Smurfpunx

12/31/2011

Teenage Kicks…??? Mokka interviewed…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — smurfpunx @ 11:48

Mokka interviewed somewhere halfway the ‘00s by Wim Cottenier (Kortrijk) for High Heels Slut zine. The piece was entitled ‘TEENAGE KICKS’…

? NAME + HOW AND WHEN DID YOU GET INTO PUNK?

Geert Mokwinski, nickname Mokka. Beginning 1977 a friend who went to school in Ghent gave me a tape of the ‘Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks and I must say I was a chock for me! I had find a soundtrack for the teenage rebellion I felt  inside of me… I started buying records via mail-order; my first one being Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life. In 1978 I went to my first punk gig in a youth-club in Burst. ‘The Kids’ were playing that night and that gig made such an impression on me that I knew that some day I would be part of this thing, not as a member of the public but maybe as an organizer or a band-member – didn’t knew what but the fire was burnning…

? WHAT WAS YOUR INVOLVEMENT IN THE SCENE BACK THEN?

In 1980 I had a radio-show on a free/illegal radio-station, in the garage of a friend, every Wednesday, with new wave and punk music. We did this until the government confiscated our equipment in 1982 By that time I started my own tape label Smurfpunk tapes. I made my own compilation-tapes with demo songs I got from bands from all over Europe and later all over the world. My first one >24 Love Songs< was a small success selling over 300 copies over the years, I also distributed tapes and some records for bands I knew: ‘Political Asylum’, ‘Post Mortem’, etc. In that year I also sang a bit for ‘Statskirielja’ [played 2 gigs for Smurfpunx: 21 dec 85 & 10 may 86], the band of Ludde and his friends. The rehearsal-space was provided by Wim De Craene [Belgian mainstream musician]!!! But singing was nothing for me. I was more the organizer than the preformer. In 1983 we made the decision to organize a big gig. We had seen so many gigs in bad conditions (for bands and public) that we decided to set up a show in a good hall with a decent PA-system, a good stage, food and drinks for the bands…and we would pay the bands! But we had no money to pay all this. So we started our own savings-program every week we put 50 BeF [€ 1,25] or what we could spare in a box. After a few months we had enough money to organize a TD [dance-party]; there we let ‘Statskirielja’ play. A good evening, no problems, lots of fun and a little bit of profit. But the owner of the place where we did the TD told us that he would never let us rent a hall in Wetteren again because we didn’t respect the contract (by letting a band play). He also told Sabam [Belgian authors-rights organisation] that we had a cover-band that evening. We had to go to the police-station because we hadn’t asked for a permission from the city-council for the TD .After all that shit we didn’t want to set up anything in Wetteren anymore. It took us until December 21st 1985 before we could do our first real show. In the Roxy in Dendermonde – the bill was: ‘Censured’, ‘Statskirielja’, ‘Dirty Scums, ‘Gepöpel’, ‘Vortex’, ‘Koyaanisqatsi, and ‘Funeral Oration’. (Gepöpel split up a few days before the show and they offered us to have Lärm as a replacement; on the day itself 2 more bands showed up: ‘C.P.D.’ and ‘C.N.C.’ (‘Combat not conform’). So we had 9 bands on stage that night. It was a big success. 450 people showed up. No police harassment, a big punk party!!! We made 40.000 BeF [€ 1.000] profit that night so we had to go on. A few months later we had ‘Stalag 17’ & ‘Toxic Waste’ from Northern-Ireland and ‘Indirekt’ from the Netherlands. A drunk punk from Brussels emptied a fire-extinguisher, whith was not only expensive for us but we also had to look for a new venue. In Aalst we found the De Nieuwe Madelon and in September 1986 ‘Toxic Reasons’ (USA) played there .By that time Brob (Tilt! zine / ‘Repulsives’) and a few young punks joined our collective. Via via we came in touch with the people of the cultural centre Netwerk, an independent non-profit organisation. In December’86 ‘Ceresit’ (Ger) played there and from that moment on it went very fast with nearly every month a gig, sometimes 2 a month. Over the years this took his toll. For some people the band they played in became more important. For others, it became like a job. Some thought it was too political, etc. By 1990 the new Netwerk board had thrown us out. Brob started working for the Vort’n Vis in Ieper and in fact that was the end of the Smurfpunx collective.

