90-06-24 Pleasant Valley Children – Can’t Decide – Force Fed

Posted: February 4, 2012 in VV 1990
Tags: , , , , ,

[Brob’s tours:] “After my mates’ bands ‘Ripcord’ and ‘Heresy’ had split up, some of the guys formed new bands. Kalv (H) joined ‘Force Fed’ and John (H), Baz & John (R) started ‘Can’t Decide’. It was only natural for me to try and help promote them (with a little help from my friends) and find them gigs on the European continent. […]” This gig was the last of a 10-day tour.

At that time I was still active with the Smurfpunx collective but since it wasn’t always possible to organise things at Netwerk, Aalst and I was charmed by what Jan, Bruno & their mates tried to do at the Vort’n Vis, I asked them to set up a show for these bands there. It was also a celebration of the V.V.’s first anniversary.

Again, it was a great get-together with older and newer friends. ‘Force Fed’ had played at a Smurfpunx concert earlier that year already (Netwerk, Aalst, 17 feb 90 (Kings Of Oblivion & Force Fed)) so I already knew Nick Clark (FF guitarist) & his brother Nige(l) (FF drummer), and Darren ‘Daz’ Smith (ex ‘Kings Of Oblivion’; who replaced Kalv as FF bassist). Jamie wasn’t singing anymore for the band then: he was replaced by Mike (who later played with Kalv in ‘Meatfly’)… This was the last gig on a little tour I’d set up (the schedule is mentioned in Brob’s tours – I liked the guys and was helping out distributing their stuff (e.g. on Kalv’s In Your Face recs).

‘Can’t Decide’ was the new project of ‘Heresy’s John March (vocals), Steve ‘Baz’ Ballam (guitar) & John Millier (‘Ripcord’) and Bristol-based bassplayer Simon Hobbs (ex ‘Lunatic Fringe’). Except for the latter, we’d met quite a few times (them playing here, me going abroad)… Simon turned out to be a very friendly chap aswell… Their music was more melodic than what their previous bands played. ‘Ripcord’ had already played 3 times for Smurfpunx & ‘Heresy were no stangers either… (Netwerk, Aalst – 27 jun 87; 30 jan 88; 3 sep 88).

‘Pleasant Valley Children’ was Sned’s latest outfit at that time. Despite the name, with a rather nihilist approach of punk… We’d already met when his (first) band ‘Generic’ played with my ‘Repulsives’ combo (in the 80s) and we were exchanging letters (me helping him to sell stuff from his label Flat Earth recs). A couple of months before he had been over with ‘Sore Throat’ (where he played guitar instead of his usual drumming) (90-05-27 President Fetch – Sore Throat). A true jack-of-all-trades… ;-) Also in ‘P.V.C.’ was ‘Pig Havok/Havoc’ (Paul Clarke, who wrote the booklet ‘A Secret Devil’ – which I seem to have lost over the years, later in ‘Liz Gizzad’). As someone described him: the “demonically possessed” vocalist. ‘Monkey’ played guitar and Percy did the bass (at the end of the tour replaced by Sarah Smith). ‘Pig’ & ‘Monkey’ would later be back with ‘Bugeyed’…

Brob

This show was a good one from what I can remember. I think I nearly passed out from heat-exhaustion after our set… ‘Force Fed’ were good lads to tour with, we played quite a few gigs with them around this time. In fact, over the time ‘Can’t Decide’ were together, we played more shows on mainland Europe than we did in the U.K.! Can you believe it? Well it’s true. Interest in hardcore was on the way out in the late 80s – early 90s especially in England due to the growing popularity of grunge. We found it hard to get a tour together in our own country. Bands with big management backing were taking over.. fuckers!!

John Millier, ‘Can’t Decide’ drummer

Always liked playing the Vort’n Vis. The ‘P.V.C.’ gig was early on our 3 week inter-rail tour of Europe that took us from Holland and Belgium through Germany and Switzerland down to Southern Italy during the World Cup. “Vafanculo mondiale!” or something like that. As we had no van and were going by train, there were lots of friends along – 12 of us in the all and it could cause difficulties trying to get places to sleep but there was a room upstairs at Vort’n Vis if I remember correctly. We didn’t take amps, drums or even guitars as we didn’t want the hassle of carrying them. Pig only took a carrier-bag. Sned had an enormous rucksack full of records and drum-bits. This may have caused some friction! I had to get used to playing a variety of borrowed guitars in a lot of strange colours and shapes. The one in the photo doesn’t look too bad – I think it might have been Nick ‘Force Fed’s, as we had done a couple of gigs with them before in the U.K and they had some fancy kit. I think this was probably the second or third gig after playing somewhere in Holland and Liège. [Brob: Actually Liège was 90-07-13: (‘St Gilles’): Pleasant Valley Children (UK), Chronic Disease (Bel), Incertitude (Nl)…]

