Funeral Oration was a melodic hardcore punk band from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. They were active from 1982–83 until the end of the 1990s, putting out highly influential records on Dutch, German, British and American labels. They managed to create their own unique sound, mainly due to the unmistakable vocal style of Peter Zirschky.
Funeral Oration was formed in April 1982 out of the ashes of singer Peter Zirschky's former band – Last Warning – and made their first appearance on the international hardcore punk compilation "Raw War" after only a few rehearsals. In the next months recordings of those early practices surfaced on numerous other cassette-only compilations around the world – most notably "Holland Hardcore 2nd Attack" on Er Is Hoop Tapes and a split tape with Gepopel on legendary BCT from San Diego, CA. The initial line-up was completed by drummer Ferry Fidom, bassist Mike de Veer who was soon replaced by William Steinhauser, and guitarist David. The latter quit just after the recording of their first demo, "There's Nothing Left To Laugh About", in September and their first gig in October 1983, so Zirschky took over guitar duties.
In the beginning of 1984 another demo tape was recorded – "The Godsend" – this time with better production which captured the raw energy of those early days of the band. Both demos received favorable reviews in Maximum Rock'n'Roll and other punk zines.
It wasn't until the fall of 1984 that their music finally made it to vinyl when the self-produced "Shadowland" 12-inch EP was released. Four tracks of ripping hardcore on side A, backed with three of the darkest post-punk songs established their trademark sound.
The next year brought a new guitarist, Tos Nieuwenhuizen (ex- Jezus and the Gospelfuckers), and a new release – their first and now legendary LP "Communion" (1985) on Diehard Records, which was ranked No. 3 Best Punk Rock Album of the Year by Flipside magazine, and Record of the Year by Berkeley's own KALX radio station. The unique guitar style of Tos Nieuwenhuizen and heartfelt lyrics of Peter Zirschky earned the album a classic status. That summer Funeral Oration toured Germany and Spain with fellow band Gepopel.
By the end of 1985 guitarist Tos left the band. He was replaced by Hayo Buunk and in April 1986 a new 7-inch EP was recorded – "Survival".
Their second LP, simply titled "Funeral Oration", saw the light in 1987 and the same year drummer Ferry Fidom left the band. With the new drummer Erik Jansen in, the band’s line-up didn’t change for a decade.
Another 7-inch EP, "The More We Know", was released in 1989 and at the end of the year material for a new album was recorded, but a hiatus in the band caused its late release – "Say No To Life" LP was finally put out in 1993 by WRF Records. This record gave a hint of what would become their definitive sound in the '90s – catchier melodies and better production, still keeping the edge of their previous albums.
After almost five years of silence the four band members entered Bunt's Studio in Utrecht to record their CD debut "Punk Rock Nation" (1994) with producer Menno Bakker. The album was again released by WRF Records, in a modest press of 500, but a copy of it caught the ear of Louis Posen, founder of American label Hopeless Records, who eventually signed the band. Most of the tracks off "Punk Rock Nation" were included on their next release, predictably titled "Funeral Oration". A semi-professional video was shot for the song "Outside", which can be seen on the "V.A. Cinema Beer Goggles" video. Another promo video, mainly compiled of live footage from their first US tour, was made for the song "This Punk Thing" which can be heard on the "Discography" double CD set.
In early 1997 the all-time classic "Communion" was reissued, for the first time on CD (with the addition of "Shadowland" EP), by German label Nasty Vinyl.
Hopeless Records issued the band’s last two studio albums – "Believer" (1997) and "Survival" (1998) – and the "Discography" 2xCD, which compiled most of their best songs, recorded through a 15+ year lifespan, but also some rare, unreleased and live material. In 1997 Vinny Tjoa joined as a guitarist since Hayo Buunk couldn't take part in the recording of "Survival".
Funeral Oration did three American tours in three consecutive years – in 1996, '97 and '98 – promoting each of their Hopeless Records releases.
By the end of the decade the band members went their separate ways.
Peter Zirschky – vocals, guitar (R.I.P.)
Ferry Fidom – drums (1982 to '87)
Michael "Mike" de Veer – bass (1982)
David – guitar (1982 to '83)
William "Wil" Steinhauser – bass (1983 – )
Thomas "Tos" Nieuwenhuizen – guitar (1985)
Hayo Buunk – guitar (1985 to '97 )
Erik Jansen – drums (1987 – ) (R.I.P.)
Barend van der Meer – drums (live, 1996)
Vincent "Vinny" Tjoa – guitar (1997 – )
Jevin – guitar (live, 1998)
Menno Bakker – guitar (live, 1998)
Communion LP (Diehard, 1985)
Funeral Oration LP (Swaddle, 1987)
Say No To Life LP (WRF, 1993 /recorded in 1989/)
Punk Rock Nation CD (WRF, 1994)
Funeral Oration CD/LP/cass (Hopeless, 1995)
Believer CD/LP/cass (Hopeless, 1997)
Survival CD/LP/cass (Hopeless, 1998)
Discography 1983 - 1998 2CD (Hopeless, 1999)
Shadowland 12" (self-released, 1984)
Survival 7" (Remedy, 1986)
The More We Know 7" (Loony Tunes, 1989)
What Is It? 7" (Hopeless, 1995)
Stop For A Moment/Expanding 7" flexi (Hopeless/Flipside, 1995)
There's Nothing Left To Laugh About cassette (self-released, 1983)
The Godsend cassette (self-released, 1984)
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