Smurfpunx

04/18/2010

Q104 concerts Leuven

People keep asking about other fests from this era that were not organised by our Smurfpunx collective… So let’s try to incorporate some of them here then. Counting on anyone for help/contributions again!

‘Q 104’

85-11-29: Heibel (Bel), Koyaanisqatsi (Bel), X-Creta, (Bel), Dirty Scums (Bel)

86-03-01: Disrupters (UK), Capital Scum (Bel), No Debt (Bel), Vortex (Bel), C.P.D. (Bel)

86-03-21: Varukers (UK), Sloth (USA), Dirty Scums (Bel)

86-04-12: Dirty Scums (Bel), No Numbers (Bel) [Capital Scum (Bel) on flyer]

86-04-18: Disorder (UK), Indirekt (Nl), Ear Damage (Bel), Pigs In Blue Glue (Bel) [‘Ear Damage’s first gig]

86-05-17: Repulsives (Bel), C.P.D. (Bel), Anguish (Bel), O.I.L.L. (Bel)

87-03-07: Disorder (UK), Dehumanization (Nl), C.P.D. (Bel)

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Between 1980 and 1992 I’ve worked myself through a pretty impressive list off concerts in Belgium and sometimes abroad (especially London). The concerts by Smurfpunx in ‘Netwerk’ were among the best I can remember (along with those in Scherpenheuvel), really! Splendid venue, good sound-system, great bands, excellent organisation… A genuine relief after other concerts that got cancelled or hadn’t started yet at midnight because the speakers didn’t make a sound. That was supposed to be the charm of punk but one should not be surprised that, after a while, people no longer show up – a bit of quality is in order.

Somewhere in 1985 the famous ‘Stel’ and I found it a bit odd that no punk-concerts were taking place in a ‘metropolis’ like Leuven, while we believed there certainly was an audience for. That made us decide to try it ourselves in a cheap (but a bit too small) place, named ‘Q104’. First we did a concert with a few Belgian bands, sometime late 1985 or early 1986, I can’t remember exactly who, because at the following concerts there were always a few Belgian bands ‘supporting’. But I believe that certainly ‘The Dirty Scums’, ‘No Debt’, ‘Capital Scum’, ‘Ear Damage’, ‘Anguish’ and a bunch of other bands played at ‘Q104’; it’s up to those ‘celebrities’ to confirm that. [Brob: Well, without claiming to be a celebrity: my band ‘Repulsives’ played the ‘big’ and ‘far away’ city of Leuven a few times; there was a memorable gig where we had to be escorted out of ‘Q104’ by Felix and his friends because skins were threatening to ‘lynch’ us. We were nicely accommodated at Felix’s place who even gladly drove us home the next Sunday-morning…]

I know for sure that the first gig was a major godsend in terms of turn-out, about 200 men, we hadn’t really expected that. We even made a little bit of profit that we invested neatly in the next one. It’s not that hard actually: make sure to come up with cheap flyers and word-of-mouth advertising at other concerts that the venue and sound-system are OK, don’t pay the bands a fortune but something respectable, make sure that there is enough booze, put a few valiant guys at the entrance (genre ‘Kockie’, ‘De Lange’ or ‘Den Bosse’) to ensure that not everyone gets in for free, and everything will be OK. The only problem was that from the first concert on, we had problems with the cops because of the noise at night; although the concerts were always over before midnight and nothing was ever demolished, but the neighbours were shocked of course by the many ‘dangerous’ punks on their square.

In any case, after the success of the first gig I gladly wanted to try a second one with a British group. I think ‘Stel’ then pulled out somewhat (he didn’t like that kind of bands much) but a lot of people from Leuven (Dirk [Ceustermans], Ludo [Vannoppen], sorry that I do not remember all the names) were helping out. I had written and invited some 15 English bands: ‘Conflict’, ‘Flux of Pink Indians’, ‘Chaos UK’, ‘Violators’, ‘Addicts’,… that genre. I recall that I offered them all together 15.000 BeF (and free accommodation) to come from England; nowadays that seems incredibly little: € 375. Yet there were three bands mad enough to come over: first ‘Disrupters’, then ‘Varukers’, after that ‘Disorder’. Each time that was at ‘Q104’, with some Belgian bands supporting and each time about 200 people turned up. I had the impression that they just came down because there was a punk-fest in Leuven, not because they loved that specific band. I know that all bands were very pleased afterwards because the atmosphere was great (and Belgian beer strong). I think ‘Varukers’ and ‘Disorder’ also played in Antwerp one day after Leuven.

