This is a long story, folks. But every story has to come to an end, and so does finally the story of Schmabreux.
One after the other. Around the Christmas days back in 1988, my old friend Michael and I were invited to play some sessions with a drummer and a guitarist, somewhere in the bogs close to the Dutch border, in the party cellar of the drummer´s parents.
He knew all the good stuff in music, and after connecting via some The Cure covers, we decided to found a band. The other guitarist joined another band. They played the kind of stuff that was up-to-date at that time, somewhere between Punk and New Wave, and even got paid gigs.
Michael took up the bass, I showed him a few bass lines, and he was running. Angelus, the drummer, and I did write a handful of songs, a former class mate from High School joined us with an old Höfner guitar he had bought cheaply, and we founded “Les Geile Leistn”. I was forced to sing, but I couldn´t really hold a tone, so I did everything that my voice was able to do – screaming, whispering, breathing…
Angelus added his own voice. After Ali Bsali had left for going on the Walz as a stonemason, the remaining three of us spent hours and hours in this cellar, trying hard to freak out and to express ourselves.
Another lad was interested in our music. He played keyboards, not professional, but open-minded, and had just bought some new effect devices. He recorded our first demo as Permanent Bardo, mixing, kicking the sound effects and sometimes playing keyboards at the same time, everything live to cassette.
This was JPK. In the end of 1989 we discovered what was Hardcore for us at that time: Minutemen, Saccharine Trust, Hüsker Dü, The Meat Puppets, Sonic Youth, The Birthday Party, lots more.
We bought an 8-track tape machine the following year. “Flies Are Back” we called the next demo, a strange work. We had no appropriate pre-amplification for all instruments, so first the drummer played the structure, then bass, guitar, vocals, guitar and vocal overdubs were added. A quite bizarre recording, sometimes the metrum collapses, harmonies and disharmonic elements collide.
We had the chance to perform our stuff live before audience several times. If this ship was running once, it would be a warship sometimes. A friend who saw our gig at “Der Blaue Bock” in Bocholt described our music as “slow and dirty”, other performances like this one from Kleinringe in 1990 showed the speed and the intuition only a trio can achieve.
We made a quite interesting and, for my part, remarkable album in 1991, “Suns and Feathers”. Here we took the chance to record some of our standards like “Moslech Suicide”, a free, atonal instrumental we normally used as an opener for live gigs, and to develop new songs and song structures.
After a few live experiences with the new stuff, Schmabreux disbanded for internal reasons in the end of 1992. Using the name Soul Circus, bass player M. F. Teerstuhl and drummer J. H. Angelus played straight Punk Rock together with guitarist Freddy B. Trüger, while I started my own project, Geronimoe´s Perception.
Another band project of J. H. Angelus were The Tea Junkies which he had formed with his guitar partner Franko “Big” Melkunie around 1991. A few years later, this Franko would become the second guitarist in Schmabreux´s new manifestation.
So we started again as a four-piece. Now we had to arrange more, the free, fluent aspect of performing and composing our songs had gone for a part, and we went more and more towards firmly structured song schemes – Intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, that way.
After a while, mainly Teerstuhl, but also other folks in the band got a little tired with this concept, and we recorded an improvised album, which meant instant composing live to Fostex 8-track tape machine. “Mastaba” is one of these songs, a ten-minute piece which slowly develops.
During all the years of our existence as a quartet from 1995 to 2009, we had only one appearance on stage, at the F24 in Münster. Less than 10 people saw the concert, but they even paid for it, and most of them stayed until the show was over. All in all – we were loud.
In 2009 we had to give up our studio and rehearsal room in the bogs of Gronau-Epe. We made a last party, a remarkable party. Some weeks before we had recorded our last rehearsal on a digital multi-tracker. We estimated it had been the 875th one, and so we working people called this final masterpiece just 875.
Yes, and this is the end of the story and the end of the page. Close to that at least.