School is often the breeding ground of boredom and many times a source of creation, our history is no exception to this rule. So after the first lines of a band named Slanders were sketched by Eric Bakker, Rick Veken and Aad Hollander in a distraction-dominated drawing lesson, soon drums and guitars found their way to the barn of Aad's parents in the quiet village of Jisp.
Because quality only improves through learning and practice, Eric and Rick took their guitar lessons. Aad already practiced some years all necessary drum heads under professional control and was further improving his skills on drums. Because there were also songs to sing, Aad provisionally fulfilled his rol as a singer without microphone! ('Mikeless Aad!'). Aad his unamplified voice rose barely above the noise but did not affect the enthusiasm at all.
The neighbours, represented by ferocious Mrs. Rem, torpedoed our first enthusiastic musical burping by pulling the plug, wishing to nip all inspirations the bud. But we left us not just scare away, as we were convinced of our abilities. Our urge to share our rudimentary musical performance with the neighbourhood was greater than our love for soundproofing. Until the possibility of using a better practice room presented itself by youth centre D41 in Jisp, we served the neighbourhood with our limited musical delight.
We made improvements and our dictionary helped us to find the right words to sing. With the youthful susceptibility to social commitment we easily found many themes to service our lyrics. The subject of injustice did draw most of our attention. At first songs as Royal House, Religion, No More Disco, Badges Thieves, Neighbours and Gambling were born. Recordings of these songs are still present on an old cassette of Slanders, and with a little help from modern technology you'll find these titles soon on this site.
As singing became more important, Aad his brother John Hollander joined the band in 1981. After John joined the band lyrics became more seriously, but there was always space for crazy exceptions like Zilvere Bagagedrager and Hé Joop (more of this in 1982).
Before the band name Zowiso was born, we made a very local musical rise with two gigs under the name Slanders. As the name of the band Slanders suggests, it gave us moral support to spread false and malicious statements. In fact we were not that malicious at all, but it was all to promote our fearless punk impression.
No holds barred and fairly nervous we did our first performances as Slanders on 20 June 1981 in a new born self supporting youth centre 't Hummeltje in Wormer and at the primary school De Harpoen in Jisp on 25 june 1981. Grateful about the opportunities and aware of our musical limitations we dared not dream of larger stages yet.
Due to local "motorbike youth" from Wormerveer the night in 't Hummeltje ended up in a violent clash. The violence was directed at random visitors including members of the performing bands. Although phrases like 'senseless violence' was not in fashion that time, we were allowed to experience it all. Also John was hit several times by hostile footwear. After several kicks John managed to skedaddle. Luckily his flight ended, except for some bruises, without much suffering. A befriended Wormer band Svätsox lately devoted a song to this violent happening.
Soon after our last gig a boost of burning envy put an end to the existence of the free venue 't Hummeltje in Wormer; usual suspects: the local moped youth, operating from a boat in Wormerveer called De Dagenraad. As they use to operate at night, before dawn this building including present equipment burned down completely. Fortunately there are more fields to explore and so we kept our eyes open for every opportunity to perform our songs.
Glowing with enthusiasm and just a few gigs in our pockets ready to assault more stages, out of the bluest blue the phone was ringing for an invitation to perform at a feast in Amsterdam. Because location and name of the organizer sounded rather odd to us, we decided to investigate the whole story. We never found out about his intentions or even who this man really was, but eventually our innate mistrust turned out right.
The man who issued the feast had invited us to play in a non-existent opportunity, at least a building that wasn't fit for public performance of a band. When we expressed our doubts about the authenticity of the place and his intensions of his invitation to this diffuse unknown by phone, this man who called himself Joop Sieleers burst out in fierce anger. It took weeks of wakening nights to get rid of his threatening phone clinks. The first stalker of his brand was born.
During one of John's frequent visits to a famous squat in Wormer, known as the White Villa, he was drawn to an upcoming "Presentation of bands" in renowned 't Drieluyk in Zaandam, a club and youth centre housed in a former hat factory. This presentation came just in time to address our new songs and our new band name Zowiso. The birth of the band's name popped up during a coffee-soaked gathering with the band on a post afternoon in Jisp. Comparing to our first sets we further improved, resulting in a presentable set.
Our gig performed mainly for local audience was received with moderate enthusiasm. Nevertheless, in retrospect this gig turned out to be a departure point for further publicity and a chain reaction of new performances. Among the audience stood Terrie of the band The Ex, a man with an inspirational stature to whom we were very pleased to lend his ears to. His enthusiasm as we found out later is never obligatory but always purely authentic. As a token of appreciation a week later we were invited to join The Ex for a gig in OJC Shiva in Uithoorn.
