Smurfpunx

01/11/2014

89-07-21 (Gele Limonade) 88

Filed under: Gele Limonade, Aalst, NOT Netwerk (still Aalst) — Tags: , , , , — smurfpunx @ 09:59

Smurfpunx (Gele Limonade 89, 88)

When I organised tours I regularly contacted the people volunteering at 2B (independent concert-place in the same street as the Effenaar) and Burgers (squatted place) in Eindhoven: Martin Voorbij (‘Scheet’, bassplayer of ‘Afflict’) and Marq (editor of Thrashold zine). ‘Scheet’ had established a connection with HC/punk people/bands from ‘behind the Iron Curtain’ (The Berlin wall hadn’t fallen yet… He also played in the Slovenian electro punk-rock band ‘Strelnikoff’ at one time-point). One of these bands was ‘88’ from the Hungarian town Szeged. They were Zoltan Varga (bass/vocals), Patbány (guitar) and Zsolt Hunyadi (drums/vocals).

‘Scheet’ helped them touring but we couldn’t invite them for a gig in Netwerk (closed for the summer) so we set up a date (on the Belgian national holiday) in the Gele Limonade… Above: the info-sheet that he provided. They played punk (“sometimes with folk influences”), brought their own backline and were asking for 150 guilders (75 euro)…

Brob

I’m living in Florida nowadays. I remember that beautiful city Aalst – Alost. The radio-studio upstairs, and the heat from the sun, when we were waking up with hangover from Tio Pepe and many beers. I also remember a long-haired beauty with whom I talked all night – in the morning I escorted her to home (nothing happened). The way back I couldn’t find the street where the pub was ‘cause I was so drunk. I wandered more than an hour till I found the pub.

During our gig the microphone was electro-shocking me a couple of times. ‘Scheet’ told me the electricity was different than in Holland. I remember the couple working at the pub. They were looking like actors from an old French movie.

Here you can listen to our demo ‘1984’. Our drummer stopped playing music 20 years ago, the guitar-player plays music with friends.

In January 2007 I was in Aalst to see the carnival there. It was amazing!!!

Zoltan Varga

88 (Budapest) interview by Scheet in Thrashold #3article in Thrashold #3 by ‘Scheet’ (references to ’88’ and the Hungarian scene)

10/05/2011

Oilsjt Carnaval – Pitbull Boys

Filed under: Gele Limonade, Aalst — Tags: , , , , — smurfpunx @ 08:30

Aalst (or Oilsjt, in their regional dialect) is known for its lively, animated carnival (Mardi-Gras for you Americans) in Belgium. The weekend before Shrove Tuesday, a period of 4 days of debauchery, guzzling, vandalism under the guise of ‘fun’, etc. starts until everyone participating is lying drunk in the gutter (well more or less). Some pub-owners/shop-keepers lock up their businesses (barricading the windows with chipboard)… People from outside Aalst are supposed not to understand the emotions and dedication of true Oilsjtenoars (inhabitants of Aalst) related to the dressing-up, building immensely developed floats, singing scabrous songs, etc. A participant of ‘Aalst Carnaval’ wants to express him/herself and experience freedom to the max.

Smurfpunx helped at the Gele Limonade pub for some time (see Smurfpunx @ Gele Limonade) and kept it open during one of these carnivals…

Myself, I had to opportunity to witness the whole thing working the bar… People – already totally drunk at 2 p.m. – entering the pub with ‘trophy’s’ (such as a traffic-sign on a 3 m pole e.g.), pulling down their pants and unashamedly pissing against the bar, etc. etc. No-one interferes… “If you can ‘t take it, don’t go to Aalst during Carnival!” Coming from another province, I didn’t know it was gonna be that over-the-top… I was sober, my ethics were fine,…and I was shocked!!! Left the place gutted after a mere few hours…

In this context I want to tell a bit about the ‘Pitbull Boys’, a fun-punk band from Aalst. Their MySpace mentions they were founded in the late eighties by Bart Ravyts (Bad B) and Jean-Claude Roosen (JC of ‘Violent Mosquitos’). The instruments they used at first were a small synthesizer/drum-computer and a guitar. Later Koen ‘Kotz’ Taeleman (‘Rough Justice’) joined on bass-guitar… After a few years the ‘PB.B.’ exchanged their synthesizer and drum-computer for a real live drummer: Ben Notaert (‘Benimal Bonzo’). ‘Kotz’ left the band and was replaced by a new bassplayer: Manu (‘El Manuel’). Also some guest-musicians (‘De Piep’ & ‘D-Day Danny’) came along… They were frequenting the Gele Limonade when Smurfpunx were working there as volunteers (some had connections to the collective) and played there sometimes aswell. Later they even made up some real carnival-songs…

