Astrant (België Is Grijs #1)

Another zine from Ann Hendriks’ collection. The name, België Is Grijs (“Belgium is grey”), reflects the gloomy 80s… Probably a one-off, done by Eddy Mispoulier from Overpelt (Limburg), with the help of some friends. Besides articles on vivisection & anarchism (it was announced as a “political” zine), cartoons, poetry & columns, he interviews a band from his community…

‘Astrant’ (or ‘A-strant’) was the precursor of ‘Dawn Of Liberty’. The latter played a bunch of Smurfpunx-gigs (4). The first on 86-12-19, when they had just changed their name… Around that time I also did an interview with their singer Stefan Joosten. ‘D.O.L.’ was Stefan (vocals) / ‘2 (va)’ (or ‘Tweeva’) Luc Deckers (bass), ‘Frits’ Danny Brebels (guitar), Danny Vandevelde (guitar) & Stijn Persoons (drums: later ‘Kosjer D’, etc.).

‘Astrant’ never released any recordings under that name but they appeared on 2 compilation-tapes:  24 Love Songs II (Smurf Punk tapes) & Weekend For Maniacs (ControCultura tapes). The band started in 1982-83 with Stijn (also editor of Boel fanzine, ‘Tweeva’, ‘Bibip’ (‘Tweeva’s brother, Eric Deckers (R.I.P.), on guitar) and ‘Agfae’ (or ‘Afai’, synthesiser; R.I.P.). Later ‘Anaco’ (Stefan Joosten) joined.

Brob

‘Bibip’ played guitar in ‘Astrant’ for a brief moment; later he focussed on experimental music. Eric Gielkens became the new guitarist: great musician, lifted the band to a clearly higher level; his dad was in the army, had contacts with U.S. marines who got him acquainted with ‘Circle Jerks’. He was well informed about hardcore when we got to know him, a gift from heaven. But: he wanted to quit, after a while he was no longer interested in hardcore, listened to experimental music a lot and started jamming with other musicians.

‘Afai’ (‘Afgae’ in the interview) played synthesizer in the beginning, but we soon discovered that this didn’t really fit our music. It was part of the atmosphere of Northern Limburg (a suicide area in the mid ’80s): ‘De Brassers’ and other [cold-wave] bands also did something in that vein (to my great annoyance; I thought it was a dumb instrument meant to conquer the ‘charts’).

In the 90s Eddy M. (who did the zine – in our community we all encouraged one and other to do fanzines) ran a pub called Mazzel, where a lot of punk-gigs (e.g. Steve Ignorant) took place…

Stefan Joosten

[Translation below]

The origins of the band date from around the end of ‘82, beginning ‘83 with the this line-up: Stijn (drums), ‘Tweeva’ (bass), ‘Bibip’ (guitar), ‘Agfae’ (synthesizer). They didn’t have a singer yet. The music was neighboruhood music, i.e. depressive, experimental, calm, and that was it. Then ‘Agfae’ got to know ‘Anaco’…

That was at school?

Yeah, that was at school. He told me that he was playing in a band. That did interest me and I went over to their rehearsal once. There I grabbed the mic but the music didn’t affect me at all. It was really music to fall asleep to.

That’s true.

But there were also other people that came to watch and they said “Get Jan Peters (Boel fanzine)” and then someone else, I can’t remember. They also said that we were quite similar to ‘The Ex’. Yeah, according to those other people, we were quite like ‘The Ex’. So I joined and took on the vocals, I hoped the music would start to appeal me and I started writing lyrics myself.

‘Anaco’ was very shy.

Haha, I wrote lyrics that were very much directed against the state, against the brainwashing, about the usual punk subjects. The music started to go well: it got faster, more rhythmic, and short and powerful. Yes, it did go well. After the second performance – which we will talk about later – Eric joined and ‘Bibip’ left. Then we started to play melodic hardcore. Now we already have 10 songs, which is really crazy. Our first performance was in November ’83 in. We had to go to a meeting on a Sunday with the guys who set it up. They were interested in us and we were interested in the gig. We go to that pub. A kind of youth-club, very cozy, really fine; just that floor: you couldn’t pogo and so, haha. And that’s how we got on stage, quite scared. We started fast and firm. Everything went smoothly. Almost no mistakes, ‘Anaco’ did his very best. But still he was ridiculed by stupid guys, dickheads. A person named ‘Port’ encouraged us and provided a good atmosphere. It was quite busy, very good. But there were some stupid people around. ‘Axie’ (Lastig fanzine) then also started jumping around and a window got smashed, that was far out; ‘Port’ dived from the stage into the crowd. He really took care of the atmosphere. Thanks to that guy.

After the concert we stuck around waiting for reactions and these were generally quite good. We did regret it that there was a stupid audience, I won’t say anything more about it. Then there was the second performance. We had been keeping quiet for a while. Nothing was arranged, nothing rehearsed, everyone on his own. Then we got to a pub and we were told we were allowed to play. We had just one day to rehearse and still find a rehearsal-room. But we got things done and it was awesome. Yeah, it was crazy, a lot of mistakes. The mayor was there too and the priest, haha. ‘Anaco’ did very well during the concert; with shouts between the song. It was very good.

So the lyrics deal with the usual punk subjects.

They were quite simple because we played for a decent audience: a lot of people just came to have a look what we did. There aren’t a lot of punks in the area; a pity.

Yeah, really a pity… Everybody has the right to write a lyric.

That’s right, but in general ‘Anaco’ writes them himself, and Eric the new guitarist. Most deal with anti-hierarchy, anti-state. But Eric writes more lyrics that deal with feelings, The Day After [movie on the nuclear threat during the Cold War] e.g. He simply writes what he feels and ‘Anaco’ about what is wrong in society.

We’re influenced by bands such as ‘The System’, ‘Conflict’, ‘Subhumans’. From time to time we also play a solid, powerful song. But we sometimes also play a calm and quiet song. We just like a lot of noise.

