|REVIEW OF ANARCHOPUNK IN FRANCE
Before speaking more in detail about the french anarcho-punk movement as such or assimilated movement, anyway before coming to premises and foundations, it is necessary to have a quick look at the state of the punk scene in France at the dawn of the eighties.
Before this date, on one hand the " anarchopunk " label did not exist as one might say, on the other hand, except Metal Urbain in 76-77, no french punk band had really made speak about him for being political. Therefore, in the beginning of the eighties, the punk scene in france is very scattered and not much politicized. It is necessary to say that the actors are very young persons under 18, the most part, they do not feel especially affected by politico social speeches of certain bands, notably across the channel. The 77's wave isn't really finish and here as elsewhere, they prefer drug abuse and provocation to an assertive attitude. The stage sputters, makes its first steps, nothing is structured, organized, everything is built from nothing or almost. There is no special cohesion and the most part of the bands (since labels or fanzines are almost nonexistent) content themselves with speaking about parties, girls, high-school, destruction, with a nearly stupid attitude. Besides, until second part of the eighties, this speech will remain broadly majority.
So in 1980-81, very few bands, the most part have only one ephemeral existence or already taking the way of a more "mediatized" punk with recording in professional studios, productions on well-known labels, etc.. In this article we'll be interested more particularly in some bands, labels, individuals having a political commitment followed by facts, even if the most part of these activists were not pledged in sacrosanct said "Anarchopunk" family.
It is the desert at the beginning of this decade. However, as we saw it, small bands form and some people released their first vinyls (it is not so frequent in this period), some of these " punk" bands making a vinyl already in 1981 will become later "famous" (LSD, OBERKAMPF), but these do not interest us for this paper. In this head group, it is interesting to extract a band out of any fashion, any label, but already applying an approach which we will later qualify as DIY, because a little radical with lyrics and way of recording ( a 4-track for home-sessions ), their name is WARUM JOE. They record their first maxi in march, 81 " Dans le blizzard " (to note that at this beginning 2006, the group always exists, with 5 LP, a double LP, 2 maxis and at least 5 EP). The recipe is easy : drum machine, saturated guitar, and words surprisingly constructed even a little intellectual. The group will never be affiliated to any musical or ideological movement ( free thinkers ), will record his discs in his garage, play on stage few times only and never try to make speak about him. Texts are anyway trenchant, ironic, odd, clever, sought-after and completely full of imagery (and sometimes because of it lightly incomprehensible!). The message is sometimes between lines, and is only there more difficult to discover. WARUM JOE goes on in 1982 with a second maxi " Tanzen and trinken " and the first full lenght in 83, " Toccare la verita ", while almost no "craft" group has released any vinyl !
However a new wave is coming, it is the one of radical, so musical as ideological, made concrete by a new vision of things. They begin in effect speaking about autoproduction, about compilations K7 and of « tape trading » (people are exchange K7 of bands, particularly theirs or those of their friends). The punk stage is more and more self-sufficient , although it is still very childish since it is still at any levels very young. A notable episode is between 83 and 86. We're not in the local small groups anymore, which content themselves with repeating in their cellars and drinking beer, bands try consequently to make speak about them but in a entirely craft and independent way. They record themselves on often rotted matos, duplicate their compositions and send them to punx making a label there so completely rudimentary: they compile titles of various groups on K7, they copy this one with the available equipment, often an old radio-K7, then they sell it very cheap . Compilations K7 revolutionize punk. We see there more and more bands of the whole world, then we realize that the movement has no more borders. Punx feels suddenly united between them. They realize that there is politicized punx in Scandinavia, in Italy, in Spain, but also everywhere else in Europe (including in the East in spite of the extreme repression, remind that the wall of Berlin always stands and that the stalinism governs without distribution, therefore the marginal are parked and sometimes imprisoned without reason!), in Latin and South America , in Australia, in Japan and even in Southern Africa!!
This reinforces the motivation of the young french protagonists who were extremely isolated until then, because note that apart from Paris which represents an embryo of stage, elsewhere it is scattering in various cities of province, or even from villages, it is therefore very difficult to transport its ideas. Besides, the places of concerts for this type of music being very rare (Paris is almost the only city where squats are opened from time to others), punx are at home, in their region. Thanks to K7 compilations, politicized punk becomes international and since groups can get their message very far, borders fall virtually and, indeed, french representatives participate in international compilations. On these bands, in France, we will often cross the same names. Among these, most often met between 84 and 85 are undoubtedly HEIMATLOS, ABDUCTION, FINAL BLAST and VERDUN.
First of all HEIMATLOS: band from the Parisian suburbs, they offer a music which France didn't know then, an aggressive hardcore, or even violent. The originality of this group is double, because if they quickly play, force is to admit that they are very good musicians who can therefore take the liberty of carrying out rather original compositions for this period, and internationalism isn't a vain word for them, because if they sing in French and English, they also sing in German, Polish, Spanish, and even in Finnish! Their first demo made noise in all meanings of the word, it was recorded in December, 83. In 84 a second demo and the first EP " Schlag" are coming, in 86 the split EP with their friends of KROMOZOM 4, in 87 the long-awaited split LP with the same KROMOZOM 4. 1988 will be the year of their last EP " Negative Mental Obsession ", and of the split of the band. Throughout their career they will be present on an innumerable number of compilations K7 of the whole world, as well as on some compilations LP. Their complete discography is consequently available for the younger ( released by the label of bordeaux RATBONE).
RAPT will have an almost so quick existence as their music. Formed in 1984 in Vernon, in the northwest of Paris, they split in 86. During these 2 years, they will play a very chaotic raw thrash-punk, impossible to find them any definite influence, their style being so extreme, saturated, quick, angry, simple, wild. They are more "famous " all over the world than in France where their noise is only a little appreciated. They record 2 demos in 84 and 85, even doing a split EP with FINAL BLAST in 85 on the label of the italian band Wretched: Chaos Produzioni, appear on 2 compilations LP, make few shows, but participate like HEIMATLOS in numerous compilations K7. In 1985 they record the song " Non à Le Pen ", what is can be the first song on a topic which will make - and still made - recipe in the punk. To note that only one of the members records a demo in 86 with a drum machine under the name of RAPT, but music is a little more approachable and loses in rage there. In 2004, almost entirely (except last demo) titles of RAPT is released on a Japanese label (SPEEDSTATE) in CD.
