Friday, June 30, 2006

Suck Chuck Berry

Filip Janssens, who sent us this story, only read about it in a magazine. But he feels this is the greatest rock 'n' roll anecdote ever and Blunderpop is tempted to agree. So here we go.

This one is about of my icons, the living link between blues and rock, world famous for his bad manners as well as for his guitar riffs: Chuck Berry. As everyone knows, in the latter days of his career -from the late 60s onwards- good ol' Chuck was somewhat less than motivated during concerts - he was simply in it for the cash. He never brought his own band ("more money for me"), arrived at the venue about half an hour before the gig and spent most of the remaining time counting his money. When he did get on stage, he didn't even glance at the backing band, let alone talk to them. He just started to play a song, without the band having a clue which one. Of course, most of Chuck Berry's songs are very much alike, based on the same three chord blueprint, but that's another story. As a result, most of his concerts were utterly shit (I was lucky enough to see him perform well on the 1996 edition of Peer Rhythm & Blues festival, but that's yet another story).

Anyway, somewhere during the 80s in the States, almost 60 year-old Chuck arrived at a venue, late as usual. The promoter, who was of the nervous kind and didn't expect him to show up anymore, heaved a sigh of relief and handed over the fee. Mister Berry prompty started counting the money, before dissapearing in the backstage. All of this without saying as much as a word. A few minutes before the concert, the man was still nowhere to be seen. So the promoter went to the dressing room and knocked on the door. No answer. He knocked again. And again, each time a little more insistent. But all remained quiet. Finally, the man mustered all of his courage and opened the door. And there was Chuck Berry: sitting on a chair with a ham sandwich in his hand and an 18 year-old girl between his legs giving him a vigorous blowjob. Wide-eyed and gasping for breath, the promoter finally managed to stammer "Five minutes to showtime, Mr. Berry?!?" Upon which the rock 'n' roll legend calmly replied: "First I'm gonna finish my sandwich."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Smoke and the water

As some of you may know, this blog is being hosted by Guerilla. Having organised a lot of concerts and festivals, we're no strangers to Spinal Tap ourselves. So from now on, we'll put up a post of our own every week. This one is about the very first gig we ever organised.

The venue was a squat in Antwerp (apty named 'Los Squattos') so we had to improvise a lot. Of course, there wasn't any electricity so we rented a generator. As it was raining, we couldn't simply put it outside but instead had to haul the contraption up to the first floor. There, we put it next to a window but it soon turned out that this didn't provide enough ventilation ; the toxic fumes went straight into the venue itself. So we boarded up the entire first floor with plywood. No more fumes, hurray! But then we realised -notably when the venue was suddenly plunged in darkness- that those things need a refill from time to time. Crap.

After cursing our own thoroughness -we used a lot of nails- we finally managed to make it to the generator, took the nearest jerrycan and filled the tank. The machine immediately started to splutter ferociously, emitting huge clouds of smoke. A passer-by might have thought the Sioux were on the war-path again. Then it went dead. It turned out that the jerrycan contained water, whereas generators tend to prefer gasoline. Crap.

There was only one thing we could do: drag it out of the window, turn it upside down and let the water flow out. Easier said than done, because those things are bloody heavy. But in the end we managed to do it and -after a lot of pleading and cursing- the generator came alive again. The rest of the evening went without incident but we all had aching muscles for days to come.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Blunder media

Lovely! Belgian daily De Morgen ran a little article about Blunderpop last Saturday. And De Standaard -another daily- covered us in their "En nu even ernstig" weblog. So did national weekly Humo on their Linke Boel. Anyway, read on because there's plenty of Spinal Tap dead ahead!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Dour festival visitors in deep merde

(story sent to us by happy camper Jan Decoster)

Several years ago, I went to Dour festival with some friends. I don't remember in which year it was, but Ministry (real bad gig) and Bloodhound Gang (a lot of fun) played on the same stage on the same day. (Blunderpop comment: that must have been the 1999 edition). Upon arriving, we had a discussion about where to pitch our tents, the choice being either beside the road (lots of noise & mud) or next to the fence (the omnipresent smell of piss). Eventually, we decided upon the latter. A good choice as it turned out.

