Union Morbide (Waakheer #3)

I never saw Niels de Wit perform with ‘Gepöpel‘. I think the first time I met him was when he was the stand-in drummer for ‘Indirekt’ (86-05-10). I remember we were both fans of the ‘Buzzcocks’… After that I bumped into him regularly, e.g. when my band and his (‘Vernon Walters’) shared bills. Our Smurfpunx collective also invited them for a gig a couple of times. I soon found out that, besides being a decent multi-instrumentalist, he was also a zine-maker, a witty writer and someone with a keen eye for graphics. I helped him distribute some of his zines in my surroundings.

At first there were 6 issues of Weerhaak (‘barb’; May ’84 to June ’85), then came Waakheer (‘guard’; 5 issues between Sep ’86 & May ’88) and I believe his last zine was an issue of Weekhaar (‘hair of a week’) in April ’89. Always interesting/surprising interviews: e.g. the farewell chat with ‘Indirekt’ in WaHe5 (the only issue that was completely in English) or the double-interview with ‘Soulside’ & ‘NoMeansNo’ in WeHa #1; besides above-average graphics, eloquent stories/reports and well-grounded reviews.

Niels did a stint for ‘De Kift’ at some timepoint, was in ‘Johan’, formed ‘Sack-O’-Woes’ (2002-09; with ‘V.W.’s bassist Joost Warnik) and had a band with Pat Delabie (ex ‘Scoundrels’) named ‘Zachte G, Harde P’ (2012-14). Nowadays he plays in ‘Uncontrollable Urgh’ & ‘Electric Tears’…

‘Union Morbide’ was interviewed here in their early line-up (with Carl Fuchs in the band). I got to know this Dutch (Beverwijk/Heemskerk) melodic HC/punk band through ‘Vernon Walters’ frontman Hans Engel, who brought them over for a Smurfpunx gig (89-03-25). Drummer then was Michel Weijgertse (R.I.P. 2008), besides bassplayer Eelco Boonacker, guitarist Philip van Koeveringe and singer Maxim Aafjes. Later they did a gig at the Vort’n Vis (91-11-23) aswell (Dennis Cornelissens had replaced Eelco, who did second guitar by then.).

[Translation below]

Union Morbide (Waakheer #3) aUnion Morbide (Waakheer #3) bUnion Morbide (Waakheer #3) cUnion Morbide (Waakheer #3) dUnion Morbide (Waakheer #3) eUnion Morbide (Waakheer #3) fUnion Morbide (Waakheer #3) g

The interview you are about to read (right?), was done with ‘Union Morbide’, a hardcore band from Heemskerk and surroundings after their performance in café De Vier Winden in Spierdijk, in May. The day before that, I saw them for the first time at the W.R.F. [Westfries Radio Front, an independent radiostation; they released records through Stichting De Wijde Wereld] -benefit about five kilometres down the road, in Obdam. Annoyed by restive equipment, they brought a (according to me, but) -in their own mind- terrible act. Heavy hardcore with melodies that linger in your head if you’re not careful, a singer who recites short poems and/or entertains the audience with (in my opinion great monologues but) what he says is bullshit, between songs. At home I played the No Thanks To Authority tape; shit!, quite good, especially Buried Memories, good lyrics too. So then I arched to Spierdijk, armed with a tape-recorder, for an interview. ‘Union Morbide’ were the first to go on, and fortunately this time the amps did work. Highlight (well…) was when vocalist Maxim pulled out a can of shaving-cream and tried it out on a few. Unfortunately not too many people were there… “If somebody finds the cap, may I have it back, because the can belongs to my father…” After ‘Union Morbide’ the local ‘Unaccepted’ [did a split 7” with ‘C.K.N.’] played – Oi but two times faster, with a singer sounding like a machine-gun. Finally, the famous ‘Oh Dev’ from Venlo, impressive noise. ‘Rhythmsticks’ (who organized the show) made a loss that day because of too few people showing up; a reason for ‘Union Morbide’ and ‘Unaccepted’ to ask for less money; sympathetic of them… And reason for a couple IJmonders to shout at ‘Oh Dev’ (who asked 600 guilders) to “get lost” and stuff… After some peaceful talking between ‘Union Morbide’ and ‘Oh Dev’, the latter fortunately proved not to be the worst and happily agreed with 100 guilders less. Just goes to show that one can reach more with talking than cursing, boys and girls. But anyway, on to the interview: the participants were ‘Union Morbide’s Maxim (M), Carl (C), Eelco (E), Philip (P); interviewer was Niels (N), and there is some talk by people who’s name I unfortunately do not know.