OJC Shiva in Uithoorn was our first performance outside our regional comfort zone. In the slipstream of the succes of our Wormer examples The Ex and Svätsox, we enjoyed limited fame within a time span of one year. After some joints action with other renowned bands from Wormer, we were able to pave the way for performances which were obtained from own strength.
A week after our trip to OJC Shiva, guys from the band Svätsox took us with them to play at a stage in a youth centre De Boerderij in the south of the Netherlands, in a place called Geleen. This was our first remote trip to the South of Netherlands, where we were allowed to count on a surprisingly warm reception of the local audience; an exceptional and unforgettable evening for us youngsters these days. After our gig the audience chanted again and again our band name in their local dialect. We couldn't withstand their masse call to an encore and played our set again. Their sweet repeating southern sound of the audience chanting the name Zowiso kept echoing in our heads untill we fell asleep on this dark attic of our hospitable southern hosts.
A new connection to gigs on stages in the eastern part of Holland was suprisingly made in the western city Schoonhoven on the 4th of December 1981, where we first met the band members of Strangled Passion (later called Alerta). Further on in our self-made biographical story we inform you about Alerta from the eastern Dutch city of Deventer and our common history with them.
Boxing Day 1981 could use some structured noise and club Parkhof in Alkmaar gave us the opportunity to make this noise. So to break the old Christmas traditions we performed along with another band from Wormer called NV le Anderen, and so we enjoyed the last gig of 1981 on a festive afternoon.
1982 was the year of many firsts. We denote the first performances abroad, our first time in the studio, the first record album release (and contribution to a compilation album), our first weekday public audience performances, our first radio interview and the first performance of our logo on flag and clothing. 1982 was also the year of growing publically interest for our music that provided growth of our musical and personal development.
A first contribution of our changes began in 1982 with the launch of our flag. Befriended bands of ours already provided their appealing flags. The idea occurred that playing in a band and having no flag felt like playing football without recognizable shirt. The urge to discern led to action. Late 1981 we found a handy sewing mother able to produce us a self-designed flag; a flag that wears a symbol which best can be described as a fiery dart star.
When the smoke from the fireworks of the new turn of the year just took off, we played another home match in AJW Wormer. This was a good start to present our own flag to het audience. Later that year we completed our presentation by wearing grey shirts also marked with the new Zowiso symbol. As it happens with any uniformity, time cleared quickly and our uniformity disappeared to the background, our chosen garb turned out to be a lot better, although the flag remained.
Wormer, a fertile nest of "Do-It-Yourself" bands came to physical expression in a compilation LP called "Oorwormer". For us it became our first real experience in the field of a sound studio. End of January 1982 13 different bands from Wormer recorded 26 songs over 4 days. This compilation album, where the title is a multi-interpretable contraction of Dutch words combining "Ear" and "Wormer", was in great demand with mostly locals. This was not at all surprising, while many inhabitants of Wormer had a familiar relationship with the members of one of the bands. With 2 songs "Army" and "Nuclear power train" we delivered a modest contribution to this fine and unique local initiative.
From our introduction in 1981 with the Deventer band Strangled Passion (later Alerta) followed a series of joint gigs in the cities in the eastern parts of the Netherlands. A lack of private transport prompted us frequently to take the train and using others band's equipment as well. As it comes to overnight sleeping our Strangled Passion friends were also very helpful. Many times they offered us to sleep in their small living room. In terms of sleeping comfort is not the first word that comes in mind when we think back to those nights. The spare bench was soon occupied and the receding chairs required specials skills to sleep in. To keep your body in a sleeping position it took incredible efforts to keep associated body parts together long enough to fall asleep and reach a nice rest. Sometimes only the hard floor offered room for the tired body in the small house at the Sijzenbaanplein in Deventer City. But even then you had to be very vigilant not to be hit by an unforeseen opening pivot door. Luckily the immeasurable hospitality ultimately weighed more than comfort.
During another overnight stay (12 March 1982), after a performance in Breda we experienced another kind of hospitality. As we were already used to a lack of comfort, this time we were rather struck by the gaudy extravagance of our temporary sleeping place and the eccentricity of its residents. Due to a late gig in the youth centre KWJ Para in the city of Breda, we had to extend our stay once again because of our dependence on the unreliable public transport. We decided to accept an invitation to sleep in a huge (squat) villa in the wealthy neighbourhood of the city. By arrival we were welcomed by a host in his loose-fitting night robe and in his hand a large glass of red wine (The contents of the bottle were not shared with its visitors). The host showed an uncut adept of the West German terrorist organization, Baader Meinhoff Gruppe. He even named his own band the Baader Pop Gruppe. Mercilessly although his political preference didn't fear us at all, we were more terrified being confronted with a large snake in one of his bedrooms. Despite the presence of a snake in the adjoining room we were able to fall asleep pretty quickly.