One night we were happily having a chat and enjoying a drink when we saw a tractor rumbling by, with a container in tow. It was a local farmer who helped out with the lavatory refuse. So this particular container was filled to the brim with excrements. Suddenly, the grip of the container snapped. This resulted in a lively fountain of shit, piss and chemicals that sprinkled everyone and everything within a 100 ft radius. One girl in particular, who was sitting in front of her tent next to the road, was literally covered with shit.

imagine getting sprayed with the contents of this baby

The farmer who drove the tractor simply closed the grip again and hopped on his tractor, intending to leave ground zero without a worry on his mind. But before he was able to do so, a dripping and smelly guy pulled him from his tractor, screaming something along the lines of "Like fuck you're gonna leave us here like this!" The farmer pulled out a walkie-talkie in which he mumbled something and beat a hasty retreat.

About 15 minutes later some guy with another tractor and a water hose turned up. He doused the area for about five minutes -which wasn't really effective as there was hardly any pressure on the hose- and cleared off as well. And that was that, as far as Dour festival was concerned.

The area remained smelly for the rest of the festival, but at least we weren't covered in shit. I'm not sure what happened to the girl and her tent though. But I never laughed so hard in my entire life.

Check out the comments on this post for more Blunder Dour!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Confituur All-Stars vs Rivierenhof (x2)

It all started in the spring of 2003. Open-air theater Rivierenhof (Antwerpen) booked the Confituur All-Stars for a gig alongside Adrian Sherwood ; the legendary On-U Sound producer even agreed to mix the All-Stars. Only a few days before the signed contract had to be sent back, the organisation cancelled the gig without giving any particular reason. The band accepted its dissapointment -and the breach of agreement- with good grace.

Before continuing with the story, there are a few things you should know about the Confituur All-Stars. First of all, they don't play songs. All they do is improvise, and they do so brilliantly. Second, it's not really a band at all - the line-up changes frequently, even though there is something resembling a hardcore. Additionally, a lot of guest musicians are invited to jam along with them. For the namedropping (which is quite a bit), go here.

Picture taken just seconds before the photographer plunged in the fountain (read on!)

Anyway, afterwards the band was again contacted by the same organisation. Did they feel like playing in Rivierenhof in the summer of 2004 ? Not with Adrian Sherwood, but still... The All-Stars accepted and the contract was signed. The organisation then asked if the band could possibly get someone famous to play as a guest musician. Axl Peleman (Camden) for instance? Well, they couldn't make any promises but they'd ask the man ; he did play with the band before so why not? Unfortunately, Axl had other obligations that day so alas, alas. Which the band communicated to the organisation at once. So they were pretty surprised to find that 'Axl Peleman' was figured prominently on the poster. Ah well, a case of slight misunderstanding probably, so what the hell?

And so the day of the concert came. Part of the crowd clearly came to see Axl, and soon left when it became obvious the Flemish superstar wouldn't be playing (although the All-Stars did bring cut-out Axl Peleman masks :)). But the overall majority -several hundred people- stayed and thoroughly enjoyed the gig. Of course, there were a few Spinal Tap moments, notably when the photographer -who was very, very drunk- plunged headfirst into the fountain in front of the stage. But all in all, it was a pretty good concert and everyone seemed happy enough.

Nope, there was hardly anyone there...

