Smurfpunx

04/30/2011

89-06-16 (Gele Limonade) Do Or Die

‘Do Or Die’ were a bunch of rad women that we’d met at Van Hall in Amsterdam (Smurfpunx @ Van Hall, Amsterdam), when we stayed over there around X-mas ’88. Their music was HardCore with garage-influences based on powerful, pounding rhtythms. Playing in the band were (L=>R on the pic): Kirsten Romig (vocals), Dorien Chachmany (guitar), Erna (or Ernie, drums) & Elian (bass). They’d given us their demo, so because we enjoyed their music and liked them as people, we invited them over. First for a small show in our pub and when Netwerk opened again after the summer for a gig in the bigger venue…

cover of their demo

Their lp ‘Crush and feel It’ was recorded in 1990 at ‘ADM’s Koeienverhuurbedrijf’ and released by Konkurrel. I’ve never heard their CD ‘Shake the Stars’…

Brob

We helped at Van Hall, doing the bar and working at the door, etc. We played there in May 1988. Don’t think we played in Belgium more than twice [Brob: This one and a few months later in Netwerk, supporting ‘Fire Party’.]. Besides the demo, we did an lp in 1989, released by Konkurrent and a CD in ’91, I believe, on another label [Brob: Gap?].

So…Aalst, eh yeah, I remember the pub on the corner… We did our first tour in Denmark and Norway, invited by a women’s collective, played a squat in Oslo. Later toured Spain, Basque Country, Italy, former Yugoslavia, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, The Netherlands… Yep, we played about 7 years I believe; also did 3 goodbye-concerts. One time we were also about to tour the U.S. with ‘7 Year Bitch’ but they eventually cancelled because they could tour with another, bigger band (Dorien: ‘Rage Against the Machine’ * Kirsten: for ‘Cypress Hill’ not ‘Rage Against the Machine’). So we went to Ljubljana, where there was a war going on. Everyone told us we were nuts but we went anyway because it seemed calm. On the way up there, via Austria, we got snowed in but we had a big bus with all the necessary equipment so we winched ourselves out. It was a crazy time. We enjoyed the travels a lot, we had a lot of success, the people were mostly very enthusiastic. Our music was a good mix of rock, reggae, ska, blues, etc., grunge…

We were rebels and wanted absolutely no promotion about the fact that we were all of the female sexe; we had made that clear. But often people surreptitiously made a poster picturing a naked woman with a guitar, and then something in the vein of ‘female rock’, anyway. So then we had (led by Kirsten) a vivacious conversation with the organisers. We mostly played in squats and did benefits, e.g. at the Shell blockade on top of the fire-department truck of ‘The Ex’ (with ‘The Ex’) in front of a police-line, on a Saturday-morning 11:30 a.m.

After 7 years it was enough and we all chose our own path and evolved. Elian and myself still live in Amsterdam. Since 1998 I play with James Brook in ‘Ecowar’ (ecowar.org): we have 4 CDs out (D.I.Y.). Kirsten moved away in the early 90s to Bern (Switzerland) and lives in the U.S. again since some 10 years, now in Las Cruces, New Mexico; she’s an environmental scientist. Dorien is an expert African dance and plays bass in a band…

Ernie

04/22/2011

87-12-11 (De Vrede) Attitude – Emils – C.P.D.

Filed under: Vrede, Gooik — Tags: , , , , , — smurfpunx @ 19:57

the tour-poster:

A few weeks after their ‘trashing’ concert in Scherpenheuvel (Hageland Hardcore, Sharphill, 15 nov ’87) we had them over…but since Netwerk (in Aalst) was not available we had to divert to another location: a venue called ‘De Vrede’ (‘The Peace’) in small, remote village, called Gooik, between Aalst & Brussels (after the gig we had to drive for miles through a thick fog to reach the highway).  We had all looked forward to this because ‘American Paranoia’ (still under the name ‘Attitude Adjustment’)  is a standard in the genre (my band ‘Repulsives’ used to cover the title-track from time to time); the new stuff (‘Kein Schlaf bis Deutschland’) on We Bite recs was just out then… Unfortunately our mate, ‘Hate Crew’ singer Kris (perhaps their biggest fan in our area) couldn’t see them because he was in hospital, in a coma after his terrible car-accident… The gig started a bit later than we expected because we had to carry all the equipment (P.A. and backlines) to the 1st floor over a narrow metal staircase (hard work and a bit dangerous). Some people also arranged busses for groups of people to come over (leaving from Aalst & my hometown Tielt)! But that wasn’t enough: 300 people should’ve shown up to cover expenses but only a bit more than 200 showed up; so we lost a bit of money…