In punk today, the distinction between hardcore and punk is made. Hardcore refers to music and helps to get the band of the ground. And I find that very positive: the scenes from abroad. I fully support hardcore. You know: I work on a fanzine (Boel) myself. A zine that covers a lot of bands.

I agree with Stijn: punk is a good collective. People help each other, people attend concerts, the atmosphere is good, writing letters, sending tapes and fanzines; really good. But it’s a pity that only a few people are really involved. It might be all very good with all that collectivism but I’m against when people want to make hardcore the norm. I appreciate hardcore a lot and I like listening to it but don’t make it the norm. It’s going very well now: more people are getting involved and they’re trying to be united as well as possible.

Stijn: I’m a vegetarian because I think that factory farming is over the top, but I’m not against other people eating meat. I’m not that radical.

‘Tweeva’: I’m also a vegetarian, but a radical one.

‘Anaco’ & Eric: We’re not vegetarians. I like eating meat. But it’s not because I like to eat that I don’t want to be a vegetarian. I like to eat hare and they get shot anyhow, to express it sadistically. But it’s just the law of nature. I do agree with Stijn about the bio-industry.

‘Anaco’: What do I think about anarchism? I look back a lot, into the history of anarchism. I try to get to know it as well as possible. I think it’s important to know how it used to be. Anarchism was a strong labour-movement, in the past anarchism had more followers than marxism; which I really like. And there were anarchist congresses, there was a good atmosphere, really revolutionary. Now it’s all getting weaker, because people don’t hear much about it anymore. Punk will never have an influence anyway. Punk is anarchist-inspired but is really becoming a strong anarchist movement.

Stijn: Global anarchism will never work out, not even on the level of communities.

‘Anaco’: Why not?

Stijn: You won’t get the tradition of the bourgeoisie. That’s just te reality. I don’t believe in it anyway. The best thing you can achieve is transfer your ideals to your friends, to realise things later on and that you stay true to yourself.

‘Anaco’: I think anarchism is the ideal, with an emphasis on anarcho-communism. Because I really demand proletarian autonomy, especially in this situation; just look at the mine-strikes in England, the Philippines, I see it happening there and also in Belgium. There’s an outright dictatorship formed by the capitalists here. I’m really against that. So I’m in favour of anarcho-communism and syndicalism. I’m really not turned of by these terms because I see it as a political ideal.

Stijn: I’m also in favour of anarcho-communism, but in terms of friendship and equality. The practices are sometimes good but I’m really against attacks on people, you can’t achieve anything with that. According to me terrorism doesn’t yield anything but it can be a kind of warning or directed against people, because if you look at if from the point of view of democracy: that simply doesn’t exist here, there’s a sham democracy here. Certain terrorist groups may revolt against that and try to wake people up, but terrorism won’t really break through. The C.C.C. [Cellules Communistes Combattantes; Belgian extreme-left group that committed attacks halfway the 80s] e.g: I completely disapprove of them being mentioned as being rightist. They are just communists, I’m convinced. I also find it ridiculous when they say “We are fighting for the people.”: they don’t do that at all. I also find it stupid that they want to achieve their ideals through murders.

Outside the band we run Clandestiene Produkties: tapes, fanzines.

‘Anaco’: I put out [the zine] Lastig together with ‘Axie’ and ‘Bibip’.

Stijn: I cooperate in [the zine] Boel that deals with a lot of music and sensible lyrics, good articles. In the band we’re individualists. Some of us are too serious and the opinions are very diverse. I think we should organise more gigs and have fun. But we’re still the best of friends. Our plans for the future are, erm … We’ll be on a compilation-tape and in a few fanzines. And we may be publishing a D.I.Y. tape. We wanna make our rehearsal-room into a kind of studio; and that’s just about everything.

For more info: Eric / Leopoldlaan 13 / Overpelt

Peace Or Annihilation

Obviously this fanzine refers to the intro-tirade of ‘Crucifix’s song Annihilation (on the album Dehumanization, released in 1983)… Around that time Onno Hesselink (born in The Netherlands) was studying graphic design at Sint-Lukas School of Arts in Brussels. Some of his friends there (e.g. Erik VdV a.k.a. Erifix who did Macht Van De Onmacht (and later the anarchist mag De Nar [the jester] and was in Onno’s first band W.C. Papier [toiletpaper]) sometimes helped out.

Personally, I never got to see any issues until the Finkel-scene (youth-centre) started to get more attention and Onno interviewed my band ‘Repulsives’ for issue number 9 (86-11-16).

Thanks to Dirk Ceustermans (who borrowed some of the early issues), I know the first issue (1984) (made together with Danny?) mentioned (the female punk band) the ‘Wanda’s’, and Gepöpel? There was also an article on socialism/anarchism, and a report on ‘Conflict’ playing in Antwerp. #2 (’84) featured bands such as ‘Political Asylum’, ‘X-Creta’ & ‘Stigmathe’ (Ita), plus there were bits on vegetarianism & media-indoctrination. The same year there was #3 (with the help of scenester Patrick Van Laethem), with ‘The Fiend’, ‘VanAlles & NogWatt’, concert-reviews, vegetarian recipes, etc.

#4 was with ‘76% Uncertain’, ‘Wretched’, ‘Bloedbad’, ‘Verdun’, ‘Capital Scum’, ‘Onslaught’, ‘Wulpse Varkens’, ‘Svätsox’, ‘D.T.A.L.’, an info-sheet on ‘Chumbawamba’ and had reports on the Italian & Yugoslavian scenes. There was also (#5?) a collaboration wth Erik VdV (Macht Van De Onmacht #4) & Koen De Cleen (Snot) featuring Steve Lake (‘Zounds’), ‘Dezerter’, ‘Funeral Oration’, etc. #6 (’86) was with ‘Cancerous Growth’, ‘Negazione’, ‘Murder Inc. III’, ‘Death Sentence’ (Australia), ‘Asocial’, ‘H.H.H.’, ‘Blyth Power’, etc. There were also bits on multinationals and ‘women as lust-objects’. #7 was done with the help contributers such as Annick (Clerick), Bruno Stroobants (Onno’s class-mate), Frank (Geeraert) & Koen (De Cleen). It had an interview with ‘Final Conflict’, and bits about squatting, Belgian zine-gathering, anti-militarism, etc.

