Hellacopters frontman Nick Royale and Tony Slug from Amsterdam’s Nitwitz had planned on doing a side-project sometime, since 1996 and record a demo with covers by their all-time favourite group, the - at the time - criminally underdocumented Sonic’s Rendezvous Band.
The Hellacopters’ relentless touring schedule put these ambitions on hold for several years, but when Slug put Scott Morgan in touch with the ‘Copters during their US tour, one thing quickly led to another.
In February 1999, the three got together in Amsterdam joined by Theo Brouwer on the four strings, and rehearsed for the next six days, conjuring up enough material for a full live set and an album, combining Sonic’s Rendezvouz Band repertoire with originals. After three try-out gigs in small Dutch venues the Hydromatics gelled into a tight, solid riffing unit and were ready to record their debut album “Parts Unknown”. It’s release, on the Swedish White Jazz label, was followed by a month-long European tour together with Zen Guerrilla and the Hellacopters as headliners, Nicke double-tasking two sets every night.
Nicke left the band shortly after this tour and was replaced by by Detroit powerhouse Andrew Frost before the Hydro’s recorded a second album, titled “Powerglide”. Another extensive, gruelling tour followed, time touring on their own, travelling “uncomfortably numb” sardined in a van for 8 to 10 hours a day, yet rocking the hell out of every dive between Stockholm and Sevilla, and the occasional prestigious festival, such as the Serie-Z and Roskilde.
Two days before a third month long Spartan tour was to start, bassist Theo decided to go AWOL and moved to Spain, making chances of a succesful tour look pretty dim. In the nick of time, monsieur Laurent Ciron of Parisian punque veterans The Dogs came to the rescue, learning the songs on the train, while travelling to Holland the following day.
Read more about the adventures on the third Hydromatics death tour in Scott’s diary here.
Realising they were essentially a band without allies, and that they had achieved their initial goals, namely documenting the Sonics Rendezvous Band repertoire, the group decided to call it a day.
Scott and Nicke would continue a fruitful collaboration with their soul music project, the Solution, enjoying considerable (chart) success in Scandinavia. Scott’s band back in Detroit, powertrane, made a name for themselves, with star studded line ups featuring the Stooges’ Ron Asheton, Radio Birdman’s Deniz Tek etc.
Tony returned to the Nitwitz, who in ever changing line-ups, continued struggling, releasing records and touring all over the European continent despite the most adverse conditions.
Quite a few sweat-soaked Hydromatics shows have unintentionally been recorded on cassette tapes or from the board on DAT over the years. Some of these found their way to a limited edition 10” live mini album on the French Pitshark label.
After a 3 year hiatus, the Hydromatics return with Kent Steedman of the CELIBATE RIFLES on guitar and Ries Doms on drums ;
Scott Morgan, Kent Steedman, Tony Slug, Ries Doms, Theo Brouwer
Marvel at the cross-pollenation in this elaborate, yet painfully incomplete family tree.
* Dangerous / Heaven 45 (RocketDog, Holland, lim. 1000 copies)
* Parts Unknown LP/CD (White Jazz, Sweden)
* Powerglide CD (Freakshow, Italy)
* Powerglide LP (Cargo, Germany)
* “R.I.P. rnr” on Ox fanzine compilation (Germany)
* “Soulbone” on Live at The Subsonic, Vol. 1 (Speed, France)
* “R.I.P. rnr” and “Do It Again” on Death Rattle and Roll (Wondertaker, USA)
* “Live” 10” (Pitshark, France, lim. 500 copies)
Edited by bufftbone on 1 Dec 2009, 00:10
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