SAD IRON was formed 1979 in Hoorn by guitarist Bernard Rive. The band’s initial line-up was rounded out by Dirk Ooms (bass), Gerrit Soering (drums) and Jan Palenstijn (vocals). Following SAD IRON’s performance in a battle-of-the-bands competition, the audience unanimously agreed that they were among the Netherlands’ top metal acts. Shortly after, SAD IRON committed their first songs to vinyl as part of the live split ‘Holland Heavy Metal Vol. 1’, which featured tracks from the band, including “Sad Iron”, “Schoolgirls” and “Thunder & Lightning”. Voted the best band of the evening, SAD IRON were awarded a day of studio time, which resulted in their full-length debut “Total Damnation”. With new vocalist Herke van der Poel and, subsequently, new bassist Charles Heijnen, SAD IRON were ready for battle. SAD IRON performed extensively, sharing the stage with the likes of HANOI ROCKS, PICTURE and VANDALE at some of the Netherlands’ most prestigious venues. This included two appearances at Amsterdam’s famous Paradiso. As one of the first speed metal bands in the Netherlands (possibly the very first), SAD IRON witnessed the birth of the New Wave of Dutch Heavy Metal. Through its live shows, SAD IRON attracted the attention of a variety of labels, including Roadrunner and Mausoleum. Shortly before the band were due to sign a deal with Mausoleum, however, the label went bankrupt. As a result, the fully recorded LP “The Antichrist” has never been released. The master tapes have since been lost, rendering any release of the original recordings impossible.Following this misfortune, SAD IRON parted ways. Nothing more was heard from the band until 2000, when they played a highly successful reunion show at the Heavy Metal Maniacs Festival in Hoorn. Revitalised, SAD IRON embarked on the Dutch Steel Attack Tour with fellow Netherlands bands VORTEX and HAMMERHAWK, which saw them perform at a variety of venues both in the Netherlands and abroad. In 2014, SAD IRON made a shattering impact with at the Heavy Metal Maniacs Festival and Mario’s Metal Meeting and have played a variety of other successful shows. Record labels from a number of countries have expressed an interest in reissuing “Total Damnation” and releasing a re-recorded version of “The Antichrist”, possibly including new material. SAD IRON are back with a vengeance! With shows scheduled for 2015, the band have reclaimed their position in the metal scene. (This text was taken from the official SAD IRON website). Besides the usual band biography, we also have a very informative interview from 2002 by yours truly, which tells you the story of the band, so please read on....
When did SAD IRON get together as a band and did these people play in other bands before they joined SAD IRON?
Bernard Rive: “We joined together in 1980. We all played in other bands but these were not important bands.” Who came up with the name of the band and why did you choose for SAD IRON?
“Actually, it was me (!) who came up with the name. Only because we thought that it sounded well. No particular reason at all.”
How would you describe the sound of SAD IRON? I would go for New Wave Of Dutch Heavy Metal, cause you’re a Dutch band that combines the sound of Dutch Heavy Metal bands with the well known NWOBHM sound very well.
“In the beginning we were one of the first bands playing songs, which we would like to describe as speed metal. Nowadays it’s power-speed metal influenced by NWOBOHM.”
Can you name some of your musical influences from that time?
“JUDAS PRIEST and the early IRON MAIDEN, WILD DOGS and EXODUS.”
With which bands did you play together in those days and do you have some fond memories about certain gigs that you played maybe?
“We played often with VORTEX (we still do!!!), TOGETHER and ANGUS. But also with BODINE, TRANCE and HANOI ROCKS.”
The first time people could hear SAD IRON was on the “Holland Heavy Metal Volume 1” album. A live album recorded in Brouwershoeck. Side one contains SAD IRON songs, and side two contains SEDUCER material. Why does it only contain material of SAD IRON and SEDUCER, and what was the ocassion these two bands played there. Was it some kind of a festival?