In 1999 I started again with an organisation called Streetwise together with some friends. We organised in The Frontline in Ghent, the Negasonic club in Aalst, etc. Did a few gigs with bands I knew from the old days: ‘Coléra’ (Brazil) and ‘Spermbirds’ (Ger). But after a year it was just me and my wife Ann, doing all the shitwork. In 2004 we decided it was to much a hassle for the 2 of us. From then on I only do an occasional show for friends (‘Bickle’s Cab’ (UK) & the local ‘Sunpower’). Since the beginning of 2007 I’m in the organisation of the Loco Loco Festival in Merchtem, a local punk/rawk/HC/reggea festival…

? HOW DID OTHER PEOPLE LOOK AT YOU AS A YOUNG PUNK? HOW HARD/EASY WAS IT GROWING UP PUNK?

Well the first years weren’t easy. I lived in a very small town Westrem. I was the only punk in town; you couldn’t even find a hard-rocker there. My parents and the school didn’t like the way I was dressed and all hoped it was only a phase I was going trough. When I was going out in Oordegem, I met 2 other punks. It was fun to find somebody to talk to who had the same interests and ideas as me. But the local motorcycle-gang didn’t like us and even talking to a girl could be enough to have your head kicked in… So we started to go to Wetteren where you had the New Age pub, a hang-out for all freaks and weirdos from miles around. There we had the same problems with rockers and other tough guys but at least we weren’t outnumbered anymore. It was there that I met people who later became the core of the Smurfpunx-collective (Ludwig ‘Ludde’ De Bock, the brothers Kris and Pascal Fiers, etc.). It was also there that I first heard ‘Crass’ and the ‘Dead Kennedys’. And I had to say that the anarchy and DIY message made a big impression on me and my friends. We talked a lot about politics, pacifism, animal rights, war… We started to go to gigs around the country, which meant we had to take the train for a few hours and after the gigs hangout in a city we didn’t knew, waiting for the first train that could take us back home. It became a bit better when I was 18, got a drivers-licence and I could borrow my dad’s car from time to time.

? HOW DO YOU LOOK BACK ON YOUR EARLY PUNKDAYS?

Young and uncertain, and angry and unemployed. But I was proud to be a punk, to be part of something bigger All my political ideas were formed back then. Punk has given me a sense of self-respect at a moment that everybody rejected me.

? WHICH THINGS GAVE YOU TEENAGE KICKS BACK THEN?

For a brief moment in the 80s I thought we could make a difference that we could change society. Utopia I know. But punk has always been more than just music or fashion for me. With the Smurfpunx shows we did a lot of benefits for animal rights groups, anti military action support for people who refused military service, etc.

? DESCRIBE THE BEST GIG YOU’VE SEEN IN THE EARLY DAYS.

My first real punk gig in 1978. ‘The Kids’ playing the songs of their 1st album. The first time I really danced on punk music. I remember the sweat, the energy, I felt electrified…maybe it was just the fact of meeting other punks; it was the first time I saw more the 3 punks together!!! The other one being ‘Moral Demolition’, ‘Zyklome-A’ and ‘More Action’ in a pub in Wolvertem somewhere in 1982. The first time I heard hardcore-punk and it kicked my ass. This hard-edged music with its political and social message had it all for me. It was like punk had got an extra boost…

? HOW WAS THE GENERAL ATMOSPHERE AT GIGS?

There was a great atmosphere. Every punk was a friend or at least some one with the same ideas. What I remember of those days is that we shared everything with people we just met, we shared our beer, our cigarettes and even sometimes our money (to get in at gigs). You don’t see that any more…

? WHICH BANDS DID YOU DIG AT THAT TIME THAT YOU STILL DIG NOW?

I still listen to  most of these bands: ‘Clash’, ‘Sex Pistols’, ‘Zyklome-A’, ‘Spermbirds’, etc.

? WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE EARLY PUNKDAYS AND PUNK NOW?

