May 19, 2007


The mid-to-late 80's were something of a double-pronged treasure hunt; while I was discovering all types of cool 70's (post-)punk, I also pulled many a 60's/70's Prog Rock platter by the likes of King Crimson and (early) Yes out of the cut-out bins. Some of my favourite discoveries fell somewhere inbetween: Spizz' Do A Runner LP, Magazine of course, and last but not least, the great Laughing Academy LP by Punishment Of Luxury (Punilux in short). Weird chord changes and rhythm signatures, intelligent lyrics combining politics, sci-fi and surrealism, and the same guitar sound as (fellow United Artists artists) Buzzcocks' Love Bites. It even had a cool-looking gatefold cover that you could hang on your wall, not exactly Roger Dean, but still... I remember at one point my friend Joost and I had amassed so many secondhand copies of this LP we were considering opening up a used record store selling nothing but Laughing Academy's! The funny thing is, whenever the subject of Punilux came up while talking to some older punk, they would either love them or really hate them. "A waste of a good name", was the nicest thing punk photographer Ray Stevenson could say about them in his book. Famous rock critic Paul Morley once wrote an amusing "where are they now"-type piece about them, calling them "a politically correct version of the Stranglers" and recalling some festival where the audience were throwing stuff at eachother; Punilux' singer said something like "we shouldn't fight amongst ourselves!", whereupon the punters took a look at them (already a bit older and losing hair in places), obviously thought "ourselves?", and started throwing the assorted garbage at the band instead. Still, there's the records, and while not every song still stands up, there's a couple of classics that should win over even the staunchest punk. Like their debut single on Small Wonder, Puppet Life. And the great avant-geek-punk of Jellyfish. And if that don't work, the thumping proto-hardcore of Brainbomb should do the trick.

Puppet Life (single version)
The Demon (both 1978)
Brainbomb (both B-sides, 1979)

May 08, 2007


Early 1984 I interviewed Marcel of BGK/Vogelspin for a zine I'd just started; he told me they were going to put out a third volume of the (then already legendary) Als Je Haar Maar Goed Zit comp LP. Of course I immediately sent him a tape of my band, asking if we could be on it. It turned out BGK/Vogelspin didn't get involved; they were too busy touring America, so it fell to Maarten of No Pigs to get the LP together. Of course we couldn't call it Als Je Haar Maar... # 3, so for a couple of minutes it was going to be called Noises For Heroes, until they decided on the pretty heavy-handed Beware Of The Wolf In Sheep's Clothing.
Instead of the Koeienverhuurbedrijf, we went up to the Oktopus studio to record 3 songs, each band using 6 hours. If you've read my piece on Larm you know what I think of Oktopus, and its "cardboard box" sound is one of the things that turned Beware... into a disappointment. But it's the bands as well; Fokkie Outlaw was one of the greatest punk screamers around, but his new band SCA couldn't hold a candle to the Outlawz. No Pigs and Deadlock played good, solid HC, but without the playfulness of forerunners Null-A and Last Few. Hiroshima Nooduitgang seemed hopelessly out of place (and style) with their PiL-ish sound. Our friends Indirekt, who normally took their time getting things right, sounded horrible. And my band, well, we recorded some brand-new songs which we thought were our best yet but two weeks later we realized they sucked. That leaves just one band that makes this LP worth checking out: Nogwatt. They were a couple of girls that had already been involved with Vogelspin records for some years, but had just started their own band. Contrary to a lot of girl bands at the time who'd go "hey, look, we're girls!", Nogwatt didn't want to be judged by their sex, and quite rightly so, because they rocked as hard as any band. Their singer Joanna had a great stage presence and delivery, I remember being slightly intimidated at the time by their sheer Right-On-ness. Drummer Ingrid also played for No Pigs (but I'd swear her drumming with Nogwatt was tighter!). Here's their 3 tracks from Beware Of The Wolf..., so you don't have to hunt the whole LP down. A year later they put out the great Fear EP, which has been posted (and bootlegged) here and there already I think.

Media Control
Feel Like Killing Someone
Constitutional Lies

(recorded around Oct. 1984)