“Yes, indeed it was a festival and all bands playing there were recorded live. The audience had to choose which band was the most successfull. They could’t choose a winner so we were together with seducer on one album. The other bands are on the other Volume. These bands were VORTEX, HIGHWAY CHILE, AZA, ALLIED FORCES and a few other bands I can’t remember.”
How were the reactions on this album?
“The reactions were that good that we were invited to record a studio album.”
Were these the first five songs that were available from SAD IRON or did you already release some demomaterial before this album came out? If yes, could you please name some titles of songs that were already existing before this “Holland Heavy Metal” record came out.
“No, we did not have any demo material, so these were the first songs recorded.”
Not too long after your appearance on the “Holland Heavy Metal Volume 1” album you released your first full-length album “Total Damnation”. Who was responsible for the lyrics on this great album and where are they about?
“Most of the lyrics were written by Herke van der Poel, except “Three Crown Saws” and “Rock And Roll Rendez-Vous”. Those two songs were written by myself, Bernard Rive.”
If you take a look at the cover and at some of the song titles (“Demon’s Night”, “We All Praise The Devil”and “Hellfighter”), you might expect that there’s a Satanic background in the band, but it’s a fact that you were just a bunch of normal Dutch guys. Can you explain this?
“We never were a satanic band nor a band with a satanic background. The lyrics were written in moment caught in that time, except “Prisoners”. That song was a real attack on what happened in World War 2. It was also the song that made the Germans decide not to sell the album in Germany on a normal bases. So it was not for sale in stores.”
On the sleeve of this album we find back the name of Jacques van Oevelen as your drummer. But wasn’t Gerrit Soering the man who played the drums on this magnificent album?? And how come that he wasn’t even mentioned on the album??
“Personal problems, so it’s no use talking it over.”
Is it true that you recorded “Total Damnation” in only one day, and why weren’t you able to spend more time in the studio to record this debut release?
“Yes, it’s true that it took one day to record this album. It’s also the explanation for the poor sound, no overdubs, and so one. The reason is that the owner of the record company, Wobbe van Seijen, was not willing to spend more money than a dime.. to earn much more.”
Please tell us something more about the live gigs that you played in the eighties. Which songs did you play in your set most of the time, and did you also throw in any covers sometimes or not?
“We never played any covers. We played songs from both albums.” Are there any gigs that you have fond memories about? BR: “Most gigs were memorable. But the ones we never forget were in Zwaagwesteinde, where we played together with VORTEX and Deinum at the Loudness Festival. We played for a real crazy audience of thousands of people.”
Jacques van Oevelen later became the drummer of PICTURE for their “Traitor” album, and also Leo Ockeloen left the band at that time. What caused the trouble with these people, that made them leave the band?
“Leo liked reggae more than metal, so it was an easy choice. Jacques thought it was better for his career to join PICTURE.”
How did you get in touch with their follow up band members Peter van de Wouden on drums and Charles Heijnen on bass.
“Thanks to an ad in a newspaper.”
With these new members you started to record your second album which was called “The Antichrist”. Why was this album never released?
“The album “The Antichrist” should be released by Roadrunner, but the company wanted too many people to be involved with this album, so it wouldn’t be a real SAD IRON record. That was for us the reason to quit with Roadrunner.”
Can you tell us which songs were recorded for this album?
“We Play To Kill”, “S.M”, “Living Like A Rat”, “Day Of Doom”, “Posers”, “Where Warwinds Blow”, “Powerthrash” and “You’re Obsessed”.”
What did the songs on this second album sound like?
“Great, despite of the poor sound.”
Can you tell us what the sleeve of this album looked like, or wasn’t that finished yet when you recorded this album?
“It was with the same figure as on “Total Damnation”, only now on a graveyard with crosses and candles and a carcass. And of course the Flying V.”
You even toured for a short while, when “The Antichrist” was ready. Wasn’t it strange that you toured for the promotion of an album that wasn’t out yet?