At this concert with ‘Disorder’ I had established contact but didn’t have much to do with the organising of the concert itself anymore. Afterwards I also completely stopped because a whole generation of young people from Leuven was full of enthusiasm to organise gigs themselves. With that my intention had actually become successful: I certainly didn’t wanna become a big organiser but just trigger something that then could stand on its own feet. In addition, ‘Q104’ no longer wanted us because of the problems with the cops. Frankly: at one point there were just too many concerts in Leuven, sometimes poorly organised or announced too late, so the turn-out dropped dramatically and quickly bled to death a bit. A familiar story, unfortunately.

I kept attending a lot of gigs and occasionally wrote something for fanzines, until I moved to Mexico City mid 1992. [Brob: Felix was a free-lance journalist for Belgian newspapers.] I went to a lot to punk-concerts there too; they were running some 15 years behind and it was all really still in its early stages: rather a bunch of zombies with all those glue-sniffers – but good bands and lots of atmosphere. In 1996 I moved to Lima (Peru), where I also attended quite a bunch of punk-gigs the first years: a little more professional and better than in Mexico, with great bands from Argentina coming over. Names that no-one here would have heard about.

Since 2004 I live back in Brussels but I do not go to concerts that often anymore because, to be honest, I can’t keep up with all these new names. I think one or two concerts per year, big bands like ‘Smashing Pumpkins’ or ‘Bad Brains’ (not really punk). But I keep listening  to punk at home, on my old East-German record-player – my old LP’s have survived, I will transfer them onto CD now. I really start to feel like grandpa punk (and an -unwanted- skinhead) nowadays.

To be honest, I’ve always loved listening to punk-music (and still am) but I was always interested in heaps of other things, like football, movies, foreign politics, journalism, NGO-work, travelling,… Because I never was in the punk-movement a 100%, I also never fully got out of it because I was tired of it. I still see myself listening to punk at the age of 85. [Brob: If I make it that long, I’ll join you!]

Felix De Witte

Felix! A legend! I still get sick thinking of the bottle of ‘Mandarine Napoleon’ we had at his place!!!…

The “LOT of people from Leuven” refers to the D.R.O.L. collective who helped out on the gigs and helped funding through the legendary D.R.O.L. parties ran down at the Q104. Here’s a few names: Chris, Gert ‘Gette’ Hambrouck, Murielle [Celis], Ludo, Bart [Willemsen]; gee my memory does not serve me well here…

A few more Belgian bands that made it to the ‘Q104’ were ‘Heibel’, ‘X-Creta’, ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ (I refuse to spell it like it was mis-spelled on the ‘Alle 24’ LP), ‘Pigs in Blue Glue’, etc. etc. The first 3 were on a same bill (in 1985) and it can be considered a legendary gig as these bands at that time played some sort of crossover punk/metal that was probably the first time it happened in Belgium.

Dirk C. (D.R.O.L. zine, ‘Koyaanisqatsi’, ‘Ear Damage’)

DROL hard at work'D.R.O.L. crew in action (pic courtesy of Dirk C.)

Q104 (DROL #10)Dirk in D.R.O.L. zine #10

Here are some pictures of ‘Anguish’ playing in Leuven, around June 1986. You will probably recognise some of the faces in the audience. The guy in the white shirt is, if I remember well, Chris, who had just started D.R.O.L. zine (in his cellar, together with his brother). That had a lot of potential. There was even talk of building a wind-mill… (one of the less risky ideas) but, as with many things, these were good initiatives but the know-how wasn’t present, and the kick-in-the ares was lacking. ‘Anguish’ and Dirk (at that time Heidi’s partner…who was still in ‘Koyaanisquatsi’ if I remember correctly) got together there on a regular basis. It was a lot more difficult to find info in these days…

Murielle (‘Anguish’ vocalist)

Crowd-shot (Leuven ’86) with a prominent Felix ‘in ecstasy’… surrounded by his ‘disciples’ Chris & Dirk D.R.O.L., Ludo (kindly donated by Murielle Celis)

86-06-xx Anguish crowd (met Felix)

pics taken 86-06, ‘t Stuk – Leuven (by ‘Gette’?)

