Herman De Tollenaere published the PIN fanzine in the Netherlands from 1978 to 1981. He was also one of the lead singers of Cheap N'Nasty (with Terry) and played with Raphaëlle Devins (The Lou's) and Captain Sensible (The Damned). He's kindly agreed to answer our questions. 

How old were you when you « discovered » Rock music ?

About 14.

What kind of artist(s)/band(s) did you like at the time ?

Velvet Underground, Pretty Things, Shocking Blue, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Diana Ross, Paul Revere and the Raiders.

When did you heard about Punk music ? How did it happen ?

I read a report on the 1977 second Mont-de-Marsan punk festival in a Dutch establishment rock paper. They slagged off punk, and especially the all-women band The Lou’s (75% French, 25% Dutch from my city Leiden, their drummer Sacha). They called The Lou’s ‘slum girls’ who should not have been allowed on a stage. I thought : punk can never be as bad as they write. I learned more about punk, and decided to start a band and a fanzine.

What was your first Punk « crush ? (The band(s) and record(s) you liked first)

The Lou’s, I co-wrote their biography at https://www.bacteria.nl/the-lous/ Sex Pistols, Damned, Clash, Ramones, Slits, Siouxsie and the Banshees. Ivy Green not so far from where I lived.

Were there lots of Punk bands and concerts in your town or did you have to travel to go and see bands on stage?

In 1977 I lived in Warmond village, no punk concerts there. In 1978 I moved to Leiden : a few punk concerts, not many. For more, I had to go to Amsterdam. For yet more, to London.

Have you seen foreign Punk bands in concert, such as The Clash, Sex Pistols, Damned etc. back in the late 70's?

Yes, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Buzzcocks, Crass, Chelsea, the Ruts, Vermilion and the Aces, Alternative TV, 39 Steppes, the Slits, the Fall, UK Subs, Brian James and the Brains, the Mob, Spizz Energi, Wayne County and the Electric Chairs, and more.

The Sex Pistols toured the Netherlands in early and late 1977. Did you see them live at the time, or maybe you met them ?

No, I did not see them then.

PIN issue 1 in Dutch (june 1978)

When did you decide to do a fanzine and why ? How did it all happen ?

I already wanted to start a fanzine in 1977. I succeeded in spring 1978, when I found more people to make it together, could borrow a stencil ink bottle, and started doing interviews. The first interview was with Ivy Green, they also became the first subscribers. Í started Pin because Dutch music papers, radio, TV did not have good information about punk. I didn't know then yet that there were two punk zines in Amsterdam,. Koekrand and Razorblade. The only fanzine I knew was Mark Perry's Sniffin' Glue in London

The Dutch and the English versions of PIN didn't start at the same time so issue one of the Dutch version isn't the same as issue 1 of the English one. You never published the Dutch issues in English ?

No, I have never translated a Dutch issue as a whole. I did have, starting in 1979, some articles both in Dutch and English versions, like the Raincoats, Ruts, Penetration interviews.

How were you organised to write your fanzine ? Were you alone or were there several people to write the articles with a typewriter or did they write the articles with a pen and you were the only one with a typewriter to write the definitive articles for the fanzine ?

We started with four people: Ruud, John, Okke, me. Later, more people contributed, like Jan, Jos, Terry, Brigitte, Annemiek and Jeanet. In 1981, the name of the fanzine changed to So What, you can read it at https://www.bacteria.nl/so-what-1/ I was not the only one with a typewriter. When there was still space left open shortly before publishing, we sometimes wrote there with a pen.

How did you print it ? Was there someone with a photocopier or did you have to go to a shop and pay for the photocopies etc ?

No one had a photocopier. It changed from issue to issue how we published it: first issue stencil, second photocopied at the university, later sometimes offset, not always the same printer.

PIN issue 1 in English (1979)

How many copies of the fanzine were printed for each issue ?

It changed. 100 to 500.

How was it like to interview Brian James (then in his Brains band), later Rat Scabies, etc. after writing about the Damned in your first Dutch issue of PIN ? You were a huge fan of the Damned at the time ?

Yes, I was and still am a big Damned fan. Brian was happy that the first interview with his new band was with a fanzine. I interviewed them in the Nashville pub, where they were supposed to play later that day (gig canceled because of leaking water), They asked if I could help them to get gigs in the Netherlands. But that was not so easy, especially not in Leiden (where I had tried in vain to get a gig for Crass).