As for FINAL BLAST, they are teenagers (the guitarist is just 13 years old!) when the band forms, and claim to be influenced by DISCHARGE (this not so frequent in the country in this period!). Their comparatively short history starts in Pontarlier (near Besançon) in 1983. They record three demos in 1984, 85 (on this two, it is a drum machine which officiates, but do not repeat it! Two titles will serve in the split EP with RAPT) and in 1986. Lyrics deals with war and violence of nations a lot. Besides, in my knowledge, it will be one of the very first groups to report vivisection (the song "Torture légale "), don't forget that in this middle of the 80's, punx are not much concerned about animal rights and we don't speak of vegetarianism a lot. FINAL BLAST split in 86 after a dozen of shows and once again a lot of participations to compilations K7 as well as for two compilations LP. At the end of the nineties, their 3 demos are released in the form of a split CD with PARIAPUNK.
For VERDUN it is something else. Besides the fact that we meet them too on many of international compilations K7, their music strives rather towards a cold punk. The band forms in Rouen in 1981, but the true first demo is released only in 84. The first originality is in a shouted female singing, what is rather rare for the punk in France in this period. Of more their lyrics are really anarchist and sometimes even a tiny bit arrogant. It is clear that the group was interested in the anarchist theoreticians and in political events of this time before writing some lyrics. Their first vinyl is released as a maxi in 85, 4 titles ( one of 9 minutes taking a whole face!) of « psychedelic punk » as it will be written in numerous reviews. Then music accelerates a bit, getting closer to a more classical punk which gives birth to the EP " Notre combat " in 1987, always very politicized. 2 LP will come then, and the group split at the beginning of the nineties at the end of a comparatively tumultuous existence. Here is for the 4 most representative and internationalist groups in my sense of this new scene developed in 84-85.
But before this, always in province, in the suburbs of Clermont-Ferrand, a solitary band starts hostilities in 81. It is called KARNAGE. Their punk is rather glacial (cold-punk?) and lyrics, although sometimes simplistic, are very dark and revolted. Rhythm is made either by a drummer, or by a drum machine. KARNAGE records its first 4 titles demo " Planète poubelle " in 1982. Then with their first and only vinyl, " Total terminus " EP in 84, they import all archetype of the anarchopunk appreciates across the channel : black and white sleeve with poster on all reverse side, complete autoproduction and even quotes of Kropotkine!! criticisms are rather flattering, they compare them with CRASS (perhaps a bit too hurry ). Second demo " Autorités finales " released in 85 and includes 11 titles live and studio recorded between 82 and 85. But the band gets breathless in spite of a participation in an international compilation LP and split in 86, having however slipped unreleased titles here and there, particularly for a local compilation K7. Let notice that the joke band BLOODY FUCKERS (supersaturated and sarcastic pastiche of punk / HC cliche english bands of the beginning of 80' s) was in fact members of KARNAGE themselves! As for the manager of these last, he forms with the guitarist of KARNAGE the band O.M.G. (Ordre de Mobilisation Générale, which was also an association organizing shows in Clermont-Ferrand), dark punk-wave and very original which will exist from 82 to 85 without released a disc, what is sad because their approach was very politicized, even sometimes rather misanthropic, and interesting. O.M.G published the first anarchopunk french zine, LA BIBLE (ten numbers).
Haine Brigade as a band is born in Lyon around December, 1981. But it was several months since the future members wrote texts by waiting to find instruments. At first, they were 3 neighbours who had just discovered Sex Pistols, Clash, and all English punk, but also and especially a french band: Metal Urbain. They put themselves into the punk not by effect of mode but because what expressed bands touched them profoundly. Immediately they were interested in the revolutionary side of the punk and it led them to read Marx, Bakounine, Stirner and books on anarchism. From the beginning the band took a political dimension. The discovery of the first album of CRASS was then their true whiplash because their ideas (Anarchy and Peace, punk is dead...) corresponds exactly to what they thought of of their side. Later, the band changed and there remained only Giles (guitar) of the beginning. But they remained always linked to libertarian movement. Within the band ideas on the world and ideas on music are not very identical and it's so much the better! But they can say that each is antiracist, antimilitarist, outside any political party and outside any rigid ideology. For them, to be politicized, it is not to have an ideology which guides them but it is to be in charge of their business and what takes place around them by taking position. Wanting to express themselves in another way they create FRAKTION ROCK TERRORISTE in 1984 in Lyon. It unites people having libertarian ideas together. Bands Haine Brigade, Krapos Noirs, Kalashnikov, Purge 37, designers, photographers, etc ... of Lyon and Paris are members. In july, 84, F.R.T puts out its fanzine: KANAI, then joins the band Creation Père Peinard avec Noire Inquiétude, Groupe 33, les Acharnés, for an extension of activities. Also it's in July, 1984 that they organize the first anarchopunk festival in Ardèche against July 14th: « There is a lot to face to do against these green shit, with this shitty officers, with their shitty order, with their huge stupidity, with their flag-dishcloth! The army stinks beer but it stinks especially death, blood, the annihilation of life! The parades of July 14th are only tricolour masquerades behind which hide death and its mowing machine. Monuments of deads are a worship to the cadaver which can only prove us that the State wants to keep all its power and to have the last word. All this is to destroy before it destroys us! » They will release a LP Sauvage, in 1987 and a split EP with BERURIER NOIR in support of the anarchist magazine NOIR ET ROUGE. Then a song is recorded in studio will be on the compilation " Cette Machine Sert à Tuer tous les Fascistes " and some years ago the fanzine FUTURE NOIR will reissue a K7 which will take all of the songs of the band (demo too) in support of the ANARCHIST BLACK CROSS.