Brob

Bart – J.C. – Koen (with the obligatory crate of Safir, locally brewed pils…)

Bart – J.C. – Koen …& Frank

The pictures [Brob: taken by Nathalie G. during a concert at the Gele Limonade] show the first version of the ‘Pitbull Boys’ with Bart Raveydts, Koen Taeleman, Hans Van Ooteghem, Jean-Claude Roosen, Jean-Yves Bogaert and Frank ‘Drank’ Parewyck [the latter 4 of ‘Violent Mosquitos’]. Mind you: this was probably the actual line-up of that evening; who played live changed regularly. Koen, Bart & JC were regulars, the rest was guest-musician. Later also Piet Marcoen, and others that I forget, played. The second generation ‘Pitbull Boys’ of the late 90s (at first Bart Ravyts on vocals, Emmanuel Cambier on bass, JC Roosen on guitar and Ben Notaert – ‘Funeral Dress’ drummer) recorded a CD. After a first gig with Frank on bass, Bart took another direction (hip-hop) and Frank replaced him doing the vocals.

Manu Cambier

J.C. – Jean-Yves – Frank – Hans

Jean-Yves

Carnival = Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday. The ‘voil zjanetten’: men wearing women’s clothing, high heels, net-stockings, fake boobs, a shopping-cart filled with beer and your own stereo, and – typical attributes – a bird-cage and a dried fish. Carnival is also escaping the daily grind for a moment, dressing up, making fun, laughing, partying, meeting friends, satirize local (and national) politics. Anything goes. No censorship. Prince Carnival possesses the keys of the city during those 4 days. Party like animals. In the parade all political scandals are tackled, openly and frankly. Often a whole year’s work goes into the floats.

One carnival it snowed and there was a snowman inside the Gele Limonade…

Keizer Kamiel is the official emperor of carnival, and that’s for life. Since many years Kamiel has been doing all kinds of charity (e.g. distributing food) for the poor in Aalst; a fulltime occupation – supported by many volunteers. For many poor families that makes the difference between the gutter and living with at least some dignity. During carnival he also visits the de old people’s homes in Aalst.

Carnival is a lot more than boozing, boozing and boozing.

Anmie G

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

08/16/2010

89-01-21 (Gele Limonade) Yeastie Girlz

109 people (amongst them the ‘Bambix’ sisterhood who came all the way from Nijmegen) in a small café (5 by 5 m) like this! During their passage a few months earlier the ‘Yeastie Girlz’ definitely left an impression… And having spent more time with them over X-mas in Amsterdam’s Van Hall, they were eager to come and do their ‘thing’ again at our homebase. Since Cammie had gone back to the U.S., it was just Joyce and Kate but that was vocal power and conviction enough!

Later that year I got a tape from Kate on which she and Joyce provide answers to my questions for a Tilt!-interview. It started out very funny with Joyce’s giggling and laughter but it got pretty serious with very personal testimonials (about rapings/ abortions) so even though it might have gotten other women/ girls to share their possible similar experiences, we decided not to publish it in the end… It was easier to talk about in the intimity of a bedroom but it would’ve been read by hundreds of people all over the world… That summer I also visited Kate in her bookshop in S.F. and got to shoot pool with Joyce before a concert there.

The Dutch poet ‘Dorpsoudste De Jong’ who had performed at our anti-military benefit the year before was invited back but he couldn’t come.  Lenny St. Luce came instead. She’s a British black feminist living in Amsterdam who recites poetry and does spoken word.

