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ISOPODA
 








Isopoda’s origins can be found in the friendship that developed between Walter De Berlangeer (b.7.56) and Arnold De Schepper (b.9.2.58), two natives of the same district of the town of Aalst, in East Flanders, Belgium. At the age of 15 they discovered rock music and developed a taste for Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath, The Doobie Brothers, C.C.R, The Beatles, Free and Cream. In 1972 Walter’s parents, pleased by his enthusiasm for music, bought him an acoustic guitar. A friend, Bart Bosman, taught him the rudiments of the instrument and helped him improve his technique.
arnoldWalter learned quickly and urged Arnold to take up guitar also. Neither Arnold nor his family had the means to buy a guitar, but a family friend who used one as an ornament stepped in to help, lending Arnold the ‘decorative’ guitar. Assisted by Walter, Arnold picked up the basics very quickly.
After a few months of practice, they decided to form a group in order to play the music of their favourite artists. They decided to call this group Tarantula.
This featured Walter on guitar, Arnold on bass and vocals, Marc Van Schandevijl on rhythm guitar and Geert De Schrijver on drums. The group played their first gig on 3rd March 1973 in Erembodegem-Terjoden, a little village near Aalst. In the Summer of that same year, they changed their name to Orchid, as there was already another Belgian group named Tarantula doing the rounds at the time.
The band’s repertoire consisted of cover-versions of blues, rock and hard-rock numbers (songs by The Who, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath, Wishbone Ash).
Orchid would play anywhere, free-festivals in youth centres, small arts festivals, and slowly they began attracting a following among the local youth. There were many personnel changes but the basis of the band was still Walter and Arnold. Walter began writing songs and then Arnold also took up the pen. Arnold was so obsessive about playing and writing that he even took his guitar to the toilet with him, and, strange as it may sound, much of Isopoda’s early material was written on the toilet!walter
The personnel changes were a problem however, and a drummer was very hard to find. In summer 1974 Walter and Arnold dissolved Orchid and regrouped. They wanted to find new musicians, and abandon cover-versions for their own compositions. They wanted to change direction musically and follow the path laid down by English bands like Yes, Camel, Genesis and Pink Floyd, where much emphasis was laid on the keyboards.
dirkWalter met two schoolmates in Aalst who also wanted to form a progressive rock band. These were Marc Van Der Schueren (b.4.57), a drummer, and Guido Rubrecht (b.10.57), an organist. Walter suggested they get together and they called their new band Isopoda. It was a word Walter had found in an encyclopedia; it refers to a type of insect but Walter chose it because he liked the sound of it!
At the end of 1974, Isopoda had come up with four original compositions and these were premiered at the Aalst ‘tremplin’ on 21st February 1975. These were very bass-heavy songs, with pleasant melodies, many tempo changes, vocal harmonies and guitar solos.
For a new band, Isopoda had some very good equipment at their disposal. Walter possessed professional hardware, and Guido was fortunate enough to have acquired a second hand Hammond-Leslie organ. There was, however, a very sad story attached to this instrument. It had belonged to Paul Lanbrechts, a member of the well-known Belgian band Irish Coffee one of the best groups in Aalst. geert
Following a car accident, two of the members of the band had been crippled and Paul killed. Guido had then purchased Paul’s equipment. Only Arnold was short of a gook instrument, often playing a bass of poor quality and using a borrowed amp. Nonetheless, he began writing more and more of the band’s material while Walter’s contribution dwindled. Little by little, Arnold become leader of the group.
marcIsopoda’s first big gig was on 30 April 1975 in an old church which had been converted into a hall- the St. Anna Hall in Aalst. The band was scheduled to go on stage at half-past eight, but Marc, who had been playing another gig that same evening with another band, didn’t turn up on time. The band were in a panic but William Souffreau, the lead singer of Irish Coffee, was in the hall and stepped in to rescue them.
He generously offered to go on stage himself and sing a few songs, accompanying himself on guitar. William had to perform until ten o’clock, which was when Marc finally showed up. But this cemented the friendship between Isopoda and Irish Coffee, and despite the delay, Isopoda played a set that night that went down very well with the audience. They went on to play more gigs in the region and were welcomed by an appreciative public wherever they went.