With the provincials, we can also talk of SCRAPS, born in Boulogne-sur-Mer in June, 83, they settle to Lille later and released a first demo in 85, sort of sound detonation saturated at the farthest, backed up by lyrics without embellishments vomited with rage. Style is wild, barbaric and as one might say new in the French landscape ( only RAPT had before taken up challenge). An autoproduced first EP "Apartheid" comes in 86 and received very good reactions. Immediately, and after only shows in Nord-Pas-de-Calais (as well as one in Amsterdam), they try a perilous adventure which leads them in Sweden for 4 shows in August, 86. SCRAPS has just shown that a 100% independent french punk band can play far and everywhere! Idea will be later very often taken back... SCRAPS continues upsetting with an autoproduced second EP, " Aaargh!!! " who was released in 87. The flag is definitely black, made rage concrete. Then, style begins becoming more refined and evolving on a more hardcore foundation. A split 7 " flexi shared with the Japanese of DON DON is released in 89, then the band will deliver 2 LP at the beginning of the nineties (second being more and more influenced by the international straight edge scene) then a live EP and a split EP live with ATTENTAT SONORE, and they split in 95 after numerous shows across Europe, and by having knowing how to keep a resolutely anarchist and militant ethics. A part of the band will be in one of the founder band of the european hardcore scene : NATIONS ONE FIRE.
We also find NAGASAKI BY NIGHT who came from Rennes and could represent a kind of french peace punk. Implicated in the punk scene, but also in the libertarian and pacifist political activism, different poles being linked between others by their quality fanzine JACCUSE. The band included besides music other visual support inspired by CRASS, and was a kind of collective. Unfortunately not much recordings, and few marks out of Bretagne.
OUTRAGE / REBELLION _ aka OUTRAGE and REBELLION, a band formed in Béziers, in a region not much marked by the punk rock if by OTH, and still, on Montpellier. OUTRAGE / REBELLION began from nothing (no show place, no musical forming of the members, hostility of the neighbors towards all that concerned antiracism) and wanted to express themselves at all costs. Their first recording of 1986, raw on a 4-track, saturated at the extrem, blending simplified drum machine and violent guitars, pretexts in very virulent lyrics, did not prevent them from making a name fast in the french fanzine scene. Numerous interviews, a growing interest for the band lead them to record other demos. Their singer, Ant, makes a rather prodigious work of promotion by multiplying contacts and dispatches of K7, posters and fanzines, without commercial ideas therefore. In 1988, two split K7 with ATTENTAT SONORE are released, allowing these last to discover an unsuspected network (in spite of the pitiful quality of their recording! eh eh). Other proof of the solidarity spirit of O/R. An EP is released then in 1989 after some delay and pressing problems of the sleeve (a lot of copies are harmed by the glue of the sleeve which overflowed on discs!). Produced by the montpellier radio l'Echo des Garrigues. Unfortunately the studio recording removes a big part of the band energy and the result is slick, without speaking about the sleeve which absolutely does not retranscribe contents. Too bad. O/R released one year later a new K7 demo, more professional, recorded completely in studio, beginning a radical change in musical style. Words remain more than offensives, but turn towards a style more hard rock is going to move them away from their punk public. The group recruited better musicians more interested by this style and the old, as Salva the bass player, which no more recognizes itself in this style, prefer leaving his place. Titles of the demo, "Sochaux Blues", " Tue le riche ", " Envie de meurtre " pass on compilation CD on On A Faim! or VISA. Then, Ant takes back vocal habits more hard rock also, and maybe loses interest in punk. Disappearing of the band towards in 1993.
But let's come back in the middle of these eighties where numerous bands form with more and more engaged texts, far from the punk-drugs-sexe-oi model! important to a majority of our little national mohawked guys. However, not a lot have the chance to see their efforts rewarded by a vinyl, the most part not going farther than the stadium of the demo K7 (do not forget that in this period, the CD still does not exist!). Among the lucky being able to released a vinyl while keeping an independent and concerned philosophy, let's name the following namesfor the "more known": SHERWOOD of Paris (LP in 86 after 2 demos in 83 and 85, good texts in spite of the problem represented by the title " Les p'tites femmes de paris "), FLITOX of Paris (one of the first to released an EP after 4 months of existence and without making a demo before, an EP released in 86, then 2 LP, " Cet homme est mort" in 87 and Radio TV active in 88, this one more "modern"). But the most part of the bands are know thanks to their furious energy and the sweat of their forehead, by recording demos with available means (often not much) and by sending them on radios, fanzines, compilation K7. The most interesting according to me (therefore in a absolutely subjective way, I deny myself to nothing!) in this hopeless though definitely craft approach, are perhaps the suburbanites of SKORBUT MOLOTOV (SKM for the private) whom we will meet on of numerous zines and compilation K7. They draw inspiration from Metal Urbain (drum machine obliges!) with however a more childish side. Lyrics though simple are definitely written, sometimes with humor. The band makes few shows, records 4 demos (totaling 21 titles) between 85 and 87, then find out a drummer and rename themselves ASPIDISTRA in 87, who will know in not enough difference the same fate as SKM: 2 demos in 88 (20 titles) and 89 (9 titles) and a split a little before 90. These 2 bands according to me hadn't had the impact that it would deserved. But unlike SKM, ASPIDISTRA will be "immortalized" thanks to a title on a compilation LP.
In Lyon we find one of the most controversial French anarchist band: PARIAPUNK. Undoubtedly among the most radical, as much for their violent and disordered music as for their lyrics without nuance. We reproach them their too much pushed radicalism (most polemicists will speak of « fundamentalist anarchism ») and their lack of detachment facing certain subjects. Anyway during their existence (from 86 to 88 they will record a 3 titles demo in 86, the second end of 87, a part of which will be used for the only EP of the group, a loud 6 titles, cacophonous, with very furious lyrics. After only 3 shows, split of what will have undoubtedly been one of the most radical band of the 80's! Their discography is later regrouped on the split CD with FINAL BLAST.
In Dijon we find PSYCHO SQUATT at the end of the eighties, their EP was the first realization of the Dijon label MALOKA! The band took back an expression close to that of its precursors of Lyon HAINE BRIGADE, punk but not too quick music, a mixt singing, songs in French, and definitely written engaged words. HEYOKA, natives of the same city, continued on this way with the talent we knows them. The guitarist of PSYCHO SQUATT is always involved in the scene and we hope to hear one day a good old reissue of their only disc supplemented in the correct way by some bonus!
We could also recall inevitable FLAGRANT DELI (evolving in the series of band with yelling female singing) with forty demos and two EP.
