WTM #1059: The World Goes Rondos

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wReck thiS meSS ~ Radio Patapoe 88.3

Amsterdam ~ Ethno-Illogical Psycho-Radiographies

11 May 2009 // 17.00-19.00

“my money is over the ocean / in business across the seas / to prevent the poor from dying / so buy my colour TVs…”

• Rondos, “Syphilips”

King Kong’s Penis > Rondos

Wanna Go Home > Rondos

Hey Gigolo > Rondos

Russian are Coming > Rondos

Duits > Lingaphone [Demonstratie Plaat / Linguaphone]

+ The Salt Eaters > Tom Hamilton + Bruce Eisenbeil [Shadow Machine / Pogus]

System > Rondos

City of Fear > Rondos

We don’t Need no Speed > Rondos

If I Had a Hamer > Rondos

“10 – trust no politicians / do nothing for you / 9 – believe no bible mission / they want your money too …”

• Rondos, “Countdown Twist”

A Black & White Statement > Rondos

Montreuil Sous Bois 1 > Marc Pichelin & Jean-Leon Pallandre [Cart Postale Sonore / Ouïe / Dire]

Frans > Lingaphone [Demonstratie Plaat / Linguaphone]

+ Little Left on the Left Tom Hamilton + Bruce Eisenbeil [Shadow Machine / Pogus]

Which side will you be on? > Rondos

Tools > Rondos

Teeth > Rondos

Montreuil Sous Bois 2 > Marc Pichelin & Jean-Leon Pallandre [Cart Postale Sonore / Ouïe / Dire]

Intro / I Don’t Wanna Smile > Rondos

Throwing bricks Just For Kicks > Rondos

Nothing to Lose > Rondos

Politics > Girls at Our Best [VA / Compilation / Rough Trade, 1981]

Dusting off Dada > Tom Hamilton + Bruce Eisenbeil [Shadow Machine / Pogus]

Just Another Loser > Rondos

022 > Rondos

Sumer Kings > Rondos

Gotta Kill a Cop Tonight > Rondos

That and Nothing Else #1 > Project Module [That and Nothing Else / Black Note]

Montreuil Sous Bois 4 > Marc Pichelin & Jean-Leon Pallandre [Cart Postale Sonore / Ouïe / Dire]

Fanfare in the Garden > Essential Logic [VA / Compilation / Rough Trade, 1981]

Too Blind to See > Rondos

Orange Orange > Rondos

Tea and Tea > Rondos

Born in Flames > Red Krayola [VA / Compilation / Rough Trade, 1981]

I Love You Baby > Galliano

City Boy > Rondos

Run for Fun > Rondos

Berlin > Rondos

We’ll Drive You Bananas > Rondos

Fascist Dreams > Rondos

Montreuil Sous Bois 5 > Marc Pichelin & Jean-Leon Pallandre [Cart Postale Sonore / Ouïe / Dire]

That and Nothing Else #5 > Project Module [That and Nothing Else / Black Note]

Progress / I Got No Time > Rondos

That and Nothing Else #6 > Project Module [That and Nothing Else / Black Note]

Montreuil Sous Bois 6 > Marc Pichelin & Jean-Leon Pallandre [Cart Postale Sonore / Ouïe / Dire]

Freddie’s Revenge > Galliano

“no establishment’s art / no deadman’s heart / no bourgeois illustrations / no ruling class frustrations / but art out on the street…”

Rondos, “A black & white statement”

