Throughout their existence, the Ex have always been steadfastly uncommercial, refusing major label deals and remaining close to the radical politics that fueled them from the beginning. During their first decade, the Ex released a steady stream of albums and peripheral tracks, all on vinyl, and while the full-lengths have all found their way to CD, the numerous flexi-discs, compilation tracks, splits, and 7-inch EPs they put out remain exceedingly rare.
Singles. Period. rectifies this situation by compiling all 23 non-album tracks the band recorded from 1980-1990, nicely remastered with pulverizing low-end and liner notes so thorough they take the disc's full 70-minute running time to read. The constants across the disc are Terrie Ex's ablating guitar and G.W. Sok's dry, amelodic vocals, taking on overzealous police raids, Apartheid, the El Salvadoran Civil War, and nuclear power with motor-mouthed rage. Bass players, drummers, and other assorted instrumentalists come and go around them, and the band evolves vividly across the chronologically-arranged disc, taking the agit-funk of the Gang of Four to rougher, nastier extremes and mixing directly with the European radical groups whose causes they espoused.
Terrie - guitar (1-21, 23), acoustic guitar (22)
G.W. Sok - voice (1-21, 23), backing-vocals (22)
Ome Geurt - drums (1-7)
René - bass (1-7)
Wim - drums (8-11)
Bas - bass (8-15)
Sabien - drums (12-18)
Yoke - bass (16-18)
Luc - bass (16-21, 23), double-bass (22)
Nicolette - guitar (19)
Katherina - drums (19-21, 23), vocals (22)
Andy - guitar (23)
Gert-Jan Blom - organ (4)
Coby Laan - tiny grand piano (12)
Jon Langford - drums (12-13)
Ferry Heyne - guitar (13)
Dolf Planteijdt - heavy mental guitar (16)
? of Awara - violin (18)
Jeroen - samples (19)
Marion, Andy, Wilf, Colin + Martin from Dog Faced Hermans - trumpet, acoustic guitar, rattle, woodblock, mandolin, backing-vocals (23)
Album tracks taken from:
All Corpses Smell The Same (7", He Records, 1980) EX 001
Utregpunx (compilation 7", Rock Against Records, 1980) Z 2
New Horizons in Retailing (7" flexi, Ping Pong Records, 1980) w/ Raket fanzine
Weapons For El Salvador (7", f 3,50 Records, 1981) EX 006 w/ Gramschap
Villa Zuid Moet Blijven (split 7" flexi, 1981)
Gonna Rob The Spermbank (12", Sneeelleeer Records, 1983), EX 015
The Red Dance Package (split 12", CNT Productions, 1983) CNT 017
Awara / The Ex (split 7", Gramschap, 1984), DEI 975-EX 21 w/ Gramschap magazine
Rara Rap (7", Lala Records, 1988), WAWA 01
Stonestampers / Steinklopfer (7", Ex Records, 1990), EX 043
Mekons / The Ex (split 7", Clawfist, 1990), CF 4
• TERRIE HESSELS - guitar
• ARNOLD DE BOER - vocals, guitar
• ANDY MOOR - guitar
• KATHERINA BORNEFELD - drums, vocals
The adventurous, innovative Dutch band The Ex exists 40 years this year and is still going strong. New projects, new songs and new adventures.
The Ex have defied categorisation ever since they started playing in 1979. Born out of the punk explosion, when anything and everything was possible, the band have still managed to retain both curiosity and passion for their music. Using guitars, bass, drums and voice as their starting point, The Ex have continued to musically explore undiscovered areas right up to the present day.
Already the early 1980s saw collaborations with jazz musicians and an Iraqi-Kurdish band. In the 90s the group found a myriad of partners from varied musical and non-musical backgrounds like Kamagurka, Tom Cora, Sonic Youth, Han Bennink, Jan Mulder and Shellac. In 2002 The Ex set up a lively musical exchange with Ethiopia, organised many projects over there and invited several Ethiopian musicians to Europe. Most striking was the collboration with the legendary saxophonist Getatchew Mekuria, which eventually led to two CD recordings and more than a hundred concerts.
The band also started organising the ‘Ex Festivals’, where they invited their favourite musicians. A mix of jazz improvisers, musicians from all over the world and local treasures they came across on tour. The last few years saw collaborations with Brass Unbound (Wolter Wierbos, Mats Gustafsson, Ken Vandermark and Roy Paci), Circus Debre Berhan and Fendika, both from Ethiopia, and many, many more.
After all these years, more than 28 albums and around 2000 concerts the band continues to work as they did in when they began, completely independent of record companies, managers or roadies. Because of this ‘do it yourself’ work ethic The Ex is still a great example for other forward-thinking bands and musicians.
“Staying a bird, staying independent, free if you will, for three decades, that takes skill and something else, something more like heart.” – Music journalist John Corbett on The Ex.