SS20 is from Toulouse, and linked to ONKRA, less active and less lasting label than PANX, certainly, but which was interested in the international DIY scene also, multiplying contacts with Finland and some countries of east, accomplishing a CD of the Yugoslavian band KBO! between others. Vynil productions of the band were autoproductions, except their last disc, a split EP with MOMIDO 7 (german band with members of DIE SCHWARZEN SCHAFE). SS-20 is therefore in the descendants of hardcore bands of the period, in an "ideological" point of view (internationalist vision of the scene, mutual aid, DIY), with the difference that their texts were in French, and that their recording were really more melodic. After two EP, a LP and already named split EP, titles on compilations as " 1984 the Third " and " A bas toutes les armées ", the whole appeared between 1987 and 1989, the group disappeared without making too much noise. Too bad!
There will be of course during all these years other bands of anarchist persuasion, often with a more "approachable" music or even sometimes "commercial", but there it is unfortunately not my thing, sorry!! But the true development of the politicized stage will happen with those that we called the creators of alternative movement: BERURIER NOIR. I shall not stay on their rich and eventful career since several books on the life of BERUS are available. It is just necessary to notice that their impact was huge for development and recognition of the politicized punk scene in France. They employed even mass media brought under state control to speak about it. Numerous debates will ring out (and continue ringing out, let's say that the band re-formed in 2003 and split once again three years later...) concerning their use of State mass media, big local rooms, etc. There would be of course things to be reproached, but let's remember also the released of the second LP " Concerto pour détraqués " in 85 made an explosion in the punk and that further to it, the scene was comparatively important and more sensitized since BERUS participated in numerous politico social conflicts and speaks a lot about squats. This band is not certainly the most remarkable example of the craft anarchopunk in France, but its influence was major, therefore we could not pass it under silence.
Some bands did not demand of anarchopunk sphere, but by their approach or their attitude they were an inspiration for many within this scene. The radical speech of the singer of LAID THENARDIER in Mantes La Jolie show against Pasqua and immortalized in the ROCK AGAINST PASQUAT video (with LT, BERUS, BRIGADES and NUCLEAR DEVICE) stayed in memories. Their very original punk is a vector for their apparently marxist ideas. 3 maxis (" Le cou tranché sourire kabyle ", " Voyez comme on shaine " and " Il pleut des coups durs " and its tube " Penthotal ") and finally a not so good EP, the band split at the beginning of the 90's. Hope that a CD reissue of these songs will come to immortalize this very good band.
A group as KAMIONERS DU SUICIDE also evolves outside of the movement and plays in the autonomous sphere. They released a very good EP which was free distributed and that consists of the Guy Debord song cover : " La Java des Bons Enfants " in which sentence " heureusement vint l'anarchiste " was replaced by " heureusement vint le communiste "!
Now, labels. Few of them directly participated in the hatching of this politicized movement in the middle of the eighties and all will practically be established in the capital.
The forerunners will be perhaps NEW WAVE, definitely among the most active. They press the first EP of HEIMATLOS in 84, the first 12 " of VERDUN in 85, as well as other numerous productions, sometimes even foreign. They make us discover numerous international bands thanks to their 4 (LP then double LP) "1984 " compilations. It is also a label of distribution and a fanzine (which always exist!). RESEAU ALTERNATIF made the same since, outside LP compilations " France profonde ", the label produces the 2 split HEIMATLOS / KROMOZOM 4 and FLITOX LP's. JUNGLE HOP, well-known distributor and producer of international K7, released the first EP of FLITOX in 86 as well asthe rather loud LP compilation "rhapsodie". The label greatly helps the development of punk music which has something to say. As for AUTODAFE, label from the ashes of the DEKAPSULEUR fanzine, he will to my knowledge only released a LP of SHERWOOD and the last EP of HEIMATLOS. In province no label will really made the same except of course PANX of Toulouse which released so much vinyls since 1985 that a special chapter would be needed to name them all!
There are of course the distributors, essentials (these last introduce their productions by means of exchanges with other productions labels, what makes them keep up to date a list of mailorder more or less regularly). We find JUNGLE HOP, NEW WAVE, RESEAU ALTERNATIF and the huge distro of PANX. To these can be added for the middle of the eighties BUNKER of Grenoble (which will organize in the same city raw-punk shows, quite a lot of radical Italian bands will play there) which distro is teeming of extreme punk, international and concerned music. It is one of the first to distribute here the Swedish bands that will influence the crust worldwide movement later. For the end of the eighties, let us top up THRASH RDS of le Havre (been born after the death of the fanzine ESTRANGEMENT) which offers a panel going of the pure and hard anarchopunk to the most ultimate grind. There will be many other distributors or labels implicated in the distro of bands with anarchist ideology, but their impact will be lesser.
It is also the first step of the MALOKA distro which will make speak a lot of her later. But what develops most in this period is undoubtedly fanzines. Dozens small craft magazines come into the world every year, it is impossible to find ourselves. We shall keep only some names among the most influential: ALIENATION of le Havre, the most famous undoubtedly, necessary for its very international side, many anarchopunk bands will be interviewed, NEW WAVE of Paris, NO GOVERNMENT of Reims (even if the majority of the interviewed groups are far from being anarchopunk!) DEKAPSULEUR of Paris (same) or DEADFUCK COMMANDO of Clermont-Ferrand. If you look, with the development of "high-tech" technology, the writing style of the period, it will seem to you often absolutely shitty (the only way is the old machine to write, the pair of scissors, the stick of glue and the closest store of photocopies!) and even sometimes unreadable (the nicest example is undoubtedly DEADFUCK COMMANDO, a summit in style!!), but we have a really nice museum and a superb mark of the total "do it yourself" there! KANAI made by people of HAINE BRIGADE, BURNING ROME (turned to the english radical and anarchopunk bands and made between other one by Vlad of the BRIGADES) and then zines as ADAL AFAR ADAV, APATRIDE, EL MOVIMIENTO, TENDENCE NEGATIVE.
But once again, zines was so numerous that it would be impossible to make any more or less exhaustive summary.
Besides, printing is almost always confidential, every number being often only drawn in some dozens copies, and practically not distributed. In all these activities, we can take on other support, since enlarging of the free said radios, punks programs abound in all country, often with very reduced means and of course few listeners, and not enough impact (and I know about what I speak, I made the clown for years behind a microphone myself!).
The death of free radios draws away a huge weakening of punks programs.