#8 saw the entry of ‘Heibel’s vocalist ‘Bollie’ as co-editor. Also helped: Anneke Knip (‘Indirekt’ tour-report), Erik VdV, Sonia (?, article on Afrikaner Weerstands Beweging). Bands: the Brussels ‘Bad Preachers’, ‘Heibel’, ‘Generic’, ‘Pigs In Blue Glue’, ‘Sons Of Ishmael’, etc. #9: ‘Scream’, ‘Impact’, ‘C.O.C.’, ‘Excel’, ‘Kina’, ‘Pure Hate’, ‘Government Issue’, ‘Repulsives’; These issues were in Dutch.

The last 2 issues were in English and in the A4 format. #10 (summer ’87): ‘S.N.F.U.’, ‘Ear Damage‘, ‘Ripcord‘, ‘The Detonators’, ‘Straight Ahead’, ‘Electro Hippies’, ‘Skeezicks’, etc.; articles on squatting in Spain & fascism in the U.S.; a scene-report from Peru, and more. #11 (jan. ’88): ‘Heibel’s U.K. tour report, ‘Butthole Surfers’, ‘Rhythm Pigs’, ‘Indigesti’, ‘Seizure’, ‘GOD’, ‘The Hard-Ons’, ‘Ignition’, ‘Poison Girls’ and loads more. Here Onno got help from his band (‘Indecency’) -mates Filip Burgelman & Chris Dexters too…

Regarding the bands mentioned: sometimes they were interviewed comprehensively, sometimes we got only informed abot them briefly. Since the beginning there was interest to review other zines (besides the obligatory musical material). Because some interviews of the later ones are re-published elsweshere on this site, I’ll choose some from the earlier issues later. If anyone wants any, feel free to get in touch.

Brob

Macht van de Onmacht, Snot & P. or A. did an issue together. It had Steve Lake (‘Zounds’) on the cover… An inside a pic of Onno holding my severed head… We both attended Sint-Lukas (interior design), were in the same class (8 students; small cozy group). The collaboration went smootly of course, everyone brought stuff and then, hup, you have a fanzine!

Erik VdV

Filthkick (Pyrobolum #1)

Pyrobolum #1 back-cover

This is actually the first fanzine from the Ieper/Ypres Vort’n Vis scene (before Fifi, which was a zine done by V.V. collaborators). Pyrobolum was started in 1989 by Dieter Roelstraete and (his step-brother) Klaas Hardeman (both from Westouter, near Ieper). Bruno Vandevyvere (living in the nearby Poperinge; at that time running a small distro that would turn into His Master’s Noise, long before Genet recs and the Pyrrhus store) offered support and helped out here and there.

Around that time Dieter ‘Lord Moloch’ Roelstraete was the vocalist of the local grindcore band ‘Sloth’ that had David Stubbe as guitarist (plus Fabrice Baclet on bass & Jeroen Vanhandsame on drums); both were growling for the noise-combo ‘Gnuft’. Klaas Hardeman played bass in ‘Rothead’ (with Bruno Vandevyvere doing vocals, alongside David Stubbe on drums and Peter Vanthuyne playing guitar).

Dieter Roelstraete went on to study philosophy and eventually fell into the art game. After having worked at a number of art-institutions and museums around the world, he now teaches and organises exhibitions at the University of Chicago.

The first issue had interviews with ‘Filthkick’, ‘Aphrodite’s Lawyer’ (Nl), ‘Belgian Asociality’ and ‘Electro Hippies’; info on acid rain and the rain-forrest, scene-reports from Greece & Belgium, some columns, reviews, ads & a few cartoons by David Stubbe a.k.a. Spans Hrac. #2 (early 1990) contained a letter-section, lots of gig- and record-reviews, an opinion on the (falling of) the Berlin Wall, interviews with ‘Spermbirds’, ‘Intense Degree’, ‘CowboyKillers’, ‘Exhaustless Revolt’, ‘No Security’, ‘Chronic Disease’ & ‘Jailcell Recipes’. For #3 (summer ’90) there were more contributions (Bruno VDV, future ‘Nations On Fire’ bassist Jeroen Lauwers, Nicolas from Enjoy Life distro in Maubeuge, France). Letters/reviews/columns, an introduction to paganism (by Nicolas) and interviews with ‘Industrial Suicide’ (Gre), ‘Warfear’ (UK), Turtle Terror (Ger) & ‘The Plot’ (Nl); plus a travel-report (1 in 12 Club ‘pilgrimage’)

Brob

I really didn’t have much to do with Pyrobolum. It was more Dieter’s brainchild

Klaas

Did the first issue of Pyrobolum really appear back in 1989? Makes sense  it would have come out just a couple of months before the fall of the Berlin Wall then, and the beginning of the end of the world as we knew it (and as I liked it). Also – clearly a product of a scholastically enthused youthful fantasy: “Pyrobolum” (did anyone ever ask?) is a Latin neologism for atom-bomb, Latin being what we were being fed week in week out for all of our six teenage years back then. (There’s a lot of nuclear imagery strewn throughout – children of our time!)

