If Underground Rock had another name, It would be Revenge 88
It was in New York when I heard that Revenge 88 was going to perform on the 20th of December in Ostende -Belgium- I already knew that there was no way I would miss that show. It was a trip I really had to make.
You might not know about them, but they were at the origin of the Belgian punk/underground rock movement of the late 70’s.
They started out as StageBeast, and recorded, in 1978, a first single entitled “Belgium (ain't fun no more)”. It soon became #1 Punk single in Belgium.
StageBeast, fronted by Frank Dubbe, was the wildest band you could ever have seen. They turned everything upside down, ripping the old scene to shreds to create a new one, their own.
The band never lost its attitude and energy, but became even better, musically speaking.
Bad luck came in the way, and while The Kids got to tour overseas, Revenge 88 remained underground. They were too uncontrollable to be approached by major labels.
Those guys were playing for fun, they weren’t businessmen and were certainly not ready to change just to please record companies.
If you ever go to Belgium, talk to people and you’ll realize that there’s not a single person who saw them live who doesn’t have some cool or crazy story to tell about them.
Another great 7inch got released in 1981“Thousand Years From You”.
The band kept performing and played many festivals.
Later they changed their name again recording a 4 tracks EP as Moonlight Crow, and releasing some more singles in the early 90’s.
In 1997 they were seen on TV again, and that same year French punk band the No Talents ripped off the song “Belgium” for their first album.
It's not like the StageBeast/Revenge 88 singles hadn’t been used many times before anyway. They became bootleg favorites of all time, ending up on the famous Killed By Death, and Bloodstains Compilation albums, and the original 7inches are now sold for prices ranging from $99 to $300.
Dubbe, on vocals, Lucky Stone on drums, Misty on guitar, Glenn (also from Marky Ramone & the SpeedKings) on bass, and Erik (also from Gorki) on guitar.
That live performance was professionally recorded and produced by Serge Feyes (TC Matic, Arno), but remains unreleased as the band is still looking for a record label.
By the end of 2004, people from Belgian television read something I had written about Revenge, and it caught their interest. They decided to shoot a 20 minutes documentary for VTM (Belgian channel).
That Monday night my train was late, and I had to rush to get to the Manuscript which
The video camera was already shooting when I shook hands with them... it was a weird
It’s a little bit tough to be interviewed right after a 5 hours train ride, but I did my best anyway.
Why am I fighting for Revenge 88?
One could say that, if I’ve been giving time and effort to promote them, it’s only because they highly deserve it.
I feel like what I have done -and will keep on doing- should have been done long ago.
They always went back to it.
Revenge 88 never backed down, never said “Why should we continue?”....
And it has been more than 20 years of rock.
To keep fighting like they’ve been doing for so long is -to me- the best proof that Rock’n Roll is in their blood and hearts. They live for it.
And it’s not about dreams of stardom, it’s not about the money…it’s all about talent, and integrity.
Each time I look back at their discography, I’m amazed.
From StageBeast until now, it’s a history of great songs and tunes.
When Revenge 88 hit the stage that Monday night, it is magic that happened.
Dubbe, Lucky, Misty, Glenn & Erik played one of the best show I’ve ever seen in my life.
They were born for that.
Seeing Revenge 88 live was a unique experience. I was standing in front of the stage, completely blown away.
The band played 19 songs. The set-list included some of their old singles and some songs that never got recorded (including masterpieces such as “Teenage Monster”- one of the best song I ever heard). A couple of covers were also played, and the band introduced a new song to their set.
If I had to give a list of the 5 best gigs I’ve ever seen, Revenge 88 would easily make the list. And as far as stage presence is concerned, I can’t name many frontmen who could compare to Dubbe.
I looked around at the audience and saw the video camera shooting. I felt good about it. If it happened a little bit because of what I wrote, I’m glad I did it.
I remember being in the US and trying to get people from magazines to read the Revenge bio (now to be published in MaximumRocknRoll)....at times I would get almost depressed, because it isn’t that easy to get someone to look into a band when they don’t know about it. There’s a million bands in this world, so why would they want to hear about this one more than about another?
What would be life without Rock’n Roll?
What would be my life without Revenge 88?
I stood up for what I believe in... and maybe that’s what finally makes a difference.
I have a lot of respect for Dubbe, Lucky, Misten, Glenn & Erik.
I was in a shock when the band invited me to join on stage for a high octane cover of “Chinese Rocks” .
It was a fabulous night, and somehow I felt like this was a small page of Rock history that was being written... and I know that’s what Revenge 88 are doing at each and every of their gigs.
They are certainly not like every band, they are originals.
In a world ruled by bankers, music has long gone down the drain...
So this goes out to Dubbe, Misten, Lucky, Glenn and Erik…
Keep on fighting... I’ll be fighting by your side.
Thomas & Dube
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