With the alternative wave and the "new politicization" of "youth ", the antifascist groups of the SCALP (« Section Carrement Anti Le Pen ») flourish across France from 1985-86, taking advantage of key groups tours (Béru, Ludwig, Nuclear Device, WHASHINGTON DC etc&). In Paris, SCALP acquires a Commission Against Culture (see the book « comme un indien métropolitain » edited by No Pasaran about the scalp history from 1984 to 1992) which will participate as other associations or individuals organizing shows for the building of real alternative movement, it means not just music but also ideas, actions, and trying to mobilize and make the public conscious (with before shows, projections and debates on double sentence, sexism, objection and insubordination, prisoners, etc). Quite a lot of different bandsplayed in the International Centre of Popular Culture between 1987 and 1992, as well the said alternative bands (les Cadavres, Raymonde et les Blancs Becs, Ludwig, Dazibao) of the period and small unknown bands, and of course some a lot anarcho-punks or close bands, french (Kochise, Désert Culturel, Tromatism) or foreigners (Health Hazard, Agent 86, Schwartzeneggar) and some other. The move of CICP in 1992 to Voltaire street did not prevent this concerts-projections-débats to continue, because a collective(the Counter Culture collective) was created since 1994/95 gathering people from different collectives or militant associations. There still numerous music styles, and where anarcho-punks bands and/or fellows - French or foreign are regularly present (Kochise, La Raia, La Fraction, 20 minutes de Chaos, Cria Cuervos, Provoked, Ballast, Cartouche, Koyaanisqatsi, The Informers and tons of other as always. You can go on CCC.SAMIZDAT.NET for more archives).
1989, BERURIER NOIR gives their 3 last shows at the Olympia and fast the alternative scene collapse and splits up into several clans, chaos punx, apolitical skins, hardcore kids, punk rockers. In the domain which interests us, the beginning of the nineties sees the beginning and the development of a more radical scene, in actions, but also in music, at the same time under the influence of d-beat and of English punk as fuck, the hardcore then crust scene develops first in a marginal and anecdotal way.
It circulates from squat to squat in a distinctly more "occupied" french in this period than today.
In this sphere of influence, the scene of Auch is the first one to provide bands: APATRIDE BUNKER is one of the first bands uniting efficiently the members of future anarchopunx or crust bands which counted in the nineties. We find in this team those who are later going to found NACHT UND NEBEL (on a rather close musical expression, drum machine / saturated guitar / double singing / political lyrics), ULTIMATE DISORDER (one of the first grind French with lyrics having an link with pain and suffering of the individual in its confrontation with himself but also with the world which encircles it) or later, ENOLA GAY or DISBEER! In spite of only one demo we could feel rage and desire to fight with the system as to few groups. Not surprising to find them in local productions (or in exportation!) during next decade. It is there that we see the first shows of radical anarchopunx-crust which bring back bands then still not much known as DISAFFECT or HEALTH HAZARD. At the time when we still explained what was the crust on the shows flyers! These shows were organized by the editor of the annual zine BRUIT, which also presents a radio program since this period.
The crust scene which then seems to take back the torchlight of radical punk will easily spreading and end up becoming so common as the others. Her expansion was not without conflicts and there had some different between bands, persons, zines ... Disagreement as well on music as on approach and strategy to be used because in this post alternative period, bands begin being well distributed and investing the stores of distribution. Morever the question of vegetarianism will divide for years the punk scene.
Having carried by english bands as CRASS, and in an anecdotal way by some bands of the eighties, the subject of Animal Liberation first arrived by the use of texts against vivisection then against animal suffering and will finish by questioning about its diet. A group as TROMATISM with its very direct tone will tread underfoot in the dish and push people to take position. A rather ridiculous and defamatory article of Reflex (the antifascist magazine of Paris) against vegetarianism setting fire to powders and causes endless debates! More than ten years later, situation really seems to have calmed down well and vegetarianism became a common subject. Animal Liberation will have known various organizations, various fanzines ( LEGALITE ANIMALE, EMMERDLAND writes by Tod who also presented the program SIVIS PACEM on Radio Libertaire, the radio of parisian FA and some persons will bring in the hardcore punk scene the texts of CAHIERS ANTISPECISTES) and will become subject of some support K7 like the compilation " Vivisection Abomination ".
A scene also appears in this period which scoops out its inspiration apparently from the North American scene, and particularly the label of Washington DC, DISCHORD. This music that we called "emo-core" was meant to be a reaction to the violence which corrupted the punk / hardcore community in this period, as well as in the negativism which seemed to be the systematic answer of the punk faced with political problems. By bringing a more "personal " and more "positive" perspective, this scene wanted to try to put in an obvious place the fact that « personnal is political », and that to want to change the world also implicated to take time to change us ourselves and to "deconstruct" us for our reflexes (consumption, sexism, homophobia, work, etc). The first wave, with bands as IVICH, VANILLA, FINGER PRINT or UNDONE began in 1991. A « second wave » appeared towards 94, with bands like PEU ETRE, ANOMIE, CARTHER MATHA, RACHEL. There was not particular will to be "marginalized" in comparison with the rest of the hexagonal punk scene, anyway especially not with music stories. Besides, at the same time, links between this « emo scene » and other parts of the anarchopunk do-it-yourself community were obvious. We can name bands like SEA SHEPPERD, AUTONOMIA INDIGENA, CROSS ON YOUR PAST, ÖPSTAND, etc (who played rather quick punk / hardcore). ANOMIE people particularly, through their label APE RECORDS participated to construct a bridge between this emo-core scene and the more "traditional" anarchopunk scene. We can also name the label STONEHENGE, and a multitude of labels " DIY no benefit" which existed in this period (LA LIBRE EXPRESSION and others...).
Individuals of the parisian anarcho-punk movement invest themselves within the Association for an Associative Bar in Montreuil (inner east suburbs from Paris) who is a collective uniting libertarian activists, or "radical " or "alternative" left wing of Montreuil and who created this place to give people a convivial space of meetings to make debates there, expositions, projections, shows and different local or regional activities. Support or Do It Yourself shows also allows VENDEMIAIRE to have not so much problems financially since the collective refuses the subvention system and moreover is in political opposition with the town hall. Dozens bands will have played in this place (VENDEMIAIRE 1 then VENDEMIAIRE 2, a little bigger, between 1991 and 1996) when all members were of course volunteers. We will have seen the most part of anarchists bands and french DIY, no matter what is their musical tendencies (punk, hardcore, emo, ska, etc) and so as always quite a lot of foreign bands in tour (RIOT CLONE, MUTINY, INNER TERRESTRIALS). Often with these shows there was naturally press tables, projections and informations.