I haven’t looked back at any Pyrobolum back-issues for decades now and would not know where to start searching for them, but I’m sure I’d be alternately charmed and shocked by the quality of the writing – for writing (editing, publishing) is of course what this was always about. You’re very kind to identify me as the member of a local grindcore band, Brob, but ‘Sloth’ never really meant that much to me personally (four local gigs and we called it quits, I believe). Sure, music was of course massively important in them hardcore days – the single most powerful connector – but to me much of the joy of this curious subculture was rooted in words: in reading fanzines (Raising Hell was a major source of inspiration for Pyrobolum – the graphics, the humor… I pretty much copied the RH blueprint there), in writing letters (with people who ended up being interviewed in the fanzine; fanzines were basically publicised extensions of letter-writing networks), in singing along song lyrics, in figuring out the politics and history of the moment and movement… Pyrobolum wasn’t the first magazine I published, and it wasn’t the last either – and I have been writing, publishing end editing ever since. (I did give up on the drawing though – it’s clear that Pyrobolum was also an aesthetic undertaking.) Call it an important early thoroughfare.

Looking back at the contents of the three issues we put out, I see there was of course a lot of fan-dom involved. Klaas and I were huge fans of ‘Electro Hippies’ – and ditto, in issues 2 and 3, for ‘Chronic Disease’, ‘No Security’ and what I thought was something of a Bradford stenchcore supergroup, ‘Warfear’. (This is back in the day when I wanted to be in a band like ‘Sore Throat’. Or ‘Chronic Disease’.) Really though – an interview with ‘Intense Degree’? I have no recollection of that whatsoever and don’t think there was a lot of there there, ifyouknowwhatimean. I think I may have enjoyed writing record reviews the most. Passing judgment – I somehow managed to make a living out of it…

Dieter, Roelstraete, Chicago, February 2020

This interview was done with Jim Whiteley (former ‘Napalm Death’ & ‘Ripcord’ bassist) just before the release of the band’s split-LP with ‘Extreme Noise Terror’ (for which ‘Filthkick’ recorded in September ’89). The others in ‘Filthkick’ at that time were ‘Leggo’ Julian Kilsby (vocals; also ‘Deviated Instinct’), Mark Bailey (guitar; also ‘E.N.T.’, later ‘The Wankys’) & Ben Mochrie (drums; also ‘Cathedral’).

Gehenna (Apocalypse Now #1)

I have some artwork/drafts of  Raf Peeters (Gooreind, north of Antwerp) that was to meant for a zine. Can’t remember why I never got to see the actual publication… It was announced as follows: “For all you a-political dicks, who are in it for the music: here’s a zine with no music and a lot of politics.”… I believe there was only one issue (the cover read ‘Rain’, ‘Rubbish Heap’ & ‘Culture’; also ‘Gehenna’ & ‘Seein’Red’ were featured). His mate ‘Spat’ (Buttcancer ditribution) – who also made some drawings – was mentioned aswell.

Nowadays Raf works as an artist/painter

Brob

The first and only issue I did was in 1998: interviews with ‘Rain’, ‘Gehenna’, ‘Culture’, ‘Seein’Red’, an article about cocacola, some short stories. I got inspired by the movie (Apocalypse Now) so there was a lot of apocalyptic artwork. Went to school with Dennis Tyfus; it was at a time when Belgium went through a  period of collective fear and psychosis because of the ‘Dutroux-crisis’. My motivation? The same as other people in that ‘scene’ I guess: commitment, a feeling that something is thoroughly skewed in this society. ‘Spat’ didn’t really do that much actually…

I still consider HC/punk as an environment with a lot of great people and a good breeding-pond for real change (I’m thinking about the books on anarchism I bought from you). I still love the music (but also listen to hiphop).

After A.N. I made one more zine (Word Made Flesh) with just graphic experiments: it had a print-run of 2 (!). Now (late 2019) I’m working on a documentary series on how everything in this society is one big lie: some history of how we ended up in this situation, how widespread it is, …). I’m investigating how I can use that necessary rage as a healthy motor/ energy, without letting it exhaust me.

Some thoughts on HC/punk…

I wouldn’t say that HC determined my path but it was a logical phase for someone that wants “to change society”. Early on I got in touch with organisations such as Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, etc. but I noticed that these finance themselves and apart from a few cool slogans/merchandising they don’t really change much. I noticed that most of my peers seemed to be nihilistic – because of their purely materialistic lifestyle and their glorification of superficiality. The HC/punk-scene was one of the few places where people were concerned with social problems, not involved self-destructive escapism and where there was a potential for real change; because they didn’t rely on politics and seemed to take things in their own hands.

Nowadays, of course I have a bunch of critical concerns about the whole thing and it seems – despite the inspiration it was for many people – a project that was doomed to fail.

The main point is that it’s a subculture without any ambition and hence is stuck in ‘preaching for the converted’; a frustration that of course lived internally. In my view, the whole ‘anti-establishment’ thing of the 60s also went completely astray by regarding everyone above 30 as the enemy and, hence, not evolving beyond a youth-culture raving about oriental concepts and the umpteenth example of controled opposition. People wanted to form a counterweight against the duty to consume but eventually it remained a marketplace with exhibited goods, a game of production and consumption, of thinking up nice slogans and selling merchandise. Perhaps there was even more homogeneity, herd-behaviour and trend-sensitivity than in mainstream culture because it was mainly carried by youngsters still puzzling together their  identity. In HC/punk they were offered a bite-sized package of themes, fashion, image,… Because it’s such a small and young world, where nothing is economically viable, most eventually give up. The same as with the generation of the 60s, most begin to abnegate their ideals when growing older and adapt in the end.

HC/punk has no theoretical basis at all. In a social movement there should at least be some kind of assembly of what targets to aim for and discuss what goal was achieved; and for lack of result: what it is due to. Internal discussion among people that prioritize the philosophical and those that keep busy with the commercial aspect. When the establishment would act as non-committed and people would unavoidably ‘grow out’ of it after their 30, power would be out of the question. Their organisation is as tight as a tense bow, power gets passed on from one generation to the next, and because they plan 50 years ahead and anticipate on resistance, every resistance-movement runs hopelessly behind the facts. To me, some idealists in the HC-scene are too amateurish or stay thinking in circles, forget that there’s other laws in the music-biz… (Vegetarianism, a phenomenon that occured in the 60s: the fact that there’s vegetarian products in every supermarket, is not the result of collective awareness but of social engineering that was fixed in advance.)

