Burning Plague is a hard blues band that was founded at the end of the sixties
in and around Brussels as an answer to the reigning British and Dutch "blues
boom" at that time (together with bands such as Kleptomania, Jenghiz Khan,
Doctor Downtrip, Irish Coffee ...).
Initially, the group consisted of Michael Heslop, Alex Capelle, Roger Carlier
and Willy Stassen. Also Johan Verminnen was part of
the group for a short while.
They specialized themselves in hard blues and boogie, as was recorded on their
debut album "Burning Plague" of 1970. Thanks to "mythical songs"
such as "A38", "Life is Nonsense" and "Night Travelin'
Man" this album became a - for the genre - huge success (over 10,000 sold
copies and a first place in the "PopHot"-hitparade of Télémoustique).
Naturally, the group also did a large number of live gigs in Belgium, among which
featured a place at Jazz Bilzen of 1970 (the lineup included Black Sabbath and
The Kinks that year). After a tour of Zaïre together with Danny Lademacher's
Kleptomania the group got disbanded.
However, in 1992 the band started a second life. There was a reunion in the
"Grain d'Orge" in Brussels with Paul Vandevelde (ex Dr. Downtrip) on
the drums. He was replaced two years after by Marc Ysaye (a radio-dj and drummer
of Machiavel, Purple
Prose and others). The reason for this reunion was explained in the lyrics
of the song "23 years ago" : "Yes about 23 year ago today, we
gave up playing, we thought it would be for good. But here we are back and to
stay, and nobody thought that we would. The good old guitar is still crying, and
the amps are cranked up to ten. We're still night travelin' men, so the good old
Plague is back together again."
In 1995 Alex Capelle left the band, but he was replaced by Alain Pire (Such
a Noise, Huy, Abbey Road). There even was a second CD of Burning Plague, and they
got to open the fast growing Boogie Town Festival of that year (with John Mayall
as top-of-the-bill). That not everybody is so happy with old blues groups reemerging,
was proven by Jacky Huys in his review for Knack : "Totally passé
is Burning Plague with their reunion-yawn Two".
Marc Ysaye played with Burning Plague until 1998, when the also reunited Machiavel
got so busy again that he couldn't afford to play with another group. Mario Zola
took his place.
In 1999 the original Burning Plague-LP of 1970 was re-released on CD and there
was a Live CD (Burning Plague Live At Last). Their motto "They still got
the natural born boogie and they need you to make the next gig a Burning blues
night" was also to be heard at the Peer Rhythm & Blues Festival.
- Michael Heslop (guitars, vocals)
- Roger Carlier (bass)
- Alex Capelle / Alain Pire (guitars)
- Willy Stassen / Paul Vandevelde / Marc Ysaye / Mario Zola (drums)
Buy CD's of this band at
- Burning Plague (CBS, 1970)
- Two (MMS, 1995)
- Live at Last (??, 1999)
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