N: What is the line-up, introduce yourselves, aged and so on…

M: Do we have to?

N: Well, people think that’s important.

C: So, the oldest starts? I’m Carl Fuchs, in everyday life I’m just making money, plus doing the band; so I kinda lead a double life.

M: But you also make shirts.

C: I do a lot of designing.

E: He did the cover of the ‘Cas Prawde 7”, and the cassette …

M: So I’m Maxim, last name doesn’t matter… How old?, 19 years, the youngest of the band.

N: Brother of?

M: Is this necessary too? Well, allright: the brother of thet guitarist of ‘C.K.N.’ [‘Creatieve Kippe Naaiers’ (creative chicken fuckers; Dutch hardcore punk band from the 80s], Dirk-Jan. Regarding the musical style of bands…

E: …We somewhat beat each other a black eye every now and then. (laughter)

N: Singer?

M: Yes, also, yes…

N: And reciter of poems?

M: Yes, I always have fill the gaps in between the songs, ranting.

P: That’s bullshit, man, we’re always waiting for you!

E: Ha ha ha.

M: Just let me believe that!

E: But it’s very important, sure, that people listen to that…

M: (to N) But you made the comparison between ‘C.K.N.’ and us yesterday. Well, I mean, ‘C.K.N.’ is just a…special case… You told me: “Well, your brother…”

E: By the way, it was a lot better today than yesterday.

P: Yes, a lot better.

E: Eh… So I’m Eelco, and I’m twenty-two…

N: And again brother of?

E: Ha ha ha…

M: We’ll just have to rename ourselves as the ‘Brothers Off’?

E: Brother of Arjan, from ‘Frites Modern’, but that doesn’t have anything to do with it because I only see him at my mother’s birthday…and my father’s birthday too…and my brother’s birthday.

M: The eight collectives.

E: Yes. We have eight collectives… That’s… The label is Co-operate recs [released the ‘Cas Prawde’ 7” & the ‘Union Morbide’ demo], but we also have Co-operate Sports now, meaning: all of us together, idiots, play soccer against the people from where we have to play… But no-one where we come – Heerenveen, here – wants to play soccer against us! Slackers!

N: There’s Loof recs here, they’ll wanna play soccer…

E: Are you serious? Cool! We’ll use you as contact for those Love-boys. We now have to play all kinds of real teams, that totally destroy us, but after that we have to play the N.S. [Nationale Spoorwegen; National Railway ?], that’s gonna be crazy. The last man, let him introduce himself…

P: Well, that’s me, Philip, I’m twenty years I believe … Yes, still; I do the guitars and I also try to study. And ex-‘Cas Prawde’.

N: So how did you get started with ‘Union Morbide’, after ‘Cas Prawde’ and stuff?

P: That wasn’t after ‘Cas Prawde’, it was during ‘Cas Prawde’. Because we were both [Philip & Eelco] dissatisfied with the musical state of affairs, at a given moment we were just stuck. And we also wanted to do some faster songs for a change, but the drummer was against that: he didn’t want to play hardcore, and we did want that. Then we first decided to take on Carl, we did some attempts to make music with the 3 of us… It was really just a mess.

C: Well, afterwards you think: “It was fun, but…”

P: When you listen back to the tapes back it’s actually quite funny but it doesn’t resemble what we do now.