In essence American HC/punk is a controled opposition-movement. As it was with the hippie-icons of the late 60s: it’s about key figures, stemming from military families (‘Minor Threat’ in Washington, etc.) that make the anti-establishment-manifestos. People with sincere intentions get diverted, their energy gets lost and (like with the modern ‘whisteblowers’) steam is released so that the machine keeps running.

The aggression of [straight-edge] HC is in contrast with the positive attitude towards life. Hate and violence are glorified (e.g. ‘Earth Crisis’) There’s attention for lyrics with a message but it’s very one-sided to define yourself by not doing something. It’s a movement of mainly young males, with concerts where particularly male, aggressive behaviour scares off women and older people. There’s a contagious macho-pose with militant, seditious energy that makes you want to stand on the barricades, but it all remains within the confines of the organised event.

The ‘do it yourself’ philosophy’ is a positive thing, it’s a preambule to the youtube-generation that gets presented a deceptive illusionary freedom: you can start doing everything yourself, make music yourself with one click, put it online, etc. But in the end, when it has become the pillar of the entire human culture and society, freedom of speech gets abolished and it becomes apparent that is was all about filtering the truth, definitely not spreading it…

Raf Peeters

‘Gehenna’ was a HC/metal band (“blending death, black and thrash metal”), originating from San Diego (California) and Reno (Nevada). The band described their musical style “negative hardcore; an extreme brand of hardcore with raw black metal influences”. On their 1997 tour (they also played at the Vort’n Vis, 97-10-12), the band consisted of Jensen Ward (drums; later ‘Iron Lung’), ‘Reno’ Dean Christopher ‘DC’ (guitar), Mike ‘Apocalypse’ Cheese (vocals), Mike Rho(a)des a.k.a. ‘Mickey Featherstone’ (bass) and original guitarist Justin Holbo.

Seems like Raf thought this was the ‘right’ band for his apocalyptic zine… An interview with the provocative Mike Cheese…

Cry Of Terror (Krisis #3)

The guys who did this (trash magazine; as they advertised it) were from the Eeklo area: ‘Ratte’ Guy Ginneberge (brother of Peter ‘Rabbit’ Ginneberge, the drummer of ‘Creep Insanity’) & ‘Trash’ Peter De Zutter (guitarist/vocalist of ‘Creep Insanity’). There were 3 issues (1987-88). If I remember correctly ‘Ratte’ also did a small distribution.

The first issue was a merge with L.E.F. (Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité) zine: interviews with ‘Heibel’, ‘Attitude?’, ‘C.P.D.’ & ‘Anguish’; bits on apartheid, binary weapons, suffrage for migrant laborers, etc.  Inserted is the first free issue of Fabeltjeskrant (Marco Bauer), which is pretty much a report on Best Genôg & on Pakhuis, 2 venues/youthcentres in Heerenveen (The Netherlands). #2 contained interviews with ‘Disgorge’, ‘Chronic Disease’ & ‘Bambix’ plus info on ‘No Debt’ and animal-experiments. #3 featured ‘F.F.F.’, ‘Cry Of Terror’ & ‘Tyfoon’.

Brob

We were very young. We wanted to highlight crossover: hardcore, metal & skatepunk. I came up with the name and the logo. Peter’s younger brother played bass in my other band (‘Slow Death’)…

Peter De Zutter

This ‘C.O.T.’ interview was done when the band hadn’t released anything yet (early 88; Ronald Hogeboom (‘W.C.F.’) had left), with guitarist Wouter Maarse. The others were vocalist Hans Aalbers, drummer Peter/Pierre ter Bogt & bassist Walter Raben. If you wanna know how they sounded at the time, click Cry Of Terror (Hol) live (Hengelo, Hol, 87-11-14)

[Translation below]

 

INTRODUCE YOURSELF.

Well, my name is Wouter, I’m 20 years old and I’m goin’ to school. There’s also Pierre. Pierre is 21 years old and is unemployed. Then there’s Hans. Hans is 19 years old and he works. Finally (last but not least) there’s Walter. Walter is 21 years old and is studying.

WHO’S PLAYING WHAT?

Hans sings. Walter plays bass, Pierre the drums and myself (Wouter) guitar.

HOW HAVE YOU MET? HOW LONG DOES THE BAND EXIST AND WHAT DOES ‘C.O.T.’ MEAN?

We originate from 2 different bands. Hans & Walter played in ‘Royal Vomit’, and myself (Wouter) & Pierre played in ‘Mad Rats’. We were all not satisfied with the musical developments of these bands. So we quit them and formed ‘C.O.T.’ together. ‘C.O.T.’ stands for ‘Cry Of Terror’ and that means something like cry of fear. We’ve been playing (rehearsing) since December ‘86 and have started to perform in March ‘87. We did almost 25 gigs by now.

WHAT DO THE LYRICS TALK ABOUT AND WHAT DO YOU FIND MORE IMPORTANT: LYRICS OR MUSIC?

Our lyrics deal with various issues such as war, apartheid (fascism, racism), vivisection, capitalism and the like. In general we find lyrics more important than music. The music may not be that good but if lyrics are ‘vague’ then a band gets discarded by us. I mean when a band is musically decent but the lyrics are vague (bands like ‘S.O.D.’ [‘Stormtroopers Of Death’], ‘M.O.D.’ [‘Method Of Destruction’]), then that band is shit to us. Also bands with lyrics that have absolutely no content (satanic lyrics) are not our taste.

IS THERE ANYONE IN THE BAND S.E.?

We’re not straight-edge. Hans no longer drinks or smokes but he doesn’t label himself XXX. If you drink, you have to know for yourself; as long as you do it in moderation, not in such a way that you’re drunk for days. You have to be able to control yourself.

THERE’S A LOT OF MESSING ABOUT WITH DRUGS IN THE NETHERLANDS, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT?

We’re all against the use of hard drugs. Soft drugs shouldn’t be a problem, but that is the limit for us.

