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Book Launch: ‘Punks Listen’, OCCII, Amsterdam  

A brilliant night was had earlier in the month at the OCCII club in Amsterdam at the book launch of the must-have new book ‘Punks Listen’. The book documents stories from hundreds of people from the world of punk as they discuss what records have impressed them most.

Published by the anarchist punk Hope Collective in Ireland, with proceeds going to Red Cross work for Ukraine war victims, the list of contributors is impressive and includes:

Andy Cairns (Therapy?); Suggs (Madness); Gaye Black (The Adverts); Henry Rollins and Mike Watt (Minutemen), amongst many others, including quite a few members of the Dutch punk community, namely, Marcel Stol, bass/vocals of the band Neuroot, yours truly, Cheap ‘n’ Nasty vocals, Andries van den Broek, accordion, Bunch of Bastards and Emma Paulissen, Bass player for Daddy.

Punks Listen, panel, left to right Marcel Stol, bass/vocals of the band Neuroot, Anita Ragunath, panel chair, yours truly, Cheap ‘n’ Nasty vocals, Andries van den Broek, Bunch of Bastards accordion, and Emma Paulissen, Bass, Daddy. photo by John Paulissen.

The book launch evening started with a panel discussion with the four contributors, and the panel Chair, Anita Raghunath, opened the evening by asking Andries about how punk rock ‘saved his life’, when, after he had a stroke, he started going to folk punk concerts and eventually joined a band for the first time in his life.

Anita, asked me why I had chosen a Siouxsie and the Banshees album as one of my favourites. I replied that I had never remotely thought about being in a band before punk started. But in 1977, I read in an establishment rock paper a sexist classist slag-off of French-Dutch all-women punk band the Lou’s calling them ‘slum girls’. This made me so angry that I thought: ‘If they slag punk off, then I should get to know more about it.’ Then, I discovered Siouxsie and the Banshees. Before their first gig, Siouxsie had never sung through a microphone, the other band members had never played instruments on a stage. So, I thought: ‘Don’t wait till doomsday, when you have enough money to buy expensive instruments and amps. Start a band now… and why not a fanzine too?’ And that’s exactly what I did!

Anita asked Emma Paulissen of Daddy: ‘Though you and Herman started in music decades apart, you both chose a late 1970s punk album.’ “Yes,” Emma replied. “When I was 13-14, seven years ago, I saw the Japanese anime Nana, which showed me the way to Vivienne Westwood and the Sex Pistols

Marcel Stoll from Neuroot explained how he had chosen the 1978 compilation album ‘Farewell To The Roxy,’ which proved that the early punk bands on that album, though unknown, (except later the UK Subs), were worth hearing.

After the panel, Emma, Marcel and Andries’ bands played.

Daddy played their first-ever gig, to an enthusiastic audience. A highlight was their Sex Pistols cover of ‘Bodies’, from Never Mind The Bollocks. The album that Emma chose as her favourite in the book.

Daddy playing, OCCII 7 October 2022, Emma Paulissen on the right, photo John Paulissen

The band sounded very tight for members who had come together so recently, Their drummer is also of partly Ukrainian origin, so playing this gig was extra important for Daddy.

Then came hardcore punks Neuroot. They originally played from 1980-1988. After a hiatus, they reformed in 2012, and today, only bass player Marcel is left from the original line-up. 

Neuroot OCCII Marcel on the right photo John-Paulissen

Many songs by Neuroot are about the danger of fascism. Most are sung in English, some in German. It was a great set, and even a mini mosh pit started.

Bunch of Bastards played their brand of folk punk, inspired, of course, by Irish folk music. Fitting in with the place of origin of the book. Many people, including Daddy members, danced frantically.

Bunch Of Bastards OCCII, Andries on accordion, photo John Paulissen

I gave all books I had to the contributors, or I sold them. Oscar Smit, author of the book series about punk in Amsterdam venue Paradiso, and Peter Sinnige, guitarist for Amsterdam band the Bugs, purchased copies too, and of course, we signed them!

An unforgettable night. All the best to everyone who was there, and for ending the bloody Ukraine war!

Compiled by friends Niall McGuirk and Michael Murphy, ‘Punks Listen‘ is now available from the Hope Collective.

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