Mysto Dysto – The Rules Have Been Disturbed
Guitarist Marcel Verdurmen isn't a stranger in the Dutch metal scene. He has been active in Altar for quite some years now and he was for some time part of Orphanage. Lesser know however is the fact that he played in the band Mysto Dysto back in the 80's. This fellowship was founded in 1981, and five years later they released their self-financed debut album 'The Rules Have Been Disturbed'. Soon after this release they got a deal with the German Disaster Records, but the label was so afraid potential buyers would have problems with pronouncing the band name, they asked the band to come up with a different moniker. Mysto Dysto became Mandator, and under that last banner they produced two additional albums ('Initial Velocity' and 'Perfect Progeny') before the band called it a day in 1990.
In 1986 Mysto Dysto was a synonym for genuine speed metal, a bit comparable with what the American speed legends Agent Steel and Savage Grace where up to in the second half of the 80's. Speed was all around, with enough melody, a healthy dose of guitar solo violence and the band came equipped with a singer who kinda knew his business in the higher notes. And I must admit it still has its charm after all those years. Okay, they could never outmatch the foreign competition (though they came pretty close), but tracks like 'Atilla The Destructor', 'Full Speed To Hell' and 'Indenter' still kick ass and do not sound out of date at all. On the contrary, it happens quite often that I am confronted with new bands in this musical niche who not even are allowed to stand in the shadow of this more than big footnote in Dutch metal history. I therefore have no hesitation whatsoever than heartily recommend this re-release to everybody who was around when this band was alive and kicking, and of course also to all you guys and girls who love cool 80's speed metal.
1. Power Of The Law (The Rules Have Been Disturbed LP)
2. Confused (The Rules Have Been Disturbed LP)
3. Tarantula (The Rules Have Been Disturbed LP)
4. Atilla The Destructor (The Rules Have Been Disturbed LP)
5. Full Speed To Hell (The Rules Have Been Disturbed LP)
6. Indenter (The Rules Have Been Disturbed LP)
7. One Night Stand (The Rules Have Been Disturbed LP)
8. Visit Of The Vikings (The Rules Have Been Disturbed LP)
9. Furies Child (No Aids In Hell – Demo 1987)
10. Demiurg (No Aids In Hell – Demo 1987)
What was Mysto Dysto all about? Former guitar player Luit de Jong tells the story…
Almost every metal band is started by guys or girls who are metal fans themselves, and I guess you were no exception to that rule. Who or what made you pick up the instruments yourself and why?
A friend of mine, Hans Koops, introduced me to the phenomenon. He played bass guitar and gave me a bunch of hardrock LP's. After listening to bands like Gary Moore, UFO, Saxon and the rough guitar from Ted Nugent I was hooked. I threw away my tennis racket, bought myself an electric guitar and started practising after school, six hours a day. I guess I drove everybody around me crazy with my squeezing the six strings and repeating the same riffs over and over again. That was how it went, for two years in a row, and I never have played tennis again.
Your first official LP 'The Rules Have Been Disturbed' was released in 1986. How did the Dutch metal scene look like in those days?
We financed and released the album ourselves, which lead to a lot of positive reactions. It was something that was not done very often in those days, for such did cost an awful lot of money. Nevertheless we sure that a full-length album could make a difference in our quest for nationwide recognition and gigs. The latter was most important, for we wanted to play, play and play, if possible every weekend. Only 500 copies where made of 'The Rules Have Been Disturbed', but it cost us 11.868,19 Dutch guilders (about 6500 American dollars), and like I said, that was a lot of money. I still recall my mother chipping in for 3000 guilders, otherwise the studio refused to give us the albums. Come to think about that, I am afraid I never paid her back… whoops! Well, maybe this re-release will take care of that hahahaha….
How did it feel like, holding your first ever record in your hand?
Oh yeah, that was an awesome feeling, like you are having an orgasm for hours on end, and it just won't stop. Especially for the occasion I bought myself a brand new turntable to do as less damage possible to the LP and preserve the sound as best I could. I think that says quite enough.
What did you expect from it? Did you secretly hoped for worldwide success, or was selling a couple of hundred already satisfactory?
Well, I guess everybody who made an album the way we did it is in it 100 % for the music, there can not be another way. Speaking for myself, having an own album with songs we had written ourselves was such a rush, and world-wide success was the last thing I thought about. You just hope for recognition for the things you do and make. You hope for positive reactions and that you are able to do some gigs throughout the land. Now our fans were absolutely thrilled, but since they were our fans we hardly could do something wrong in their eyes. The press however was also very positive about us. I remember that Aardschok magazine (those days the biggest metal magazine in Holland) rewarded us with 80 out 100. The best part of course would have been the signing of a record deal, but alas we did not achieve such with this LP.
Did the release of 'The Rules Have Been Disturbed' help you to gain more media attention and gigs?
Absolutely! We got offers to play from all over the country, especially small villages which you normally drive in and out within the minute, but despite the fact it were very little town a lot of people always showed up and we more than once turned the joint upside down. I think we have seen the whole of Holland, and also did a lot of festivals with other cool bands, and for me it was really the best time.
What was the final result of the release? Did it open new doors for the band (like in cool record deals), or did it not make a real difference in the end?