So imagine their bewilderment -soon to be replaced by hysterical bouts of laughter- when the All-Stars received a letter from some city council official. The (city-sponsored) organisation refused to pay the fee. Pardon? Well, it must have some pretty sound reasons, wouldn't you think? This is what the official said: "First of all, Axl Peleman was not present, in spite of earlier promises made by the band." The band didn't make any promises (quite the contrary in fact) and obviously the organisation wasn't charged for his performance either. OK, but "several musicians were clearly intoxicated". No, they were not (a photo camera is not an instrument). The All-Stars are pretty crazy individuals who sometimes do pretty strange things and they did have a few drinks, naturally. But they certainly weren't drunk, stoned or anything as they all happen to be professional artists. The letter also referenced vaguely to the band 'being late'. They did the soundcheck three solid hours before the start of the concert, hardly 'late' wouldn't you agree? Then the letter stated that the audience was "disgruntled because of the poor performance". Oh, were they? Amazing, that's exactly the opposite of what the band was being told (and never mind all the cheering and dancing). But the city council guy kept the best bit for the last: "I suggest that the band starts to work on its songs ; more rehearsals might do the trick". Say what now? Songs? Re-hear-sals? For an improvisation band? Which the organisation clearly mentioned on their flyers and in their press release? He had to be kidding? But he clearly wasn't. He was dead serious and ended the letter by saying that he was looking forward to the bands' "justification" and expected a new "invoice which takes into account all of the aforementioned arguments". How about that for Spinal Tap? Or Kafka?

...and the crowd obviously hated the band

Anyway, at the end of it -when the laughing cramps had finally subsided- the band sent a 'justification' to the organisation reducing all those 'sound reasons' to scrap (not the invoice though). So did they get paid? Sure they did. Will they ever play at Rivierenhof again? Very unlikely. Unless they bring Axl Peleman of course.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Traktor, One Louder, Butsenzeller & Discordia Tap

Boots is on a roll. He plays in several other bands besides DAAU, and frequently DJs as well under the Butsenzeller moniker. So he has a lot of Spinal Tap stories. Here are a few titbits (or tidbits according to the puritanical US spelling*) he mailed us (again translated into English by Blunderpop).

One Louder - another band I play in- once had to drive 600km for a gig in Hamburg. The crowd in the venue consisted of exactly 6 (six) persons. So that's about 100km per visitor. *** I also participated in a DJ battle with Mister Bullit and Boss (The Internationals) in Schoten. But there was a delay in the line-up and as there was a strict curfew we only played about 2 records each. The entire 'battle' (more like a very drunk skirmish) lasted less than 15 minutes. But it was a very well-paid job so I'm not complaining. *** With Discobar Discordia -a DJ act I used to do with Dennis Tyfus (Rotkop) with bad music and even worse outfits- we had a surreal experience when we had to play on a fancy fair. Nobody got the irony of our act so the dancefloor remained empty for hours. Eventually, it started to fill up but at that point Dennis -out of sheer frustration probably- put on Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart". The dancefloor cleared in seconds - apart from one out of his depth-looking new waver. *** Finally, there was the time one of my other bands, Traktor, did a concert somewhere and the keyboard player was so pissed that he gave our performance quite a twist when he started to use his 11th finger on his keyboard as well. You won't see Jean-Michel Jarre do that anytime soon!

* off-topic but anyway: when the US changed all the 'inapproriate' names on its map (towns, rivers etc...) at the end of the 19th century, they clearly didn't have someone on the board who spoke French. Because the Wyoming map still proudly boasts the Grand Tetons ('big titties') mountain chain and National Park.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

DAAU's Global Dispositioning System

Submitted by DAAU drummer Boots (translated into English by Blunderpop)

We had to leave the very nice Lars Fusion festival in the German town of Lars (what's in a name?) immediately after the show because we had an early soundcheck the next day in Rudolstadt, which is also in Germany but unfortunately on the other side of the country. So the gang left with some reluctance and in a serious party mood, even though we only had a couple of DVDs to entertain us during the ride.

"There's nothing like Rudolstadt" Literally, according to DAAU's GPS system

As always, we switched on the GPS system - only to wake up 7 hours later in a field in the middle of nowhere. This wouldn't have been a problem if only this field would have sported a) a stage, b) a bar and c) toilets. But this particular field was entirely empty, as well as located on a fairly steep slope ; our van actually started to slide down a bit. Now, the hotel in which we were supposed to stay was located in a Schwarzwald-ish village near Rudolstadt, but it was so tiny and isolated that the GPS system didn't recognise it (so instead it seems to have sent DAAU to a random field somewhere).

