Funeral Oration

Funeral Oration was a melodic hardcore punk band from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. They were active from 1982–83 until the end of the 1990s, putting out highly influential records on Dutch, German, British and American labels. They managed to create their own unique sound, mainly due to the unmistakable vocal style of Peter Zirschky.

funeraloration_1.jpg Funeral Oration was formed in April 1982 out of the ashes of singer Peter Zirschky's former band – Last Warning. The initial line-up was completed by drummer Ferry Fidom, bassist Mike de Veer – both also coming from Last Warning – and guitarist David. The band made their first appearances on international hardcore punk compilation tapes such as "Trust And Obey! God Is Love" and "Raw War" after only a few rehearsals. In the next few years "lo-fi" recordings of such early practices surfaced on numerous other cassette-only compilations around the world – most notably "Holland Hardcore 2nd Attack" on Er Is Hoop Tapes and a split tape with Gepopel on legendary BCT from San Diego, CA.
This early incarnation of the band lasted just a few months then vanished, but in the summer of 1983 Zirschky placed an ad in the Dutch punk magazine Koekrand, saying: "Need a bassplayer, doesn't have to be good, but has to be pretty fast", recruiting William Steinhauser to play the bass and forming the core of the revived Funeral Oration. Original guitar player David quit soon after the recording of their first demo, "There's Nothing Left To Laugh About", in September and their first gig in October 1983, so Zirschky took over guitar duties.
In the beginning of 1984 another demo tape was recorded – "The Godsend" – this time with better production which captured the raw energy of those early days of the band. Both demos received favorable reviews in Maximum Rock'n'Roll and other punk zines.
It wasn't until the fall of 1984 that their music finally made it to vinyl when the self-produced "Shadowland" 12-inch EP was released. Four tracks of ripping hardcore on side A, backed with three of the darkest post-punk songs established their trademark sound.
The next year brought a new guitarist, Tos Nieuwenhuizen (ex- Jezus and the Gospelfuckers), and a new release – their first and now legendary LP "Communion" (1985) on Diehard Records, which was ranked No. 3 Best Punk Rock Album of the Year by Flipside magazine, and Record of the Year by Berkeley's own KALX radio station. Despite some technical issues during the recording sessions and somewhat poor production, the unique guitar style of Tos Nieuwenhuizen and heartfelt lyrics of Peter Zirschky earned the album a classic status among hardcore punk connoisseurs. That summer Funeral Oration toured Germany and Spain with fellow band Gepopel.
By the end of 1985 guitarist Tos left the band. He was replaced by Hayo Buunk and in April 1986 a new 7-inch EP was recorded – "Survival". Another short stagnation followed, but the end of 1986 saw the band preparing for a follow-up record. Two new songs were recorded at Oktopus studio, where the second album would also be tracked. Remedy Records released these two demo songs on a 4-way split LP in 1988.
Their second LP, simply titled "Funeral Oration", saw the light in 1987 and the same year drummer Ferry Fidom left the band. With the new drummer Erik Jansen in, the band's line-up didn’t change for a decade.
Another 7-inch EP, "The More We Know", was released in 1989 and at the end of the year material for a new album was recorded, but a hiatus in the band caused its late release – "Say No To Life" LP was finally put out in 1993 by WRF Records. This record gave a hint of what would become their definitive sound in the '90s – catchier melodies and better production, still keeping the edge of their previous albums.

After almost five years of silence the four band members entered Bunt's Studio in Utrecht to record their CD debut "Punk Rock Nation" (1994) with producer Menno Bakker. The album was again released by WRF Records, in a modest press of 500, but a copy of it caught the ear of Louis Posen, founder of American label Hopeless Records, who eventually signed the band. Many of the tracks off "Punk Rock Nation" were included, alongside a good number of newly recorded songs, on their next and first U.S. release, predictably titled "Funeral Oration" (1995). A semi-professional video was shot for the song "Outside", which can be seen on the V.A. "Cinema Beer Goggles" video. Another promo video, mainly compiled of live footage from their first US tour, was made for the song "This Punk Thing" which can be heard on the "Discography" double CD set.
funeraloration_2.jpg Funeral Oration's music got even greater exposure to the American punk audience when the band was interviewed for the #95 issue of Flipside magazine, which also featured a free flexi with two of their new songs.
Another short session at Bunt's Studio in early 1996 produced five new songs, most of which were released through various compilations and samplers in the next few years.
In early 1997 the all-time classic "Communion" was reissued, for the first time on CD (with the addition of "Shadowland" EP), by German label Nasty Vinyl.
Hopeless Records issued the band's last two studio albums – "Believer" (1997) and "Survival" (1998) – and the "Discography" 2xCD, which compiled most of their best songs, recorded through a 15+ year lifespan, but also some rare, unreleased and live material. In 1997 Vincent Tjoa joined as a second guitarist, but this five-piece line-up didn't last long, as Hayo Buunk left the band prior to the recording of "Survival".
Funeral Oration did three American tours in three consecutive years – in 1996, '97 and '98 – promoting each of their Hopeless Records releases. A live-in-studio recording which took place at Westbeach Studios in Hollywood, CA, towards the end of their 1998 U.S. tour, remains the last material Funeral Oration ever recorded and released.
By the end of the decade the band members went their separate ways.

by Ivailo,

Funeral Oration was:

Peter Zirschky – vocals, guitar (R.I.P.)
Ferry Fidom – drums (1982 to '87)
Michael "Mike" de Veer – bass (1982)
David "Dave" Mulder – guitar (1982 to '83)
William "Wil" Steinhauser – bass (1983 – )
Thomas "Tos" Nieuwenhuizen – guitar (1984 to '85)
Hayo Buunk – guitar (1985 to '97 )
Erik Jansen – drums (1987 – ) (R.I.P.)
Barend van der Meer – drums (live, 1996)
Vincent "Vinnie" Tjoa – guitar (1997 – )
Jevin de Groot – guitar (live, 1998)
Menno Bakker – guitar (live, 1998)

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