E: ‘Statiegeld’-like [basic], ‘86. [‘Statiegeld’ was Eelco’s first band ever; together with Wil Steinhauser who later moved from Beverwijk to Amsterdam and played ‘Funeral Oration’]

P: I just wanted to play guitar for once because I was banging the bass all the time in ‘Cas Prawde’…

N: And when did it get serious?

C: When Maxim joined.

E: He sang, just the one time, along in band. We’d heard about them so we went to have a look, and when Philip and I looked at each other, it was like…

P: …The band is crap but the singer’s fantastic!

E: That was just,… Well, we wanted to get him. So we asked him to, “Would you like to sing with us?”. He didn’t know yet what he was getting involved with…

P: It was a bit more serious than he’d expected.

E: But we’ve been going well over a year now.

N: And the lyrics, they’re also his?

M: Those are mine.

N: Good lyrics too.

M: There’s something funny about the lyrics on the tape…

E: No, nobody should know about that! That is an internal affair!

M: Yes, yes… During practice, they play something and I just scream something to it, whatever I feel. So there’s no lyrics at all, there are some things that resemble words… (suppressed laughter by the band-members) …but it’s not lyrics. When the tape was recorded, it was the same thing, exactly the same. Then afterwards, when it was already recorded, I still had to write the lyrics to it… I was thinking like: “Jeez, how does this sound like?”. I really sat there for 2 hours, 3 hours, 4 hours, I sat there until 2 o’clock at night, damn, I got started at 8 p.m. …

N: And then it accidentally tunred into a love-song?

P: No, it had always been.

M: If they play a song, then I think: that’s what I want to talk about, I feel that. With the song We Decided e.g., I only had this onle line: “We Decided to make our own world now.”, and then I had to elaborate that. And that love-song, it just sounds that way, like… eh, very melodramatic.

P: That feeling you have, that’s crazy…

M: I mean: when you’re angry, you just have to be… angry. I hope it works better and better on stage and elsewhere…

P: I think that’s it with us, it’s very extreme, it is very tight music, at least, that’s how it’s intended, and very emotional singing. Two extremes.

E: But the nice thing is also that afterwards the lyrics… When we practice, then he’s just walking around all evening, blahblahblah (sic), but not one song has fixed lyrics. If you were to learn something from that tape by heart, and you wanted to sing along, then you’ll hear he sings something completely different. Exactly what he feels at that given moment, with a certain vibration of the music.

N: It’s also very personal? What ‘Funeral Oration’ e.g. does, or…more American bands…

E: Yes, exactly.

(unknown): Or ‘Gepöpel’ [Niels’ band]…

E: ‘Toxic Reasons’.

M: Yeah, I’m not gonna drop band-names that totally don’t fit us.

E: No, those don’t fit us, but I mean lyric-wise.

M: I wanted to say something but I’ve lost it. What I wanted to say…

E: That’s always how it is…

P: What question were you asking?

M: Oh yeah! No, sorry, I remember again! I’d written a poem which was about punk; it went something like: “I still believe in punk. I’m sorry that you do not. But I’m not the only one. There are a lot of kids who do. But when I am the only one. Trying to rely upon a dream. As you call it. Well let it be. Then I’ll walk on all alone.” … Then I’ll always choose to remain a voluntarily chosen little indian.

E: Oh yes, Freely Chosen Indian, ha ha ha, since he also got a mohawk…

M: But otherwise it sounds so much nicer, but that doesn’t really matter right now. We once had a heavy brawl about that word ‘punk’, “Yeah, punk…”

P: No, no, the word punk is not wrong, but just…the expression “I still believe in punk.” I mean…

M: Yeah, okay, so I changed that into “I still believe in us.”; no difference… You’re not gonna go nitpicking about a small word, are you?