Brob

07/25/2010

Smurfpunx @ Gele Limonade

Filed under: Gele Limonade, Aalst — Tags: , , , , — smurfpunx @ 18:11

At a certain timepoint, the collective wanted to explore the possibilities/ opportunities of becoming an official ‘not-for-profit’ association. Natasja D. did all the paperwork for that. One of us (Michel DC) was also member of a similar association, called ‘De Vrije Meningsuiting’ (‘The Free Speech’). Those people (old hippies – ha) were running the pub/café ‘De Gele Limonade’ (‘The Yellow Limonade’) – located in the same street as Netwerk – that they operated in an alternative/a-commercial manner: drinks a lot cheaper than other places and profits used for rent and ‘good causes’; nobody was making a living of it. It was more like a meeting-place for people who like alternative music (not just HC/punk) and who’re more or less politically aware (e.g. one evening it was a refuge for people who egged the leader of the ‘Vlaams Blok’ – an extreme right party with racist program – and were attacked by his supporters). Also the local free radio ‘Radio Katanga’  (Mokka had a weekly show there at some timepoint) was operating from the building, on  one of the floors above the pub. The people of de ‘Vrije’ were over 30 (married with kids) and they wanted to pass on the torch to younger people so Michel proposed that we would do that. Closure would’ve meant commercialisation, loss of the radio-station, etc. Starting Dec 31st 1988 we began trying to run the pub with most of the Smurfpunx-people (we took turns, in ‘couples’ on friday- and saturday-evenings). The intention was to also organise small concerts, lectures, poetry-evenings (e.g. the British black feminist poetess Lenny St. Luce who lives in Amsterdam), exhibitions (At some timepoint a guy who used to be in the ‘Apostles’ was supposed to come over for an exhibition-tour of his artwork – paintings, etchings, lithos.). There was also room for meetings, sleeping-places and rehearsals. Plans for a little distribution/ shop never happened… We learned how to handle things (rent – 30000 BeF or € 750 per month, organisation, ordering, etc.) and in the spring of 1989 (after a 3 month trial-period), we cleaned the whole building, and reconstructed/ painted/ redecorated the pub for a ‘grand’ re-opening on April 7th…

Brob

At some point after my departure from Smurfpunx I got briefly involved with this exhibition-tour of the Apostles bloke. I wanted to help out Anderz Nielsen [guitarist of ‘Misanthropic Charity’ and bass for ‘Electric Deads’ & ‘President Fetch’, and concert-promoter at Copenhagen’s Ungdomshuset] because I met these guys from the ‘Apostles’ when I visited him in 1987 and they ended up asking me later on to organize exhibitions and concerts in Belgium. It was an outstanding commitment and a friendly service to Anderz who had welcomed me a few times in his flat in Copenhagen. The artwork were mainly charcoal-drawings if I can remember well, and not bad work either: dark and gothic-anarcho, but well…the artist’s and the music genre’s house-style I guess. (smile) Such an expo would’ve been something else for a change. But for some reason or another (something to do with the availability of the space [Brob: Probably because there were only people at the Gele Limonade during weekend-evenings.] and/or abolishment of a concert at Netwerk that could have been combined with this), it got cancelled. The funny thing was that the artist, his girlfriend and one other bloke eventually showed up in Gent despite the cancellation. See, as I told already on this blog, the main ways of communication back then were telephone and ‘classical’ post. They had no phone and it turned out that they never got the letter announcing the cancellation either because the address that they’d given was a squat which they had abandoned. Anarchy I guess… (smile) Did they had an improvised expo in a squat in Gent instead? I don’t remember. I was not in the squatting-scene. They did continue to another country (Holland, Germany?) though.

Duco

Usually whenever I see the words ‘The Apostles’ in it I groan, start to gnash my teeth and then sit in a dark corner to mutter vengeful curses at the world. However, this is a little more interesting. No, the event doesn’t apply to me – but I know what happened. During 1987 and 1988 the bassist / guitarist / leader of ‘The Apostles’, Dave Fanning, was invited over to Germany [Jospeh Raimond: The ‘Apostles’ show was in Nürnberg. It was great.] for 2 weeks to display his art in a private gallery there. This was organised by Joe Raimond of ‘Doc Wör Mirran’ [Brob: concept of combining music, graphic art, painting, sculpture, poetry and just about every other medium of art]. As I understand it, the show was such a success that he then took his paintings, drawings and collages, etc. to other ‘punk’ events, alternative galleries, etc. to display them there. I believe he went to Belgium because he had a Belgian girlfriend, Sally Vogel (?, not certain about the surname) at the time and she may have assisted.

Andy Martin, ‘The Apostles’/ ‘Unit’

10/23/2009

85-10-19 (Gele Limonade) Deviant Gedrag – X-Creta – Pigs In Blue Glue – Vortex – Dirty Scums

‘Destroy facism’

On October 19th, we organised a concert in ‘De Gele Limonade’ in Aalst (‘The Yellow Lemonade’; a pub that can hold about 90 people) with ‘Pigs In Blue Glue’, ‘Deviant Gedrag’, ‘X-Creta’ and ‘Vortex’. About 120 people turned up. Great! A heterogeneous crowd of punx, cold-wavers, rastas and ‘normal’ people. That’s good, it shows they’re interested in punk and @narchy.