There are numerous squats also on Paris, one of the most famous is Bagnolet street, it is the 105 who receives numerous parties and famous shows (OI POLLOI in 95, TROMATISM, HIATUS, the first line-up of BRIGADA, P4, la FRACTION). Relatively numerous these squats are then subjected to a big wave of repression in the middle of the decade. One of the most important being during strikes of November, 95 during which a festival intersquat takes place, a week of shows in Paris every evening in a different place! Then next summer, in 1996, the 105 is destroyed and since it will never have so much squats than we had before. We'll nevertheless have mythical places in Paris like DADA squat, the 13 and its famous posters / flyers and some other bars.
Across France, it is the waltz of squats, IZMIR in St Etienne recently closed, l'ECLUSERIE in Rennes. But from years to years, as in Paris there are less and less squats, always more closings for more and more rare openings.
Of this new more radical anarchopunk scene, refusing capitalist practices and playing most often in squats we can name the PRIMITIV BUNKO band, which between 1993 and 1998 will released some demos and 3 EPs. FLOX the drummer published during time the zine FIGHT FOR YOUR MIND and is doing the label of the same name which produces a big number of international bands. Numerous bands begin then playing a more international music and turn, in opposition to the french punk rock scene folded up on herself and extending the inheritance of the eighties.
These are bands like ASIDE of Rennes, COCHE BOMBA of Lyon, AUTONOMIA INDIGENA of Orléans, fanzines like REAGIR of Lille which was one of the first to offer on half a dozen of numbers an international summary which covered the cream of the radical anarchopunk of the period (RESIST, BORN AGAINST, SARCASM, ANTICIMEX, SEDITION, DISAFFECT, HELLKRUSHER, CONTROPOTERE).
If emo and crust scene are enlarging, the anarchist stage musically more classical and following from bands of the eighties is relatively well, veterans (always living beings) of the eighties like ATTENTAT SONORE, "big" bands like DESERT CULTUREL, KOCHISE, HEYOKA, or more modest like NADA, KOROLL or LA SOUPE AUX CLOUS are profoundly going to mark the nineties and will influence the following wave which grows by listening to tapes and reading the booklets of these bands.
KOCHISE is indeed one of the most famous. The group started at the end of the eighties in the HAINE BRIGADE wake, they accomplish 3 albums (" Là où dansent les morts ", " Dans le meilleur des mondes " and the maxi " Plus dure sera la chute ") and a handle of EP of which a split live with CONFLICT. They also make at the beginning of the nineties LA REVANCHE DES HERISSONS fanzine and turn under several line-up until 2005.. They organized the Conflict tour in 1994 in support of the french anarchist movement (CNT, FA, Noir et Rouge, Scalp, Apache, Zarmazones, precarious and unemployed persons, DIY associations, etc) and the Schwartzeneggar tour in support of the Anarchist Black Cross in 1995 and a tour of information on the autonomous collective Apache in 1997. Always very active in the scene, the KOCHISE members meet in various bands as CRIA CUERVOS, MASQUERADE or TURTLE RAMBLERS and today CARTOUCHE. Tapage, the graphic designer of the band is well known since the middle of the eighties with his comics and his illustrations for various bands (LUDWIG VON 88, BXN, HB) or sleeves of discs (" Pogo avec les loups ", " Concertos pour des traquéEs ") he published also 3 albums in the middle of the eighties (" Rock Anarchie " IRL editions, " Violences " and " Peutit Keupon l'intégrale " in auto-co-production) He seems to have a bit decelerated drawings (apart of illustrate the show flyers of the CICP) and made quite a lot of collages (for KOCHISE between other one) on different sleeves, booklets or postcards.
HEYOKA of Dijon release a demo, an EP and a full-lenght in some years in a typical style of french, melodic and rousing anarchopunk (releasing the EP and the CD on the controversial label COMBAT ROCK not so much it is true in this type of bands). HEYOKA remains probably one of the most appreciated band of the scene, still remaining extremely known and searched today. They split at the end of the nineties. The female singer officiates in the band PANDORAS BOX then in NIRVANO, the guitarist plays in NUTCASE and the bass player continues distribution within the MALOKA collective.
NADA are from Béziers, and from a region where, except their " older brothers" from OUTRAGE / REBELLION, punk was rare, and engaged punk even more! Their existence will be short, and few traces stay except some interviews, a demo and some participations in different compilations K7. What did they therefore become?
MALOKA, this is the biggest catalogue of radical music in France, the distro starts in 1983 with K7 and old anarcho punks things with Christophe who is doing today the Internet site of the association. This becomes a label in 1989 with the release of the EP of PSYCHOSQUATT, fast followed by different compilations K7, "Ungovernable", "Europa Solidarity" and regrouping numerous international groups. After they made co-productions (DESERT CULTUREL, KOCHISE) before launching into bigger production. They produce an impressive number of vinyls and CD of French groups (HEYOKA, FOETUS PARTY, 20 MINUTES DE CHAOS, PEKATRALATAK, CALAVERA) or foreigner (INNER TERRESTRIALS, ACTIVE MINDS, MDC, EXECRADORES). MALOKA begins organizing shows in 1988-89 with bands like HAINE BRIGADE, VERDUN, SOURIRE KABYLE or KROMOZOM 4. The first squat opens in 1992 in an ancient military place : 1 year of occupation and a dozen shows. Then it's a succession of squats in various plants, every time very temporary. Then it's the opening of the TANNERIES ten years ago and accumulation of shows or theatre and of meetings. They are at the origin also of some festivals become fabled in the middle of the nineties as that of the middle of July, 1996 which unites bands like ANOMIE, MISERIA Y KOMPANIA, DOOM, BOYCOT, SUFFER, FLEASNLICE, HEYOKA and even LA RUDA still SALSKA (before this turns in the flavourless soup). This festival rounds up hundreds of persons in 3 days in a raging ambience which culminates on Sunday, July 14th for a punk-picnic and an antimilitaristic demo which finish in complete brothel! The festival ends then up going on some years more under another expression in co-production with MALDOROR, in big one fields on the side of Luzy with a programming more tilted on the hardcore. Since, MALOKA organizes in TANNERIES one or twice a year a big anarchopunk festival. The last gathered la FRACTION, FLEASNLICE, GRZZZ, PEKATRALATAK, FOETUS PARTY between other. The frequency of shows and quality of the bands which plays make Dijon one of the crossroads of the anarchopunk french scene, tossing people and struggle. Some bands evolve in the circle of this association, like 20 MINUTES DE CHAOS, a crust punk band with efficient female vocals. In the last news the town hall of Dijon has announced an expulsion of TANNERIES when a project would be decided!! Big battle within sight!