It was a quiet cloudy Wednesday 28 April 1982 when we and our musical companions of the band Zwembaden were on our way to youth centre JC Troll in the city of Hoorn in the province Noord-Holland. Along the way Aad dominated the route due to his repetitive whistle; a penetrating tune from "Ein Jahr (Es geht voran)" sang by Fehlfarben. After all this benign tune did not easily left our minds, in fact for some of us it will forever be associated with this particular evening of strange twists.
As innocently as the evening began, as violently this evening came to an end. As we were not aware of the present local mutual tensions between youth centre operators and residents of a nearby trailer park, we were suddenly greeted by a cyclone of targeted violence. In a flash of time these trailer park residents expressed their violent sign language, which was more or less a monologue with fists, which made an abrupt end to the upcoming gig as well as the entire interior of this youth centre. This devastating attack did not only hit the loose furniture, but also all the fixed furniture on every wall they met. This unfortunate youth centre had to accept a great loss due to substantial demolition. Even the solid looking urinals suddenly appeared as fragile as cups of porcelain. Also our prospect of a nice gig fell into tiny pieces. In September 1982 we were able to do it over again in the same youth centre. This time we were more successful when we played with the band Eton Crop from Kudelstaat. Despite their small-town origins of the members of this band, their reference to the famous King's College already suggests their huge ambitions. Their attitude and ambitions rather contrasted with our more simple approach, as ours was purely driven by enjoyment of playing instead of fame hunting.
Only two days after our violent experiences in Hoorn we prepared ourselves for a new addition of experiences. Friday, April 30, 1982 we went to Eygelshoven by train, a village located in the deep south of the Netherlands. The annual Queen's Day was often a good opportunity for a gig somewhere in the country. Although we were not arrived at the other end of the world, we were particulary struck by the language barrier which separated us from the locals. In the youth centre SAJE we experienced the most difficulties at the time we were interviewed by local broadcasters. The broadcasters had to repeat their questions very frequently due to make themselves understood in the Dutch language we were used to. Despite the confusion in communication, our first live interview was a fact. Probably a sympathetic reader of this site knows more details of this radio station at that time. If so please inform us, so we probably can have a copy of the original audio recordings of our first official radio interview ever.
Our first meeting with members of the band Voorheen De Straks resulted in a friendly collaboration which led to a series of joined gigs in various parts of the Netherlands. One of most memorable moments happened in companion with a friend of the members of Voorheen De Straks on Thursday June 10, 1982, when we drove in an old van on the way from the municipality of Boxtel. It was anything but an enjoyable ride, it felt more like a mandatory ride in a nasty fairground attraction. We sat together on the floor of a dense van. The rear of the van was not provided with windows and doors were poorly kept closed with elastic ties. This situation led to frequent complete disorientation of the temporary residents. A traffic jam was an excellent opportunity for Rick to empty the contents of his stomach, heavily driven by peristaltic forces. At the same time Rick was emptying his stomach, the friend of Voorheen De Straks suddenly panicked and jumped out of the car while he was been sought by the police. Although he shaved his head not to be detected by the police, the traffic jam was a great chance to get caught in a police confrontation. Not only because of the traffic jam, but also because the probability of getting fined because the van we were in was not equipped for transporting more than three passengers.
The summer of 1982 we got our first chance to explore stages abroad, with three gigs in Switzerland. This tour was conducted along with other bands from Wormer; Red Orchestra, Svätsox and The Ex. The road to Switzerland was an experience in itself. Terrie's yellow Fiat van was experiencing various difficulties surviving the mountains, because the high slopes led to overheating of the engine. To reduce the pressure Terrie had to move the radiator cap, which was inside the car. Terrie's rather careless removal of the radiator cap caused a steam explosion, while we were still sitting in on of backseats of the van, parked halfway up a steep slope. Driven by panic the entire Zowiso crew ran off the bus into the higher grass verge, where Peter Meijer of Svätsox was stationed to capture this sensational act with his camera. Upon arrival in Switzerland we were initially brought to a house to sleep where we would share the night in a room with people with non-congruent sexual intentions. Because their nefarious intent was known premature, our organizers provided alternative sleeping. So eventually we found a house with a hayloft to sleep. Although we were grateful, this place showed other uncomfortable issues, especially for John, who is suffering from hay fever. In this situation comfort seemed of less importance.
