Monday, June 15, 2009

Birds of a Feather - The Past The Present

Birds of a Feather bassist, Jean-Paul recently hit me up asking if DCXX would be interested in running this story on the release of the bands new LP and a book on the history of European straight edge that coincided. I of course agreed to run the story and I'm eagerly looking forward to seeing and hearing both releases. Check it out. -Tim DCXX


This story starts somewhere in the mid 80-ies. Bigma turned straight edge. Profound turned into Manliftingbanner when Bigma joined. After the demise of Manliftingbanner, Bigma continued his straight edge crusade with Mainstrike. In 2005 he was stuck without a band. Pushing towards 40, Bigma wasn't rethinking his ideals for a better society, instead his urgency to get out his message was growing stronger and stronger. He wanted to address the current hardcore scene, where the true spirit and meanings of the original first wave of straight edge had disappeared. Strangely enough, just around the corner from Bigma, JP, from Value Of Strength magazine, had mutual feelings. He wanted to startle up the scene with a straight edge band with members all older than 30 years, showing that the ideas behind straight edge still hold true, even in 'real life'. Birds Of A Feather became reality. The Our Aim 7" was recorded shortly after. Going thru some line-up changes, the band found it's definite line-up in 2007, with Jeff of Crivits and the X-men in guitar, Marc of Betray on guitar, and Paul, a then 30 year old "newjack", on drums.

So Birds Of A Feather is ready. Watch out for 80-ies style, youth crew sing-along hardcore, bringing an ever urgent message for a positive lifestyle and a better society. With the same drive to get out the message as in the 80-ies and 90-ies. To show that straight edge is not "a passing phase". To show that hardcore is not a passing phase. To prove that our ideals still matter, and still need work. Right then and right now:

Jean-Paul with Birds of a Feather, Photo courtesy of: BOAF

"The days that we lived our dreams are over
And the barriers are tougher than before
20 years passed by and we are back again
The way it was supposed to give meaning
What was said, what we believed In the past
What we said and still believe
Counts even more today"

Birds Of A Feather previously released the Our Aim 7" on Crucial Response (vinyl sold out, CD still available), a split 7" with In Defence on Give Praise Records (sold out), the Chapter 5 7" on Commitment Records (vinyl, still available) and their The Past The Present CD on Refuse Records (still available), and also in Asia on Crucial Times Records and in South America on 78 Life Records . "The Past The Present" contains 13 songs recorded by Menno Baker in Bunt Studios in Holland and mastering was done by West West Side Music, NY, USA.


The LP version of Birds Of A Feather’s album "The Past The Present" also includes the book "The Past The Present - a history of European Straight Edge 1982-2007". 108 pages and over 250 photos documenting the straight edge scene in Europe.

Straight Edge is a powerful subculture of a subculture. Punkrockers that don't smoke, don't drink and don't do drugs are the outcasts of the outcasts. By following a timeline from 1982 to 2007 the straight edge authors tell the narrative of the European straight edge with the oral history from those who were there and from those that are still there, the people that made and still make it happen. The particular development of the European straight edge is described by five Dutch bands, each representing a different era. Starting with Lärm's Do It Yourself punk ethics the straight edge scene in Europe has developed itself towards political activism of all sorts with a strong emphasis on vegetarianism and veganism as Eye of Judgement shows. Capturing the immense energy of a vibrant and vivid scene, The Past The Present contains stories from entire Europe, from Sweden to Spain and from Portugal to Poland. A document for anyone interested in hardcore or straight edge.

Larm, UK tour 1987, Photo courtesy of: JP

The authors
Marc Hanou (1967) discovered punk in 1981 at age 13 and saw Lärm play at age 14. He became straight edge in 1985 and vegetarian in 1986. He played in BTD, Betray, Dance Cleopatra, Longshot, Blackheads and in Twin Cities outfit In Defence. Currently he plays bass in Nixnieuwz and guitar in Birds Of A Feather. He had a straight edge radio show between 1988 and 1994 on radio Patapoe, Amsterdam, did Revelation Records Europe from 1990 to 1994, booked dozens of shows at the Dirk and the Maloe Melo, both in Amsterdam, and booked shows in Europe for dozens of bands as well, from Green Day to Born Against.