ATTENTAT SONORE begins make spit out his fabled sound guitar at the end of the 80's. This band with drum machine will release some demos, some vinyls (split with loud groups like PRIMITIV BUNKO or SCRAPS) then change of style and line up during the nineties. Today the band always turns, but since then lost his ineffable sound of guitar! A part of the band makes a zine which becomes rare these last years : GUERILLA URBAINE and did a K7 label GUERILLA FRONT TAPES.
We can also signal Igor Ringard, the first, maybe the only one, anarcho-punk musette which from the beginning of the nineties plays regularly in squats and benefit shows accompanied with its accordion and sometimes with some friends to start singing old songs but with contemporary texts that Ravachol wouldn't denied. Two or three demos and a full lenght for him.
DESERT CULTUREL, in spite of the impact of their music, their kindness and their activism on the french political punk scene, only made a few recordings. Except their two demos and their two live K7, they released a mini LP " Tant qu'on aura la colère " then a CD " Plus d'espoir que de haine " in 1992, both released on ON A FAIM! then finally a split EP with SKINNY BOYS. Of course, we will find them on a lot of K7 compilations. This band had definitely good written lyrics and amazing musical capacities, between other qualities. Unfortunately, they disappeared from the circulation too quickly, at least in alternative network. Some epic shows will stay in memories.
In the wake of these anarchist punk bands, in the middle of the nineties emerged a lot of new small bands which really known the 80's and that growed up with the new radical scene. Often bands with drum machine like PHASE TERMINALE which forms at the beginning of the nineties. They start in a style very influenced by the first albums of the natives of Quebec BANLIEUE ROUGE before taking a more hardcore way. They released some demos K7, then a split EP with TOXIC WASTE from the north of france, then released a full lenght CD " L'enfer des apparences ". Since some years band members evolve in other bands like LA SOCIETE ELLE A MAUVAISE HALEINE or OI J'AI MALE! Tof the bass player also making the excellent zine FORME LETHALE.
FOETUS PARTY starts in 1994 in Tours, a demo, a full lenght (" On ne fait pas d'omelettes sans casser de bourgeois "), a split CD live with P4 and a maxi (" Si tu as faim mange ton patron ") before split in 2005. Original band which uses sometimes amazing samples and by the topics chosen in his songs, they had a tooth of saw career, appearing then disappearing in the course of time. Their jolly, melodic, often odd style will make them a very appreciated group. The female singer is doing with other people the APACHE label who organizes anarchopunk shows in Tours since many years.
PEKATRALATAK forms at the beginning of the nineties. The beginning of the band is rather classical then after some demos and a first EP (" Pure Retournade "), the talks of the band are considered too radical by a part of the punk scene, from there they will have as much friends as enemies and release a second EP in a disordered way (" On va tous mourir "), a split CD live with FOETUS PARTY, critical split LP about the punk scene (" Mort au punk ") with URBAN BLIGHT and a split EP with the combo of Toulouse grind TEKKEN. Their musical beginning was very influenced by the alternative movement of the eighties, BERU / LUDWIG atmosphere, but in the course of time the band will evolve towards a much more aggressive style. At the beginning of 2000's they release a compilation LP in tribute to BERUS, " Concertos pour des TraquéEs ", in complete support of the ANARCHIST BLACK CROSS, an international organization which support the prisoners. In parallel Melvin, the singer, draws for different bands and organizations and doing some Internet sites. The last bass player of the band, plays in other band like NOCIF, a band that remained comparatively discreet (and disappeared some years ago, from which we expect for the release of a discography) and who started on a foundation already very politicized but centered musically rather towards melodic hardcore like NOFX. The last recording gives a more violent style which puts down the band musically beside classics like KOCHISE or HEYOKA, in much more angry way ... Political and insurrectionary, lyrics push anarchopunk topics towards a step closer to the "autonomous" movement. Evolving in the same sphere of influence and sometimes with the same persons, let's name the parisian bands DIVISION RUINE, BIERE SOCIALE, BERNARDO SONOTONE which walk on the steps of the old bands like LES KAMIONERS DU SUICIDE. They organized several "ACAB Festival" in Paris, different free concerts with free prices bars and distros in support of radical struggle and prisoners. In this mind, let's name the OUTRAGES zines, the first number of which gives advice and smartness to steal in supermarkets, and the excellent zine ASYMETRIE. A compilation was also produced in CD-R in support of the rebels of the Clairvaux prison " Vive les mutins " with about twenty bands.
Further to the split of the band, Txantxo the founder guitarist of the group takes up a new project, VARLIN (in homage to a revolutionary of the Paris commune), "erroriste" band always on a guitar, bass, drum machine formula and release quickly the first demo.
AFFLICTION forms in Troyes in 1997. They release quickly a first K7 without title the following year, then a second demo "Oppression", and finally a third in CD De la révolte à la révolution with a call to direct action and " working advice ". This last disc is notably available to MALOKA, otherwise distributed from hand to hand, all DIY and was sold 3 euros with different militant booklets. They participate in one compilation, among whom one of support of F.A.U, with KOBAYASHI or ETERNAL INNOCENCIA. Audrey, the singer of the band also made a zine compiling vegans recipes. The group stops its activities in 2002, but their last disc is still available for download on their Internet page!