86-06-xx Anguish trio met Ludo (Stuc Leuven) (by Gette q)‘Anguish’: Bart – Juul (on the shoulders of a giant – Ludo) – Kris

86-06-xx Anguish Steve' (Stuc Leuven)Steve (‘Anguish’)

86-06-xx Anguish trio (Stuc Leuven)Bart (‘Anguish’)

86-06-xx Anguish Mumu & Kris (Stuc Leuven)Murielle & Kris (‘Anguish’)

Ludo Vannoppen (by Dirk C)Ludo Vannoppen (pic courtesy of Dirk Ceustermans)

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12/16/2009

91-03-23 (Peanuts) Nations On Fire – Hiatus – Triptych – Zero Positives – Xinix

Filed under: Peanuts, Lede — Tags: , , , , , , , , — smurfpunx @ 10:28

Mokka called this the final Smurfpunx concert… Actually, there were some more later on under that name but it was probably the last one where the ‘main’ group of collaborators were involved. Things had been crumbling down those last months, ideas were drifting apart, the spirit faded. I was more and more reluctant to do shows for bands with HardCore-punk roots but who were just about the music and not the ideology/politics anymore; quite a few of these were touring with commercial promoters or releasing stuff on ditto labels and the D.I.Y. idea was far away.

As you can see on the flyer, I posed the question “Is there still a HardCore-scene in Belgium!??”. And that was because of the above. So I persuaded the others to do show with five Belgian bands playing different styles, from different regions and backgrounds; trying to ‘re-unite’ the Belgian punk-scene. All of them mates and/or people I was friendly with. ‘Hiatus’, the ‘crusty’ punx from Liège (french-speaking part of Belgium) replaced the originally booked ‘Vortex’ (don’t know anymore why these couldn’t make it). The ‘straight edge’ band ‘Nations On Fire’ (just came back from a UK tour, Hazel had left – see 91-02-08). ‘Triptych’, the band of the ‘Heibel’-bros (Jo, Herwin, Pé); Dirk Scum’s noise-combo ‘Zero Positives’ and the punky ‘Xinix’ (Bart Van Malderen & his mates). The idea was also to get a bigger crowd together again ’cause the turn-outs hadn’t been that fabulous. The ‘audience’ had become more and more jaded (only interested in ‘big’, well-known US or UK outfits) and divided.

Another problem we had to deal with was the fact that the people running the ‘alternative cultural centre’ (‘Netwerk’) in Aalst that had been so wellcoming all those years, became more and more reluctant to make the venue available for us. They wanted to do more and other activities (exhibitions, theatre, etc.) so we regularly had to look for another venue; which was not so easy: renting a place costs money, the location was not optimal. ‘Peanuts’ was more like an old local parish-hall in a ‘dead’ province-town (Lede) but this is what we could get and afford. We soon had to admit the place didn’t excite people too much…

I think the turn-out was still OK but it could’ve been better; especially with all these promising bands. Oh well, I guess the ‘buzz’ was more or less gone and it was time for something new. Myself, I would soon start to collaborate with the Vort’n Vis in Ieper…

The ‘Nations On Fire’ show was video-taped and appeared on on the anti-fascist benefit for the SCALP (Section Carrément Anti Le Pen, from Lille, France). This was the work of A.T.C. (Above The Crowd; i.e. Wim & Chat’n of the band ‘Blindfold’).

Brob

Well, at this point it was fairly clear that Smurfpunx were going to end, Vort’n Vis and it’s younger crowd had taking over by then, you just knew the old Smurfpunx crew was burning out and ‘growing up’, it was a new generation taking over. This show had some of the leading Belgian bands of the moment but it’s honest to say that ‘Hiatus’ and ‘N.O.F.’ were the two bands on this bill that had ambition to go somewhere. ‘Zero positives’ and ‘Xinix’ were nice people but you just knew that it would never go somewhere and ‘Triptych’ was a post-‘Heibel’ band that you knew were already going somewhere else that wasn’t hardcore.

Jeroen Lauwers

This was probably one of my first ones in ‘Hiatus’. A good souvenir.