1st• Destroy the Entertainment, King Kong & Red Wig, 2009. Great collection of missing link Dutch punk in the spirit of Crass and the Ex. Lovingly produced by Grrrt. This is a great and necessary revision of rock/punk history and it sounds good too. Fast, ferocious, polemical, angry, punk but also with a smirk and a smile, which redeems it and gives it its durability. They began in 1979 in Rotterdam by taking their favorite songs by their favorite bands – Wire, Eater, the Damned and the Clash, learned them and came up with their own interpretations of the lyrics. They practices some, began coming up with their own song, bought some used leather jackets, and came up with the name Pull…Use…Destroy and they began to tour, mainly to shocked artsy-fartsy audiences. No reaction… And they took over an abandoned building in Rotterdam’s Delfshaven area and set up an art collective and plotted how they were going to take over and change the music world at least in the Lowlands. I like that they played with the presumptions of the leftists, and provoked many by adopting a yellow hammer and sickle as their logo, pissing off more than their share of hardcore leftists. But provocation is fun, engaging, dynamic, tense, thrilling and ultimately a necessary part of the anti-pop dialectic of moving beyond mere consumerist behavior in the music world. DIY was their MO.

Rondo is a Baroque term meaning to return to the original motif. Also similar to the refrain in classical music. The rondo was also used to describe the fast and vivacious movements of baroque concertos. They changed their name to The Rondos shortly after they began gigging “after the almond tartlets we ate by the dozen in the art school canteen. It was the worst name we could think of.”

“…Of course we were leftist. That was completely normal in those days. The establishment, the state, the army, capital and the church were far removed from us and formed a threat to our own creativity and lust for life. That much was obvious and needed no discussion. So let’s get going. Punk sailed under the flag of anarchism, but in anarchism there slumbered a hint of destruction and fatalism. We wanted to differentiate ourselves from that, so we turned to a more communist point of view. Some of us came from a Marxist-Leninist background. We believed in doing things ourselves and doing them together. Co-operation. It obviously had nothing to do with any form of state communism, if it can be called that. We kept far away from the bourgeois CPN and leaned more towards the viewpoints of the German RAF (Rote Armee Fraktion), which had taken up arms against imperialism in the spirit of the Vietcong. We sympathized with that. Not that we wanted to take up arms, but we came a long way by taking up our guitars.

At the same time, communism as a symbol turned out to be a good provocation too, both towards the bourgeoisie and the self-proclaimed anarchist punk scene. We sewed a yellow hammer and sickle on to the top left corner of a large Dutch flag and used it as a backdrop to our gigs. It went really well with Maarten’s police uniform. But it was not always understood. Were we really communists? We assented to it half mockingly and half seriously. In the beginning, our lyrics were non-political or generally ‘anti’. Wayward, anyhow. Over time we became more serious about our communist image. More fanatical too, due to pressure from the outside. But more about that later.

It remains to be seen whether that whole business with the hammer and sickle was an act of wisdom. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20. We were more like precursors of the do-it-yourself undercurrent than followers of communist doctrine. We practised what we preached and preached what we practised. It wasn’t theory. We were not armchair socialists. We shared our space, our equipment, our printing press and our money. We worked on an equal basis with everyone. And we worked hard. Day and night. Without making any money for ourselves. Not a cent. We were in service. So were a lot of others. They were the ones we collaborated with, whether they were punks or not.

We gained followers. Many young punks who liked our music and also kind of liked our ideas. Hammers and sickles appeared all over the place, but that had never been our aim. On the contrary: we were hoping people would shape their own ideas, start their own bands and stencil their own fanzines. Some did, others preferred to be followers…”

Read more of this in the liner notes as you listen to this double LP. If you can, since your head will be bobbing like one of those wire-necked dolls some football fans used to have in the back windows of their cars. This is one of the year’s best. Only quibble is that it is on LP, which is all cute and anti-consumer but also decidedly in-crowd elitist since most “normal” people don’t have turntables anymore. There is also something delightfully or deliriously contrarian or obstinate about it – obscurantist, elitist and yet fitting. Really worth the effort…

That they were able to combine activism, collectivism, street level political action, post-commie [situationist-esque] critique is a credit to their kind. That they sounded so great doing it makes their relative obscurity in NL and everywhere else a mystery and a damn shame. This is an excellent Rondos collection with very, very good liner notes.




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