BIRDS OF A FEATHER

Biography

The idea for the band Birds Of A Feather was born at the 1999 USA tour of Dutch straight edge band Mainstrike. It was clear that the band was going to break up after the tour, and some members talked about starting a new straight edge band. During the conversation, a tape with Side By Side was playing, and inspired by that tape, they decided on the name Birds Of A Feather (a line from the Side By Side song 'Friends'). Although Mainstrike broke up, the new band never happened. A few years later, former Mainstrike vocalist Bigma, who had been singing for Cro-Mags inspired band No Denial for a few years, was talking to Jonas, who had been guitar player for Mainstrike, how he missed playing in a band with a full-on straight edge message. Peter Hoeren of Crucial Response Records had offered Bigma to do a project record for the first issue of his new fanzine Voice Of A Generation. Jonas was into the idea of writing some new songs for this record and started writing the lyrics and music for the songs. The two were joined by former Mainstrike drummer Pepijn to record the songs in the Bunt Studios, in August of 2005. Musically, the band was inspired by the heavier side of the late 1980s youthcrew.

Shorly after having recorded the songs Bigma was talking to Jean-Paul, editor of Value Of Strength fanzine about the project, and Jean-Paul came up with the idea to do a 30-plus straight edge band. Bigma liked the idea, and the project turned into a real band. Bigma, Jonas and Pepijn were joined by guitar playerMarc Hanou, formerly bass player of early 1990s Dutch straight edge band Betray, while Jean-Paul took up the bass. In the meantime, the Voice Of A Generation fanzine was released together with the Birds Of A Feather EP. In 2006 the EP was re-released on CD, on Crucial Response Records, adding two extra songs that had been recorded during the recording session in Bunt Records.
Birds Of A Feather played its first show in January 2006, on the Complete Control Records showcase in Amsterdam. In May of that year, the band played on the Light The Fuse fest, and was also featured on the 7” compilation that was put out as part of this festival. Unfortunately, Pepijn could find the time anymore to find the band, and he was replaced by youngster Thijs Wilbrink, former drummer of A Step Apart. With this line-up, Birds Of A Feather went on a short tour of Germany and Poland, together with Abusive Action. After one more show, with 108, Thijs left the band, and the band was again without a drummer. When also Jonas left the band, Birds Of A Feather had to find two new members. With Jeff van der Wal, formerly of Crivits and X-Men, on guitar and Paul Seelen taking the place behind the drumkit, the band found its definite line-up, playing its first show with this line-up in June 2007. In the meantime, the two not 7” songs of the Our Aim CDEP had been released on a split-7” with Minneapolis band In Defense on USA label Give Praise Records. While staying in the USA for some months, Marc had been playing in In Defense and it was his idea to bring the bands together on a split 7”.

With Paul and Jeff joining, three members of Birds Of A Feather were into Krishna Consciousness, but as Marc and JP were not, the band kept focusing their message on straight edge, vegetarism and staying positive, although some of the lyrics were inspired by Vedic culture. Birds Of A Feather started working on songs for a full length, and recorded a demo in June 2007, to help the song writing proces. From september to december 2007, the band recorded 17 songs, in Bunt Studios with Menno Bakker behind the recording desk. In the meantime, Marc and JP had started working on a book on the history of European straight edge, to accompany the LP version of the record. Before releasing the album, Birds Of A Feather first released five songs of the recording session as the 'Chapter 5' EP on Dutch label Commitment Records in March 2008. In April 2008 the band went on a 2 week European tour, together with their friends of Eye Of Judgement, playing in Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria and Italy.

After having the songs for the album being mastered by Alan Douches, the CD version of the record came out later in 2008, not only on Polish label Refuse Records, that would also release the LP version with the book, but also on 78 Life Records from Brazil. The album contained thirteen songs (as many as the classic second Youth Of Today album and that was no coincidence!) of 80s inspired youthcrew hardcore with enough backups to singalong too, and lyrics that partly reflected lyricist Bigma interest in Krishna Consciousness, without getting pushy or preachy.

In September 2008, Birds Of A Feather played the 15 Years Refuse Records festival in Warsaw, Poland and in October, the band went on a short UK tour, playing three shows with UK youthcrew band Times Together.

In May 2009, the LP with the book 'The Past The Present 1987-2007: A History Of 25 Years Of European Straight Edge”, 108 pages and over 250 photos documenting the straight edge scene in Europe was finally released on Refuse Records. The book contained interviews with many people who had played an important role in the Dutch and European straight edge scene. Book and LP were sold out in a few months. In October 2009, Birds Of A Feather did a weekend tour of Italy and later that month, a small tour of Eastern Europe, playing in Berlin, Hungary, Slovenia and Budapest. Early in 2010, the band recorded the Shelter song 'Freewill' for a Shelter tribute and 'Wise Up' for a Bold tribute. Unfortunately, both tributes remained in the planning stages.

In October 2010, Birds Of A Feather broke up because drummer Paul had started up a taichi and reiki school, so could not find the time anymore for the band, while Bigma, who just had become a father, wanted to concentrate more on his family and was also somewhat disillusioned because of the lack of support Birds Of A Feather received in Holland. Jeff, Marc and Jeff teamed up with two former Eye Of Judgement members in the new straight edge band Echoes. Just Another Day Records from Belgium was supposed to release the 2007 demo on a double-7”, but as the label collapsed, this record never materialized.


Final line-Up

Bigma - vocals (2005-2010)
Jeff van der Wal - guitar (2007-2010)
Marc Hanou - guitar (2005-2010)
JP - bass (2005-2010)
Paul Seelen - drums (2007-2010)

Former members:
Jonas - guitar (2005-2006)
Pepijn - drums (2005-2006)
Thijs Wilbrink - drums (2006-2006)

Discography

Our Aim E.P. 7"/CDEP (Crucial Response, 2005)
Split with In Defence 7" (Give Praise, 2007)
Chapter 5 7" (Commitment, 2008)
The Past, The Present CD (Refuse, 2008)
The Past, The Present CD (Seven Eight Life, 2008)
The Past, The Present LP+book (Refuse, 2009)