"Thieves respect property. They merely wish it to become theirs
to more perfectly respect it."
Adapted from G.K. Chesterton
AN OLD ITEM OF MUSIC REVISED, REHASHED AND RELISTENED TO
(THIS TIME EXTREMELY IDIOSYNCRATIC)
by Richard Karsmakers
Some of you may know that I have spent a few years of my life in
a kind of children's home. Most of you probably don't. Come to
think of it, I am not even sure that I ever mentioned it to
Stefan. Not that I tried to hide it from him but it just never
My mother really didn't like me all too much so reasons were
devised for me having to be confined to the care of socio-people
and a handful of psychologists and that kind of thing. I was not
particularly fluent at making social contacts with others of my
age, and apparently I lied through my teeth. All children lie now
and again so I think that wasn't really a problem. Up to about a
year ago, however, I thought I had been some half-sociopath,
until I met one of the old bearded socio-fellows that were the
leaders of the group I was in and he told me I had actually
really been an easy 'case' and he had repeatedly wondered how the
hell I had been admitted in the first place.
So, all in all, my mother didn't love me much. Not that I wanted
her to, but this is all just a short intro for the rest.
I spent the period of July 1979 to December 1981 in a children's
home in Breda, in the south of the Netherlands. It was a great
time as it rid me of my mother and her choking authority. I had
my first taste of childy freedom, there was a rather large forest
in the vicinity and they had a pool. I think they were the best
years of my young life. I learned a lot there, I kissed for the
first time and I, yes, I fondled my first pair of breasts. Now I
come to think of it, I really wasn't that bad at establishing
social contacts, especially with girls. It was the kind of period
Bryan Adams would have composed an album full of songs about if
only he was me.
I was at a very impressionable age back then. As a matter of
fact everything started back then, both concerning my taste in
girls and music.
I went into the place liking Abba and, on the heaviest side,
Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me". When I had been there for
about half a year Kiss had their first hit with "I Was Made For
Loving You". I liked the song, of course, and the whole make-up
image was the kind of thing I easily fell for. An older boy in
another group (Roy Verschuuren of group D; I was in group A) had
Kiss' "Alive II". When I saw Gene Simmons's bloodied head on the
back I was sold.
I embarked on about half a year of utter Kiss mania. I traded my
toys for Kiss pictures or photocopies of signatures and I even
joined the Dutch Kiss Army for a year (I remember it cost me 10
guilders, that was almost 10 weeks of pocket money at the time!).
The whole Kiss thing was the foundation for more stuff to come.
In this children's home it was customary for children to go home
every other weekend once they had settled. The weekends back at
the children's home when lots of the other kids were gone were
some of the best. As a matter of fact those weekends were the
times when social life was at its best. You could stay up longer
(up to a massive 21:30 if you were lucky) and sometimes other
kids from other groups stayed over. That's how I met my first
girlfriend of sorts, Patricia (readers of ST NEWS back in late
1988 will remember her).
Anyway, I am straying through the mists of remembrance which is
not half my aim.
One of those weekend when literally all Group A kids had their
weekends off at home I had to remain. I seem to recall my mother
was being ambitious on a softball field all weekend, and my dad
had night duties with the Helmond police. I got to spend the
weekend at Cor Peperkamp, one of the Group A leaders I could get
along with rather well.
Of course he knew of my Kiss fever. When I had finished reading
through all of his "Asterix" comics he took from his dusty record
collection an off-brown double album with plain logos on them. I
remember side 4 of that album being totally stained with
candlewax, the result of an accident somewhere along its life.
He put on side 1, and told me, "now this is something heavy."
He set back and let me listen to "Highway Star", the first song
on the double live album "Made in Japan" by Deep Purple.