My own band (PIBG) were first up; I think we were appreciated, people started pogoing immediately and the atmosphere was good. After 35 minutes ‘Deviant Gedrag’ hit the stage and these were really really good. More melodic punk/rock; really worthwhile.

But afterwards shit hit the fan. There were also about 15-20 skins (from the Brussels area) who had kept quiet until then. Suddenly one of them went for a punk and threw him to the ground and started kicking him. This seemed to be the signal for an attack. You know how that goes… A punk helps his friend; another skin… etc. To cut things short: at a certain moment the whole bald-headed gang were punching away at everyone, also at the girls. This went on until the cops arrived. (Don’t know who called them, definitely not us: there was no phone.) They picked up most of the skins, 5 of them ran off.

The atmosphere was totally ruined by then. Most of the crowd had disappeared, was dispersed or arrested. So we shut down the whole thing. ‘X-Creta’ and ‘Vortex’ had gotten afraid, for themselves and for their gear; and it was no use continuing for a mere 10-15 people. Very annoying, off course, especially for ‘Vortex’ who came such a long way. We stayed to talk a bit.

Half an hour later the nazi-skins were released. When they noticed it was finished for us, they hit direction the centre. I don’t know (yet) what they did there. In any case, half of our concert was ruined by those filthy fascists.

Punx unite! Destroy fascism!

Duco (in ‘Lastig’ #10)

photo of ‘Pigs in Blue Glue’: Boge – bass, Reinout a.k.a. Reinzwijn – vocals, Dimi – drums, Duco – guitar (by Serge Harvent)

pictures (by Kockie) of ‘X-Creta’ – Erwin Vanmol (guitar), Erik Steppe (drums), Marc Maes (vocals), Peter Reynaert (bass):

This was a gig me and my mates in ‘Repulsives’ (Stinky & Disorder) had looked forward to. We took the train to Aalst, not knowing how to get back but that didn’t matter: we were gonna see/hear great bands and meet new people in this ‘far away city’.

The fascist attack sobered us up. I remember taking a few punches as well and ending up with a nose-bleed in the backroom of the pub. I remember Mokka, my brother-in-arms to be in Smurfpunx, trying to cheer me up. This is how I first met him: caring bloke… The whole thing was a bonding-experience with a lot of punx who were there that night.

It also inspired me to write the song ‘Fascist Skins’ which would turn out to be our most popular song. Later it would get us into trouble again: at a gig at the ‘Q 104’ in Leuven we were again attacked by skins while playing it. We had to be escorted out of the venue by our friends and the organisers.

Brob

Fascist Skins

08/24/2009

Hardcore is More than Music

Filed under: Gele Limonade, Aalst, Ideology — Tags: , , — smurfpunx @ 16:31

Hardcore is More than Music

Smurfpunx-collective: we wanna do something about the ‘no future’ ideology

+ foto Smurfpunx -from L to R: Mokka / Natasja H. / Anmie / Brob / Natasja D. / Frank / Michel

bottom: Heleen’s feet

absent: Pascal / Ine / Kris / Guy / …

A free-minded translation of an interview in a local newspaper (autumn 1988)… The ‘journalist’ (Johan Velghe) obviously had a biased opinion of what it was all about and didn’t caputure everything as was intended or in its context!

“No names and pictures where we are recognisable.”, is the message the members of the Smurfpunx-collective, a dozen hardcores that move into the ‘Gele Limonade’in the De Ridderstraat in Aalst, convey at the start of the interview. A few buildings away from ‘Netwerk’ where they regularly organise concerts. People walking through the street might have noticed a strange but above all numerous, young public enjoying themselves. ‘John Doe’ piles up hardcore with punk, skinheads, new wave. Inspired by the punk-movement of some 7 to 10 years ago, it creates its on way of life with music, an ideology, an aversion against existing social situations – Has anything changed since 1968? – and external characteristics. The scouts-uniform has been thrown away and changed by the chequered shirt, the Chipie-jumper swapped with the hooded sweater.

“We’re a bunch of friends, a collective, an organisation without organisational structure. There’s about 15 of us, mostly from the region Aalst – Wetteren. When we went to hardcore-concerts in Leuven and Antwerp, we experienced the weirdest and most unbelievable things. Bad choice of venue, bands not showing up, a chaotic organisation. That irritated us. And since concerts in the area Gent – Aalst were lacking, we saved up about 20.000 BeF [€ 500] and this amount was used as the bail for a first concert in the Roxy in Dendermonde. We intended to organise the concerts in an appropriate venue, conveniently located for the public, with a good P.A. and decent publicity.”; the spokespersons of the Smurfpunx-collective state.

