The Belgian Pop & Rock Archives ...Muziekcentrum Vlaanderen
  Home | Bands & Artists | S | The Scabs        


Belgian's band with the highest degree of "rock & roll".


"Matchbox Car"
53,9 sec. - 106 Kb.
song: Guy Swinnen
Produced : J-M Aerts.
Year : 1983
Record co. : EMI

"No pay today"
35,3 sec. - 70 Kb.
song: The Scabs
Produced : J-M Aerts.
Year : 1983
Record co. : EMI

"Halfway Home"
56,4 sec. - 111 Kb.
song: The Scabs
Produced : W. Pensaert.
Year : 1987
Rec co. : Play It Again Sam

"Crystal eyes"
57,6 sec. - 113 Kb.
song: The Scabs
Produced : Werner Pensaert
Year : 1988
Rec co. : Play it again Sam

"Hard times"
38,3 sec. - 75 Kb.
song: The Scabs
Produced : Werner Pensaert
Year : 1990
Rec co. : Play it again Sam

"Hard to forget"
38,4 sec. - 76 Kb.
song: The Scabs
Produced : W. Pensaert.
Year : 1992
Rec co. : Play it again Sam!


Started as a bunch of angry young men in 1982 and made a smashing knock on the door debut with a few singles ("So called friends / Frozen faces" and "There's nothing wrong / Beat me up"), a track on the album "No big business" ("Is this life?") and the mini-album "Here's to you Gang". The group was at the time most often compared with The Clash. The reward : a place at Torhout-Werchter, the biggest summer festival of Belgium.


After a less well-received second album (produced by the producer of the Bollock Brothers Ian O'Higgins) "For all the wolf calls", the group starts searching for a new direction. This is found on the album "Skintight" and in the person of Willy Willy - the Sir Keith of Richards of Belgian Rock music.
Ironically the Scabs find their way to a much broader audience with the muted singles "Stay", "Halfway home" and the beautiful "Crystal Eyes". The albums however contain loud rocking music. "Ballads are the only way to get some airplay", said Willy "A song like that can be used in more programs than a loud song. Call it compliance, without giving in."


The next two records get a gold status even before their release and the hits keep coming : "Don't you know", "Robbin' the liquor store", "Nothing on my radio", "She's jivin'", "Hard times", "Hard to forget" ... and a whole bunch of brilliant other songs. This is the second golden period of the Scabs. In 1992, they finally get another place at Torhout-Werchter after the album "Jumping the tracks".

After 1993, it somehow seems to get more difficult to get their act together on album. Their live-reputation however remains untainted, and is recorded for their offspring on the double live album "Live dog". The culmination of their shows is the Neil Young classic "Rockin' in the free world".


Although the Scabs have perhaps the most international sound and song-writing talent of the Belgian bands, never in their career a international breakthrough comes into reach.

The band keeps searching for the right combination. The 1993 album, produced by Mike Vernon, gets received also received very well. In Humo "We wouldn't know if we finally heard the réal Scabs, We don't have a clue what road they will go on next, we wouldn't know if "Dog days are over" is the definitive Scabs album : it is the best, most complete album they have ever made. We're a little confused. Wanna bet we will get on the wrong train again tonight ?"

Willy Willy steps out of the band in 1994 (saying the Scabs weren't experimenting enough anymore) and is replaced by the former guitarist of Clouseau, Tjenne Berghmans.


This move prolongs their career for a good year, but doesn't manage to revitalize the band. At the end of 1996, Guy Swinnen decides to call it a day and Belgiums finest rock band is no more.

Frank Saenen, who went to play with Whim Punk (see Wolf Banes) after the Scabs, tried it for some time with "Temple Bellona" (split in June 1999). In 1998, he became part of Belgian's original punk band The Kids.

Guy Swinnen has launched a solo career (I'm alive !!) and has already gained his own place in the Archives.

Willy Willy revealed early 1999 that he had formed a band called "Willy Willy's Moody Voodoo", together with one Marco on drums and Pip Vreede (ex-Red Zebra, ex-Wolf Banes) on the bass, although this effort didn't survive 2000.

Members :
- Guy Swinnen (vocals, guitar)
- Robert (Berre) Bergen, F. Symons (bass, vocals)
- Francis Vangeel, later W. (Willy Willy) Lambregt, still later Tjenne Berghmans - guitar, vocals
- Frankie Saenen (drums, vocals)

Buy CD's of this band at proxis

Albums :
- Here's to you, Gang (EMI - 1983)
- For all the wolf calls (EMI - 1984)
- Rockery (Smash! - 1986)
- Skintight (Play it again Sam - 1988)
- Royalty in Exile (Play it again Sam - 1990)
- Jumping the tracks (Play it again Sam - 1991)
- Inbetweenies (Play it again sam - 1993)
- Dog days are over (Play it again Sam - 1993)
- Live Dog (Play it again Sam - 1994)
- Wasteland (Play it again Sam - 1995)

Compilations :
- Gangbang (Play it again Sam - 1989)
- Early years (EMI - 1992).
- Hard To Forget (PIAS - 1996)

Websites :
- Willy Willy's moody voodoo has no records yet, but a website ok.
- Review by Marc Mijlemans of "Rockery" in Highway Humo Revisited
- Review of "Royalty in Exile" by Frank vander Linden at that same site.
- some Scabs-info at the Guy Swinnen website by Luk Vilain

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


The Scabs


By Genre
At Random
Most Popular


Links & Sources
What's New?

Search for:

Dirk Houbrechts stopped working at The Belgian Pop & Rock Archives (you can read his personal statement here). The website is now entrusted to the Flanders Music Centre ( Contact:

Watch it : This site pays royalties, and was built and maintained in accordance with the terms and conditions negotiated with SABAM, the Belgian society of copyright-holders. Consultation of this site is free, but this exludes downloading, reproducing or public performance of any part of this site. Please do not copy. Link!

Last update to this site : December 2001.

    ^ up