus Weilemann (bass) & Matthias ‘Beppo’ Götte (drums).

Belgian bands were ‘Dawn Of Liberty’ – the band of singer (later music-journalist) Stefan Joosten; more or less ‘Astrant’ (who’d played with us a year earlier) with an extra guitarist – and ‘Indecency’ (who would later turn into ‘5Les’ – different singer): Onno Hesselink (editor of Peace Or Annihilation fanzine, that had interviewed my band ‘Repulsives’ in Jette the year before) and his mates (including drummer Dirk Jans and bassist Filip ‘Boule’ Burgelman’, who also helped out at the ‘Finkel’). [For more info on ‘Indeceny’ have a look at Jungle Of Joy, Antwerp, 12 dec 87 (Instigators) and Boule’s comment there…]

Brob

pic from ‘D.O.L.’s 7″ (their performance here is available on tape aswell…)

‘D.O.L.’: ‘Tweeva’ – Danny – Stefan (source ?)

87-07-05 D.O.L.'‘D.O.L.’: ‘Tweeva’ – Danny – Stefan – ‘Fritz’ – Stijn (source ?)

I do remember having the time of my life on the Seeing Red tour with ‘Political Asylum’ in ‘87 – playing Geel, Aalst, Antwerp, Arnhem, rehearsal in Brussels – Duvel beer! We took a lot of photos on that tour in ‘87 but fuck knows where they are now… As far as I can recall the tour was organised by a few folk – We Bite recs in Tübingen did some of it. We did a lot of the dates with Lübeck band ‘Pissed Boys’ [Brob: Hello Mampe!] – they were great guys. We travelled between gigs using cheap inter-rail tickets while they drove with the gear. We used their backline and really appreciated it – then and now! The Lübeck gig itself was recorded and we released as a joint live EP on Fuck Your Brain recs.

After the gig in Aalst we stayed with Guy & Natasja – they had a VW beetle then… On Monday we all went to see ‘Suicidal Tendencies’. [see: Hageland Hardcore concerts Scherpenheuvel] We also stayed at Onno’s one night too.

I left Asylum just after that tour mainly because I wanted to play more music and had just finished university – the others still had 1 or 2 years to go – so I wanted to find a band that was fulltime. Ramsey always claimed I wanted to play slower and they faster. There’s a wee element of truth in there but they hardly broke the Land Speed Record after I left! In October that year I formed a rock band ‘Seeing Red’ [Brob: No not ‘Seein’Red’ from Holland!] (we took the name from the ‘Political Asylum’ European tour poster!). This was a mainstream metal band which had a few breaks, played some major venues and TV shows, released a vinyl single and CD album (CDs had only been around a couple of years at this point). Just as we were about to tour Europe to promote the album unfortunately the singer had a nervous breakdown.

I’ve been playing professionally ever since, mainly in function bands (Oh the shame! LOL). Also had a couple of breaks with original bands – playing in Japan. Now I’m in a ‘Rush’ tribute-band with ex-‘Political Asylum’ drummer Keith Burns – who’s such a talented fucker: he’s playing bass, keys and singing in the tribute-band – he’s our Geddy to my Alex! (movingpicturesuk.com).

I’m still in touch with Ramsey and support his publishing ventures. Ewan’s a bit more elusive – he’s enjoying family life in Sydney.

A very nice chap from Finland released the early ‘Political Asylum’ demos and Winter EP on CD a few years back: Jallu from the excellent band ‘Phoenix Foundation’ on his Passing Bells label. Boss Tunage Records are distributing it in the UK.

Stephen Brown (1st ‘Political Asylum’ guitarist)

I’m afraid that my involvement in ‘Political Asylum’ was purely as a musician – I was never really involved in ‘the scene’ and had nothing to do with it before or after my time in the band. I was asked to join the band in late ‘85 by original guitarist Steve Brown, whom I had recently met at Edinburgh University. This was a big deal for me as it was my first ‘proper’ band and even though I wasn’t really into the music, I joined for the experience.

I’d never even heard of the ‘anarcho-punk’ scene at the time but found the ideology behind it much more interesting than most of the music! Before joining ‘P.A.’ I could be described as a ‘hippy metalhead’, but having just arrived in Edinburgh from rural Fife, I had lived a pretty sheltered life. ‘Political Asylum’ helped me to considerably broaden my horizons and I will always be very grateful for that opportunity.

I am still very active as a musician. My main instrument is (and always was) bass-guitar, and I sold my drum-kit immediately after leaving ‘P.A.’ in 1989. I am NOT the Keith Burns who played drums for ‘The Proclaimers’! Since ‘P.A.’, the main bands I have been in include ‘Bias Firey’ (biasfirey.com), ‘Moving Pictures’ (‘Rush’ tribute-band with Steve Brown – movingpicturesuk.com), ‘Zapruder’ (metal, 1995-2000), ‘Nectar3’ (indie, post-punk, 1990-1995).

Regarding Ewan Hunt: he was my best mate from school and we had a little school-band together. He and I moved to Edinburgh together in 1984 to go to uni. I got him into ‘P.A.’ after Norman Thomson left in early ‘86. He’s lived in Australia since the late 1990s.

Keith Burns

The ‘Political Asylum’ lads sunbathing on the roof of Netwerk…

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6 Comments »

  1. For an interview with ‘Political Asylum’, go to Political Asylum (interview Tilt! #5)

    Comment by smurfpunx — 07/29/2011 @ 20:03

  2. ‘Political Asylum’ became my favourite band at that time :-) Just because they had more melodic songs.

    Comment by Tania Jonckheere — 08/23/2011 @ 13:17

  3. Apparently this was on the same day as the mega commercial festival ‘Rock Werchter’… Smurfpunx offered the alternative to Peter Gabriel, ‘Eurythmics’, etc. ;-)

    Comment by Brob — 10/22/2011 @ 15:23

  4. For an interview with ‘Dawn Of Liberty’, go to Dawn Of Liberty (interview Tilt! #2)

    Comment by smurfpunx — 12/05/2011 @ 15:02

  5. ‘Dawn Of Liberty’ * Realise * from the ep

    Comment by Danny Brebels — 12/27/2011 @ 09:11

  6. Interview with ‘Spermbirds’ singer Lee Hollis

    Comment by smurfpunx — 02/06/2017 @ 16:57


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