P: When you see a phrase like “I still believe in punk.”, you think “Oh, stereotype.’ You know…

M: It depends on what you think of punk. My feelings about punk are very different then yours. I’m still very idealistic about punk…

E: But we found this better: “I believe in myself.”…

C: From experience we say: it’s absurd to come forward with a line like that, because then you notice something naive with a lot of others, and also something like “Oops, they return to that tiny box.”; we’ve had that.

M: Nevertheless, I still have the hope to…

P: Tape’s running!

N: Hmmm…yes, there’s a tape out now, and it looks as if there’s a lot going on in your neighbourhood…

E: That’s quite right. Well, the squat De Rand Van Nederland [The Brim Of The Netherlands] in the Emma…that was squatted a week earlier than the Emma in Amsterdam was, but since that Emma is in Amsterdam… You know how that goes: “Amsterdam, blahblahblah, everyone should go to the Emma.”, so we also go like: “Concerts in the Emma!”; but everyone was in Amsterdam and no-one was at our place… So that’s why it was renamed De Rand Van Nederland. And it’s actually true, like what Johan [Van Leeuwen] wrote in the Koekrand [fanzine], it’s really…25 metres and you are in the sea.

N: Is it finished now over there?

P: No, no, certainly not.

N: I’d heard something like that…

E: At first it would be evicted in February, then May, now it’s probably August, but that they can still stretch it until September, maybe even November… And then it gets too cold…

N: How often do you do put something on there?

P: Once every 2 months or so…

E: When we feel like it. See, we arrange everything ourselves. Downstairs, in the basement, we tore down the toilets, filled the sewer-pipes with concrete and stacked up mattresses all the way to the ceiling… We made a rehearsal-space, and there’s now practicing -in Beverwijk- 5 bands there.

N: And now you’ve released that tape…

E: We wanted to do something like “Hey guys, we’re doing it here, you probably never hear about it but all sorts of things are happening.”. Also bad things, ok, I mean, tonight also. That’s because…it’s all very emotional.

M: The mentality is good but the emotions occasionally run out of hand…

E: Everyone goes like ‘God dammit”, and go! Then there are… Then you can talk but there are also a lot of people: “What, get lost, immediately going against it.”.

P: That’s just Beverwijk. Beverwijk is a very stressy municipality. In some places you just can’t walk the streets late at night or some weirdo gets annoying. They also enter the pub where you’re just sitting comfortably relaxing… Beverwijk has that mentality, also because of the blast-furnaces…

M: But if we’re talking about group-connectivity: in itself it’s a tight little group, even with its troubles and difficulties… Occasionally there are problems with violent reactions, like e.g. against ‘Oh Dev’, which get discussed afterwards and so. And then there’s also the difference between the squat-movement in Beverwijk and the group with the punks and so. The punks who were were really close with the squatters at first, but that disappeared more or less by bullshit from both sides. Then we more or less, everyone for himself, decided not to nag that musch any longer, not in that way.

N: And, as it is in Hoorn and Alkmaar for example, when people do something, that isn’t actually strictly punk, that there are also new-wavers, I don’t know, headbangers…

P: In the Emma there’s just also sorts of people.

M: It doesn’t matter, the point is that you’re doing well for yourself.

P: In the Emma there’s just all sorts, think of something weird and it’s there.

E: Hell’s rascals…

C: The point is that those who have a certain opinion, shares that of the whole group, which will be easily accepted in that group. If someone has a very different musical taste, it’s not decisive…

M: Not decisive at all!

C: That has not importance whatsoever, it’s about one’s lifestyle.

P: A lot of different bands play in the Emma, far from just punk.

M: It’s not just about Emma but just the mentality in general…

P: Emma is an average of Beverwijk, of what is available regarding ‘alternative’…. That’s not so much.

N: Hey, I read something in Koekrand about “Daai Kroezen” (American pronunciation of ‘Die Kreuzen’, just for connoisseurs and show-offs)…

P: Yes, we still laugh about that!

N: What is it then?

