The story of Arbeid Adelt! is quite a peculiar one. But so are the group members.
Always on the brink between anarcho-absurdism and the ridiculous, between electronic
experiment and the asylum, the music of Arbeid Adelt! was certainly never to be
heard in your average elevator or shopping centre.
Arbeid Adelt! was formed in 1981 by Marcel Vanthilt (Max Alexander)
and Jan Van Roelen (David Salamon). Together they produced the singles
"Ik sta scherp" (which can be translated both as "I'm so
sharp", or "I'm so horny"). Their first gig lasted only seven minutes
as they had only 2 songs to perform : "Ik sta scherp" and "Schuld,
mij treft geen ..." (Blame, I'm not to ...). Soon more songs were to
"De dag dat het zonlicht ..." (the day the sunlight...) was
performed on national television in the program "Hitring" and was a
shock-surprise. There was a lot of fuzz about the single because crooner John
Terra felt upset. Just at that time he had a hit called "De dag dat het
zonlicht niet meer scheen" (The day the sunlight stopped shining). Although
the number was far from a cover version, the poor man felt attacked by the line
"dat was de dag, de dag dat John met mijn vriend verdween).
Later on, the group was joined by Luc Van Acker
with whom they recorded the mini-album "Jonge Helden" (Young
heroes). Their amusing lunacy and their inventive clips made "Lekker Westers"
(Nicely Western) and "De man die alles noteert" (The man who
takes notes of everything) popular favorites.
split up after finishing their second mini-album "Le chagrin en Quatre-vingt".
Only one year later, the group reformed without Luc Van Acker who was replaced
by Willy-Willy on guitar (see Scabs) and Danny
Klein at vocals (at that time backing vocalist with Catalog of Cool. She would
later get famous with Vaya Con dios). They recorded
a single ("Decoiffé/Stroom") but decided to split up again. The reasons
: discontent with the record firm (Marcel in Mad in Belgium : "They saw
us as a kind of clowns. They refused to bring out the songs that were representative
of what we were doing, and released "Stroom" en "Witte kom hie".
Those were both good jokes, good for a laugh at the live gigs, but not good as
a release two years after your last record." and different opinions on
the future of the group between the members.
Marcel Vanthilt went on to broaden his horizon by becoming a Vee-Jay for the
then emerging TV-station MTV and by getting involved with Justine, his American
In 1991 the group got together again and got a deal from Virgin which resulted
in a Full CD "Des Duivels Oorkussen" . They went on tour with
a complete 10 piece Big-Band but were not able to break through commercially,
despite some nice songs such as "Spannend" (Tense), "Nergens
heen" (nowhere to go) and "Met Kuifje in de Satteliet"
(With Tintin in a Sattelite).
Marcel Vanthilt left Arbeid Adelt! once again and picked up his television
career, this time in front a national audience in his own television show "Tilt".
After yet another disaster, he tried to emigrate to the States (2 years of trying
to succeed in Hollywood, about which he has written a funny booklet and standup
comedy theater-show called "Ha!Merika"), divorced his wife, came back
to Belgium and is now hosting a quiz show for kids "Viavia" and a language
game "Tien Voor Taal" for the VRT.
2001, a musical microbe infected Marcel Vanthilt again, when he staged a poetry
program together with Ad Cominotto (see Arno, Charles
& Les Lulus) as "Vanthilt en Cominotto" entiteld: "U
nu!" ("now it's up to you", also the title of the shortest
dutch poem ever). In this show for the theaters (which also got released on a
CD), Vanthilt and his companion traveled trough dutch poetry history, to prove
that poems can be sexy, whacky, cool, moving, and set the music of today. With
samples, soundscapes and piano, they gave new life to these lyrics, going from
one of the oldest old-Dutch texts "Ghequest (ben ick vanbinnen)"
to the punk poetry of Johnny the Selfkicker.
Also in 2001, Marcel put himself "in the picture" by drawing the cover
illustration for the Clouseau album "En Dans",
on which he also got to sing/talk in one track.
Band members :
- Marcel Vanthilt (pseudo Max Alexander) : Vocals/Keyboard
- Jan Vanroelen (pseudo David Salomon): Guitar/Keyboard
- Luc Van Acker: Guitar
and for a short period :
- Willy Willy: Guitar
- Dani Klein: Vocals
Buy CD's of this band at
- Jonge helden (Parlophone - 1983)
- Le chagrin en quatre-vingts (Parlophone - 1983)
- Des duivels oorkussen (Virgin - 1991) Compilaties :
- Bijna heeft nog nooit een haas geschoten (BMG Ariola, 1993) Singles :
- Ik sta scherp - Schuld ? Mij treft geen ... (Wereldrecords, 1981)
- De dag dat het zonlicht niet meer scheen (Parsley, 1982)
- De man die alles noteert (EMI, 1983)
- Het meisje van mijn hart (maxi, EMI, 1983)
- Lekker Westers - In het Gemeentehuis (EMI- 1983)
- Geen ekskuzes meer - Plus d'excuses (EMI - 1984)
- Decoiffé - Stroom (Parlophone - 1985)
- Witte kom hie - Steppin' stone (Parlophone - 1985)
- Spannend - Hard (Virgin, 1991)
- Nergens heen - Melancholie (Virgin, 1991)
- Johnny Sexpistool (Virgin, 1992)
- Met kuifje in de satteliet (Virgin - 1992)
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