About The Ex
The Ex are an underground band from the Netherlands that formed in 1979 at the height of the original punk explosion. Initially known as an anarcho-punk band, they have since released over 20 full-length albums of musical experiments and numerous collaborations blending punk and free jazz with styles of folk music from all over the world.
The Ex's music has undergone significant evolution over the years from their beginnings as a punk band. Founded by singer Jos Kley , guitarist Terrie Hessels, drummer Geurt and bassist René, the band debuted with a song titled "Stupid Americans" on the Utreg-Punx vinyl 7" compilation released by Rock Against records in Rotterdam. The release of their first 7" All Corpses Smell the Same followed shortly after that, in 1980. Through the decades their music has gradually developed into its current form of highly intricate, experimental punk/post-punk/no wave-inspired work.
Expanding beyond punk rock, The Ex have incorporated a wide array of influences, often from non-Western and non-rock sources. Some include Hungarian and Turkish folk songs, and more recently music from Ethiopia, Congo and Eritrea . Other examples of branching out stylistically include the improvised double album Instant and a release under the moniker Ex Orkest, a 20 piece big band assembled for performances at Holland Festival.
Throughout the early 1980s The Ex went through many line-up changes before settling on the core quartet of G.W. Sok on vocals, Terrie on guitar, Luc on bass and Kat on drums. In the early 1990s, Andy became the band's permanent 2nd guitarist. In 2003 Luc left the band after 19 years, to be replaced by double bassist Rozemarie Heggen. In 2005 Heggen in turn left the band and Colin served as the band's bass player for recordings and tours with Ethiopian saxophone legend Getatchew Mekuria before becoming The Ex's sound board operator. Guitarists Andy Moor and Terrie Hessels have since filled in bass parts by switching off on baritone guitar.
The band has collaborated with many disparate artists, including UK anarchist band Chumbawamba , the Dog Faced Hermans , and with the late avant-garde cellist Tom Cora in the early 1990s, resulting in the album Scrabbling at the Lock and the follow-up And the Weathermen Shrug Their Shoulders . The album In the Fishtank 5 was made with Chicago's Tortoise, and on In the Fishtank 9 they collaborated with members of Sonic Youth and the Dutch improvisers Instant Composers Pool Orchestra .
Alex Siquig, Popmatters
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