95-10-14 Defiance – Stalingrad – Sabot

Posted: April 22, 2013 in VV 1995
Tags: , , , , , ,

95 Defiance tour-poster

‘Defiance’, an anarcho street-punk band from Portland (Oregon), were bassist Kelly Halliburton (also backing-vocals; ex ‘Resist’ – see 92-06-13, also later on in ‘Cluster Bomb Unit’ for a while), singer Alaric ‘Gibby’ Brown (Tony Mengis of ‘Resist’ was on the split-CD with ‘Police Bastard’ – Ataque Sonoro in ‘95), guitarist Michael ‘Mike Arrogant’ Aragon and drummer Eric ‘Niff’ Alukonis. Kelly put out the European Tour 7” (only sold on that tour) on his Consensus Reality label. There’s also a tape with recordings of their concert in Warsaw, Poland (95-09-15).

‘Cluster Bomb Unit’ (from South Germany, Stuttgart area) were – at that time – Mike Gunser (bass), Oliver Barth (drums & vocals), Roland Sesulka (guitar), Werner Nötzel (guitar) and Marc-Oliver Dambrowski (vocals). They play(ed) D-beat (their own words); Thought Crime releases (Thomas Franke & Jens Walter) described them as “solid crust in raw noise distort”… Kelly of ‘Resist’ had met them on their European tour in 1992 and released a split-flexi on his label. He also joined ‘C.B.U.’ for a while in the noughties. ‘C.B.U.’ did part of the ‘Defiance’ tour with them but didn’t make it to the Vort’n Vis. The band still performs in a slightly different line-up (with a female vocalist).

‘Sabot’ was originally from San Francisco. They live in the Czech Republic nowadays and still play. Nobody really knew the duo but I remember they – Christopher Rankin (bass) & Hilary Binder (drums) – really got the crowd enthusiastic and dancing with their instrumental mix of hardcore-punk and progressive rock/jazz.

‘Stalingrad’ from Bradford were Rich(ard) Claxton (vocals, synthesizer), Russ Snell (guitar), Mik Allison (drums, R.I.P.), Justin ‘Sullivan’ Wood (bass). They were considered a ‘hate-core’ band by some but read the review I wrote for Tilt! #8… Mik had send me their demo-tape the year before… Later Russ contacted me because he was sorting out some gigs for a tour (together with ‘Underclass’ from Liverpool) and his letters to Bruno remained unanswered. Michael Knopp from Common Cause recs was supposed to help out for Germany. I can ‘t remember if I arranged other gigs in Belgium and/or The Netherlands but they did end up at the V.V. (without ‘Underclass’, if I remember correctly). Mik & me exchanged some decent letters after that… I think they had their split-7” with ‘Voorhees’ out by then (on Jason Kilvington’s label Caught Offside). The 7”s – a self-titled one (on Richard Corbridge’s Armed With Anger) and a split with ‘Underclass’ (with the tracks from the demo; on Caught Offside) – came the next year… In ’98 the album Patty We Kind Of Missed You On Your Birthday was released on Armed With Anger.


Stalingrad in T!895-10-14 Stalingrad cover

We only played Ieper that one time with ‘Defiance’ and ‘Sabot’ in ‘95. The second tour was with ‘Underclass’ and I’m sure we played La Zone in Liège [96-04-06 Stalingrad, Underclass, Hiatus] on our way into Germany and some god-awful squat in Gent on way out (I think!). [Brob: According to what I found back that was 97-09-05 (Hogepont Squat): Stalingrad, Tromatism (Fra), La Fraction (Fra), Machine Gun Etiquette (UK).] It was a weird one playing with ‘Defiance’ cause they were all ‘punk as fuck’ – haha – and I think there was some trouble because ‘Defiance’s drummer (who was a bit of a dick) was smashing glasses in the bar after the show. ‘Cluster Bomb Unit’ didn’t play; ‘Sabot’ did. We didn’t get to play the V.V. again – I remember we had to practically beg Bruno for a gig… We played Liège and Gent on a later tour… Mik was still in the band when we played Ieper. Bri [Talbot] was driving us then. Bri joined the band [on drums] for the Euro tour in ‘97. Andy Irvine [‘Disaffect’] joined the band after I left and played on the (shitty) 10” released by [German label] Scene Police [entitled Abandonment]. I still go to the 1in12 now and again but am not active really.