“Yes, that was very strange, but we kept our minds together.”
When did the band fall apart after that?
Was this also the reason why “The Antichrist” was never released?
“No, the reason was that too many people wanted to be involved, and say their things about the songs.”
In 1993 you decided to get back together again. How did this all happen and why did you decide to put the band back together again?
“We tried to put the band together but it wasn’t working that time because we were not standing for 100% behind the idea.”
This reunion didn’t last that long but did you write any new songs in that period or were you busy enough playing or rehearsing the old stuff?
“We only played twice or three times together then, so we just tried to play the old songs, although we had some new material.”
Recently, SAD IRON got back together again. But again I would like to ask what you did in the meantime between the first reunion and the most recent reunion?
“We did nothing special, Charles and Carlo played in THE FLYING EMBRYOS - a punk band.”
When did you actually get back together again, and who was in the band with this last reunion?
“It was when Stefan van Zijl asked us for the first Heavy Metal Maniacs Fanclub festival. It was wild and exciting! The band line up: Herke van der Poel (voice), Bernard Rive (guitar) Charles Heijnen (bass) and Carlo Hienkens on drums.”
SAD IRON appeared on the ’99 compilation CD of the Heavy Metal Maniacs fanclub. You do “Living Like A Rat”, taken from “The Antichrist” album. For me, this song is the highlight of this compilation CD Why was this song chosen to be on this compilation CD?
“Again, it was Stefan van Zijl, who choose this song. Thanks to his good taste “Living Like A Rat” was chosen.”
Who is in the band right now?
“The line-up is still the same as two years ago.”
What’s the biggest difference between the metal scene of today and the scene in the early eighties in your opinion?
“There is less competition, so it’s more convenient for us and also for the other bands. And the scene is ore mature.”
What is your favorite SAD IRON song and why?
“That’s so personal and too difficult to answer, but if you want an answer from the whole band there are some favorites: “You’re Obsessed”, “Living Like A Rat”, “Total Damnation” and “S.M” and of course the songs we are writing now. But that is normal, because they are very new..”
Bernard, you recently opened your own metal pub in Hoorn called “The Gate”. Have you always been a barkeeper as profession or was this some kind of long term wish for you to start a (metal) café of your own?
“It sure was a long time wish to have my own cafe. My first cafe, Fame, is a cafe for the younger people. It’s always party time over there! My second cafe is called The Gate. And that’s my wish!!! We have the space for live music, and of course true metal!”
Isn’t it extremely difficult for you to combinate the work in your café with playing on stage. After all both activities are mostly done in the evening hours, so you must arrange a lot to have a day off I presume?
“Yes, that’s part of the deal. But thanks to my family, my wife and daughters, I can do both things.”
Are you planning to record new songs or are you just playing for fun right now? And can we expect a new SAD IRON CD in the future??
“Of course we are playing for fun!!! Together with our friends VORTEX we did several gigs and we will do more in the future. We are now writing new songs for a new CD.”
Have you ever thought about releasing “The Antichrist”, now SAD IRON exists again. Maybe as a bonus CD to your new material?
“We are thinking this over, but the quality of the sound is too poor in our opinion.”
Which songs do you play in your set right now?
“That’s “Demon’s Night”, “Prisoners”, “We Play To Kill”, “You’re Obsessed”, “Total Damnation”, “Where Warwinds Blow”, “We All Praise The Devil”, “Living Like A Rat”, “Powerthrash” and “S.M”.”
At the end of 2000, you played a gig for the Dutch Heavy Metal Maniacs Fanclub, together with REVIVER and VENGEANCE. How was that experience?
“It was great to be back on stage again. We did a great gig for the fans. And of course it was even greater to be backstage with our friend from a very long time ago!!”
Are you also a member of the Dutch Heavy Metal Maniacs fanclub, by the way? And can I ask you why??
“Yes, I am. Because I support every fanclub who is into metal. The Heavy Metal Maniacs is a very serious club in spite of their way of drinking beer: too much! But that’s the way I like it!!!”