Willy, ‘Hiatus’

Spatje (‘P.J.D.’) joining in on vocals with ‘Hiatus’ (pic provided by Spatje)

10/25/2009

86-05-10 (Roxy) Indirekt – Stalag 17 – Vortex – X-Creta – Deviant Gedrag – Hate Crew – Statskirielja

>>‘Kankerkommando’ started the evening. It was OK but it was clear the band still needed a bit of work. The same goes for ‘Deviant Gedrag’ although I did like them. Slow punk; every song reminded me of something well-known. ‘Hate Crew’ ensured the fun for the local trashers. Simple, fast songs and above all good vocals. Then we were ready for ‘Indirekt’. Terrific! You just can ‘t keep quiet with a band like this. When I got away from the stage for a moment, there was murmur about a 75°C performance or something like that and the beer-bottles were passed around. […] Later we also got to see ‘Stalag 17’. Everyone had gotten tired and sluggish, which wasn’t to the liking of the drummer (“Has someone died or what?”). Their music wasn’t bad but the whole was messed up by terribly weak singing.<<

‘D.R.O.L.’ #10 (’86; Belgian fanzine)

Drol #10 over Dendermonde 10mei86 x

Apparently the ‘bill’ changed a bit the evening itself…

We’ve always felt very appreciated and very welcome in Belgium. I just remember the great atmosphere in the ‘Roxy’ at that time. Here’s a picture I found from that night. Looking at the chord my fingers are forming, I think it was shot during our song ‘Nacht und Nebel’…

Ruud Sweering (www.myspace.com/indirekt)

Indirekt x‘Indirekt’ (Nl): Guitarist Ruud Sweering & vocalist Anneke Knip …and a Smurf-punk on the bass-drum ;-) (pic kindly donated by Ruud)

A couple of months before I’d seen ‘Indirekt’ live for the 1st time (at the ‘De Waag’ in Antwerp)… That evening I got infected with their Dutch-spoken singalong punkrock for life. There was a huge pile-up on stage that night during their songs ‘Klitten’ & ‘Faust’ (ending up in their version of children’s rhyme ‘deze vuist op deze vuist’)… And, even today, I still feel as militant as in those days when I hear them burst out in ‘H.E.L.’ (‘onder de blauwe hemel’…). It speaks for itself I was very pleased to meet them here again. ‘Indirekt’ were Ruud Sweering (guitar), Anneke Knip (vocals), Rick Blom (bass) and Jeroen Hennis (drums). Niels De Wit was probably their stand-in drummer here.

Brob

No, not ‘Indirekt’ but the – at that time – snotty punx (smile) of  ‘Statskirielja’: guitarist Dirk ‘Torre’ Tondeleir – drummer Koen Schepens – singer Martine – bassist Ludwig ‘Ludde’ De Bock (see also 1st Smurfpunx-fest) (thanx to Ludde for the pic)

Some photos by Serge Harvent:

‘Hate Crew’ (1st incarnation); L=>R: Guido, Mone, Kris & Guy (Scalle in the corner)

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

‘Deviant Gedrag’: Izzy (guitar), Dirk Jans (drums), Danny (vocals), Jo ? (bass)

‘Indirekt’: Ruud (guitar), Niels (drums), Anneke (vocals), Rick (bass)

‘Vortex’: Marco (guitar), Vincent ‘Fax’ (drums), Steve (vocals), JP (bass)

‘Stalag 17′: Brian McCann (guitar), Joe Carey (vocals), Petesy Burns (drums), ‘Big’ Jim Gilmore (guitar)

Well, we arrived on the European continent as a completely changed band line-up and kicked off our tour at the Roxy in Dendermonde, but that was the Smurfpunx part of the story, a paint-brush sweep of the picture that was ‘Stalag 17’. So, let’s paint a bigger picture….

Belfast was dead, the Harp Bar had closed and all the local punk heroes had gone to London to ride the New Wave. Rumours of punk dying were very exaggerated though… It was just waking up, in it’s real form and the crowds at the early gigs had ideas of doing their own thing. ‘Stalag 17’ were still plugging away, covering punk favourites, while building up a set of their own material, implacably anti-establishment, playing where they could get gigs, probably the important one being in the Belfast Anarchy Centre, supporting other anarcho-punk bands ‘Crass’, ‘Annie Anxiety’ and ‘Poison Girls’. From this platform, ‘Stalag 17’ forged ties with like-minded Belfast anarchists in Just Books Anarchist Bookshop. They faced a great deal of hostility, wherever they played.