At the end of ’75, Arnold wanted to switch from bass to guitar, his favoured instrument, and suggested a two-guitar formula for Isopoda. This would have allowed him to play guitar parts that Walter couldn’t, or didn’t want to play. But after several weeks of disappointing auditions with bass-players it seemed that this move wouldn’t work out. A local guitarist, Bert De Brest, renowned as much for his temperament as his technique, was recruited to the line-up after much internal discussion, and Arnold, a little crestfallen, returned to his bass duties.
Bert’s contribution opened up new harmonic possibilities but his character didn’t fit. He refused to accept advice and only played the lines he wanted to play. In the end the band had to ask him to leave. Bert didn’t mind. He only played two gigs with Isopoda, but he told Arnold that he had thoroughly enjoyed being in the band.live aalst
This didn’t cause too many problems musically; Guido filled in Bert’s parts on the organ. Moreover, the band were now turning to the question of visual stage presentations… For their second St. Anna concert, on 1st May 1976 the band used a light-show and amateur actors to interpret theatrical sequences, aligning themselves with British band of the time such as Genesis. One of the songs they played that night was called “Wintermaker”, symbolising the ‘approach of hard times’. For this piece, Dirk De Schepper, Arnold’s older brother, appeared on stage, dressed in a black suit and top-hat with black and white makeup. He announced the song in deep mysterious tones and when he finally uttered the song’s title, fake snow (blown by old vacuum cleaners) fell from the proscenium. All very amateur, but it worked!
These visual innovations were well liked by public and press, but that same year Isopoda decided to stop gigging for a while and concentrate on writing new material. Thanks to money he earned from a summer job that year, Arnold bought himself a proper amp and some bass pedals. In September, Luc Ardijns of the long-established Belgian band John Woolley & Just Born and William Souffreau had just built a small studio in a hired stable in Mere, a village not far from Aalst. They wanted to put together an album featuring Aalst bands and wanted Isopoda to take part in the project. Isopoda accepted the offer and their first studio recording (on four tracks) was a composition of Arnold’s “Male and Female”. Arnold sang lead, with William Souffreau’s high-pitched and very recognisable voice doing backing-vocals.
The compilation album was entitled “Raarlst” (this being a contraction of the Flemish word ‘raar’ – meaning bizarre – and ‘Aalst”).
arnold 1977It was produced by Luc and William and released at the end of 1976, with the 1000 pressed copies distributed in bars and through friends and families.geert lp
Arnold’s bass pedals at last allowed him to return to acoustic guitar but as he was also the band’s lead singer it seemed that he was taking too much on! He suggested that Isopoda recruit a singer, and he had someone in mind, too; his brother Dirk (b.22.9.56). Dirk had a good voice and was a fine lyricist, having contributed the words to Arnold’s latest composition, “The Birth of a Butterfly”. After a conclusive audition, the band welcomed him to its ranks. About the same time, Guido bought himself a Solina string-ensemble, then a revolutionary keyboard instrument capable of reproducing the sound of a string section.
The first concert with Dirk was played at Haaltert near Aalst on 12 March 1977. The public reacted favourably to the new line up and Isopoda used the occasion to launch two new songs, “Don’t Do It The Easy Way” and “The Muse”.
isopodaDuring the following weeks, they developed the visual aspects of their show, using smoke-bombs and also special mises-en-scene such as that for the song “The Birth of a Butterfly” where Dirk appeared shrouded in a cocoon and at the climax of the piece spread his arms to reveal butterfly wings in fantastic colours. The band’s annual St. Anna concert that year was their first with fully professional equipment with two technicians employed to handle the light-show, two for sound and three for special effects.
During the summer of 1977 the group decided to bring in a pianist; they approached Geert Amant, a member of a folk-group that Marc and Arnold had accompanied in the past. They knew of his talent and wanted him to be in Isopoda. Geert Amant (b.11.1959) was classically trained, and accepted the offer; at first he played a Fender Rhodes which had been kindly lent to the band by the new studio of Just Born Productions. This had been set up by Luc Ardijns in Hekelgem, near Aalst.
