89-09-02 (Netwerk) Fire Party – Vernon Walters – Do Or Die

Filed under: Netwerk, Aalst — Tags: , , , , , — smurfpunx @ 10:36

First gig after a turbulent summer… Not such a big crowd but cozy. Despite the problems surrounding the collective (people taking other directions, difficulties getting the venue, etc.), the remaining group of people got closer. We were prepared to fight again. And of course the bands here were really fantastic!

‘Do Or Die’ were 4 sympathetic girls from Amsterdam playing exciting punk/HC , some of them active in the A’dam scene. We’d met them during our stay at Van Hall (Smurfpunx @ Van Hall, Amsterdam). An all female band was not a common thing around that time and Smurfpunx definitely wanted to promote girls/women getting up on stage. We asked them over for a gig during the summer but that had to be at ‘our’ pub De Gele Limonade (Gele Limonade, Aalst, 16 jun 89 (Do or Die)). Soon after came this one in our regular venue.

‘Vernon Walters’ Holland’s best punkband at that moment. Melodic stuff with a political message by sincere lads; which did’nt mean they were devoid of a touch of humor… From the same town as ‘Indirekt’ (Hoorn), that’s how I got to know them. My own band ‘Repulsives’ also played with them a couple of times; I considered singer/guitarist Hans Engel a friend, a really nice chap. We corresponded and I helped distribute the records from his LMOOR label  (see: Netwerk, Aalst, 13 aug 88 (F.F.F. & Decadence Within). Really sad he’s not around anymore… With guitarist Niels (De Wit) I exhanged and corresponded about zines. bassplayer Joost & drummer Danny were the main jokers of the band.

‘Fire Party’, a band on Ian MacKaye’s Dischord label, consisted of 4 women active in the Washington D.C. scene: Amy Pickering (vocals, also working for for Ian’s label), Natalie Avery (guitar), Kate Samworth (bass), Nicky (Nicole) Thomas (drums). Their music could be described as what nowadays is called “emo” (a word that still had to be invented in the European HC/punk-scene at that time).


‘Fire Party’ were amazing! The other bands were good too but F.P. …Wow! What a singer…

Paolo M. (personal communication ’89)

That period is kinda blurry to me (played Belgium a whole lot, with ‘V.W.’ but also with ‘Indirekt’ and later ‘De Kift’). To be honest, I wasn’t so keen on the hardcore-scene after, let’s say, 1985: metal-influences, lumberjack-shirts and pedantic lyrics,… But there were exceptions of course!

Niels De Wit



  1. What do I remember about being in ‘Fire Party’? We’d been playing out for about a year, mostly around DC, and ‘Scream’ asked us to open for them on their European tour in 1987. That was a lot of fun and we met tons of interesting people. There weren’t too many female musicians playing that kind of music at the time (it was pre riot grrrl) and the fact that we were an all female group was a bit of a novelty. The questions about our all-female-ness were tiresome, to say the least. We really just wanted to be viewed as a band, not as a “girl band.” Anyway, we started off in Amsterdam and spent a week there before the tour. We stayed at Van Hall, which was great fun, though very cold [Brob: Indeed… We were there around X-Mas: Smurfpunx @ Van Hall, Amsterdam] – it was January and the massive warehouse (or factory?) was heated by a couple of space-heaters. We played about 60 shows in three months. The highlights were the shows in Berlin, Bielefeld, Milan and Rome. The worst (and only bad one, I think) was in Mannheim, Germany. We played on the fourth floor of some ghastly building and had to lug everything up the stairs. The minute ‘Fire Party’ got on stage and the dudes in the audience realized that we girls were the opening band, they started throwing beer at us and shouting.
    We went back to Europe in 1989 and toured with a great band from Amsterdam called ‘GOD’, with the hilarious and talented Tos Nieuwenhuizen on guitar. By then, the novelty of the “girl band” had worn of somewhat and there were people in the audience that had heard our records or seen us before and knew what to expect. But the novelty hadn’t entirely worn off – I remember picking up some hitchhikers on the way to a show somewhere in Holland and the guys we picked up were talking about how amusing it was going to be to see an all girl band. They seemed to think the notion was pretty ridiculous and we didn’t tell them who we were. Instead, we waited ’til we got to the club and asked them to help us carry the guitars in…
    I wish I could remember the names of all the places and towns we played in and some of the cool bands. We did a bunch of shows with ‘Negazione’, the ‘Hard-Ons’ (from Australia) and one with ‘Jingo de Lunch’ and I got to see ‘The Ex’, who were amazing, while we were in Amsterdam.
    It’s all pretty much a blur of good memories by now…

    Comment by Kate Samworth — 01/19/2012 @ 21:01

  2. I was visiting Holland back in September ’89. I was staying with Niels De Wit of ‘Vernon Walters’ and travelled with them down to Aalst where they played. Bought a bunch of great records off of Brob (I was doing a radio show in Toronto, Canada at the time). Was very inspired by the great scene there. Was very sad to read of Hans Engel’s (‘Vernon Walters’) terrible death nearly nine years after the fact! A really nice, funny and intelligent guy. He also put up one of my Canadian friends at his home. I always wondered how those guys were. Sad news. :-( Say hello to Niels for me if you are still in contact. I live in England now. Keep the faith!

    Comment by Omar Sheriff — 02/20/2012 @ 08:58

  3. ‘Do Or Die’ 1989 demo

    Comment by Brob Tilt! — 06/12/2015 @ 19:48

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