Bedlam In Belgium
During the history of music, there have been a few songs about Belgium. The best known is probably 'België' by Dutch band Het Goede Doel a song which claims that we are a gentle and nice country, perfectly suited to spend your holidays. AC/DC thought otherwise, releasing the song 'Bedlam In Belgium' in 1983. The song describes the turn of events during an AC/DC show in Dancing Thierbrau in Kontich, near Antwerp. The building has been demolished a few years ago but the story will never be forgotten.
In October 1977, the motor club Outlaws, who had already served as security for AC/DC shows, invited the band to play in Kontich. The venue was not suited for a concert like this. The power supply was insufficient, causing the Outlaws to drive to Brussels to find a power group. Eventually, the show started a lot later than expected but AC/DC wanted to play their full show and refused to leave the stage. What followed was an hallucinant cat and mouse game between AC/DC, the crowd and the cops, who pulled the plug on the entire thing. The bass player, Cliff, took out one cop with his instrument. According to the band, the cops shot firearms in an attempt to regain control of the situation.
You've been recording all your favorites on a Belgian concept
Twenty years later, Philips would come up with yet another immensely popular invention when they developed the CD in cooperation with Sony. Both devices eventually led to new ways for musicians to sell albums to their fans. They were smaller and easier to handle than vinyl, plus they made it possible to listen to music on portable devices. From then on, people were no longer restricted to their living room if they wanted to listen to their favorite music.
From Dinant to New Orleans in three letters
Belgian musicians were among the first to make recordings of saxophone solos in America. Eugene Coffin, for example, made recordings on wax cylinders (1895–1896) and Jean Moermans on gramophone record in Washington D.C. (1897). But it was in 1927 when publisher Félix Faecq discovered jazz clarinetist and alto saxophonist Charles Remue and his "New Stompers" when they were playing in a dancing in Namur. In June of that year, he took the band to London to record the first ever Belgian jazz album. The album contained a few covers from American bands but also seven self written tracks. That same year, jazz started to become a concept, cueed by the American film 'The Jazz Singer'.
Doing something different
Along with Michel Moers (vocals) and Dan Lacksman (synthesizer), Moulin formed Telex, a band credited as the first Belgian electronica act. The band first covered several pop and rock songs before they scored a worldwide hit with 'Moskow Diskow'. In 1980, Telex's manager asked the group to enter the Eurovision Song Contest, something that was not very popular with Marc Moulin and his band. The group entered anyway and were eventually sent to the finals, although they apparently hoped to come in last. The song, aptly named 'Euro-Vision', is a hilarious parody on the entire Eurovision Song festival. It eventually ended up being the second last.
Moulin's career would go on after Telex disbanded. He became a household name in the house scene where fans of deep house and future jazz adore his warm electronic sounds. He was a well respected producer, journalist and sound track composer. Marc Moulin died in 2008. His musical career is now succeeded by his son Denis Moulin who produces deep house anthems under the name La Malice.
Ha Ha Ha Ha
Urbain Joseph Servranckx was born in Dilbeek in 1949. When he was 25, he started performing as Urbanus Van Anus, named after his former backing group. For years, Urbanus was pretty much our only comedian, mainly influenced by Dutch cabaret. Yet, he scored several hits with songs like 'Hittentit', 'Bakske Vol Met Stro' and his "protest song" 'Madammen Met Een Bontjas'.
Humor has been a constant throughout Belgium's musical history. Everyone who is old enough to remember the late eighties and early nineties, will undoubtedly remember Frank Dingenen's takes on new beat. Some even say that follies like this one destroyed the credibility of the new beat scene. Dingenen, much like Urbanus, was a comedian and actor who sometimes scored a hit single.
Bands like Belgian Asociality and Clement Peerens Explosition are welcome guests on any self-respecting rock festival in this country. In Ghent, Flip Kowlier wishes everyone a 'welhemeende Fuck You' in his own dialect. In Eeklo, not far from Ghent, there are The Evil Pony's who combine local dialect with heavy metal, similar to Fleddy Melculy. Yes, even our band names are hilarious. Don't forget that even Revolting Cocks was partially Belgian!
Anyway, that will do for this edition of our series about Belgium. Next time we'll... I don't know, we'll see about that then. Thank you for reading and enjoy this song by Vuile Mong & Zijn Vieze Gasten which so perfectly describes how all Belgians feel about life...