It used to be one big scene. People liked lots of styles of music. I remember a gig with ‘Ripcord’ who played UK thrash music, ‘Political Asylum’ playing melodic punk, ‘Lethal Gospel’ (USA) playing a mix of punk, blues & rock ‘n roll and the ‘Violent Mosquitos’ playing hardcore punk at the same evening; and people liked it. Nowadays people would only go see bands they; like it’s as if they are not so curious anymore, as if they do’’t wanna discover new bands anymore…

? THERE’S DEFINITELY A RENEWED ATTENTION FOR 77-PUNK (E.G. ALL THOSE BOOTLEG COMPS). IS THAT A GOOD THING?

Yes it is. I always say you have to know your roots. 77 punk is the beginning of all these sub-genres: hardcore-punk, hardcore, emo, grunge; straight edge. I always listened to all these genres of punk and the only thing I don’t like anymore is that ‘metal hardcore’ and H8000. Or is it me becoming an old grouch.

? ANY FUNNY, REMARKABLE, SHOCKING STORIES THAT COME TO MIND?

The first gig we did in Netwerk Aalst, we had ‘Ceresit’ from Berlin [19 dec 86]. To come over to the gig they had rented a coach so they could bring all their gear but they also brought 50 friends. They never told us that. In stead up sleeping places for 5 we had to find a place for all of them. The only solution was that me and the bartender stayed up all night in bar with all those guys. It was a very drunk night, kind of a German beer-fest, at 7 in the morning we sold the last beer…and than we got some rest…

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12/19/2011

The Terneuzen Connection

Please allow me to share a little bit of history on how things got off the ground in Terneuzen at the time. When we first started to organise gigs we were located in a little shitty place called Jamasj. It had been there for years and was run by various people before. I think it was meant to be some kind of youth-centre. When I started hanging out there I must have been 16 years old. It was a place were you could hang, listen to the music you liked (and your parents despised) and meet like-minded people. People were already organising gigs there. Mostly local speedmetal bands that drew a mixed audience of punks and metalheads.

As I got more and more into punk and hardcore I started looking for ways to expand my network. Terneuzen was never an exciting place to live in. There were no recordshops and we were pretty much disconnected from the rest of The Netherlands. I just started to correspond with people who were in bands or made their own fanzine. Brob -who was doing Tilt! fanzine at the time- was one of the first guys I wrote. I can’t recall how I got hold of his address. Probably through a flyer. He sent me his latest edition of his fanzine + a very nice letter that encouraged me to stay in touch. Which we did from that point. I joined Jamasj as a volunteer helping out with the bar. As my network grew we started thinking about organising punk gigs at this youth-centre ourselves. Brob had offered me to organise gigs on several ocassions. I can’t remember how we worked together in Jamasj but he played there with his own band once (‘Yuppies’ Death’). If my memory serves me well it was a benefit and ‘Profound’ (later ‘Man Lifting Banner’) played there as well. [Brob: The poster tells something different. I think ‘M.L.B.’ played on another occasion…]

In 1988 the city decided that we had to move out of the venue for safety reasons. The surrounding houses were mostly already torn down and there was a risk that our venue would collapse as well. Apart from that we were located in a neighbourhood which caused many problems with the people living there. Almost every gig we got a visit by the police, ordering us to adjust the volume. We negotiated with the city for a while to get a new place where we could continue our activities. They didn’t really care about us all that much. We were completely self-supporting and they had little interest in offering us an alternative. Eventually in 1990 we could move into an old building-complex that belonged to the military in WW II. It was literally called the “bomb-shelter”. Walls with a thickness of 1 meter. Just what we needed. Funny thing was that this place was located in the main area were all the regular bars and discos were. Often we would have people walking in there that were caught completely off-guard once they discovered it wasn’t your average disco. On the other hand lots of people kept coming back because we sold drinks at a much cheaper rate than the bars across the street. Unfortunately the city had other plans for this building so we were only allowed to use this place for about 1 year. I think it was a little longer eventually. Anyway, a lot of work had to be done to make this place suitable for gigs. We had to build a bar, toilets and a stage. There was no running water and poor electricity. A lot of work needed to be done before we could even think about having bands playing there. After a lot of hard work we were ready to open our doors again. We changed the name to Kalashnikov. It sounded nice and there was a link to the political things and benefits we organised.