Geert joined in July 1977 and played his first gig with them on 6th August in a ‘tremplin’ whose winners would be eligible to play in the famous Bilzen festival in Belgium that summer. Isopoda didn’t win, unfortunately, much to Geert’s disappointment. But the following gigs were nonetheless a demonstration of the new dimension the pianist brought to the band and gave the musicians some financial security.luc
marcThey were happy taking care of their own affairs and so they didn’t need to pay a manager. If most of the members of Isopoda were content simply writing new songs to replace the old ones and spending their money on new equipment, Arnold, (urged by Luc Ardijns, now a firm friend of the band) suggested that Isopoda cut an album. After a while, the other band-members agreed. Luc offered them the use of his 24-track studio, a very convenient arrangement for Isopoda as it allowed them to work on their recordings without time-limits. There was much lobbying in the band for the bringing-in of an outside producer, but Arnold felt that an outside producer would prove a distracting influence, both on the choice of material and its interpretation.
walter
Sessions began in November 1977. At first the group adapted slowly and with difficulty to studio conditions. Their music, with its many changes of tempo and mood, necessitated much musical perfectionism, particularly for the rhythm section. For example, after many takes of “Don’t Do It The Easy Way” they had to settle for the best cut without being wholly satisfied with the result. In December and January “The Muse” was recorded, but by this time Luc needed the studio to make some important recordings and so the sessions were postponed. At this time the album release was planned for April bud instead the group continued gigging. At one concert, they premiered a new song by Arnold that had been completed just one week before.arnold
dirk
This was “Acrostichon”, its name taken from a Flemish word translated as ‘acrostic’ in English. Its lyrics were in the form of a poem where the initial letters of the first seven lines formed the word Isopoda. This song, ultra-representative of the band’s style with its tempo-changes, contrasting atmospheres and complex vocals was chosen to be the album’s title-track.
The band were still students; they set aside the months of May and June for their exams and resumed recording in July. But, then Guido announced that he was leaving the band; he felt he wasn’t up to Geert’s high musical standards and wanted to concentrate on studying to become an engineer. Geert could assume all the keyboard responsibilities for recording, but what about concerts? Also, Geert was a loner, didn’t see much of the other musicians and sometimes couldn’t be contacted for days on end.
Guido quit nonetheless, although he stayed around long enough to play on one track of the album. Geert now faced up to his new responsibilities and the band cut “Acrostichon” and “Considering”, a title finished just prior to the session. Arnold played flute on this one, as he had on “The Muse” and “Acrostichon”. He had taken a few lessons in flute at a conservatoire. With “Watch the Daylight Shine”, the band neatly used up the remaining minutes of the album’s scheduled running time.
However, during August the group decided to rerecord “Don’t Do It The Easy Way” and came up with an excellent version. In September, they added a few backing vocals and percussion parts and entered the delicate stage of mixing. Finally, after some trouble getting the sound of the drums right, the album was finished to their satisfaction.
It was released in November 1978 on Twinkle Records, the studio’s own label. It was initially sold in a black-and-white gatefold sleeve, bearing a design by René Van Gyseghem, a friend of the band, which represented a marching crowd. Inside the lyrics were to be found, superbly hand-written by Patrick, Dirk and Arnold’s brother. In this way, Isopoda became the second Aalst group after Irish Coffee to cut an album. The local press and public were very enthusiastic. Distributed and promoted by Twinkle Records, the album sold a respectable 3000 copies in Belgium, but wasn’t exported. For the second pressing, costs prohibited another gatefold sleeve, so this time the album appeared in a single sleeve with a lyrics sheet inserted.
The first album went down very well on the audiences and at the beginning of 79, thanks to its good sales, the band acquired new equipment and especially their first synthesiser. The worked on rehearsing and arranging together new compositions written by Arnold, and they prepared themselves for their fifth concert at the St. Anna Hall which took place on 27th April 1979. For this show, the musicians played on different platforms set on several levels of the stage. Behind the musicians, a large streamer in fluorescent characters had been hung up, showing the name of the band, drawn by Patrick De Schepper. On top of all this, an efficient light-show improved the visual impact of their performance. The band received a triumph from 800 spectators.
However, they had no manager to follow them and plan their projects, simply depending on the musicians’ free time and motivation. Although Arnold, Dirk and Marc (bass, voice and drums) shared a steadfast faith in the band, putting up with this day-to-day basis, Walter (guitars) proved to be more sceptical and critical whereas Geert (keyboards) always seemed introverted. These negative attitudes led to tensions within the group. Walter and Geert thought that the band was doing excellent quality music but lacked a manager to get really famous. Arnold knew that this criticism was right but he was conscious about the problems due to their condition as a Belgian rock band : Belgium, as a small country, left little chance to promote a non commercial type of music. Moreover, there was no circulation to organize concerts that would advertise a new album. Finally, the soaring of the punk and the new wave movements was beginning to harm other musical movements, especially those sounding melodious and complex.
isopoda liveSo Arnold, Dirk and Marc felt that the group’s existence would have been easier of it had formed some five years before. Besides, some members of the band were still students and thus were not free for several months. So it was quite difficult for Isopoda to lead a normal existence and hope for a good reputation.