To say that this exposure to rock music probably made the most
impression on me ever would not be an exaggeration. I was hooked
immediately. The seed of metal was implanted, though it only got
really bad when I had left Breda and got exposed to Saxon and,
some time later, bands the likes of Mercyful Fate, Slayer and, of
I have sat thinking sometimes. Would I have liked this kind of
music had I not liked Cor? Especially at a young age you tend to
be easily influenced by people you like or look up to. I guess
I'll never know the answer, but I think Cor is the person most to
blame for my penchant for heavy metal. I don't think my dad ever
realised this, for otherwise I think there would have been a
violent clash of beings in the time prior to 1988 when I finally
got to live on my own and relieved my father of the constant
heavy sonic attack.
Sometimes I also think about what would have happened if another
weekend that came afterwards would have happened prior instead.
The weekend I mean now happened probably a few months later. In
the mean time the entire male part of Group A was into Deep
Purple and the Kinks live album "One for the Road" off which
"Lola" had become a hit. There was another weekend that I was
scheduled not to be home with most other children gone.
This time I spent the weekend at the house of two Group A
leaders that lived together. One of them was called Ferry (forgot
his surname) and the other was Willy Schroeten. I remember Ferry
as a bearded chap who could play guitar quite well and had this
really soft voice. But I remember Willy more clearly. She was one
of the far too few female group leaders at Group A, and quite a
looker too. She had long brown hair, had somewhat hippy-ish dress
tendencies and was always very nice. I think I had somewhat of an
adolescent crush on her, and she was my main target of
confidential revelations whenever I ran into love problems (which
there were quite a few, especially with a totally unreachable and
some years older girl of Group B, Karin Stander). My first sexual
fantasies revolved around her.
But I am digressing.
I spent that weekend at their place. After having devoured what
books they had with pictures in them, I leafed through their LP
collection. I got engrossed by a fold-out sleeve of Emerson Lake
and Palmer, though I didn't know that at the time. The front was
a Gigerian (it was Giger) face of a skull that you could fold
open to reveal a woman's face. There weren't any logos on the
front, at least not directly apparent. On the back it merely said
"Brain Salad Surgery", with a track list. It was only later that
I found out it was an ELP album. Around that time, I think, they
had a hit with the live version of "Peter Gunn".
I was impressed by the album. As a matter of fact the entire
idea to write this particular column today arose when I saw the
CD standing in my collection and decided to play it. At once
recollections of times gone by flooded my mind. Familiar faces
and some nice people made themselves known to me mentally - it's
typical how all bad memories fade away and the good prevail
The CD is still playing now, but I probably won't be finished
with this article by the time the CD had finished. Let's put it
(Walking to CD player and back)
Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Brain Salad Surgery
Yes, this is the album I wish to spend some more attention to
here. It kicks off with "Jerusalem". God knows how I could ever
have grown to like that song (one of the least bits of music on
Vangelis' "Chariots of Fire", actually, and the film title is
from a line in the song as well), because I don't usually like
this church-ish kind of stuff. Still, when I listen to it I like
It's quite different from "Toccata", the next song. This is
actually the song that also caused me to ask Willy if the album
could be played, because not long before I found it there had
been a band that had a hit with a popular rendition of Bach's
"Toccata". Well, this was totally different and probably even
better, an adaption of Ginastera's 1st Piano Concerto, 4th
movement. Bombastic and full of synthesizer sounds and
aggression, I might have liked it initially because it reflected
my mood at the time. I was a very energetic boy and the music is
much so. I still recall my dad, whenever he heard it, saying it
sounded like a "bloody pinball machine". Of course he was as
blind as all parents are when their children enter puberty. It's
a brilliant song. In other circumstances I might not have liked
it at all - I hate piano concertos usually - but somehow a switch
was flipped. I liked Ferry, I liked Willy even more, ergo I liked
this entire album.
It's difficult to look back at it now and try to listen
objectively to the album, trying to determine if I would like it
had I listened to it for the first time in a totally different
place with the record owned by someone I didn't like at all (say,
at the time, my father). I think I would still like it. It's
difficult to look into your own psychology.
