12 Step Program: Smash The Statues

The 12 Step Program – we asked all our bands to give us 12 songs that influence them, inspire them or that they just really love – and if possible give us a little story to go with it.

In this episode the 12 songs of Smash The Statues, whose 10″ “Rise To The Occasion” is currently our album of the moment (meaning you can get it for only 5 euros!).

Their playlist can be found here, or simply scroll to the bottom!

Nico (bass / vocals)
01. Down By Law – The Greenest Field (Blue, 1992 Epitaph)
Down By Law was one of the first bands that managed to really strike me with their
lyrics. Until I heard Blue from Down By Law I mainly liked lyrics for the political message
they had. This album opened up a whole new level to me: personal lyrics that weren’t emo,
wining or “spiritual”, just honest, reflective and inspiring. Also the noisy lead guitars on this
album together with the thin and crisp production make me feel nostalgic about the 90’s
again.

02. Dead Kennedys – Chickenshit Conformist (Bedtime for Democracy, 1986
Alternative Tentacles)
Dead Kennedys was the first “real” punk band I started listening to. Until then I didn’t know
much more punk than Greenday and The Offspring, then someone recommend me to check
out Dead Kennedys. A whole new world opened up to me: intelligent, critical lyrics with a
high dosis of sarcasm. That, and then that guitar playing!

03. Propagandhi – Less Talk, More Rock (Less Talk, More Rock, 1996 Fat Wreck
Chords)
This is one of the most played albums of my youth. I remember riding my bike to school
and band practice and singing the entire record out loud (together with my brother) over
and over again.
Years later I found Propagandhi were always a few steps ahead of the “competition” (and
still are!). They addressed topics a lot of bands didn’t dare to address, be it in a goofy
manner, covered in songs catchy enough to sing along to while still being progressive
enough to be impossible for the average punk band to copy.

Matthias (guitar / vocals)
04. Metallica – Master Of Puppets (Master Of Puppets, 1986 Elektra)
In our days every teen with a guitar probably wanted to be in Metallica at some point. But
confronted with our own limited talents we all ended up in punk bands. Still, we love us
some thrash in STS. And simply the best track on the best metal-album ever cannot be left
out of this list. Much can be said about this band nowadays but this album was jaw
dropping for a 15-year old me. Speed, aggression, melodies, heavy lyrics. The whole
package. Where it’s hard for me to pin down a best punk-album ever, for metal there has
been no doubt the last 20 years.

05. Strike Anywhere – We Amplify (Exit English, 2003 Jade Tree)
I actually can’t remember when I first heard of this band. But I’m sure it was Tom who
introduced them to me. The combination of music and message has always been important
to me. And these guys know how to do that very well, and sincere. Throw some
armbreaking good live shows in the mix and it’s obvious why they made an lasting impact
on our band.

06. Normaal – Oerend Hard (Oerend Hard, 1977 Killroy)
There’s no denying, STS originated in the Achterhoek. And this song is the rock’n’roll
anthem for that region. It was one of the first hit songs I can remember (together with Piet
Veerman’s Sailing Home and Europe’s final countdown…). In the seventies these guys
started playing blues and rock n roll while singing in our local dialect about life in the
country. By doing that they rebelled against “arrogante stadsen” and helped growing self
awareness for rural areas in our country. And høken is just pogoing while throwing beer
with your shirt off. So these guys were as punk as hell! Oeh!

Bert (Drums)
07. RKL – Give It Up (Riches To Rags, 1994 Epitaph)
This is the perfect blend of everything I liked to listen to in high school. Not as fast as DRI,
not as elaborate as Megadeth, not as manic as Victims Family, but definitely fast,
elaborate and manic.

08. Descendents – Myage (Liveage!, 1987 SST)
I picked Myage, but it could have been just about any song from Liveage. That’s the first
punk rock record I bought. The Descendents were in the Streets on Fire video. That’s how I
knew them. That’s how I knew most of the bands I grew up listening to. Skate videos,
thrasher magazine and thanks lists on records. Still my favourite band ever. Every new
record is just as good as the old stuff.