After the St. Anna concert, the band went through another lethargic state.
They played a few concerts but those were not well organized and as the musicians lacked preparation, the gigs were very little convincing and the press wrote bad reviews about Isopoda.
Then Geert announced that he intended to quit the band. However, in order to refute the critics, Isopoda recorded on 24 tracks in July and August in the Just-Born studio at Hekelgem two titles in order to release a single featuring “You Flower”, a ballad written by Dirk, Arnold and Walter to lyrics by Dirk, inspired by his daughter’s birth. That single was to be followed soon afterwards by the recording of a new album to demonstrate that the band was still alive and kicking. Nevertheless, the single, released by the end of September 79(and later on in another sleeve), only sold a few hundred copies.
In spite of this setback, the band went on rehearsing their repertoire for the next album, as they were convinced they would release a second opus. They were sure that the bad reviews would be soon forgotten, that they would keep fans around and that the press would reappraise their opinion when listening to the new album. The good sales of the first record had also made them wanting to record another one. They had planned to release the record at the end of April when there was going to be a grand concert in the famous Keizershallen at Aalst, as their last concert at the St. Anna had shown that this hall was now too small to give shelter to all their fans.
Arnold developed new themes, worded upon and arranged together during the rehearsals. Soon after the release of the single in October, Geert left the band to get on with his studies. The band then looked for a new keyboard player.
Moreover, an important broadcast was to be held on the Flemish radio, thanks to Geert. At the end of October, a student friend of Arnold’s, although he had not heard of Geert’s departure, asked the band if they needed a keyboard player. This friend’s sister had just died of an incurable disease a few months after her wedding and her husband was really depressed because of this misfortune. He was looking for a group to play with to try and forget his sorrow. After a first contact with this musician named Luc Vanhove (then aged 25), he went for a trial with Isopoda and showed his skill and experience as he was an excellent improviser. Moreover, he liked Isopoda’s music and so he joined the band. As soon as the first rehearsals with him happened, he proved to be a gifted keyboard player, surpassing in mastery and technique both Guido and Geert, still adapting perfectly well to the band’s music. He suggested original arrangements that no other member of Isopoda had imagined before. Moreover, as an engineer in electronics, he was able to reproduce easily with a synthesiser any sound requested. By the end of 1979, he had rehearsed and assimilated the whole of Isopoda’s repertoire.
In December, the band recorded in the Just-Born studio two of their new compositions for their second album : “The Usual Start” and “A Knight’s Lullaby”, followed in January 80 by “The Fall”. The recording was made onto 24 track equipment by sound engineer Luc Ardijns.
By the time of the first album, Isopoda had had to postpone recording sessions because they had concluded an agreement by which the studio paid for the expenses of production and put the studio at their disposal in exchange for a share for Luc of the copyright and royalties, so Luc left the studio available for groups and artists who paid and he recorded the band during the hours left free. However, since the first album, Luc’s studio had become a company and the shareholders were not keen on investing in Isopoda, considered as out of date and in deficit… They placed their faith in the Antwerp Scooter’s trendy (obviously commercial) band, made popular but bound to the studio by the same contract as Isopoda.
Scooter’s drummer, Erwig Duchateau, was also working as a sound engineer in the studio and thus favoured his own group to get the vacant hours of the studio. So several times, the musicians of Isopoda, who had come at Luc’s request, discovered on arriving that the studio had been taken up by Scooter…isopoda live
The first concert with Luc Vanhove took place on 21st February 1980 for the Flemish radio, a gig obtained again by Geert. The technicians and producers seemed careful, but it was obvious though that they had never introduced in their programme a group of Isopoda’s style, so the sound balance was made in half an hour instead of several hours usually necessary and their sound was subsequently flat, lacking in depth. In spite of these technical faults however, the band played a gook performance. These setbacks confirmed the band in their certainties that Belgium was neither receptive nor interested in their music style and so the band’s expectations about the results of this performance turned to disappointment.