But let's come back a little at the beginning of the nineties, in the age of fanzines and distros multiplication, in the big period of the pasted stamps and the thousands of flyers which circulated a lot. At the level of fanzines, a whole book would be needed to be able to speak about all, let's keep in mind HUMEUR NOIRE of Lille, L'OREILLE CASSEE, PLUS RIEN, RAF, BLACK IROQUOISE of the Limoges scalp, AUF ZU, unavoidable DEVIANCE of the Vosges, PROPAGANDE of Achicourt (dozens and dozens numbers for almost 20 years) and FUTURE NOIR (in exile), the excellent DIY BRIGADA of which the editor later did the zine of the Poitiers scalp SCHWARZ BLOCK and which making today a militant bookshop LA PETROLEUSE, EL MACHETE of the band BRIGADA FLORES MAGON in the period where this band still evolved in the anarchopunk sphere, the parisian autonomous newspaper APACHE, STREET TRASH of the THEY LIVE WE DIE collective of Rennes, L'ETOILE NOIRE, the St Etienne TRANZOPHOBIA (whose number 8 has a sleeve painted by Ivan Brun of COCHE BOMBA which accomplished some comic and numerous and sumptuous pictures), the crust zine SQUAWK of Colmar, the superb fanzine movies-music IDEES NOIRES, the internationalist zine TOTALITARIZM, HECATOMBE, HERESIE, the connected up zine history SOLEIL NOIR, hundreds of titles principally centered on music and politics but also sometimes on the kitchen like "gastrozines" like BROUTCHOU centered on the drawings (BOUH DANS TA FACE of the singer of P4, ZULVAG, REALITY OF WAR of Auch) or even on photograph (PRIS SUR LE VIF) and of course this quick list is far from being exhaustive, hundreds of titles often drawn in a handle of copies circulate here and there in press tables and shows .
At the level of labels, the nineties will be marked by ON A FAIM! which will produce 3 mythical compilations: " A bas toutes les armées ", " Cette machine sert à tuer tous les fascistes " and " Pogo avec les loups ", they also produced bands like DESERT CULTUREL or HAVE NOTS. They also tried not to remain in just the punk movement and released a compilation of Hip hop (" Dans ta face ") and even a Blues compilation. The label animator, Gil also published several collections of drawings and will mark graphically years of anarchist political activism! The organisation made also a big fanzine which on the last numbers was taken out with engaged Reggae / Ragga compilations.
In the Rhône-Alpes, we find the tireless collective la France pue, a punk / hardcore collective of about fifteen persons, which organizes shows in St Etienne in various direputable places of the city by favouring the foreign groups in tour (who have in a very obvious manner the impossibilizy to organize them themselves) since 1998, taking Tranzophobia (fanzine and organization of concerts since 1992, from which certain members of the collective come). The change of name was made around a radio show (la France pue one Tuesday on 2, 21h-23h http://www.radiodio.fr.fm) with the coming of a new generation of punks. The collective works on the DIY principle, what means the refusal of the local subventions and/or state and claim of autogestion. Similarly they want entrance prices not expensive (practically systematically 4.50€ / 5$ since the beginning) to guarantee access to all and on their shows, this money serving only for bands and paying additional expenses (tenancy of equipment, room, posters / flyers, food, etc).
Some people often reproach them for making only playing crust bands, it's wrong, even if a good party of the bands evolve in this type of punk. In summary they stick a lot of importance in what bands have to say, the way they make things. Very often, they are of libertarian obediance or extrem left wing as the most part of the activists of the association.
Fact that they are all very implicated in other various things, like bands (Chaos ZZZ, Vömit För Breakfast, Poupouille Orkestra, C.T.B), squats (Izmir), alternative mass media (Numéro Zero, Radio Dio), places of shows / rehearsal (Local 100 %, Sauf Imprévu), labels (Squawk, Nrv Prod, Kick Rock, Tranzophobia) or fanzines (Bavardages) is making that they are linked to anarchopunk movement by an anarchistic organization, eh eh!
Besides shows organization and the radio show, they also doing a distro (only present in shows, not mailorder).
The infoshop Le Kiosk in Paris was opened in 1994 jointly by SCALP / REFLEXES and the DIY label / distro ANGRR and joined by people as well as the parisian autonomous collective APACHE. As a lot of other infoshops, Kiosk is an intermediary of activist information as actions, demos, projections, debates, meetings or counter cultural (shows, etc). He also allows to distribute CD, K7, autoproduced, engaged vinyls, anarcho-punks or french and international DIY. And of course any forms of reading like pamphlets, booklets, newspapers, magazines, books and other essentially centered on ideas and habitual endless projects : anarchist, autonomous, squats, antifascists, anticapitalists, antisexists, antispecists, and all stuff. It's a place where people can give their autoproductions, or find it, as well as to make consultation. There's in France about twenty infoshops, more or less big, in associative places or in squats, but also mobile distros or on internet. The expression of infoshop allows to have a place of propaganda, distribution of equipment and intercommunication a little more easy to manage (because smaller and with a less heavy structure) than a normal bookshop. Of course the management of these places is voluntarily made, what remains of course a basic principle of any anarcho-punk auto-organization, or anarcho-not-punk moreover …
Created in December, 1993, the AL YAUMA association organizes a dozen concerts been run on a cooperative basis near Tours, with between other OI POLLOI, DISAFFECT, TROMATISM, SUBCAOS, UNHINGED, ATTENTAT SONORE, HEADACHE, DEAD MICHEL SIMON, ZARBI BAND, IVICH, PARKAJ MENTAL, ENOLA GAY till the end of 1995. They created APE RECORDS which released the TROMATISM EP and the ESCAPE one (where officiate 2 members of AL YAUMA!), and APE DISTRIB which offers vinyls and fanzines (connected to music, vegetarianism and animal liberation)...
Countless small K7 labels thrive and broadcast their productions by post or on press tables in shows like LE GROS CAFAR, GUERILLA FRONT TAPES, NO REASON (of the fanzine RAGE - POSITIVE RAGE) or UTOPIA of Auch (which produces the K7 compilation " War the nightmare continues " with bands like CONCRETE SOX, HELLKRUSHER, 6 FEET OVER, EXCREMENT OF WAR, INKISICIAO ...).
Same for distros which started everywhere in France, that grew up, that disappeared or that always survive, let's name TOXIC GRAPHITY (the distro of KOCHISE), KAZIMODO, BAD CARD, BRASSICA RAPA, SUBVERSION and CONTRE CULTURE, KATAKOMB, APE which was also a label, ANOK, le CALM and so many others...
Here are quickly summed up a little more than 20 years of anarchopunk in France. Of course this is not exhaustive, we forgot people and bands and anyway on about fifteen available pages we could not put in it all information we want or all iconography which we wished. We nevertheless hope to have succeeded in putting down a certain historical foundation on which we could articulate other plans : a second compilation probably, a new review in form of a booklet or in book, this time more complete!
This review was written by Lolo Soudeille and Melvin with the help of Raf, Jean Christophe Maloka, Tapage, Christophe Mora and Sylvain Tranzo.