Some of the towns on the tour-shirt were spelling mistakes! The details were probably communicated in a phone-conversation in the days before e-mails! I can remember playin’ a football-match at one of the Belgian gigs against one of the other bands + friends. We must have won! Always remember the generosity of you and the people we stayed with, so different to a lot of experiences in England where you were lucky to get a beer each after a gig! I can remember ‘P.V.C.’ using our gear… Good job everybody didn’t tour with no instruments at all! You did a great job on our tours. Also me & Daz took over mixing for one band and people were complaining it got too loud! I’m still in a couple of bands, one with Nick…

Nigel Clark, ‘Force Fed’ drummer

Always liked playing the Vort’n Vis. The ‘P.V.C.’ gig was early on our 3 week inter-rail tour of Europe that took us from Holland and Belgium through Germany and Switzerland down to Southern Italy during the World Cup. “Vafanculo mondiale!” or something like that. As we had no van and were going by train, there were lots of friends along – 12 of us in the all and it could cause difficulties trying to get places to sleep but there was a room upstairs at Vort’n Vis if I remember correctly. We didn’t take amps, drums or even guitars as we didn’t want the hassle of carrying them. Pig only took a carrier-bag. Sned had an enormous rucksack full of records and drum-bits. This may have caused some friction! I had to get used to playing a variety of borrowed guitars in a lot of strange colours and shapes. The one in the photo doesn’t look too bad – I think it might have been Nick ‘Force Fed’s, as we had done a couple of gigs with them before in the U.K and they had some fancy kit. I think this was probably the second or third gig after playing somewhere in Holland and Liège. [Brob: Actually Liège was 90-07-13: (‘St Gilles’): Pleasant Valley Children (UK), Chronic Disease (Bel), Incertitude (Nl)…]

Andrew ‘Monkey’ Clark-Monks , ‘Pleasant Valley Children’ guitarist

Sarah played the last few gigs of that tour because I had to go home, she was just filling in. I didn’t play with them again so they got Rich as a permanent replacement until they started ‘Bugeyed’; I still did other stuff with both ‘Pig’ & ‘Monkey’ though…

Percy

‘Pleasant Valley Children’ (performing under the watchful eyes of Jan C., and Leffe taking a ‘break’)

Some of the ‘P.V.C.’ crew (Martin ‘Mel’ Ellis, Andrew ‘Monkey’ Clark, Ash, Paul ‘Pig Havoc’ Clarke, Sarah Smith & Dave ‘Doom’) relaxing in front of the Vort’n Vis (pic by Russ Snell)

‘Can’t Decide’: John Millier, Baz, John March, Simon

90-06 Force Fed tourTour-shirt the Clark bros made… Some very exotic places there ;-) (Troisdork ?, Liepenberg ?)! The schedule can be found here: Brob’s tours

Some of the towns on the tour-shirt were spelling mistakes! The details were probably communicated in a phone-conversation in the days before e-mails! I can remember playin’ a football-match at one of the Belgian gigs against one of the other bands + friends. We must have won! Always remember the generosity of you and the people we stayed with, so different to a lot of experiences in England where you were lucky to get a beer each after a gig! I can remember ‘P.V.C.’ using our gear… Good job everybody didn’t tour with no instruments at all! You did a great job on our tours. Also me & Daz took over mixing for one band and people were complaining it got too loud! I’m still in a couple of bands, one with Nick…

Nigel Clark, ‘Force Fed’ drummer

additions wellcome!…

Comments
  1. Steve W. says:

    I was at this gig too, I was in Belgium on holidays at the time. Great night it was. I may still have some photos somewhere…

  2. Monkey says:

    ‘Pleasant Valley Children’ live, early 90s, somewhere in the UK

  3. Russ Snell says:

    I came along with ‘P.V.C.’ as an “unnoffical roadie” along with Christine (my long suffering gf at the time). I don’t remember much about this gig apart from Sned and Pig having a massive row about sleeping-places or something daft like that. I know they did another gig before this one in Holland at the Breehuys in Leiden with ‘Force Fed’, ‘Bambix’ and some others but I don’t think I was at the Liège gig. Good Times!

  4. Jan Claus says:

    I think I was doing the singer’s volume with a rickety voice-amp. It was a gig celebrating the one year existence of the Vort’n Vis. No one could’ve imagined then that the Vort’n Vis would still exist a quarter of a century later.

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