We aimed for a record deal with 'The Rules Have Been Disturbed', but despite all the good reviews and media attention we failed to get one. I do not see this as a personal disappointment, for looking back I can see why nobody wanted to sign us. It was lack of experience. We were just a couple of kids who wanted to play ball with the big guys. Many record labels thought like: “Get some more experience; play a shitload of gigs and try to better yourselves, maybe than we can so some business.” The funny thing however was that after the demo 'No Aids In Hell' a record deal suddenly was no problem and it turned out a lot of other labels were interested. I still remember sitting in the studio when Roadrunner called to offer us a deal, but we just signed with a German label!
What happened to the band after when the buzz of this first release was over? Was it like you felt having to starting from scratch again?
Shortly after the release of the LP we went back into the studio again. Once again we chose to record and put out something ourselves than waiting on the one call for a record deal. When we came out the result was the demo 'No Aids In Hell'. At last this sucker gave us what we worked and hoped for: a record deal, and we signed with Disaster Records in Germany. Nope, we never had the feeling that we had to start from scratch again. We just loved the music too much and gained quite some popularity over the years.
Your career obviously did not stop after this first release. Can you tell us in a nutshell what happened to the band the years after?
Signing with Disaster was great of course, it was the ultimate acknowledgement of our music, sealed with a deal, and we did a lot of crazy shows with bands like Destruction, Angel Dust, Kreator, Thanatos, Silenxce, LWS and Pestilence in Holland, Belgium and Germany. Unfortunately not everything about this deal was gold. Our label did not like the name, according to them it sounded too much like Mister Distie of Mister Disco… Damn, those guys suffered from some weird imaginational problems… Anyway, we were kinda forced to change the name, and I still think that sucks. I mean, you are giving up something of your own identity. I Thought (and still think) that the name Mysto Dysto was far better and more original than Mandator, and with all the knowledge and experience I have today I can sincerely say we never should have agreed with the name change. Oh well, in the end our inexperience and the fact that we could make two new albums were reason enough to accept it all, and the rest is history.
You just mentioned you had to change your bandname. Now Mysto Dysto was indeed a rather weird name. What does it mean and why did you use it in the first place?
The name Mysto Dysto comes from the Loco Box distortion box. This box was heavily criticized by all the major music specialist journals. The sound was supposed to be shitty, the quality of the pedal crap, and so for me it was the perfect name to use for a band. I mean, we could easily better all the bad rap, for worse than this was not possible, right? Also the name really stood out, it was so different than all the other common band names.
What where the absolute highlights in your career?
The recordings of the Mandator CD 'Perfect Progeny' in Berlin, August 1989, we had so much fun. The studio and producer were perfect. When we were there in August the Wall was still standing, but when we returned in October/November for the end-mix the Wall fell. We got to know Germany in two different ways within a couple of months, and that was very impressive. Other highlights of course were all the gigs, the LP release party and the interaction with other bands.
And what were the absolute lows in your career?
All the fights and hassles we had. It is not easy to maintain a steady musical relationship with five very headstrong guys. When singer Peter left the band the atmosphere changed, and a few months after the recordings in Berlin I felt less and less for the band, so a break-up was inevitable. After the 'Perfect Progeny' CD release party the band threw in the towel and Mandator was history. Since then there has been little or no contact between the former bandmates, and as far as I am concerned a reunion is out of the question.
Do you have any regrets whatsoever, and are there things you would have done differently if you could do it again?
Making music and playing live in front of real metal fans is something that brings you lots and lots of joy. Especially Mysto Dysto's early days were great, would not have missed that for the world. If I had done things differently? Well, I have learned a lot the past twenty years, so I think I would handle a lot of things quite differently know. On of those is that you never must give in on creativity. As soon as a record label tries to interfere with your artistic preferences, your creativity and your chosen bandname you're in harms way, and it is better to let it go then. A deal is nice, but not if you have to sell your artistic soul.
If there is one piece of fatherly advice you could give to young dudes who think of starting a metal band, what would that be?
When you and the ones beside you are convinced of your possibilities, don't stop until you have reached your goals. It is a long way, but sure as hell worth it. Go for that dream! As long as you enjoy what you do everything permitted. Of course there are pro's and con's, but it is a great experience that can be beneficial for the rest of your life. No one can take that away from you.
I am sure you have seen a lot of weird stuff in the years you were in the band. What is your favourite anecdote from those days?
Hell yeah, we got quite a few, but I will tell you one only. The most gigs we did took place in the south of Holland. I don't know why, but we had a lot of fans there. Anyway, it always was a quite long journey for us, and our bus was packed with the driver, five band members, two, three or four roadies, our technician and of course a bunch of girlfriends. Yep, all of them in one bus, stacked between guitars, Marshall amps and drums. Now it goes without saying we always had enough beer in the bus, but after some hours driving one really needs a piss.. I remember the bus stopping for a red light, and a couple of us had to piss so bad they decided to open the backdoor of the van, line up, dicks out of the pats and pissing the car behind us completely under. Man, you should have seen the look on that driver's face hahahaha. This is shit you will always remember…
What are the guys from the band doing nowadays? Are you all still active in the music bizz or are some of you living the normal civilian live?
As far as I know Marcel is the only one who is still active in the scene. Peter has a family, does something in computers and completely pulled out of the music scene, just like me. Claus moved south and also does nothing in music anymore. I myself make a living as artist/designer in modern art, a great way to harness my creativity. I still have my guitar, but I do not play it anymore. I see my Mysto Dysto past as something cool, with all its ups and downs, just like the rest of my life.