With the impetus built from the Anarchy Centre, punks got established venues in and around Belfast, who didn’t want us, but they needed us, as Belfast was so polarised, few people went into the city, ‘Stalag 17’ playing alongside local bands such as ‘Asylum’ and ‘Toxic Waste’, encouraging stalwarts of the anarcho-punk scene to play Belfast. Bands such as ‘Conflict’, ‘Subhumans’ and ‘Dirt’ travelled over to a thriving scene. ‘Conflict’ offered ‘Stalag 17’ a place on their label Mortarhate’s compilation >We Don’t Want Your Fucking War< and the interest created by that compilation led to a split 12” with ‘Toxic Waste’, >The Truth Will Be Heard<.

The band toured Scotland and England and Wales, over the next few years with varying success, releasing a demo >From Belfast with Love<. During the rest of 1985 the band recorded a track for the Words of Warning label’s first release >You Are Not Alone< alongside ‘Oi Polloi’, then going on to a three-week tour in Europe, in 1986. This busy year also saw the band recording tracks for the >We Will be Free< album, featuring Toxic Waste and Asylum. All through this time the band were working with others to set up an autonomous centre in Belfast. Read about it here: http://www.warzonecollective.com [There’s some videos in the comments.]

Oh yes, Dendermonde! The first gig of a tour where we had to completely rebuild the band, having lost a drummer and guitarist. Locals Werner [Exelmans, Hageland Hardcore] (tour-manager) and Gunter [Wiebel] (beer-adviser) were great fun. On the day of the gig, Gunter brought us to some local bars and introduced us to Duvel beer. Unable to resist a challenge we got much drunker than we intended and turned up to a gig where 3 Irish bands were listed. We lost ‘Asylum’ in England and ‘Wee Joe and the Slithers’ never existed. It was a joking reference to our new line-up – someone, somewhere took it seriously!

The Smurfpunx gave us more beer and we watched the other bands, watching with great interest, the reaction of the crowd. The forming of crowd-circles was surreal and still the most unusual thing I’ve ever seen at a gig. It was fantastic to watch. I still wonder sometimes if Gunter had put something in the beer and we imagined it all! It was a long and very hot night, so maybe they were saving energy? Unfortunately for us, the fashion in European punk was speed and thrash, so some of our energy was drained by people shouting for us to “play faster!”. The sound was a bit odd too. Fortunately for us, we met up with people after the gig, who appreciated where we were coming from. I remember being disappointed in the D.R.O.L. review but I also remember some real positives from the gig. The people were fantastic and the daisy-chain dancing…wonderful! It set us up for a real fun tour, as it gave us so much on a positive side.

The band recorded two more demos (>And All the Birdies Sang Fuck This for a Lark< and >Erection 87< [Below, Julia provided a link where it can be downloaded…]). In late 1987 the band folded. The demo >17 from 17< was released after the bands break-up. As life turned full-circle, Petesy, Joe and Mickey reformed the band to play with Steve Ignorant on the Belfast part of his Last Supper tour and as his guest at the Incubate Festival in Tilburg. A bit more notice and we may have met up with some old friends and maybe have done a last ever gig in Dendermonde?

Joe Carey

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 (‘Pigs In Blue Glue’) 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):

‘Dirty Scums’ couldn’t have played there as we were doing a concert in Deurne (@ De Bunker) with ‘Capital Scum’, ‘No Debt’, etc.

‘Pik’ Bart D’Ooghe

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

08/28/2009

85-12-21 (Roxy) Combat Not Conform – Lärm – Funeral Oration – Dirty Scums – Vortex – C.P.D. – Statskirielja

+eerste Smurfpunx (Roxy 85)

Me and my ‘Repulsives’ buddies went over to attend what was the first ever Smurfpunx-gig. Although I thought the group of people that organised it, didn’t call themselves like that yet; the flyer does state ‘Smurfpunx’ festival… And if I remember correctly: people were tossing about a Smurf-doll. My personal involvement would start a year or so later.

