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(JEF) MERCELIS

Singer-songwriter who came up with a very good debut in 1996, but hasn't been heard of since.

 
Songs
 

from "The hopes & dreams of a drunk punk", 1996
Record Co : Dureco / Zaika

"Yesterday night"
1 min 8 sec. - 134 Kb.
song : Mercelis
Produced : Mercelis/G. van Bever

"This is no way"
53,9 sec. - 106 Kb.
song : Mercelis
Produced : Mercelis

"Mr. Weezle "
56,1 sec. - 134 Kb.
song : Mercelis
Produced : Mercelis, Rudy Trouvé

"Eternity"
2 min 1 sec. - 237 Kb.
song : Mercelis
Produced : Mercelis/G. van Bever

 
   

Initially, Mercelis wasn't a group, but a solo-performing singer/songwriter. He got some fame within the rock-loving Belgian community with his participation in the Rock Rally of 1992. He even made it to the final (together with Charlie 45, The Beautiful Babies, dEUS, Nemo, Orgasmaddix and The Sideburns, a precursor to Novastar).
As Humo wrote at the time : "a 22-years old son with a name to start selling greenhouses, with the looks of a confused Dylan & Donovan-adept, but with a guitar, a voice and the songs to go all the way." A few years later, their recollection sounded "a young and big talent that courageously, all alone, averse from technical tricks or a very loud group-sound to hide mediocre songs, showed us that rock and quality aren't necessarily synonyms of populated collectives or deafening noise."

 

The man himself was not at all happy about his final : "I wanted to demonstrate that I had a vast repertoire, I didn't want to play the same songs as in the preselections. And I had to go on stage first. And the hall was only half-full. And most of my fans were still looking for parking space. And I hadn't slept one minute that night". Les excuses sont faites pour s'en servir. He was pleased with the consequences though : "I can perform at the clubs and youthbars now. The only thing I want is a band. I would love to record an album, but I don't want to do that alone", he said - in December 1992.

May 1996, he finally had his band together and saw the release of "The Hopes and dreams ...". As Humo reviewed at the time (this is getting boring, but I can't find any other sources about Mercelis) : "This is a better-late-than-never record, but perhaps also a perhaps-a-bit-sooner-or-a-bit-later-would've-been-better record : there isn't much that reminds us about the loner he was, while exactly that was his big strength & what distinguished him from everybody else. Now Mercelis is a group, but not a seamless, fully run in, réal group. The sounds & songs on this album remind us vaguely of (a Flemish version) of Neil Young & Crazy Horse. ... In short : it's certainly one of the best Belgian records this season, but also one that leaves you thinking there was more in it."

In any case, the record didn't become a huge success, because apart from a few gigs in Belgium itself (e.g. Marktrock) there was apparently little movement. Since then, Mercelis has somehow fallen into oblivion. I hope someone gets him out of there, 'cause this man really is a terrific songwriter - Just listen to "Eternity" and you'll get my point !

In the autumn of 1998, the drummer of the band Nikolaas Westelinck, released a surprisingly good solo-debut "A.S.A.P." under the name Niko. As he told Vern, the defunct Flemish rock-magazine, "It was Jef Mercelis who suggested me to send my demo-tapes to the record firms. I estimated it would take me about ten years to get a contract. It happened the first day." This didn't become a major success, and later on he would resurface on the successors to Ivan's Land Spencer the Rover.

In 2001 Mercelis founded Zon & Zero with Guy van Nueten of The Sands, with whom he started working on a series of songs in his home-studio and performed live during De Nachten. About this to Veto : "If we don't find a record firm, we'll publish it ourselfves (sighs). No, I never really got along with record firms. Of "The Hopes and Dreams of a drunk Punk", 1,350 copies were sold. That's enough to keep standing up, but that's all. But it annoys me that these companies are only considering the financial side of things. Four years ago I wante to record an album that really showed who I was: with all kinds of different moods & styles. But they didn't like that idea: they wanted to "put me in the market" as a depressed singer-songwriter, because that was the music that was doing well then. Well whatever, I just don't want to think about these things anymore, it just gets me all stressed."

Band members :
- Jef (Mercelis) : acoustic & electric guitar, piano, organ, keyboard
- Tijl : bass, overdriven bass
- Oop : Electric & Spanish guitars, E-bow, blues-harp, special effects
- Niko(laas Westelinck) : drums, percussion, vocals, glockenspiel, wood-blocks

Buy CD's of this band at proxis

Albums :
- The Hopes & dreams of a drunk punk (Dureco, 1996)
other :
- Rock Rally 1992: "Another Man" (EMI, 1992)
- Yesterday night / Eternity (Dureco, 1996)

Websites :
- interview met Jef Mercelis over Zon & Zero bij Goddeau

Forum :
- Read the messages/questions about Jef Mercelis
- Add your message, question, cd- or concertreview ... about Mercelis

 

   
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Last update to this site : December 2001.

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