After liberating ourselves from our predicament and a criss-cross tour through the area, we finally stumbled upon our hotel. The -very friendly but sleepy-looking- couple that ran the hotel wasn't anticipating any guests at such an unholy hour, so we had to kill some more time playing games of poker while they fixed us up. Needless to say, because of all of this, we slept late and missed half our soundcheck time. Which of course was the reason we had forced ourselves to leave the Lars Fusion festival in the first place...

DAAU (picture by Rob Walbers)

But something good did come out of it after all, because DAAU made a song called 'Dispositioning System' (which you can find on their latest album 'Domestic Wildlife') about their little Spinal Tap episode.

More DAAU here and there

A bonus pic: here you can see Boots-cheeks perform @ Rivierenhof (Antwerpen) with Confituur All-Stars

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Chicks On Speed vs male chauvinist pigs in Spain

On June 10 2006 Chicks On Speed was supposed to headline the Oxygena festival in Cordoba, Spain. But they didn't. Because they weren't allowed to. Or more precisely: because they were dragged from the stage kicking and screaming. The reason? Low attendance and a convenient insurance policy of the festival organisation.

Here is a short account of events by Kiki Moorse, Melissa Logan and Alex Murray-Leslie, which the latter kindly mailed to Blunderpop.

Chicks On Speed actually performing (on another festival, that is)


We had one of the worst experiences of our 10 year musical career on Saturday night, we were physically violated and dragged off stage by security, Ortiz Padillo Promoters and commercial sponsors at Oxigena Festival, near Cordova (Cordoba), in Southern Spain. We were denied our right to perform at the festival as contracted and our fees were not honoured. It was clear that the public attendance of the festival was extremely low and the promoters wouldn´t allow us to play for this reason, so they could claim insurance on the premise, of a cancelled headlining act. The promoters and Sponsors falsely claimed that “the band is late" as we entered the stage at 1.25am, 5 minutes prior to the planned stage time of 1.30am as contracted.

Photo documentation has been taken away from us, our camera was smashed and memory card stolen.

We want to expose these criminal acts and the organisations responsible for abusing and robing artists through their business practices and the unethical networks of festivals and concert promoters. It´s clearly a case of abuse against women, destruction of personal property, breach of contract and assault.

We´re pretty freaked out & scared by what we experienced. It would be really good to have your support in any way, the organizers were trying to make quick cash from the festival. Look out for scammers that are abusing musicians and swindling young people looking to have a fun evening.

Chicks On Speed (try to) explain to the crowd why they aren't allowed to perform

Shortly afterwards the band is being manhandled from stage

And here are a few pix of the incident taken by fans
(this link will take you to the COS website)

(story continues)


Oxygena festival , La Rambla , Cordoba , Spain, 10. June 2006 .

Chicks on Speed were physically violated and dragged of stage whilst trying to perform their live show, by numerous brutal security personnel, because the festival organiser had made a deal with his corrupt insurance "friend" to collect "no show" insurance, on the grounds of us supposedly appearing late for the show.

Our rider and contract stated a show time of 1h30 am , we were side of stage at exactly 1.25am.

There was a crowd of ca 200 people (who had all payed 25-35 euro entrance ) gathered front of stage as soon as we started the intro song and video projection. We got on stage began the show, after 2 minutes, the power was cut, we didn´t want to disappoint these people and stayed on stage, starting a very unplugged, acapella show. The crowd was chanting and rioting against what was going on and wondering why there was no sound ,we all tried to explain to the front row, that we wanted to do the show, but the promoters wouldn´t let us perform. (difficult , because the mics had been taken away) We continued to protest and sing with the audience, hoping that someone would turn on the sound, until shockingly, we were forcefully dragged off stage by around 12 male security guards.

New York artist and COS collaborator, AL Steiner was with us on stage as part of the performance, her camera was smashed and her memory card stolen, (including proof of the violence against Chicks on Speed)

We are now doing our best to expose these people THEY MUST BE STOPPED! Our booking agency Primary Talent is taking the promoters to court but we must stop this kind of abuse of artists from ever happening again !

Please send all feedback to the Blunderpop mail. You can also leave a comment and/or contact Chicks On Speed on their own website.