91-11-23 Headstart – Union Morbide – [Exhaustless Revolt]

Posted: October 27, 2014 in VV 1991
Tags: , , , , ,

LMOOR logo(in memory of Hans Engel)

‘Headstart’ was a Glaswegian band playing fast HC. It was the band of my mate Adam Johnston (vocals), who did Go! zine, and Jamie Usher (guitar; ex ‘The Disturbed’, also 1st incarnation of ‘Sedition’, ‘Quarantine’ & ‘Scatha’ for a while; played in ‘Scraps’ at some time-point…). The others were ‘Jaf’ (the drummer; John Motson) & ‘Schultz’ (Mark Brown, the bassplayer)…

‘Union Morbide’ from Heemskerk/Beverwijk played melodic HC with very recognisable passionate vocals. We’d had them over at a Smurfpunx gig before (89-03-25): Maxim Aafjes was still doing vocals, Dennis Cornelissens had replaced the original bassplayer Eelco Boonacker (who now played guitar), guitarist Philip van Koeveringe & drummer Michel Weijgertse (R.I.P. 2008; Marcel Hommes joined when Michel quit in late 1992). This must’ve been around the time their 7” called 015 came out on Hans Engel’s Let’s Make Our Own recs; it was recorded in June that year. Apparently they also played 91-12-31 but I can’t remember that…

Union Morbide 015 insert‘Union Morbide’ 015 insert: L=>R: Philip, Dennis, Michel, Eelco & Maxim

This would’ve been ‘Exhaustless Revolt’s 2nd time after 91-05-03 but apparently they didn’t play… (Can’t remember.)


Unless any proof pops up, I would doubt that we played with those two bands that day…

Filip Staes, ‘Exhaustless Revolt’ singer/guitarist

Can’t remember if ‘E.R.’ actually played. ‘Union Morbide’ definitely did. I was there…

Joris De Buysser, Bonds Of Friendship zine

I can remember that we were touring around New Year… We bumped into ‘Disturbing Foresights’ [They played at the V.V. 91-12-31] on a lot of places… We were touring almost 2 weeks then: Germany, Switzerland. The attic of the Vort’n Vis was cold/moist. We were all a bit ill, because of little sleep and the booze. We went looking for a warm hotel-room but couldn’t find anything. After the soundcheck the beer went down well. The atmosphere was good and our we felt like playing, just as always. Myself, I was in a miserable state and asked someone for some aspirin. I got some but it was as big as a guilder. Little did I know, I was in Belgium and thought that was OK. I crammed the thing inside and thought to flush it with a few gulps of coke. After two seconds my mouth was filled with foam. Turned out it was one of those fizzy-tablets and I spent the whole concert belching on stage.

Dennis Cornelissens, ‘Union Morbide’ bassist

I think I still have a tape with recordings of ‘Union Morbide’s concert here…

Eric ‘React’ W.

‘Headstart’ was an attempt by 4 Glasgow punks to start a fast-as-hell hardcore band, which was severely lacking in the Scottish scene, in our opinion. It was kind of a straight-edge band, the problem being that 2 of the members seemed to have an alcohol problem! The other problem was the fact that everybody was not playing the instrument they should have: the drummer was actually a bass-player (He’d played in a couple of other bands before ‘Headstart’.), the guitarist was a good drummer, the bass-player was pretty good on all instruments. And the vocalist? Well, this was my first band and the excitement/nervousness didn’t do me any favours.

We somehow managed to persuade a guy from Belgium (Ghilain [Vermeersch, of Be Yourself recs] from Nieuwpoort) to set up a mini-tour (3 gigs!) in Belgium [91-11-24 (‘Volkshuis, Ekeren, a benefit for the non-profit organisation ‘For Mother Earth’] – with ‘Union Morbide’ and all-female band- & in Breda, Holland (where we played a squatted church with a post-punk band called ‘Accidental Youth’, I think… Jaf got in contact with Ghilain after getting the ‘Scraps’ LP (he’d been kinda pals with David, I think) and just asking for a gig or two. We’d only played 1 gig by that point (haha!) so it was a bit cheeky of Jaf to ask. But he went for it anyway. Ghilain picked us up and we stayed at his and he drove us to the gigs.