It happened every now and then that the flyer mentions other bands (especially in the early days): some cancelled, some were added later on… ‘Combat Not Confirm’ were probably added last minute…

It was a memorable night where we discovered quite a few new great bands and founded the basis of what would become intensive and long-lasting friendships. Remember: hardly any bands had vinyl out (CD’s didn’t exist yet) and we had to wait weeks to get a tape in the mail (no email yet either)…

‘C.N.C.’ were a great band from Kreuzberg (Berlin, Germany). They sounded very impressive. Not in the least because the strong female vocals by Yvonne Ducksworth. The rest of the band (bassist Matze, guitarist Ilja Schellschmidt and drummer ‘General’ a.k.a. ‘der Franz’) delivered a powerful rocking sound. The sticker I got from them that night is still prominent on my guitar until today. They released an album called ‘Love’ (on Destiny recs) that, even nowadays, is still a milestone for the international HC-scene. ‘Combat not Conform’ is described as skatecore-band by some but it doesn’t serve them right to restrict it to just that… In the review of their lp I wrote for the 1st issue of my zine Tilt!, you can read: “One of the best gig I’ve ever seen.”. Yvonne soon went on to sing for ‘Manson Youth’ and later for ‘Jingo De Lunch’ (still existing).

Brob

Let me start to tell that this little piece of history is my personal view and memories of that time-period, I might have forgotten some things and facts, other people may have another view on things.

In 1977 I was 15 years old and I was living in a very small and very dull farm-village Westrem, near Wetteren. The biggest event was the annual ‘Bal van de Burgemeester’ [Mayor’s Ball]… A friend who went to school in Gent gave me a tape of the ‘Sex Pistols’ lp ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’ and I knew this was it !!! No more ‘Abba’, ‘Bay City Rollers’, ‘Boney M’ and all that crap. To make a long story short: by 1980 I had a punk radio-show on a free/illegal radio in the garage of a friend in Oordegem; we did this until the government confiscated our equipment in 1982. By that time I started going out in Wetteren, where we had the ‘New Age’ pub – a hang-out for all freaks and weirdos from miles around. And it was a place where you could meet other punks without getting into trouble for looking different. It was there that I met the people who later became the founding core of the Smurfpunx-collective: Ludwig ‘Ludde’ De Bock, the brothers Kris and Pascal Fiers, Guy Temmerman, etc.

We had a lot of problems with rockers and other tough guys but we stood our ground. The police was a bigger problem: they were on our backs all the time. I remember being stopped because I was wearing a ‘Nazi-punks fuck off’ patch (‘Dead Kennedys’) – you know: the one with the prohibition-sign with the swastika in it. I had to go to the police-station because I was wearing a nazi-symbol in public!?!?!? It took an hour before I could find a cop who understood I was anti-nazi…

We started to go to gigs all over Belgium: Antwerp, Aarschot, Gent, Wolvertem, etc. We had to take the train witch meant that after those gigs we had to hang out in a city we didn’t know waiting for the first train home. It became better when I got my drivers-license and I could borrow my dad’s car from time to time.

At these gigs we learned about the DIY-principle and by the end of 1983 we took the decision we would set up one big show. Why only once? Well we were convinced that we would only could do this once in Wetteren. After one show nobody would rent us a venue anymore…

But we didn’t have any money, so we started our own savings-program: every week we put 50 BeFs [€ 1,25] or what we could miss in a box and after a few months we had enough money to rent a place. But after a fight we had with some rockers at a dance-party at the annual fair we couldn’t rent a hall in Wetteren: nobody trusted us… So we had to look elsewhere .We went to a ‘Claw Boys Claw’ gig in the ‘Roxy’ in Dendermonde and the same night we asked the owner if we could do a festival over there and he said yes!!! That’s why we ended up Dendermonde.

This was the start of endless discussions of which bands we should ask to play. Because I was doing a tape-label ‘Smurf Punk Tapes’ (mostly international compilation-tapes) at that time, I was the one who had the most contact with bands. That’s why I asked ‘Funeral Oration’, ‘Gepöpel’, ‘The Dirty Scums’ and ‘Vortex’. ‘Censured’ and ‘Stadskierielja’ were local, and we also asked ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ but I can’t recall why they didn’t play that night. After ‘Gepöpel’ broke up, they asked if ‘Lärm’ could take their place. Which was no problem for us.