By that time, the band had contracted a loan from a bank, to buy more efficient and modern equipment. Walter and Arnold purchased new amplifiers and Luc a new organ with a Leslie tone cabinet. Arnold had ordered a Shergold double neck guitar from London, a combination of 12-string electric and bass guitars and had to wait for several months before it was finally finished. The concert planned for April at the Keisershallen took place eventually on 10th May 1980 and it turned out to be one of the greatest shows ever organized in Belgium for a domestic group. The gig, improved with a light-show and a professional P.A., lasted for two hours and the public became aware of the maturity, the professionalism and the technical mastery acquired henceforth by the band, thus allowing them to compete with the best international outfits. The band had modified their stage play, leaving aside their make-up and incessant costume changes, in order to concentrate on visual effects of the light-show only.
isopoda 1981The band had rehearsed intensively the new compositions planned for the second album but the idea to release it for that date had not been made possible. Nevertheless, they introduced the public to their new pieces. Even though the reactions from the audience were welcoming, after counting the expenses of the rent and the equipment, the profit was low. To them however, the popular success counted more…
After this concert, several group members had to pass their exams at university and so the band remained inactive for several months. During the summer, they went back to the studio and recorded “Sunset Alley”. By the end of the year, Walter knew he would have to go for his military service but the album was not finished yet, so the band’s motivation was quite affected because of his imminent departure. At the beginning of 1981, the band played a few concerts in order to collect money to pay back the loan. For those gigs, Isopoda rented a small P.A. and they performed with a reduced light-show because they had to pay off for their loan before the end of the year, so they spent as little money as possible. Therefore, the gigs were disappointing and even led to tensions within the band. Frustrations were rising as Walter was about to leave, the album still under way, adding to their financial problems and poor gigs. A meeting in March 81 led to important decisions, such as telling Walter to work at his technique on his own and to show a real enthusiasm, without which the band would not let him play with them any longer. Arnold had to encourage the other musicians to take more initiative in the working out of themes and to turn to a more modern musical style, Dirk also needed to improve both his voice and his guitar playing.
This discussion provoked positive reactions and then rehearsals happened again in a more relaxed and productive atmosphere, where each one put forward new ideas for the themes being worked out. For the first time, one song, “O.K. with me”, was conceived during rehearsals. Meanwhile, Arnold had finished a new song, entitled “Endless Streets”, that corresponded to the new orientation they were looking for, with its more direct rhythms. The band had gone on with their sporadic recording sessions and they recorded “Taking Root”, a piece that was composed only a few weeks before the 10 May concert (1980), “Harbinger”, “Girls will be Girls” and “Join with the Stream”. When the sessions were over, the band wanted to do the final mixing in June 81. In this phase, the same problem as during the mixing of the first album appeared again as they mixed “A Knight’s Lullaby” because, as had occurred with “Don’t do it the easy way” on the first album, the musicians found that the song was lacking both energy and sophistication, and had a poor sound compared to the other titles.
However, instead of re-recording it, they preferred to retain the two recent compositions : “O.K. with me” and “Endless Streets” instead, as they thought that those two were better. At the end of July, they recorded these last two songs. They always started with recording the rhythm parts first before adding keyboards, guitar, percussion and finally the voices.bert 1981
Thus no title was really finished and the adding of other instruments sometimes happened several months after recording the rhythm parts. By the end of July though, every unfinished piece was completed.
For the first time, because of the inner tensions, the band had cancelled their annual St. Anna concert. In July, they played a concert at Leuven. The repertoire included themes from both the yet unreleased second album and the first one. After “Acrostichon”, they had left aside old songs written before this album. In August, the underlying conflict with Walter who did not practice his guitar except on stage and completely lacked motivation, broke out and so the band asked him to leave, which he agreed to do, as he did not enjoy playing music anymore.
arnold 1981After sending an advertisement and having tried several applicants, in October they recruited Bert Van Caelenbergh (aged 25), after a satisfying audition. Bert was an excellent guitarist who liked the band’s music, and a former member of the progressive group Quies, a locally renowned band that unfortunately had not found the opportunity to release a record.
He played his parts with both enthusiasm and conviction. As the guitar parts had already been recorded, he did not appear on the album. The final mixing was made in November. As the band had been aware of the mistakes of their first album, they had been avoided by now : not too many pre-mixings, low noise… Besides, the studio had improved its equipment : Dbx-noise reduction, lexicon voice effects, a new mixing console, high quality monitors… and so the band took advantage of an excellent mixing.