At the ferryport at Oostende we met an English guy who would end up going to the gig (he was a local to the V.V. [Steve ‘Neuthrone’?]. His stories about the venue and the other stuff I’d read about it made us pretty excited about playing there. A major problem, though, was that we were actually pretty crap. This isn’t me being modest, it’s the absolute truth. I think word got out about this Scottish “straight-edge band” amongst the gig-going Belgian youth and there was a decent crowd expecting ‘Youth Of Today’-type HC. What they got was a rather poor, un-tight mess of a band, with my lyric-book at the front of the stage as I was so nervous about playing in front of people that I’d forget my lyrics. I jumped about a lot, partly to cover up for the fact that we were so bad. The kids seemed to enjoy my enthusiasm and I was able to crowd-surf for a while and look like a real hardcore hero. Either that or one of those bodies you see being carried by a massive crowd at a funeral in Gaza or something. I honestly was enjoying myself and hating it all at the same time as I felt we were conning the crowd (like Johnny Rotten said: Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?!) We should have been arrested for crimes against hardcore and deported on the next boat to the UK from Oostende. Apparently the kids wanted us to go on earlier as a lot of them had school the next morning (I think it was a Sunday night? [It was a Saturday but gigs always started rather early because Ieper is so far away for most who wanted to catch the last train…]), so they missed an actual decent band in ‘Union Morbide’. I’m sorry but I have no memory of ‘Exhaustless Revolt’ at all. ‘Union Morbide’ were proper musicians and I remember the vocalist actually singing, in a kind of ‘Funeral Oration’ way. Oh, and how can I forget meeting up with Mr. Brob who I had been writing to and met briefly before when he visited Glasgow!

I remember having tokens to trade for drink at the bar. Man, I’ve never drank so much orange-juice in my life! Two of the others (Jamie and Schultz) were probably desperate for a beer or 6, but stuck to the non-drinking “policy” for the whole ‘tour’. Oh yeah, I had an It’s OK Not To Drink! t-shirt that I bought and wore at the gig. I was still straight-edge for a few years after this time then gave in to the evil of drink & drugs, not in an addictive way, though. Wish I still had that t-shirt [Brob: I have! ;-)] as I’ve reverted to a non-drinking/drugging lifestyle. Belgium seemed to have a thriving S.E. scene at the time and it was cool to see it for myself.

We stayed upstairs in the band-rooms after the gig and it was not what I was used to. I’m a clean kinda guy and it was a bit on the smelly/dirty side for me, though I certainly appreciate the fact that we were fed, watered and put up at the venue. We had breakfast in the morning which was chocolate cakes and pastries which we found bizarre – cakes for breakfast?! Are you kidding me?! Like I said, bizzare, but nice! We had nothing like the V.V. in Scotland and still don’t…

Jamie played on tour with ‘Scraps’ right after we were here. Him and his girlfriend stayed on at Ghilain’s, then went on tour with ‘Scraps’. I went to Lille when Jamie was asked to play 2nd guitar with ‘Scraps’ and he went to learn the songs. Only David spoke any English, really, and Jamie was not the best guitarist. I think David fell out with Jamie on the tour as he made quite a few mistakes while playing. But he got to visit a few other places and generally enjoyed himself, I think.

Adam Johnston, ‘Headstart’ singer

[Brob: Adam provided a bunch of pics of ‘Headstart’ playing live but the resolution is just not good enough for publication unfortunately…]

After the Freely Chosen album in 1989 I started playing guitar and Dennis Cornelissens took over on bass. You could hear the new line-up on the 015 single. I played here too…

Eelco Boonacker, ‘Union Morbide’ guitarist

excerpts from the V.V. guestbook:

VV 91-11-23 - (book A) Headstart

VV 91-11-23 - (book A) Union Morbide DennisVV 91-11-23 - (book A) Union Morbide PhilipVV 91-11-23 - (book A) Union Morbide Worm

additions wellcome!…

  1. Eelco Boonacker says:

    Worm was a bloke from the Alkmaar scene (We were connected with them at that time, just as we were with the bunch from Hoorn.). He sometimes came on tour with us ging; sort of roadie / hangaround…

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