Our opening gig on June 15th 1990 was a coop with Brob. He had asked us if we could set up a gig for two bands with former ‘Heresy’ and ‘Ripcord’ members. They were called ‘Can’t Decide’; ‘Force Fed’ toured with them. It was a close call as we weren’t completely ready to get started when we agreed to do the gig. I remember we were still busy fixing the electricity when the band arrived with their van. I remember it was a steamy and sensational gig. Because it was pretty hot that day we decided to open the backdoor of the venue to cool the place down a little bit. Not to the liking of the neighbours. Even one of the local politicians complained that he and his wife had a hard time getting some sleep although they lived about 1 km away. We got a warning from the police but we were able to fix this problem for future events.

Another gig worth mentioning was the ‘Sons Of Ishmael’ gig. Fabulous folks from Canada who were super nice. The gig was very well visited and we had lots of people from Belgium coming over. I think ‘Chronic Disease’ played that night as well (Hi Steve!).

Unfortunately over a little more than a year we had to leave this place. There were plans of squatting the place since it was so perfect for what we were doing but eventually the city decided to relocate us in a new to be build multifunctional centre but it just wasn’t the same atmosphere anymore. Many people who volunteered for Kalashnikov moved out of Terneuzen. We continued to organise gigs there but the spirit slowly died. A new generation slowly took over. I think one of the last dates we set up with Brob was a gig for ‘Green Day’ who weren’t known yet at the time. I think they were on Lookout recs. I think we must have had about 15 paying customers at the door…

I had such great times both organising gigs and visiting all the marvelous Smurfpunx dates. I have been to Aalst numerous times. Thanks Brob for the many times you gave me a ride there and let me use your couch. Good to see all these people share there memories here. Keep up the good work!

Mark Belaert

Some dates I remember…

22 apr ’88: Afflict (Nl) in Jamasj; Subterranean Kids (Spa) were announced but cancelled…

20 aug ’88: the first ever gig of my 2nd band Yuppies Death: with my Hoorner buddies Vernon Walters and Winterswijker mates W.C.F.…

19 nov ’88: Doom + Concrete Sox, with Chronic Disease (the poster mentions ‘Chaos UK’ and they actually played: here’s the recordings!); the Belgian band Doodt Illegaal also seemed to have played…

26 nov ’88: Heibel (with Peter singing) & Cry Of Terror (see below)…

17 dec ’88: The Ewings (Ger), Dr Rat (Ger)

25 mar ’89: Doom (UK), Concrete Sox (UK)

8 apr ’89: Vernon Walters (Nl), Antic Hay (Nl)

19 aug ’89: Lethal Gospel (USA), 5Les (Bel)

16 jun ’90: Can’t Decide (UK), Force Fed (UK)

31 aug ’90: my Canadian friends Sons Of Ishmael with my ‘bloodbrothers’ Seein’Red (pictures donated by Jeroen L. below) and Nessun Dorma (UK)

20 apr ’91: Belgian crusties Hiatus & Private Jesus Detector

11 may ’91: I think Earth Citizens (from Switzerland) played [Brob’s tours]

28 jun ’91: Econochrist (USA), Chronic Disease (Bel)

8 dec ‘91: Green Day; indeed…

And there were a lot more bands that I saw there… ‘The Ex’, etc.

Brob

Jamasj… Great times! ‘Chronic Disease’ played twice there, first one was with ‘Chaos UK’. Second time with ‘Doom’ & ‘Concrete Sox’. I also remember seeing ‘De Kift’ there. We were all impressed by them. ‘Chronic Disease’ (or was it ‘Private Jesus Detector’?) played once in the Kalashnikov with ‘Hiatus’ and ‘Econochrist’. And then it all ended…

Leffe

‘Seein’Red’

Daragh Hayes & Tim Freeborn (‘Sons Of Ishmael’)

Brob, Hazel, Jeroen, Paul Morris (‘S.O.I.’), Ward,…

‘Cry Of Terror’

‘Private Jesus Detector’

89-03-25 Doom - Concrete Sox (Terneuzen)

9x-xx-xx Doom (Jamasj, Terneuzen)9x-xx-xx Doom' (Jamasj, Terneuzen)‘Doom’ in Jamasj

88-11-19 Chaos UK (Terneuzen)

91-06-28 Econochrist (Terneuzen)

89-04-08 Vernon Walters - Antic Hay (Terneuzen)

more later???…

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