‘Attitude’ was fantastic. Some people thought the vocals were a bit weak… (Perhaps due to the fact we used a different PA than usual?) but I can recall most people went beserk. The line-up of ‘Attitude (Adjustment)’ changed quite a few times but in 1987 Andy Andersen (vocals), Chris Scaparro (guitar) and Rick Strahl (guitar – bass on the ‘American Paranoia’ LP) teamed up with former ‘Condemned to Death’ guitarist Keith Chatham to form ‘Condemned Attitude’ which later turned into ‘Attitude’. Right before this tour they recorded the Kein Schlaf… 12” with Keith playing bass and Paul Birnbaum (who was in ‘Septic Death’) on drums (replacing Chris Kontos). Keith didn’t do the tour so Rick played bass… Also Paul Birnbaum had left the band before the tour…

‘Emils’ played fast hardcore/punk with a slight metal edge and German lyrics (they’re from Hamburg). They just had released their first album (Fight Together For…) on We Bite recs. The line-up was Ilhami ‘Ille’ Dolma (vocals), Sven Carstens (bass), Carsten Bols (drums) and Oliver ‘Olli’ Makris (guitar/vocals).

And ‘C.P.D.’…well…were our buddies from Hamme; ‘Corrupt Police Department’ or anything that would fit the acronym… Their 3rd passage on a Smurfpunx-gig…

Brob

I left ‘Attitude’ right before that tour but I played on ‘Kein Schlaf…’

Keith Chatham

I left the band right before that tour. I never went to Europe with ‘Attitude’. I was replaced by Joey Devlin, who plays on the The Good, The Bad, The Obnoxious 12″. But when ‘Attitude’ got back to the USA they kicked Joey out of the band (they ended up not liking him) and I played some more shows with them until they found another drummer. They ended up with the drummer from ‘D.R.I.’. So the drummer in the picture below is not me (!), it’s the drummer that played on the second ‘Attitude’ 12″ which they recorded when they were in Europe.

Paul Birnbaum, ‘Septic Death’ drummer

Some pictures by ‘Kockie’:

‘Attitude’ & ‘Emils’

‘Emils’:

87-12-11 Emils band (Gooik) by Kockie87-12-11 Emils bass (Gooik) by Kockie87-12-11 Emils bass+vox (Gooik) by Kockie87-12-11 Emils drum (Gooik) by Kockie87-12-11 Emils git (Gooik) by Kockie

‘Attitiude’:

04/16/2011

Hurry up Harry…

Filed under: Ideology, Philosophy & Politics — Tags: , , — smurfpunx @ 16:02

[Brob: I keep asking people how they experienced and look back on the Smurfpunx-era (and the hardcore-scene of that time in general. One of the people who wrote me about that (without focussing on the musical side of things necessarily), is Harry. He is an old mate, a retired miner and organised many concerts in the Hasselt/Diepenbeek region (e.g. with the R.O.F. collective there)… It’s quite an analysis from this gentle, thoughtful man… He definitely got things to say, even though we might or might not agree with everything… Maybe he ought to write that book he was always talking about?]

I only have a few memories of what I’ve experienced at Smurfpunx-concerts. I recall more or less what bands I’ve seen. What I do remember is: the slamming, diving, T-shirts, wet and sweaty, getting to know about great bands, and of course … the divine music. Even though I was always in the ‘pit’, I felt I was more a spectator than a part of the hardcore-scene.