If you could go on tour with any band of your choice, who would you choose?
“HALFORD, the only metal god!!!!”
Can you tell us your most favourite metal albums and do you listen to other music as well nowadays or did you stick to your guns over the years?
“JUDAS PRIEST-“Unleased In The East” and “Painkiller”. SLAYER- “Decade Of Aggression” & ”Reign In Blood”. EXODUS-“Bonded By Blood”, QUEENSRYCHE-“Operation Mindcrime” & “Empire”. MANOWAR and many more. I also listen to JOE SATRIANI, STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN and STEVE VAI.”
Is there a website for SAD IRON already??
“No, not yet.”
What can we expect from SAD IRON in the near future?
“We hope to release an album, that will be a milestone in the metal music scene, and have a lot of fun.”
What’s your best memory of all those years that you played with SAD IRON?
“SAD IRON was one of the first bands in Holland playing speed metal, even nowadays it still isn’t old fashioned. I think there’s no metal band, comparable with SAD IRON. That’s one of our best memories. We play to kill. For us it’s one great happening.”
And I guess that you also have some bad memories that you want to share with us?
“Some memories you can bring it in the open. Somebody might get hurt.”
There is one story, I heard. It’s the story about the female stripper. Please tell us about it.
“That’s one of our best memories!!! We hired that female stripper for one gig only. We had to play in Wognum. A village nearby Hoorn. Very catholic. In the flyer we’d called her Lolita. The local newspaper warned the community for this concert of SAD IRON & Lolita. Sex and Metal. They didn’t approve. But on the night of the concert of SAD IRON, it was crowded like hell. Everybody wanted to get in. It was a full house. (isn’t this a card game?). We talked to the one, who was escorting Lolita (a big gorilla) and he asked us what we were expecting from her. If she should perform with or without clothing. We told him that the amount of money that was involved was enough to do her gig NAKED. And this was the beginning of a concert, we cannot or will not easily forget. We were playing our set and this Lolita should be one stage during the intro of the song “Total Damnation”. And there she was. One breast was hanging some inches lower than the other one. Obviously, she was not trained to do her performance with a metal band. She was a kind of woman, that could only bring dead meat to a higher level. We mean REALLY DEAD MEAT!!!!! She was a nice person, but sexually (and that was what we were expecting from a stripper) she was a journey back into time. Before the BIG BANG when there was no life at all. With her, life would be impossible. Even a Geranium would die without grief. We’d told her not to walk at the edge of the stage, but our warnings were in vain. So during “Total Damnation”, they grabbed her and she fell two meters down. We pulled her back on stage without one of her shoes with high heels. So she was limping during the song. Maybe she is limping forever. Maybe we created a new phenomenon. Lolita: the limping stripper.”
(exclusive website interview by Toine van Poorten 2002-2003)
Jan Palenstijn - vocals (FINAL HEIRESS)
Herke van der Poel - vocals [1983-1986] (BABY'S BREATH, DIAMOND NEEDLE)
Bernard Rive - lead guitar
Marc van den Bos - vocals/rhythm guitar [2012 - current]
Dick Ooms - bass
Leo Ockeloen - bass
Charles Heijnen - bass [1985 - current]
Leo Ockeloen - bass
Gerrit Soering - drums (R.I.P)
Paul Gebhardt - drums (R.I.P)
Peter van de Wouden - drums
Jacques van Oevelen - drums
Carlo Hienkens - drums
Robert bakker - drums [2012- current]
*Demo (Demo 1982; "Racing Down The Highway" and "Sactuary")
*Holland Heavy Metal Vol. 1 - Live in Brouwershoeck (compilation LP 1982 with SEDUCER)
*Total Damnation (LP 1983)
*The Antichrist (Never released LP 1985)
*Heavy Metal Maniacs pt.1 (compilation CD 1999; Track: "Living Like A Rat")