E: Yes, what is it in fact…

P: There’s just a bit of everything in it, especially American…

N: I think it’s good, not cliché hardcore, nice little things…

C: We’re just the opposite when it comes to the normal course of normal songs… Not constantly fast forward but variation, breaks; make it attractively difficult for everyone, not the typical easy mush…

M: Ideally we would, I think, like ‘Rhythm Pigs’ or…

P: Yes! For sure!

M: Those guys can play extremely well, but that will take another few years…

E: That kind of work, ‘Squirrel Bait’…

N: What does the name actually mean?

P: In India, there’s been a terrible toxic disaster…

E: Bhopal…

P: Namely by the company Union Carbide, which do have more of those affairs on their account, even in America, but mostly in developing countries. They just don’t give a shit about measures to protect the population that lives in the surroundings. They live so close by, you wouldn’t have to pull off such a thing in a Western country, that’s why they go to all these developing countries. Because they can make an extreme amount of money and people there think they have been helped.

E: But that is the reason that we uh…yeah. And hey, the union of the morbids, you know… Every now and then we want to appear as morbid…

P: So, one… (laughter)

C: We sometimes are indeed a distorted bunch…

N: Is it cozy in the band?

M: In general, yes. Occasionally there are conflicts amongst ourselves …

P: I don’t think you have to talk about the atmosphere within the band as much, I mean: we’re just a group of about 8 people who make together in different bands, but are a clique. Not just all small groups, no rivalry between us and ‘Unaccepted’ or so… The one plays music in this band…and drummers playing in 3 bands and stuff … (Everyone looks in the direction of the drummer of ‘Unaccepted.’)

E: And like on that tape; I don’t know if you already listened to it…

N: A little piece.

E: For example if you listen to the Oorwormer LP [compilation with bands from Wormer: ‘The Ex’, ‘Svätsox’, ‘Zowiso’, ‘NV Le Anderen’,…], you see: all these bands have a certain influence, it actually sounds all the same.

P: It’s all ‘The Ex’. They might just as well put out an album themselves.

E: What we bring then is… Well, every band has their own ideas and influences, it’s all completely different.

M: For example?! A band to look out for: ‘Mire Baron’.

E: Yeah, they’re fantastic… It will take a while but what they do… That bassplayer is so damn freaking out with his fingers, like… And then the guitar: ngngr.gng, super tight. That bassist has had 11 years of piano-lessons, he’s just super musical. We practice with him, and it’s always a big party, every Friday…

P: That’s why we don’t get to practice, hahaha…

Union MorbideMichel Union Morbide (Weekhaar #1)(taken from Weekhaar #1)

————————-

Why I quit? That’s a long story. But one of the reasons was the musical style. I wanted to do longer songs. And spent more time rehearsing and elaborating the songs. The others were easily satisfied. I think that I demanded too much of myself and of the others. A pity. I had so many ideas. I never played in another band after ‘U.M.’. I think Michel joined about 2 years after the band started. There were some gigs in Denemark planned. We were working on new songs but they weren’t finished yet. But they wanted to play anyway. Then Michel replaced me. That ruined the atmosphere for good. I quit after a few months later. It was a great period. Such a pity that it all went wrong. I would have loved to discover how far we could’ve developed. Reality caught up on my phantasy there. But I’m not embittered.

Carl Fuchs

‘Statiegeld’ was my first band ever. That was with Will Steinhauser who later moved from Beverwijk to Amsterdam and started paying with ‘Funeral Oration’. The people in ‘Statiegeld’ didn’t own any amps: we played over old tube-radios. We had 4 of which we made 2 sets (connected toe ach other): 1 for the guitar and 1 for the bass. We also didn’t have a complete drum-set but used old cardboard washingpowder-bins, those oldfashioned ones; we did have a snare but we used an iron sliding-door from the barn where we practiced, as cymbal. We did have a vocal-amp that we had all payed a part of. Very basic. It sounded ‘Statiegeld’-like, as if we had bought it with the deposit-money for glass bottles. Pure punk.

Eelco Boonacker

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