For me hardcore, on a musical level, was one of the many music-eras that I’ve experienced. My first concert was one by the ‘Small Faces’ in 1966. Since then I’ve been going to shows every week. Bands like ‘Deep Purple’, ‘Kevin Coyne’, ‘Led Zeppelin’, etc. I saw them perform for for an audience of a mere hundred people. I prefer the music to be fast and loud ‘cause that give me a kick. After the sixties the alternative music of the early seventies came along, then followed punk, then hardcore, etc. In the early nineties techno started, a completely different music-scene besides guitar-music. Nowadays, I mainly follow hardcore, crust, garage and in the dance-scene drum’n’bass and goa.

Apart from hardcore, to me the eighties were the saddest period that I experienced. Syrupy music à la ‘Simple Minds’ and New Wave. Not only was there an economic crisis but also the emergence of ultra-liberalism with Reagan, Thatcher and Jean Gol here in Belgium. Emotionally I tend to the extreme left (Maoist) but rationally I also know that the extreme left ideas mostly lead to nothing. I’m an enlightened leftist. I like hearing “burn the money and the churches” and “no masters”, but unfortunately enough it does not work. I can’t remember how many demonstrations walked from the mid sixties on. (I had to run from the gendarmerie a lot of times but at the miners’ protests it was usually the other way round.) The hardcore-scene in the eighties was a relief to me and one of the last refuges, where having a decent idea was still allowed.

But there’s always a but. Rational thought with its individualism that the Enlightenment proclaimed had, through the emancipation-movement in the sixties and seventies (think of the punk-movement) become a super-individualism. The left equaled each individual its equal rights to the max and no obligations. The super-individualism that the left proclaimed, fit the right-wing thinkers well, for them to justify the ultra-liberalism and its individual greed. The pendulum swung so far to the left that people (in accordance with the rational/leftist/materialistic thinking), were seen as rational creatures that only acted upon reward and punishment. People worked to possess material goods and were walking in line because they were forced to do so.

In such a world, on an economic level only an ultra-liberal policy is maximally efficient. But of course things don’t work that way: according to research, people are naturally herd-animals that are altruistic. Humans are social animals that want to cooperate and their incentive to act lies largely in what other people think about them. We want to do our best, not so much for the money or to put ourselves above other people, but because we get value and prestige because of it. This behaviour is evolutionary perpetuated because it is good for the group and therefore good for its members. Together we achieve a lot more than we could each by ourselves. We want to be socially safe in the group and that is our motivation to act. Belgium has high wages, no raw materials and yet Belgium’s wealthy against all liberal logics. We’re rich because here and in the West, altruism and cooperation are projected throughout society, unlike elsewhere things are restricted to the immediate circle or family. Elderly are generally supported and taken care of by the community and not by the family. We owe this general willingness to share and to do something for each to Christianity (and prosperity in Europe) that made a big family of society. For instance, over here a boss doesn’t want (in general) to take as much as possible advantage of his employer and an employee is willing to do his job as good as possible. Those who think rational/left don’t see it that way of course and promote a world where every individual acts for themselves egoistically. Another example of such leftist blindness, was the idea that a multi-cultural society could be nothing but good. To deny the human factor was the reason for the success of the right-wing from the eighties onwards. A person has, for example, not only rights but also duties. A laborer, in a leftist or a liberal state, finds him/herself at the bottom of the social ladder and is an object that deserves no respect. For the right-wing on the other hand, everyone is an equivalent part of society and each individual is valued for its contribution (if one meets the terms).

That leftist/rational thinking, that totally denied the human factor, lived within the hardcore-scene. For example: many people in the squat-community and the crust-scene lived of wellfare. They had all the right leftist ideas but working a job (and not taking advantage of others) is also still committing to society and others. The harder one works, the richer society becomes and the better everyone’s lives are (if it’s not a rational but a humane society).

The right-wing distinguishes and elevates itself on the basis of the material: own people first, the mighty decide, etc. The left-wing distinguishes and elevates itself above others based on the spiritual: I am more righteous, I own the truth, I have the right ideas, I want to share, I’m all for participation, I’m vegetarian, I am against high fees, I’m politically correct, etc. The ideas were right but many in the hardcore-scene used them to elevate themselves above, to feel themselves better than the others, for example ‘Fugazi’. That abuse of leftist ideas within the hardcore-scene bothered me. The blinding and egoistical left-wing thinking repelled people and stood in the way of a truly leftist better world because it actually paved the way for the right-wing.