The short series of gigs began in the former gasworks in Biel. Next daty was followed by a concert in Zurich, which ended up as the most hilarious performances ever in Zowiso history. The highlight of this short tour through Switzerland took place in the Rote Fabrik (Zurich, Seestrasse). This evening the audience turned out completely crazy. In retrospect, we learned from others that some people in the audience couldn't even withstand their tears during our exciting performance. At that very moment but even still now, we were not aware that we were able to turn on such emotions. This evening Zowiso apotheosis manifested in a Dutch song called "Hé Joop", a corrupted version of "Hey Joe" by Jimmy H. This song born out of dullness, turned out to be an unprecedented celebration of the impulse. The encore and birth of a Dutch line "nog een liedje" exploded due to participation of the accompanying members of Svätsox and The Ex. The particularly successful role was played by a very exuberant guest debut by Ferry Heijne, then member of Svätsox (now De Kift), when he was soloing his trumpet. This 7th August 1982 we denote as the most memorable night ever by Zowiso. As a triumph to be celebrated Rick was even taken on the shoulders. In retrospect we can say that this party was never again repeated in history of Zowiso.
The performance in French-speaking Geneva was of a different kind. We had to play in a small sized basement which was horribly affected by prominently skinny glue sniffing skinhead youths. Any food, but especially the expensive "potage aux oeufs" served in a nearby restaurant, could not count on their attention anyway; it was only glue that counted. Among us there was one, Co Mulder former bass player of the band Red Orchestra, who was lucky enough to taste the exclusive "potage aux oeufs". Later that night, an imminent conflict between a local skinhead and Sandra Bakker, who incidentally acts in a song on our first album and travelling with us, was slyly nipped in the bud, by donating a large bottle of beer from our giant stock. This stock of beer was a result of reputation; in the eyes of the Swiss, Dutch people are huge beer drinkers.
The unforgettable experiences followed in rapid succession. After our first tour through Switzerland, still mentioning August 1982, we entered smoothly into the next exciting moment, the recording of our own first 12" LP record. On the waves of the immense enthusiasm, especially Terrie's enthusiasm, dragged us easily into studio of The Ex (Theo & Theo's) to produce our first real album "At a jog trot do death". As an extra we added a 7" live single to our album, containing the live recordings of "Hé Joop" in Zurich. The B-side of this single was actually pointed as a statement, by releasing an ultra-short version of the song "Telegraf News". Some reviewers, which bothered to listen to the contents of our album, talked shame about the waste of the vinyl of the B-side. Their comments slipped away as water from a Teflon bottle. Actually it was only fun that drove us to this act.
After the release and distribution of our first album we were roaming over various stages in the Netherlands. Cherry picking was not our style, so we respond to any invitation coming. The sensation of a bigger audiences in the Dutch club circuit sometimes alternated with small rooms, often associated with tension that goes with the former Dutch (squat) action circuit. A performance in a hall of the former Hotel Bosch in Arnhem was one of those exciting moments we never experienced before. Although this former hotel offered enough room for a nightly sequel, it was no place to find relaxation that time. Because the building was slated to be cleared by the executive legislative power, we went to sleep with some unusual defensive instructions. In case of impending eviction we were instructed to use the pre-installed stock of bricks outside the hotel to defend ourselves against special police forces. Fortunately there were no signs of uproar that night or the next morning. Having slept our intoxication we could accept our return back home without any physical consequences. Having a watch and keeping time were no mandatory parts of our existence these days. In case you had to be on time, for example to catch a train, we sometimes had to rely on the time of church bells. The same thing happened to us that morning in Hotel Bosch, Arnhem. To have a good view of the church bells there was no other way than to go outside the former hotel building. Unfortunately after John left the premises the door closed behind him. John was not well prepared for this situation as John was only dressed in shirt and underwear while he was shut out. He had to wait much longer than expected because nearly everyone inside was still asleep. Only after considerable period of time continuing banging on the door John was "freed".
That we were capable to sleep anywhere proved our overnight stay on a partly demolished floor in a former Utility office building in Nijmegen. There are certain degrees of comfort, but this night is believed to be the last rung of the ladder of comfort, as we shared the cold concrete floor space without any window but with a huge heap of garbage.
Sometimes certain encounters have longer unforeseen consequences due to runaway fantasies. We remember for instance a party kiss in the backseat of the minivan with a starring role for a guy with a bald head. The association with a biting tick penetrating the neck of a girl was easily launched. As we found out how the word tick was named in the Surinam language Sranan Tongo, we decided to make up a fiction story which continued under the name "(The adventures of) Kupari".
Finally there is one anecdote of the year 1982 which we like end this chapter. As we performed on a festival with bands like The Ex, Zmiv and Knax in the city of Lemmer we also encountered a hilarious situation. A bet for a box of beer between Terrie (The Ex) and a member of Zmiv was brilliantly won by the band member Zmiv. This guy from Zmiv claimed that the music of The Ex makes him falling asleep every time. Terrie (The Ex) challenged him to prove it. If like a miracle the member Zmiv indeed fell asleep on a chair while listening The Ex was performing on stage!
The amount of turmoil in the world in 1982 brought us plenty of inspiration to create new songs and various performances. This enabled us to increase our musical development which we helped establish in the next year.