A couple of days ago Icepick’s – No Forgiveness demo session ‘leaked’ in our forums. I thought it was a good time to look back on Icepick with drummer Alfons. Turns out, things are not totally done yet…
Hey Alfons, how are you doing? What are you doing these days?
Hey Pim, I’m good, thanks. I just got back from a trip to Denmark with Cornered. They played an outdoor festival there with Terror, Naysayer and some other bands and I filled in on drums for them. I’ll play another show with them next week. Other than that, I haven’t been doing very much music wise since Icepick quit, although Martin and I still jam from time to time. We’re actually gonna do a reunion show with Icepick next month, which is gonna be a benefit show to raise money for KWF kankerbestrijding (fight against cancer).
Good to hear that! The fact that you’re playing a show, not the cause of course… Looking forward to that show? Anything special in mind for it or something?
Yeah, I’m looking forward to it, it’ll be cool to play those songs live again. And it’s for a good cause, so I think it’s gonna be a cool event. We’ll have Niels from Cornered play on second guitar for us and maybe some old bandmembers will join us on a couple of songs. I think there are also some plans to film the whole thing.
And as for that jamming with Martin. Any chance of a band coming out of that some day?
Yeah I’m pretty sure we’ll be coming up with something new in the future. Right now we live in different parts of the country, so it’s only occasionally that we have a chance to rehearse together. I’ll also be gone for travelling around the world for 9 months after our reunion gig, so it might take a while, but you’ll definitely hear something new from us sooner or later.
We’re actually gonna do a reunion show with Icepick next month, which is gonna be a benefit show to raise money for KWF kankerbestrijding (fight against cancer)
How about the rest of the bandmembers? I know Emiel is doing Hûnekop, but the rest?
Yeah, Emiel is doing De Hûnekop. That’s pretty much a fulltime thing for him now. Martin is playing with some guys from his neighborhood in a band called Ald Sear. They do coversongs mostly, nothing too serious. He did some gigs for Cornered as well. Sietze recently joined a new band too.
So let’s go way back… How did it all start? Did you do any bands prior to Icepick?
Nope, Icepick was my first band. I used to do a fanzine called Back To Back with my brother Lou and my friend Jelte. We did 6 issues, but at the end it took too much time and Back To Back turned into an e-zine which later evolved into Asice.net. My friend Jelte was already playing guitar in a Youth Crew band called The Effect at that time and I wanted to stay active in the hardcore scene, so I said let’s start a band together. We would jam after school before his The Effect rehearsals and after a while I picked up a drumkit myself and took some lessons so I could actually learn how to play. We were 16 years old at that time and totally into NYHC. The two of us wrote some songs, but we struggled to find the right people to make it a full band. Yelling Bad Brains at random Rasta dudes didn’t work either, so we actually decided to do it as a two-man project, until Emiel showed interest to sing for us. At that time he was wearing one of those crazy long ear-flaps hats, not unlike Mackie at the back of The Age Of Quarrel, so we knew he would be the right man for us. Then we took PJ on bass and that’s basically the first Icepick line-up and how it got started.
Haha, sounds good. Let’s start with the demo sessions. Now that the tape has been unleashed to the internet haha (link at the bottom of this interview). Why was the song “As Ice” left off from the demo that was released? And is that the actual name of the song? You guys didn’t play that one live either right?
Yeah, thanks for putting that up Ronnie, haha! That song was actually titled “As Ice” and we’ve been playing it live in the first few years of our existence. We didn’t put it on the “No Forgiveness” demo for several reasons, one being that this demo was going to be our first impression to people and we only wanted to have our best songs on it. We felt that “As Ice” wasn’t one of them both lyrically and musically and five songs seemed like a good amount for a demo tape. Plus one of the riffs sounds a lot like White Devil’s “These Streets” or True Blue’s “Delta” haha!
While we’re talking about True Blue riffs haha… How about “Undead”? Did that have anything to do with the True Blue tribute in that song? (Which I think is great)
When we started recording for the demo we had just finished “Undead” so it was still a pretty new song for us to play. We decided to record it anyway to see how it would turn out, but we weren’t completely satisfied with the result, that’s why it was left off from the demo. Kind of the same reason I mentioned earlier and one part is indeed very similar to True Blue’s “Devilangel” that’s why we were sceptical about releasing it too. We did play “Undead” live sometimes and people seemed to enjoy it, so when Rob asked us for the “Light The Fuse” compilation 7” we decided to release it anyway. We also didn’t have any other songs left and we figured it’s all Bad Brains in the end so we thought we could get away with it, haha. Btw, check out Terror’s “Stay Free” and then tell me if you hear anything familiar ;)
At that time Emiel was wearing one of those crazy long ear-flaps hats, not unlike Mackie at the back of The Age Of Quarrel, so we knew he would be the right man for us.
Holy shit! I never heard that. Hope they’re paying royalities for that one haha. I prefer Undead / Devilangel / Sacred Love though ;) So help me out here. You guys did a recording session for the demo. Another one for the Light The Fuse compilation (re-recording “Undead”). One for Goldrush… And another one for the two songs for the final 7”? Anything I’m missing? Any other songs that haven’t been released?