SMALL SCENE

The Belgian hardcore-scene is small. From West-Flanders to Limburg: the bands and the people attending concerts know each other. The contacts are intense and the bands play together often. Foreign bands that are touring, contact the organisers.

“All is based on friendship. There is little talk about finances. We break through the ways of the big rock-circuit, where everything is about money. We bring bands from the U.S. but the entrance-fees remain reasonable because the bands have little demands. In the rock-circuit this belongs to the country of the fables.

The hardcore-scene has kept the ways of the punk-movement, of making use of the establishment as little as possible. This puts us in direct opposition with the rock-circuit. Without spending too much money and in alternative manner, we’re also getting somewhere. That’s hardcore to us. It means much more than just music and it certainly doesn’t fit the image that the average citizen has about hardcore: a boozing freak with this hair in the air. The concerts are accessible to all. Hardcore was part of the anarchist scene in 1984 but nowadays the political content is realized at a personal level.

Hardcore and [fascist] skinheads are in direct contrast with each other. Skinheads have connections with the extreme right. For an outsider the difference is often difficult to notice but it lies in the behaviour and the words. There’s a lot of stereotypes in people’s minds but even youngsters think in stereotypes about hardcore. It’s supposed to be all about fast and noisy music. Hardcore-music does not easily fit one category. It ranges from plain noise, over reggae, blues, jazzy influences to songs that point out that hardcore is an underground-culture. While disco is nothing more than so many beats per minute, hardcore has to offer more.”

LITTLE ‘NATION’ ON ITS OWN

The Smurfpunx-collective may well have borrowed its name from a pub in Wetteren that was named after Peyo’s blue creatures, the collective has a philosophy about it. The Smurfs are a particular kind of ‘nation’. They live far away from society and provide for their own needs.

“We exist and think autonomously. There are anarchist elements in our line of thought but the main motive is to determine ourselves what we are and what we want. There are external characteristics. Newcomers tend to imitate all of this sometimes. We find that ridiculous. Someone isn’t hardcore for wearing the right sneakers or a chequered shirt… The features are there but we don’t exclude anyone, they’re not required per se. Above all one has to be one’s self.”

CRITICAL

The lyrics of the songs are critical and aimed against the powers-that-be. One sings against Apartheid, against Reagan, against vivisection, against eating meat, against multinationals… Stage-diving, pogo-ing and slamming are ways of expression to experience the music. Stage-diving came over from the metal-scene.

“Nowadays everyone expresses one’s self the way one wants. Stagediving is not that ‘in’ anymore. It’s mostly harmless. You’re pulled upright quickly after the dive in the crowd.”

The hardcore-audience consists mostly of 17- to 22-year-olds. The spokesmen of the Smurfpunx-collective indicate that they’re a minority. Society doesn’t tolerate hardcore. Hardcore won’t fit into the system and the members of the Smurfpunx-collective think it’s nothing to bring on national TV. The remain pure and real, hardcore has to be kept out of the commercial circuit.

“It’s no fun in 1988 to be the son of a doctor. You can’t stick a sociological label on hardcore but the working-class is dominant. In 1988 the ‘no future’ of 1977 is still actual. It’s not that propagated anymore as ten years ago. Everybody still realizes the threat of unemployment but it’s being approached in a more positive way. We want to do something about it. A hardcore is no whining drop-out in the gutter.”

NETWERK

The Smurfpunx-collective organises concerts in Centrum Netwerk in Aalst but also in Gooik, Gent, Jette, Antwerpen and there are ongoing contacts with Eeklo.

They’re pretty satisfied with Netwerk. “They’re not nagging when something goes wrong and they’re interested in what we’re doing. The collective has no real connection with Netwerk but they did propose certain things in that direction.”

Netwerk is not a very well isolated venue. That’s why the concerts end before 10 p.m.; something which can not be said about the disco-joints in town.

Aalst also has a hardcore-scene of its own with ‘Violent Mosquitos’ (who – in line with the hardcore idea – released their five track record by themselves), the recently split ‘Hate Crew’, ‘Heart Explodes’, ‘Rough Justice’, the recently formed ‘Myosotis’ (forget-me-not) and the ‘Pitbull Boys’ duo.

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