WHAT’S YOUR OPINION REGARDING THE ARMY AND THE ARMS’ RACE? HAS ANYONE OF YOU SERVED IN THE ARMY?

No one of us has been in the army yet. Hans and Pierre have already refused, and I will refuse if I will be drafted. I don’t know about Walter but I believe he wants to refuse too. But I’m not going to do military service. It’s against my principles. I think it’s all a waste of time and I don’t see the point in serving the homeland. Let the government sort out their problems themselves; I’m not going to fight for them. Also: all that money that is spent on defense every year: well, well, well… What kind of useful things one could do with that money!?

ANY POLITICAL OPINIONS?

Yes, we have. There are few (or perhaps no) political parties in the Netherlands that we can relate to, idea-wise. They’re promising a lot but never actually do anything! We’re against capitalism, class-society, right-wing bastards, etc.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE REGION YOU’RE LIVING?

In our area there’s some things going on. Here in Winterswijk you have the Chi Chi Club where sometimes HC bands are performing. You can call it a kind of scene but it’s fairly small. [It grew over the next years and became a hallmark.] There are a few bands in our area. A band that we regularly play with is ‘Winterswijx Chaos Front’. There are more bands but these often split up again after a while. But maybe some day a decent band will emerge again from our region. There aren’t any people making zines in the area. In the Netherlands there are only few fanzines compared to Belgium.

DO YOU HAVE FAVOURITE BANDS? ARE YOU INFLUENCED BY CERTAIN BANDS?

We don’t really have favourites but bands that appeal to us at the moment are ‘Accüsed’, ‘Excel’ & ‘C.O.C.’. I don’t know if we’re influenced by bands. We will always unconsciously take over influences from other bands because we listen to them.

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE THE MUSIC THAT YOU PLAY? HAVE YOU RELEASED ANYTHING?

We play hardcore/crossover. We haven’t released anything yet but it’s pretty certain that we’ll be releasing an LP this year; but nothing concrete yet. We want to release other things anyway (demo, EP).

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD?

I like … uhum … I don’t know. There’s nothing special that I like best. But I do want to eat healthy.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT ‘MEAT IS MURDER’?

Only Pierre is a vegetarian and I eat meat in moderation. But there’s definitely something to say about the ‘Meat is murder’ slogan. I think humans are too spoiled to be able to live without meat (in the first world anyway). I find it amazing that someone is vegetarian.

WHAT QUESTION SHOULD I HAVE ASKED? ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SAY?

Keep thinking, voice your opinion and don’t let the bastards of this society fool you.

Lost Cherrees (Lastig #7)

I got to know ‘Axie’ (“action”) Axel Willekens (R.I.P.) around the end of the 80s when he’d (ad)ventured away from his hometown Neerpelt (in the ‘far east’ of Belgium). At that time he did (one issue of) of Geef Nooit Op (Never Give Up) with ‘Dawn Of Liberty’ singer Stefan Joosten. Before that (in the first half of the 80s) he did a series of Lastig (meaning ‘awkward’ or ‘troublesome’ in Ducth), which I never got to see until Ann Hendriks & Dirk Ceusterman donated/borrowed a bunch…

#2 (1983): info on the bands ‘Zyklome-A’ & ‘Vacuüm’; columns on unemployment, 1984, authority; reviews; pieces about atheism, vivisection, etc. #3: note from the band ‘Zowiezo’ and the zine Destructief Jong Nederland; info on the Animal Liberation Front, Rote Armee Fraktion; etc. #6 (1984): info on the UK miners’ strike, interview with Erik Vloeberghs (author), very brief talk with ‘Subversion’, … #7 (84-85): interviews with ‘Lost Cherrees’ & ‘Political Asylum’, info on ‘Poison Girls’, … #8 (’85): bits on nationalism, demilitarisation, the band ‘Funeral Oration’, squatting in Barcelona and various odd bits/opinions. #9: presentation of ‘Stone The Crow’, interview with ‘The Sears’; bits on anarchy, freedom, homosexuality; reviews, etc. #10: info on demonstrations/manifestations, 2 questions for ‘Flux Of Pink Indians’, personal bits, reviews. #11 (’86): Int’l @ Meeting at Applescha, Nick Toczek, solidarity with conscientious objectors, demonstration in favour of Chantal Paternostre (militant of the Front Révolutionnaire d’Action Prolétarienne), in memoriam of Hans Kok (A’dam squatter who died in a police-cell), activist news, interview with ‘Flowers In The Dustbin’, etc. etc.

‘Axie’ mentioned his zine was an anarchist one, not punk per se (not that much attention for bands). His friends referred to his house as the “Meinhof pub” (after Ulrike Meinhof, Rote Armee Fraktion). Axel operated under the name ACT together with Clandestine Productions: besides this it entailed a small distro (zine/pamphlets/tapes), supporting another local publication (Leugen & Verraad, “lies and treason”), putting out tapes (compilations and his own project ‘Pragma’)…

‘Bibip’ Eric Deckers (R.I.P.) – who had done a zine entitled Anders (“different”) & ‘Anaco’ (Stefan Joosten, ‘Dawn Of Liberty’ vocalist) started to help out from #7 on… There were also some contributions by various people (e.g. Bruno ‘Duco’, Onno Hesselink, etc.)

‘Lost Cherrees’ was interviewed here around the time Siân Jeffreys had left the band and their album All Part Of Growing Up was due to come out. At that time the others in the band were Steve Battershill (bass), ‘Nuts’ Warren Samuels (drums), Andy Rolfe (guitar), Gail Thibert (keyboards/vocals), Bev Cook-Abbott (vocals) & Debbie McKenna (vocals).