On the day itself around noon we got 2 phone-calls: one from Werner Exelmans [‘Extreme Noise’ fanzine, concert-promotor from Scherpenheuvel/Zichem and ‘Hageland Records’] who asked if this German band ‘Combat Not Conform’ could play and somebody of a band called ‘C.P.D.’ begged (joke!) us if they could play. We said yes ‘cause the night before we had decided that ‘Censured’ couldn’t play because they were not only in a band but they were also a part of Smurfpunx and they all had enough work that night (doors, bar, stage, backstage, etc.) Being our first fest we were all quit nervous…

‘Mokka’

<<[…] Seven bands for only 200 BeF (€ 5). No complaints about attendance… but the venue was enormous so it was difficult to create a good atmosphere. First there was ‘C.P.D.’ (‘Complete Political Disorder’) and they sounded very reasonable. […] The second band was ‘Statskirielja’ and there show was not so good. They’ll know that for themselves … but what do you want if you can’t or aren’t “allowed” to rehearse? The ‘Dirty Scums’ are drawing a lot of attention with their lp out, which is ‘to be expected’ in this little country. […] There isn’t a great deal to write about their live music. A question of taste. The chaps in the ‘Dirty Scums’ sure are funny guys. Next band was ‘Combat Not Conform’… They were probably the best of the evening. A German band with a Canadian female singer. […] She sometimes sang ‘D.R.I.’ tunes and it sounded good. Apart from that they played as fast as them. Excellent. ‘Vortex’ sounded, as has been the case before, not so good. It wasn’t bad but it could’ve been better. Their drummer was, as always, good. Next was the straight-edge band ‘Lärm’. Speed-maniacs from the Netherlands, you could call them. How many songs would they have played? Numerous. It all sounded fantastic. […] Last up was ‘Funeral Oration’ from Amsterdam. Sounded melodic…and great. […] A pity their set was rather short. Eh oh yeah: thanks to the person who emptied that fire-extinguisher in the venue. If it was meant to be a joke: he did not succeed…>>

‘De Vergeten Jeugd’ #3 (’86; Belgian fanzine)

I already questioned whether ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ played then. ‘Mokka’ wrote – quote: “We also asked ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ but I can’t recall why they didn’t play that night.” – unquote. Since this gig was on 21 dec 85, I would assume ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ was no longer; I went on to form ‘Ear Damage’ (must have started up around that time) with which we did a first concert in ‘Q104’ (Leuven) in april 1986.

Dirk Ceustermans

Recently [2010] Natasja & me moved house and I decided to throw the Smurfpunx-smurf [picture: Roxy, Dendermonde, 10 may 86 (Indirekt)] away, after all this time. I regret it already but we can’t hang on to everything, can we?

Guy Temmerman (cook-smurf, amongst other things)

Dendermonde was the first gig I did with ‘Funeral Oration’. I remember we only did 10 songs because that was all I could play at that moment… We had practiced twice with a guitar of inferior quality that had to be tuned after each song. Can ’t remember more. Did think it was cool; playing ‘abroad’ immediately. ;-)

Hayo Buunk, guitarist ‘Funeral Oration’

I didn’t keep track of all places and dates we played but I would’ve been there ‘cause I was in the band from the beginning to the end! ;-) Ferry Fidom was the drummer on the first tapes and the first 2 records (Communion & Shadowland). When we went to the Basque Country in 1985, he quit. From then on Erik Jansen drummed for ‘Gepöpel’ & ‘F.O.’. He kept doing that for years. After ‘Gepöpel’, he played for ‘Yawp!’. [Erik died in 2008 after a tragic accident.]

Willi Steinhäuser, bassplayer ‘Funeral Oration’

85-12-21 Combat Not Conform' (Smurfpunx)‘Combat Not Conform’ (photo by Kurt Boelens)

‘Lärm’; Menno – Jos – Olav – Paul (pic by Kockie)

‘Lärm’s Paul & Menno [Marcel Janssens (L) on stage]; pic by Hugo ‘C.P.D.’

Some scans from ‘De Vergeten Jeugd’ #3 (’86; Belgian fanzine):

‘Combat Not Conform’

‘Funeral Oration’

‘Lärm’

‘Vortex’

‘C.P.D.’: Hugo (bass & vocals) – Jaak (drums) – Bart (guitar) [the 1st line-up was without Rudy]

‘Statskirielja’: Koen Schepens (drums), Dirk Tondeleir (guitar), Martine Moreels (vocals), Ludwig De Bock (bass)

Photos of ‘Funeral Oration’ (by Annick Clerick & Kockie):

85-12-21 Funeral Oration' (by Skina)Hayo Buunk – Peter Zirschky

85-12-21 Funeral Oration (drum = Erik Janssen)Ferry Fidom

85-12-21 Funeral Oration (bass) +OlavWilli Steinhäuser

Photo of ‘Dirty Scums’ (by Kurt Boelens):

85-12-21 Dirty Scums (Smurfpunx)

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