Next song, "Still...you turn me on", took a long time to grow on
me. Actually, I think I started liking that song only a few years
ago, when I started to get involved with love myself. It's a
sugarsweet love ballad, and I think it's gay too (as in
'homosexual', not 'happy'). The I-person is turned on by the
person to whom the song is addressed, but that person can in one
line be "the man on the moon". Gay or not, I don't care. I don't
get involved in that kind of thing and I like it. But maybe I
interpret the lyrics totally wrongly.
I never paid much attention to the lyrics of "Benny the
Bouncer", the next song. I read them just now and a smile
appeared on my face. Never quite realised they were so funny. The
song doesn't fit on the album at all, and especially with the
acquisition of my new CD player I have often been tempted to have
it skipped each time the disc is played. Even though it's a weird
song, however, it's just part of the whole "Brain Salad Surgery"
The rest of the album is a long epic kind of synthesizer piece,
and I realise as I am typing this line that I would have a
totally different thing in mind if I were to read it than it
actually is (I hope you follow this pseudo stream of
consciousness). Anyway, it's a three-piece thing called "Karn
Evil 9". I tried to analyse the lyrics but can't make much sense
of them. At one time it's epic Yes kind of stuff, then something
totally weird. But pervading the whole thing is the ELP bombastic
approach with innovative drumming and sometimes plain
experimental piano playing.
I hate pianos. How could I ever have grown to like this album?
Love, even in an pubescent kid for Willy the lovely female Group
A leader, surely seems to be a powerful thing.
Together with "Toccata" these three numbered impressions are the
best on the album. "Brain Salad Surgery" is not necessarily an
album you would like, but I don't really care. Maybe you would
Besides "Peter Gunn" I have never heard any other ELP albums
or tracks. Maybe I am afraid the myth might chatter if I find
their other music void of the sensation of fond memory which I
I recall Group A having given me a cheap copy of the album
(without fold-out sleeve) on my 1980 or 1981 birthday. I still
remember Willy the way she was when she gave it to me. She had
her familiar blue blouse on, and the black tight jeans that
somehow I didn't prefer at all above the loose long skirts that
she sometimes tended to wear.
I have that album still, though it's located somewhere in the
cellar among other albums that I have in the mean time bought the
CD version of. I think I bought "Brain Salad Surgery" on CD
somewhere early 1989. It's still every bit as powerful as it was
then, at least to me. Each musical phrase brings with it its own
memories, and when I close my eyes I find myself back in the
Breda is the one thing of my past that I most often dream about,
even now. On the contrary to my only other recurrent dream -
where I have to do a Physics exam the next day without having
done any studying - it's always a nice one, leaving me to wake up
with a form of longing that usually doesn't disappear until after
My CD collection in the mean time contains Kate Bush' "Kick
Inside", the Stray Cats' debut, the Kinks' "One For the Road"
(which is difficult to get), several Kiss albums (amongst which
"Alive II"), most Deep Purple albums (including "Made in Japan")
and, of course, this particular Emerson Lake and Palmer album.
These were all albums owned by group A. Although I don't play
some of them too often, each of them holds a gem of memories,
ready to be rekindled at the touch of a "play" button.
I am now in a very melancholic mood. "Brain Salad Surgery" has
finished playing for the second time and I put on Enya's
"Watermark", another CD that I might not have liked all that much
hadn't it been for the person who introduced it to me (ex-co-
conspirator Frank Lemmen).
Isn't it funny, the way I get masochistic when in a mood of
melancholy? I know Enya will drag me further down emotionally.
It's probably the most depressing album I have, with the hauntic
gaelic lyrics and dark tunes that render me incapable of
experiencing any form of joy.
On top of that, the mere fact that Enya is Irish pulls me back
to everyday reality as today is only six days away from my last
3rd-year exam, Modern Irish. Needless to say I haven't exactly
done too much on it yet, and it's a subject you can't bluff your
way into. Taim go holc (that's Irish for "I am [feeling]
It doesn't help that Miranda is not home this evening. When it
rains it pours. And pulls. Downward...ever downward...
Hello Enya, may I join you, wheverer you may roam?
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.