Listen to their (1983) tape Nothing New

[Translation below]

The ‘Lost Cherrees’ got together three years ago. The current line-up is: ‘Steev’ (bass), ‘Nuts’ (drums), Andy (guitar), Sian, Bev, Deb (vocals), Gail (keyboards & vocals). The band was founded by ‘Steev’ and Sian because they felt they had something to say and needed a platform for it. The first ‘Lost Cherrees’ single was on the Riot/Clone label, it was a 7-track EP and was sold for 86.5 pence. The second single was on Mortarhate: A Man’s Duty, A Woman’s Place was a 5-track EP and costed 99 p. ‘Lost Cherrees’ also have a song on the LPs The Animals Packet and Who, What, Why, When, Where? (Mortarhate).

Has anyone influenced you musically/lyrically?

No, other bands have not influenced us but there has been a motivation to get up and do something ourselves.

Would you call the ‘Lost Cherrees’ a punk band?

We don’t label ourselves a punk band because this is a far too restrictive label. We hope to catch on with a much wider audience because by being “just another punk band”, you end up playing for the same people, always the same type of music and preaching to those who are already convinced.

Are you concerned with animal rights?

‘Steev’ is an ‘animal-rights activist’; several of us go to animal-rights campaigns and we’re all sick of the cruelty of vivisection. Listen to our lyrics to You Didn’t Care, Please Don’t Hurt The Animals Anymore or Pain Relief, and you will see how we feel. Of course, just singing about it isn’t the way to change the situation, so we try to get involved in other animal-rights activities.

Do you agree with direct action?

Yes, we agree with direct action, as long as it is non-violent. Sometimes it’s the only positive way to free animals from their pain and misery. Hunters who attack people who want to save foxes show how cruel they are. They don’t care who or what suffers of their ‘sport’ selfishness.

Is any of you vegetarian?

Four of us are vegetarian.

Do you still wear leather?

Three of the people in the band still wear leather jackets but the rest of us try not to buy leather or animal-tested products such as cosmetics. It’s actually up to the individual to set their own limits when it comes to veganism etc. It’s interesting to note that some people who eat meat don’t want to wear fur coats because of the futile murder for beauty. At least it’s a start.

What do you hope to express in your songs?

In our songs we express our anger because of what’s going wrong in the world around us all the time. We want to make people aware of what’s happening. We’re not the kind of people who can sit and write I Love You And You Love Me And Everything’s Wonderful, while sexism, war and vivisection continue to destroy our lives.

Do you consider yourselves anarchists?

Not everyone in the group is anarchist, because ‘anarchy’ is that kind of term that means different things to different people. Gail, Sian and ‘Steev’ assume that it means personal freedom without exploiting anyone and without being exploited.

What do you think about racism?

Of course we’re against it. It seems that the younger generation is more willing to integrate and that racism is especially alive among those people who have been taught by their parents and teachers to hate anyone who is different from themselves. It’s ignorance that creates prejudice. It’s time that people learn not to judge each other on the outside. The next time you make fun of a mod or disco, remember that this is the same way of thinking that caused racism (fascism).

What are your opinions regarding sexism?

Sexism is totally unnecessary and again, like racism, taught to us by the elderly. Who tell us how men and women should behave. Fortunately there are more and more people who reject the stereotyped lifestyles and who regard each other as equals. If people respected each other there would be no racism or sexism.

Did the women in the band suffer from sexism during performances? How do they respond?

Yes, we have had sexist events during performances (on or off stage). If the rest of the audience understands what is happening, they usually show their disapproval. Fortunately, something like that rarely happens.

What are your goals as a band?

We want to keep playing and improve our music. We would like to keep the prices at performances below 160 BeF [4 €] and also keep the records cheap. We would also like to play for a wider audience, play in new places and where we have already played.

Do you believe it’s important to keep prices low?

Yes, it’s important to keep prices low. Few people can afford 400 BeF [10 €] for an LP. Everyone who pays 110 BeF for a single with a normal cover and two songs is clearly exploited. There’s nothing wrong with a band making a bit of profit as long as they don’t exploit the people who believe in them and help them. Our first single costed 86.5 p. (approx. 70 BeF) because we made no profit and there were no heavy costs. We couldn’t release our second single for less than 99 p. and so we decided to give the profit to a rape crisis centre and to the hunt-saboteurs association.

What are your plans for the future?

We will be recording an LP for Mortarhate soon. It wil contain 16 songs and will cost no more than 3.75 pound. We’ve also received an offer to record a single for Bluurg but we don’t have any songs for that yet.

Is there anything else you want to say?

Thank you to everyone who listens to us. You’ve Heard It All Before – But Do You Ever Listen?

‘Lost Cherrees’, 6 d’Arcy road, North Cheam, Surrey, U.K.

NO FIGHTING – NO WAR – NO TROUBLE NO MORE

D.R.O.L.

 

I already wrote a brief introduction for this zine: D.R.O.L. (Dieren Recht Op Leven; Animals have a Right To Live – ‘drol’ translated literally would be ‘turd’) was a zine in Dutch done by a bunch of people from Leuven (Belgium): mainly Gert ‘Gette’ Hambrouck & Dirk Ceustermans (as editors/coordinators).

Here’s what Dirk wrote for the zine’s FB-page:

“What do bored teenagers do when they realize they have to fight against prejudice and rules they have to put up with from respectable people in a respectable society? Well, society looked nice on the surface but didn’t it have that horrible stench when you lifted up its skirt? As a matter of fact, the smell just never went away! Some kids roamed the streets, some escaped to dancehalls, in those days referred to as ‘Tea Dansants’). Others escaped into underground culture, as was I.

I soon realized there was far more than just great music in that environment. I knew punk music had something to tell you, but there was more… Those people communicated, informed and people actioned! A true network of friends. And all of this happened in a D.I.Y. way. Kids just came together and started bands, fanzines were made, kids organised punk concerts where again communication and information was crucial, and very much at hand.

That is how I met Bart Steens, who just released another copy of Het Schandaal fanzine, back in 1984.  I became good friends with him and I realized that we have to do our own things ourselves. He inspired me to start my own fanzine, although at that time there were plenty of those already all over Belgium, but not one in Leuven.

