BGK – Balthasar Gerards Kommando – came out of the Netherlands in the early 1980s and blazed a hard and fast trail through Europe and the US from 1982 to 1988. Rene van de Meer, Tony Leeuwenburgh, and Marcel Verhoeven were joined by Steven Walraven (82-84) and Mathijs Houwink (85-88). They released a number of tunes on international comps including “Peace/War” and “Welcome to 1984”, but really came into their own on “Jonestown Aloha” (1983), “White Male Dumbinance” (1984), and “Nothing Can Go Wrogn!” (1986). This latter full-length was released by Alternative Tentacles.
The band were named after a Dutch historical figure named Balthasar Gerards, who assassinated the king of the Netherlands in 1584. Balthasar Gerards Kommando were formed in the early 1980s by members of punk band The Nitwitz (also from Amsterdam, the Netherlands).
Rejecting the then-popular trend to emulate British Oi bands, BGK took their musical cues from American hardcore bands such as MDC, and soon developed an ultrafast style of their own. The band was also committed to following through with its leftist political stance, both in terms of the punk scene (the band set up DIY shows with low door prices, and put out affordable records on their own label) and in a wider political spectrum (they often played benefits for various causes, and helped run the Emma squat in Holland).
BGK released all their records on a label they started in their Nitwitz days, Vögelspin, and collaborated with U.S. labels R Radical and Alternative Tentacles. They helped touring bands playing in the Netherlands, and themselves toured Europe and the U.S. several times, finally calling it quits in 1987
After BGK’s demise, bassist Tony formed rock’n’roll band Loveslug. In 1996, the Nitwitz reunited (partially due to interest from Epitaph Records).
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