Was it easy to interview bands  like Penetration, Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Ruts, etc ? Do you think they all were like Brian James who told you it was better to be interviewed for a fanzine than for Sounds or NME ?

Yes, I think all three of them agreed with Brian James. Pauline Murray of Penetration was so kind to write the lyrics of her song Silent Community down for me. In turn, I gave her the lyrics of Stupid Village by Ivy Green. Both Penetration and Ivy Green were founded in villages.

I did the Banshees interview together with Terry, photographer and bass/female vocals in my band Cheap ‘n’ Nasty. Terry sat between Steven and Siouxsie : meaning two photographers (Steven also made/makes photographs), two bassists and two singers next to each other. Guitarist John McGeoch had lots of criticism of the British music press and of foreign journalists uncritically following the British music press. He said that he personally should read more fanzines.

I did the Ruts interview on the day in 1979 that they played in Paradiso. They were kind, we talked for a long time. Their singer, the late Malcolm Owen, put a Ruts patch on my sleeve.That night, at the Ruts concert, Terry and me decided to found Cheap ‘n’ Nasty.

PIN #4 in English, never published

PIN #4 was never issued but #5 was. What happened with #4 ?

Dutch language Pin #4 was published, you can read it at https://www.bacteria.nl/pin-4/

English language Pin #4 was not published then, as the printer lost all 30 pages of it. Our best issue, with interviews with Kleenex/LiliPUT, Poly Styrene and many more. I could only save the Siouxsie and the Banshees interview, published on the internet at https://www.bacteria.nl/pin-4-english-edition/

How did you start your band Cheap N'Nasty? You already knew the members of the band before it started or did you search for musicians?

In 1978, I had a band, the Vipers. See biography at https://www.bacteria.nl/the-vipers/ Played only one gig. Had to stop as bassist Gaia Voogd moved to Amsterdam. I had met Terry in Leiden in October 1979, she told me she played bass. She had founded the first all-female Dutch punk band PVC, and then Hideous. Both in Delft. When I met her the second time at the Ruts concert, I could tell her that a drummer and guitarist in Sassenheim, not far from Leiden, were intererested in joining (I had heard that from fellow Pin editor Jos) and that we could go ahead. As there would be a tour of Crass and Poison Girls to the Netherlands in early 1980, Dutch support bands would be needed, and I knew Crass and Poison Girls. Band biography at https://www.bacteria.nl/cheap-n-nasty/

How did Raphaelle Devins become a member of your band after the Lou's ?

The Lou’s drummer Saskia aka Sacha aka Syama had moved back to her native Leiden in 1980. She lived close to me. At one of my visits, in early summer 1981, Raphaelle, recently moved, was at Sacha’s place. It turned out that we both during our early teenage years had stayed at the same holiday home in Bians-les-Usiers village in eastern France. Raphaelle asked if she could become our saxophone player. We all said yes, we all liked the saxophone in X-ray Spex. She rehearsed with us in a Leiden squat close to my home. We went to England to play and be interviewed for Sounds in August 1981. Unfortunately, Raphaelle could not join us then, as we had to travel in the small Fiat car of Terry. There was only space for four people, guitars and Terry’s bass amp in that tiny car. Raphaelle played with us for the first time 13 August 1981, in the big hall of Paradiso in Amsterdam as headline band. See photos https://www.bacteria.nl/cheap-n-nasty-miami-beach-girls-paradiso/ There, also photos of the Miami Beach Girls. Sacha’s band, which she had founded in spring 1981 in Leiden. They often opened for us, like then in Paradiso.

Cheap 'N'Nasty live with Raphaele Devins on Sax

Captain Sensible played drums with you in 1981. How did that happened ? Was it for a concert ?

Terry and me met Captain Sensible at a Rotterdam Poison Girls concert. He and his girlfriend could stay at my place in Leiden. We departed in his car after the Rotterdam concert. Terry asked the Captain to get her out at the motorway junction of Delft, close to where she lived, so she might walk home. Just after the car had gone on to Leiden, police stopped Terry because of her multicoloured hair. Captain Sensible at my place heard our Covergirl EP. We would open for Poison Girls and Annie Anxiety in the Paard van Troje venue in The Hague. But our drummer boy Maarten was AWOL. Me and the Captain then went to the place not far away from me of Maria aka Ria, who played drums if Maarten could not play. There, the Captain phoned Sacha, whom he still knew from, eg, the 1977 Mont-de-Marsan punk festival. It turned out that Maria had flu, so she could not play in The Hague. Then, the Captain offered to play drums with us, and he did.