We re-recorded “Undead” in the same recording session as for the “Goldrush” release. In 2007/2008 we recorded a promo ourselves for a full length album, which contained 11 songs. About half of them didn’t have vocals on it and were missing lyrics. We recorded two of those songs for our final 7”. Over the years we wrote several other songs of which some we played live and we have a lot of riff material left in our ‘fridge’.
Any chance of a couple those songs from that promo (with lyrics, aside the two you guys re-recorded) ever seeing the light of day?
Maybe in ten years from now haha! No, I think we’ll use those songs in the future or perhaps adjust them a little.
When you guys recorded that demo, did you expect the reaction it got? Did you knew you guys were on to something?
When we were writing those songs we were pretty convinced that we were working on a good release. Especially when you just start out as a band, I think you should be 100% convinced in what you’re doing, otherwise it’s not worth the effort I think. So in that sense, we knew we were on to something, but we didn’t expect it to be that successful, because there weren’t many bands around at that time playing the style that we did.
Looking back.. What’s the best memory you have of your time in Icepick? Playing Waldrock?
Playing the Wâldrock festival was definitely one of the highlights. I had been visiting Wâldrock since I was 12 years old and playing the same stage with bands like Dio and Megadeth was almost like a dream come true. But getting together with the band for rehearsals, being on the road has been a lot of fun most of the time and those are the memories I cherish the most. It was awesome to see crowds go wild after driving for hours or when things spontaneously fell in it’s place while jamming. For me, that’s what makes it cool to play in a band.
And how about the worst?
Some of the line-up changes were probably the worst moments for Icepick, although we did get stronger with ‘em in the end as a band. Another thing that comes to my mind is arriving too late to play at a gig with the Cro-Mags because of traffic jams. Damn, that sucked!
We weren’t too fond of changing our name of course, but the opportunity to have our record released in the US on Reaper Records would definitely be worth it I think. Especially if you see how well they are doing right now and look at all the great releases they’ve done.
Haha I can imagine. Something else, Reaper Records was going to put out Icepick’s Goldrush on vinyl right? But then ‘the other Icepick’ came around and there was the name issue. Why did it stop there? I think I heard something about you guys wanting to rename yourself to “Dreamcrusher” or something? You probably have to correct me there, but you know what I’m talking about.
Yeah, Reaper Records wanted to put out our record “Goldrush” on cd, with the “No Forgiveness” demo on it too. We had everything ready, including artwork from Marco from the Icemen, but then there was the problem with our bandname. We weren’t too fond of changing our name of course, but the opportunity to have our record released in the US on Reaper Records would definitely be worth it I think. Especially if you see how well they are doing right now and look at all the great releases they’ve done. We’d be their fifth release back then and having the demo on it too (which was already sold out) would have been good to introduce ourselves in the US with the new name. I think we wanted to name ourselves No Forgiveness, but there was a band from Portugal who named themselves after our song already so we picked Dreamcrusher as our bandname (I believe there later was a band from Italy using that name too haha). I’m not sure if I recall everything the right way, but I think when Emiel decided to travel and work in Australia for one year everything was put on hold, because releasing a record without backing it up with a tour didn’t seem to be a wise thing to do. We were also talking with a friend of us from the UK who wanted to put out “Goldrush” on vinyl, but I think that didn’t work out for the same reason.
Sucks. How about that artwork for Goldrush? Can you share that?
The Icemen actually used it later themselves for a shirt design. It’s the bat fade design if you know that one.
He would have let you guys use that one? That’s pretty awesome. Great design. So why did Icepick come to an end?
Well, I think at the end we didn’t get the same amount of satisfaction anymore from all the time and effort we were putting in the band. We still enjoyed creating new music, but playing the same venues 2-3 times a month in front of the same crowds started to get dull, especially in the Netherlands. So we had a ton of new songs, but most of them without lyrics and Emiel didn’t have much subjects up his sleeve to sing about anymore either. When he left for one year to Australia he began his Hûnekop thing, which is a completely different thing and after he came back he wanted to focus on his new project. He was our singer from the beginning so replacing him wasn’t really an option or it would’ve been a completely new band.
Looking back now, anything you wished you would have done differently?
Pick a different bandname haha! But no, not really. I think we’ve learned from every mistake we’ve made as a band and we wouldn’t have been able to grow without these experiences. So no regrets here.
I guess that rounds it up. Thanks for doing this and good luck with that reunion show! If you want to add anything else, here’s your chance:
Thank you Pim for giving Icepick some attention on SWNK. Shout outs to Jigs, Ronnie B NJW, Rob LTF, Dieter, Franke, Patrick Kitzel and everybody else who supported us during our existence. If anyone wants to buy our “Goldrush” CD, “Quicksand” EP or some merch, head over to The Limit Records, they still have some copies left. The reunion show will be on October 13th at Café Spaltenbrege in Terwispel. Other bands that will play are Cornered, Cold Blooded, When Walls Collapse, Ald Sear and 0Fight8. The start is at 20:00, make sure to be there on time to get in. All of the €5 entrance will be donated to KWF kankerbestrijding.
No Forgiveness demo session
And to close it off, here’s the link to the No Forgiveness session we talked about in this interview:
Photo credits Alfons’ archive