When I balance the positive and the negative, the hardcore-scene was of course positive. Better to strive for the good in a clumsy way, than doing nothing or wanting to do nothing. The negative also deserves to be told for once, I think.

You asked me what I remember of that time and the above is what comes to me. But on a musical level these were fantastic times. The best music to cry out the injustice in the world. Smurfpunx have enabled the hardcore-scene and made concerts possible who were amongst the best I’ve ever seen. Thanks for that.

Henri ‘Harry’ Liebens

04/02/2011

89-03-25 (Mikis Club) So Much Hate – Life But How To Live It – Union Morbide

A week after the tumultuous and somewhat subversive passage of ‘Y.O.T.’ we had to divert to our smaller alternative to Netwerk for the first time. (The Netwerk collaborators didn’t want us to organise concerts on such a regular basis, they wanted to keep it available for other things too.) This was the 3rd passage of ‘So Much Hate’ (who had become friends by then; I also helped Gunnar with distribution of their records and some of those on his X-Port Plater label) so they knew what we were capable of (400 people at their 2nd appearance in Netwerk). Unfortunately (for the bands) only about 50 people found their way to the venue. Seemed like a lot of our visiters wanted to see ‘Sonic Youth’ playing in Gent the same day but our afternoon-concert (Hetty’s usual combination of Aalst in the afternoon & Hoorn -or Amsterdam- in the evening; they did 4 gigs in 2 days in Belgium/The Netherlands.) was already finished early enough (our gig started at 2 p.m.) for anyone who wanted to travel to that one. Anyway, they missed another great set by Norwegian finest and the astonishing revelation that ‘Life But How To Live It’ was…

‘Union Morbide’, a band playing melodic HC/punk, at that time consisted of singer Maxim Aafjes, bassplayer Eelco Boonacker, guitarist Philip van Koeveringe & drummer Michel Weijgertse (R.I.P. 2008). Their friend Mariska (Schram) had already sent me a demo but it was probably ‘Vernon Walters’ Hans Engel (who released their vinyl on his LMOOR label) who brought them over… This was ahead of the tour they would do later that year with ‘Leatherface’.

‘Life But How To Live It’  – Katja Benneche Osvold (vocals), Roger Andreassen (guitar), Tom Andreassen (bass) & Geir Petter ‘Dyret’ Jenssen (drums) – were gonna turn out to be another illustrious exponent of the Blitz scene with a bunch of great records and intensive touring under their belt. This was their 1st concert in Belgium and not a lot of people had heard from them. But my mates up North had told me about them and their rocking hardcore-punk along with Katja’s heartfelt singing/lyrics immediately gave me goosebumps (still does!)… They were touring with the veterans of ‘So Much Hate’, that don’t need any introduction anymore.

Brob

This one was in the back of some local pub [Brob: actually Mikis was kind of a community-centre], I remember not many people being there. I was really pleased to finally see ‘So Much Hate’. To be honest I’d never heard the 1st lp at that point but I really liked the band-name, it said everything I felt like at that time. I was also looking forward to see ‘Union Morbide’, they had a song on the Beatless comp 7” on Let’s Make Our Own records which was about the best thing coming out in this period; a great song. But just like the album afterwards the rest of it didn’t really stand out, I remember being disappointed after seeing them and never got into the album either. ‘So Much Hate’ were good but they made the mistake to take a band with them that just blew all competition away full stop [Brob: they shared a guitarist and were all friends from the Oslo scene]. ‘L.B.H.T.L.I.’ was one of the best bands of the late 80s, early 90s, no-one remembers them today [Brob: I certainly do! Their records still move me enormously!] but they were THE BEST BAND around! The could actually play and had a front woman that really stood there. They put out some great records and burned bright. Everyone who saw this band will tell you that they were SHOT HOT!

Jeroen Lauwers

‘So Much Hate’: Børre, Finn-Erik, Gunnar, Per-Arne (pics by Philippe Anthonis)

Børre & Gunnar

‘Union Morbide’ photos by Nathalie Guyot

Blog at WordPress.com.