Russ Snell, ‘Stalingrad’ guitarist (& 1in12 collaborator)

Unfortunatly we never played at the Vort’n Vis, nor Belgium. Don’t know if we can ever make it there. We had a bunch of offers but the time never really fitted. Maybe in the future… I know the Vort’n Vis is a legendary club! I recall we were supposed to play there once but had to cancel last minute. In a way I’m glad we didn’t play ;-) We do like to be remembered… If no-one would remember that we played when we did, it would mean we were boring… That would be dramatical! Haha…

Oliver Barth, drummer of ‘Cluster Bomb Unit’

Sadly I was in jail most of 1995. I was at the V.V. in ‘92 with ‘Resist’…

Tony Mengis

I think we helped ‘Defiance’ get into the UK by taking their guitars in our van on the ferry…

Brian Talbot

I found my journal but no Vort’n Vis… I must have stopped by then. Bummer… Well I do remember meeting ‘Stalingrad’ on the ferry and hearing stories about how hard it was to get into England. This tour was before the E.U. so every border on our tour was a shakedown, sometimes at gunpoint. Bri offered to take our guitars in their van so we could just walk in like tourists…punk tourists with no money! But it worked; we were let in pretty easily with no gear we didn’t have to answer the standard band-questions. I honestly don’t remember too much about the Vort’n Vis gig – nearly 20 years ago – as I only played there the one time; and well a lot of punk clubs are pretty similar. I do remember drinking at the bar across the street and a biker telling me I had to try Duvel… Great beer and a really fun tour!

Mike ‘Arrogant’, ‘Defiance’ guitarist

I remember that it was pretty fun, even if not too many people were there. I remember that we played with ‘Sabot’, the two-piece San Francisco / Ceske Budejovice band, and with the UK’s ‘Stalingrad’. I met with the guy who ran Love And Hope recs (Mark?), and we went across the street to some yuppie bar for drinks. They tried to kick us out but we weren’t doing anything wrong so I simply told them that I wasn’t leaving. They were a bit confused – apparently, most people just leave when asked to, I guess – and they didn’t know what to do. The manager told me he was going to call the police. “Go ahead!”, I told him. I wasn’t in the mood to be bossed around by some fancy git. I had just spent the last two months on the most grueling tour of my life – death, car-wrecks, arrests, border hassles, band fist-fights – I had seen it all, and I certainly wasn’t afraid of anything this asshole could throw at me. Mark got a little nervous when the cops showed up, but I told him I wasn’t going anywhere until I finished my drink. The cops came in, looked at us peacefully sitting and drinking our beer, looked at the manager, shrugged and left without saying a word to us. I smiled at the manager in an unmistakable “Fuck you!” kind of way, finished my drink and left.

The gig was OK…not too many people but fun all the same. I believe we slept at the venue. The next morning we had to take the ferry from Oostend to Ramsgate to start our UK tour…somehow the singer for ‘Stalingrad’ had gotten sooooo wasted that he was running around the ferry shrieking and yelling. Bri from ‘Doom’ was driving them and we had a good laugh about how crazy this guy was being…

Kelly Halliburton, ‘Defiance’ bassist

Some photos of ‘Defiance’ (by Wim DL -1&2- & Michael M -3):

95-10-14 Defiance' (by Wim DL)95-10-14 Defiance (by Wim DL)95-10-14 Defiance (by Michael M) (-)

excerpts from the V.V. guestbook:

VV 95-10-14 - (book B) Defiance

VV 95-10-14 - (book B) Sabot

VV 95-10-14 - (book B) StalingradRuss: “I have no idea what that post in the guest-book is about! Looks like Mik or Rich’s doing…”

additions wellcome!…

  1. Kelly Halliburton says:

    Ha…good times… Mike forgot that one of the guys from ‘Stalingrad’ lost his fucking shit on the ferry… He was so wasted that he was just running around making really crazy noises… The rest of his band and Bri were laughing and apologizing for him.
    Also, we did get quite a hassle at the border – they held us for an hour or so while everyone else got in and three or four old customs guys kind of stood around and muttered to themselves about us, until one of them went “Well, I reckon they’re good boys and won’t cause any trouble…” and gave us our passports back. Mine was so damaged that the customs guy asked me if I’d fallen into the sea with it! Good times…

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