20 Jaar Spasmodique From the Cellar of Rose

This book tells the story of 20 years of Spasmodique, a cult band from Rotterdam. These 20 years are not a continuous episode, the band ended its activities in 1992, but recently they made their comeback.

Spasmodique had its heyday at the end of the 80’s, when they reached an international audience with their passionate dark rock. Especially their live performances were renowned. All the articles in this book seem to agree that this is when Spasmodique was at its best. They never reached the same intenstity on record, though they made a few very good albums. “From the Cellar of Roses” is the name of the second album of the band, and is also the title of the Spasmodique website. This site was started by long-time fan Jean-Paul van Mierlo in 2000, and now he has expanded his activities to this dedicated book. It was partly due to his enthousiastic endeavours that the band got inspired to make their comeback.

The book starts with a nice introduction by singer Mark Ritsema, who tells about why they quitted in 1992, about his first musical steps at the end of the 70’s, the start of Spasmodique and some of his motivations and (literary) influences. Then follows a contribution by well-known journalist Peter Bruyn, who tries to solve the mystery of what’s so special about the band. Next is a chronological overview of the band’s history, from their first tapes till their comeback with the album “From Villa Delirium”. Also nice to read are some old Spasmodique concert reports from various sources, which is followed by a detailed list of all their concerts from 1982 till now…

The most important part of the book is probably the interview section with all the bandmembers, done in the last two years especially for the website and this book. They tell about their experiences with the band, and their other musical adventures. Next are some articles about the come-back of the band. Then follows a detailed discography, and a nice collection of lyrics from Mark Ritsema, which are highly interesting to read. The book is ended by a nice epiloque by the author Jean-Paul van Mierlo, who tells us about his passionate love for Spasmodique and why felt the need to write this book.

“From the cellar of roses” is a nice book to read, obviously made with a lot of care and dedication. The articles are taken from various sources, which makes it very varied reading material. The author could also use the personal archives of the various bandmembers, which makes it a lively story. Also many nice photos are used to illustrate the stories. I must confess that I did not knew the music of Spasmodique too well when I started reading this book, but it made me curious enough to listen to more of their work.