Jean-Paul Frijns (1973) heard punk for the first time on a new-wave compilation tape that someone made for him during the end of the 80's. Skateboarding and magazines like Thrasher and Maximum Rock 'n Roll got him more involved in punk and hardcore. It introduced him to straight edge and inspired him to start his own zine Value Of Strength, that is still around today. He organized the 'Geleen Festival' during the 90's and booked shows in the southern part of the Netherlands. He interned as a graphic designer for Victory records and lived in Chicago where he picked up the bass guitar. Currently he plays bass for Birds Of A Feather and books the occasional show at the Maloe Melo.

Man Lifting Banner in Belgium, 1990, Photo courtesy of: JP

Appearing in the book: Andreas Gruter, Germany ("Vengeance" zine, worked for Crucial Response Records), Atanasoski Vasko, Macedonia (F.P.O.), Bart Griffioen, Holland (PROFOUND, COLT TURKEY, MANLIFTINGBANNER, DEADSTOOLPIGEON), Bruno Miguel Piairo Lopes Teixeira, Portugal (NEW WINDS, THESE HANDS ARE FISTS), Bruno Pires, Portugal (NEW WINDS), David Leon, Spain (AFTERLIFE, THE DEFENSE), Fausto, Spain ("AHC" zine), Hans Verbeke, Belgium (RISE ABOVE, BLINDFOLD, SHORTSIGHT, SPIRIT OF YOUTH, LIAR), Inti Carboni, Italy (show promoter), Jasper, Holland (A STEP APART, EYE OF JUDGEMENT), Jennifer Ramme, Poland (Emancypunx Records), Jeroen Vrijhoef, Holland (MAINSTRIKE, Coalition Records), Johan Prenger, Holland (Reflections Records), Johnny van de Koolwijk, Holland (MAINSTRIKE, REACHING FORWARD, DOWNSLIDE), Jos Houtveen, Holland (LARM, SEEIN' RED, STAATHAAT), Jose Saxlund, Sweden (ABHINANDA, Desperate Fight Records), Lord Bigma, Holland (MANLIFTINGBANNER, MAINSTRIKE, NO DENIAL, STRIKE FIRST, BIRDS OF A FEATHER), Lucas van Heerikhuizen, Holland (EYE OF JUDGEMENT), Mario Tucman, Croatia (VASELINE CHILDREN), Marcus Erricson, Sweden (EYES SHUT, LAST HOPE, DAMAGE CONTROL, ANOTHER YEAR, ANCHOR, "Soulcity" zine), Mark Schenk, Holland (EYE OF JUDGEMENT), Michiel Bakker, Holland (PROFOUND, COLT TURKEY, MANLIFTINGBANNER), Olav van de Berg, Holland (LARM, SEEIN' RED, PROFOUND, COLT TURKEY, MANLIFTINGBANNER), Patryk Bugajski, Poland (SUNRISE, DAYMARES), Paul van de Berg (LARM, SEEIN' RED, PROFOUND, COLT TURKEY, MANLIFTINGBANNER), Ram, Denmark (artist), Rat, UK (STATEMENT, UNBORN), Ricardo Dias, Portugal (TIME X, DAY OF THE DEAD), Rob Beekmans, Holland (ABUSIVE ACTION), Robert Matusiak, Poland (Refuse Records), Robert Voogt, Holland (Commitment Records), Roel, Holland (EYE OF JUDGEMENT), Willem Jan Kneepkens, Holland (INSULT, EYE OF JUDGEMENT), Yann Boisleve, France ("International Straight-Edge Bulletin"),

The LP version of "The Past The Present" is released in a gatefold w/ the book:
Test pressing: 25 copies, exclusive cover with different artwork, black vinyl, the book signed by the authors
Pre-Order version: 100 copies, brown vinyl, white labels stamped and numbered
Limited color version: 122 copies, orange vinyl 
Regular 1st press version: 278 copies, brown vinyl

Birds Of A Feather:

Recording the album "The Past The Present"

BOAF visits Poland (2008, 15th Refuse anniversary)

For ordering info get in touch with Refuse Records:

Betray, UK tour 1991, Photo courtesy of: JP


ERIC SXE said...

That was totally inspiring! I for sure, will be getting the LP and book. Sometimes I feel alone, being 43(!)and STILL representing SXE. Almost everyone from my hardcore past has long since given up on or in some cases turned on SXE. That includes many well known bands as well. That I don't understand. A good, positive, clean lifestyle. What could be bad about that? It is definitely my lifestyle and always will be. No sell out!

I've got a video from my old band DOWNSHIFT on my blog page so check it out.

Ben Edge said...

Looks like a cool book. I had no idea Larm goes all the way back to '82. Plus Johan from Reflections Records is in the book. He's so down, he named his kid after the Side By Side singer. (okay, probably not)

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