That is how D.R.O.L. came about. I was by no means a journalist and, going through a couple of pages and articles in the first, second or third zine I know these are hilariously, childishly written: juvenile perceptions of a world we didn’t appreciate and that didn’t appreciate us.

D.R.O.L. wouldn’t survive much longer as I started getting involved in bands and that got time-consuming, but at a certain point I got a telephone-call from Gert Hambrouck asking me if I was in for some cooperation…  I was on the verge of calling it quits as it does take time and effort to get a a fanzine out on your own. But after that call, I thought I’d go and see what these kids had to say.

Was I not just a little bit surprised to see a whole bunch of people in that cellar (yes, D.R.O.L. was made in a cave, boys and girls!) that were anxious to cooperate to a new specimen of that fanzine. It got more than just one more issue, so it seems… A creative bunch of folks doing this ‘zine together, gave me a good feeling: we could achieve things together, and I am proud I was part of that. In due time we all learned what we did best and everything was chaotically well organized in a way. But most of all I like the fact that we kept the ‘zines simple, no glossy stuff, no colour-print: just because we could sell these at a very moderate price.  It was far more important that it was read, rather than appealing and less affordable.

The ‘zines got very serious, it was no longer a mere rant or a piss-take on society, it got filled up with profound articles and good reads. How it all ended is a bit blur, I’m sure I was too much involved in ‘Ear Damage’, my band at the time… Others moved on as well I’m sure… Fill in the gaps if you like.

Having had hillarious times and good fun with these people, I still can’t believe we made all these issues… Those cellar D.R.O.L. get-togethers (I have no better name for it, we partied a lot in that cave!) were good fun in a great period in my life. I met a lot of fantastic people that had vision and talent.

At a certain point in time (mid 1985 I would guess) the D.R.O.L. crew even started to organise parties in Q104, the soon to become legendary Leuven venue. Having people DJ with music that we liked, these happenings were memorable and did bring in some pocket-money to keep the zine cheap. We even had a bit of money left to help our friend Felix De Witte organise shows in the Q104 venue and the D.R.O.L. crew were happy to help ‘De Feel’ at those gigs. That way we got some great bands over to Leuven: ‘Disrupters’, ‘Disorder’, ‘Varukers’, all from the U.K., but also a lot of shows with ‘local’ (read Belgian) bands.

This is dedicated to  Ludo [Vannoppen], Gert, Jan & Kris [Verbruggen], Bart [Willemsen], Mieke, Joelle, ‘Mumu’ [Murielle Celis], Seppe, Bop, Eef, Heidi, Jan & Peter. And to all those that bought and read this rad ‘zine!”

Brob

I wasn’t involved yet when the first issues got out: it was just Dirk in the beginning. Kris Verbruggen wrote the more political bits.

Gert Hambrouck

D.R.O.L. was a happy crew with a mission. The zine, the concerts were a part of all this. However, it was much more than just that. The group, or a part of it, was very active on a ‘political’ level. We had a vision and made that visible (in the underground and publically). It definitely molded me into who I am, and I think that a part of these principles are still ongoing in daily life. It was/remains a fantastic time to look back to and I’m glad I was a part of it!

Bart Willemsen

Dirk did the first four (five?) issues by himself. The zine was in Dutch and there were 11 issues (1983-86) in total (of which I only got to see the last three). Dirk borrowed me his archive to get an idea about the full zine-history… The first 2 issues were somewhat mixed together so it’s hard to get the chronology right. There’s a translation of an interview with ‘Flux Of Pink Indians’ (from Raising Hell #1), some artwork/lyrics, tape-reviews, etc. #3 has more info on tapes, info on animal-testing/apartheid, a brief chat with ‘Crude SS’, introduction of the bands ‘Addix’ (Bel) & ‘Criminal Justice’, etc. #4: continuation of the topic of apartheid, info on civil service, brief info on ‘Political Asylum’, ‘Kurt I Kuvös’, & ‘Dead Man’s Shadow’, music-reviews, translation of an interview with ‘Dan’ (from Raising Hell #7). #5: conclusion of the topic on apartheid, info on the Belgian prison-system, article on Amnesty International, the great rock’n’roll swindle, ‘Instigators’ presentation, arms-race, reviews, etc. In #6 editor ‘Gette’ compiles anti-fascist info, a short piece on fur-trade, intros to bands such as ‘Malice’, ‘Squirrel Bait’, ‘Richard III’ (Fra), ‘Crapping Dogs’ (Ita), ‘Verdun’, ‘Van Alles & Nog Watt’, reviews (gigs/tapes/vinyl/zines), etc. In #7 Dirk & Gert and their friends vent their frustration about the pope, warfare, there’s brief chats with ‘Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers’, ‘Crash Box’ & ‘Strong Concentration of Anger’, info on the political situation in Chili, reviews and a few letters. #8: interviews with ‘Anti-System’ & ‘The Dicks’, comprehensive info on the anti-cruisemissiles actioncamp in Florennes (85) and the Cellules Communistes Combatantes, an Icelandic scenereport, band)info on ‘Wulpse Varkens’ & ‘Indirekt’ and more. #9 opens with info on anarchism and a ‘grilling’ of some extreme-rightist scum; there’s band-info on ‘No Debt’, ‘English Dogs’ & ‘Zyklon-B’, an interview with ‘Heibel’, lengthy reports on anti-military action in Woensdrecht (Nl) & Florennes (Bel), letters and reviews. #10 opiniates on coalmine-strikes, informs about police-oppression, the bio-industry, C.C.C.; there’s interviews with ‘Varukers’, ‘Stalag 17 &  ‘The Freeze’, and much more… In #11 the collaborating crew interviews ‘C.P.D.’, ‘Repulsives’, ‘Skeezicks’, ‘Final Conflict’ & ‘Attic 22’; deals with nuclear plants (and alternatives), police-murder, animal-abuse, South-Africa politics, military service; and there’s plenty more…

Brob