It seems the label Smashstick Plastics that released your only EP, Covergirl, was your own label. Is that right ?

Yes. Someone had broken Terry’s leg and had to pay damages for that. So, we had some money to have one day in a studio in Dordrecht to record four songs.

So, the record was produced by yourselves on your own record label. Can you tell us the story of this record from the start to the release, please ?

We rehearsed, with both Maarten and Maria on drums, at Maria’s place. We brought her drum kit to the studio. Sacha, only non-Cheap ‘n’ Nasty member in the studio, assembled the drum kit. We decided to have four songs, all written by Terry. Terry and me each had written roughly the same numbers of songs. Terry said : ‘These four songs are all by me, shouldn’t we drop one song of these four and replace it with a song written by you?’ But I thought these were the four best songs : diversity, even though all written by the same person.

How many copies were made and did it cost you a lot of money to record it in the studio and make it pressed/manufactured or not ?

Terry wrote about it on our band biography https://www.bacteria.nl/cheap-n-nasty/ :

1981.03.07 The recordings of the EP Cover Girl take place at the same recording studio the Salisbury Sound studio, Zuidendijk, Dordrecht, where the Brommers did their 7”. The basic tracks are recorded in what is basically one take with rhythm guitar only. Ria is invited to do the drums on No More Violence (on TV) as a thank you. Terry sings for the band to keep track. Next voice recordings. Kees adds solo guitar. The bass is put to the max in the mix, yet can’t completely meet up with the dirty live sound of the [Terry’s] Fender Bassman. Kees takes care of the final sound production and mix. Kees, who is studying Graphic Design designs sleeve and labels. Terry designs and draws the booklet. The sleeve is printed by Tan Heck. The “do it yourself” (DIY) packages gets assembled by Terry and her mother in a production line at the dinner table. [Terry brings the master tape to a pressing plant in Belgium] 1000 copies are pressed [brought to the Netherlands by Terry] of which an unknown amount gets shipped to Rough Trade London and an order of 75 to a New York record store.

Covergirl EP

You can hear our Covergirl EP at https://www.last.fm/music/Cheap+%27N%27+Nasty/Covergirl More information, including lyrics booklet, is at https://www.bacteria.nl/cheap-n-nasty-covergirl-7-ep-1981/

Why did PIN and Cheap'N'Nasty stop?

Pin became So What in 1981, and stopped because the band took much time. Cheap 'n' Nasty stopped, or rather went into coma, we never stopped officially, because the venues said if we wanted to play "You have to send an audio cassette." We did. Then, they lost these cassettes. We sent new ones, and they lost them again. We were/are a DIY band, no manager, I was the 'manager'. No disagreement in the band, no conflict with other bands. The problem was venue bureaucracy. There wasn't anywhere where we could play, and one time when we rehearsed, the others asked: Will there be a gig? I had to say no prospect. We then forgot to make an appointment for a new rehearsal. In 2020-21 people in the 1979-1982 line-ups rehearsed together again, see https://cheapnnastyband410118468.wordpress.com/2021/09/05/cheap-n-nasty-first-rehearsal-since-1982/ and https://twitter.com/CheapPunk/status/1422269278548631557 The problem is our drummer, he works in health care and has to work overtime all the time, so cancelled rehearsals. 

Herman on stage with Cheap'N'Nasty

Having the Lou's' Raphaelle Devins in your band helped you discover some french fanzines or not ?

As far as I remember I didn’t discuss French fanzines with Raphaele. We did discuss French venues : Raphaele wrote a letter to the Gibus in Paris to ask them to let us play there.

Do you still enjoy reading fanzines today ?

I certainly do. And I write for online zine Punktuation in Australia and Safety Pin in England (Safety Pin is not online).

What are the main Rock, Punk fanzines in Holland nowadays ?

At the moment, there are mainly WordPress etc. blogs, like this one, our band blog https://cheapnnastyband410118468.wordpress.com/ Twitter accounts and Facebook groups and pages. There is this printed Anthemzine https://www.facebook.com/TheAnthemProjectNL/posts/pfbid0377VxRkcpup8UCJyxK7pNzg7afEj9TTsAU7A7JbsJvwNm4VSRheai7rJwixsL5HZ8l but I don´t really know it.

Are they printed in English like PIN or not?

Anthemzine is in Dutch as far as I know, the Cheap´n´Nasty blog is in English.

Many thanks for answering our questions, Herman

Many thanks for your questions ! Please let me know when and how you will publish this.

Cheers, al the best,