09. Harsh Realms – Striking Distance (Split w/ Coma Commander, 2017 Shield
Recordings)
The most inspiring music is music from the old days. Every band you discovered had a big
element of surprise. As I grow older, I’m not as easily impressed. I pretty much heard
anything before or something very similar. And if I haven’t, it’s usually for a reason. The
most inspiring new music is music by people I actually know in person. It’s easier to like
music by people I like than by people I don’t know at all. And nothing is as inspiring as a
little rivalry. We’ve known Harsh Realms ever since they were Overgrown. We played lots
of shows together. Great band. Not really rivals of ours though. They made a video for this
song. Check it out.
Tom (Vocals / Guitar)
10. 2 Brothers On The 4th Floor – Never Alone (Dreams, 1994 Lowland Records)
I always have been a sucker for pop music and melodies in particular. My most played
record of the last couple of years is 1989 by Taylor Swift. Do I need to say more? Young 12
year old me was completely hooked by eurohouse music early nineties. One of my all time
favourite bands still is 2 Unlimited. First vinyl records on my shelf are a couple LP’s by 2
Unlimited. Although there are hardly any songs with a strong message in the eurohouse
genre, this song by Dutch group 2 Brothers On The 4th Floor stood out. The opening line
“Black and white, dancin’ together, side by side we’ll make things better, you’re never
alone.” says it all. Together with “I can’t stand it” by Twenty 4 Seven, this song had a clear
anti-racist message to it. Back in 1993, 11-year old me wasn’t aware of political music at
all, something that eventually would mean the world to me. Although eurohouse music in
general has not a big influence on my songwriting, I always try to go for catchy melodies,
popsong structures and a message!

11. Metallica – Motorbreath (Kill ‘Em All, 1983 Megaforce)
Fast forward a few years later. I met this long haired dude in high school who turned out to
like Master Of Puppets over Ride The Lightning. Aside from this abomination, Matthias and
me turned out to be good friends and eventually ended up playing in bands together.
Matthias supplied me with tapes with Metallica albums on them. First Master Of Puppets
and Ride The Lightning, later with Kill ‘Em All. The song Motorbreath really got me. Man, I
fell in love with those thrash riffs. I decided to sell my keyboard and buy a guitar. Trying to
play the Motorbreath riff over and over, I knew that I liked my music fast. The energy from
this record and early thrash metal bands is something I really like. Later on I got more and
more into punkrock and hardcore, but like eurohouse I never stopped listening to thrash
metal. That’s why I love bands like Propagandhi so much. They are one of the few that
seem to incorporate thrash metal into punkrock in a really good way. Hats of to them! So I
could name quite some thrash metal songs that are better than Motorbreath, but for me it
started with that riff and it introduced me to playing fast riffs on the guitar.

12. Adhesive – Dividing Lines (From Left To Right: Adhesive, 1998 Ampersand)
While most of the people I know got into punkrock somewhere around 1994 or 1995 it took
me a few extra years. I remember Gijs, our old drummer giving me For God And Country
by Good Riddance and From Left To Right by Adhesive on 1 CD-R . I loved both bands
immediately. At that time I was really getting into political music. We all listened to Rage
Against The Machine and Matthias was reading De Waarheid and joining ROOD and the
Socialist Party. But for me, listening to bands like Propagandhi and Adhesive opened a new
door in the political landscape. They we’re questioning the society we we’re living in, also
the traditional left. Influenced with anarchist theories, they showed another world, outside
of our psychological constructs, was something worth fighting for. I must admit almost all
of Adhesive’s discography made a major impact on me, as well as the 2 releases by their
follow up band The Indecision Alarm, but if I have to pick a song, it has to be Dividing
Lines. A song that questions borders between people.
Recorded 20 years ago, still relevant today. Thinking about the whole concept of borders is something that got me as non-graduated libertarian socialist geographer. These lyrics summed it up so well, that I decided to steal/quote/use them in Pencils And Ink, one of the songs of our last LP from 2008.

“Fuck the borders, fuck the dividing lines. Communication, that’s what it’s all about!”