The album was called “Taking Root”, after one of its tracks and a friend of theirs, Geert Callebaut, a professional photographer, got carte blanche to conceive and design the sleeve. He suggested different photographs and the band chose one showing Jan Schollaert’s hand, a friend and a roadie, reaching out to the wall at the corner of a youth club in Aalst in the background. The choice was unanimous as the picture expressed both colours and atmosphere letting everyone feel the friendship around, that is to say the togetherness and intimacy of the place where they had spent most of their youth talking, laughing, meeting friends. For this album, Isopoda had recorded every of their themes, except those from the single and “A Knight’s Lullaby”, since their first effort, as they were not a prolix group, rather working out a sole piece for months.
As Isopoda had not played any concert in Aalst since 1981, they decided to perform in this city to celebrate and promote the release of their new album that was due out in January 82. The recording had taken two years to carry out due to the musicians’ little free time and the preparation of important concerts.marc 1981
Isopodaadmired the blend of classical music instruments with rock but as only a few groups had been successful with this experiment on stage, requiring an osmosis and a perfect balance between the electric instruments and the acoustic ones, the result often turned out to be disappointing… Only Camel and Alan Parsons’ Project had made good combinations by experimenting symphonic rock. Lately, Alan Parsons had released “The Turn of a Friendly Card”, a very successful work that led Isopoda to consider such an experience.
The city of Aalst had a symphonic orchestra conducted by one Mr Octave Boone. In October 1981, the band asked him if he would be interested in working with them, with the idea of gigging together. After listening to some of their best titles, he agreed. The band gave him the tapes, the scores and every detail of interpretation of the titles planned for the concert. Mr Boone had to write down all the parts that the orchestra would play. The date was set on 30th January 1982 at the Keizershallen of Aalst. The repertoire should include part of songs of the band performed by themselves and another part of their compositions plus a version of “The Turn of a Friendly Card”, arranged and performed by the orchestra and the band. Mr Boone had written an introduction to this part. The common work with him was very instructive for the band. He could give a new dimension to their themes. As an experienced arranger, he knew exactly what instrument was best suited to express a certain tonality. He strived to bring a new colour and warmth to Isopoda’s music. He showed that any musician loving his art forget about the boundaries and prejudice separating different styles and could transcend them. At mid-December, every score was ready. “Taking Root” was going to be released only two weeks later, so that the fans could know the new songs on the day of the concert.
dirk 1981Rehearsals with the orchestra turned out to be delicate, as cohesion between both entities was difficult to achieve. Moreover, the layout of the hall meant that the orchestra would be behind the band and thus, the conductor was hardly visible. For Marc, it was impossible to find the right pace because he could not follow the orchestra behind him.
This problem was solved owing to the setting of a camcorder that enabled him to watch the conductor on a video screen. In order to reproduce the solos the pianissimos or the fortissimos accurately, the band had rented a very efficient production set with two 24 track mixing consoles, one for Isopoda, the other for the orchestra. One 8 track console was used for Hexacord, a five singer classical choir which appeared on some titles. The production was supervised by Luc Ardijns.
The concert’s date was nearing but the album was not yet released because the pressing company was overloaded with work. Eventually, the album was released on Lark, the studio’s label, one week before the concert, which prevented a decent campaign of promotion and distribution of the record.
On 30th January 1982, Isopoda played a grandiose concert in front of 2000 spectators. Stimulated by the large audience and aware of the scale of the event, Isopoda performed for two hours before attentive and enchanted people. The band went through only little disappointments as the violins or the choir sometimes lacked accuracy, due to the short experience in working with a rock band, of because of the difficult coordination with the P.A. The band, eager to read the reviews about this concert, was very disappointed by the negative articles about their performance and the Flemish radio only broadcast two short extracts from “Taking Root”, adding unpleasant comments about their music. Those reactions seriously affected the morale of the band. The sales of the album (under 1000) confirmed their pessimism and increased their confusion. Moreover, whereas by the time of the first album, Luc, who was then the owner of the studio and kept good relationships with the band, had done his best to get decent promotion and distribution, this time, he was not really free and independent, so he could not dedicate himself to his work, as the shareholders would not invest money any longer.
So the album got only a limited promotion and distribution. Besides, the disappointed musicians had given up the project to follow Luc in his steps by the radios and other media or the shareholders. They had foreseen that the band would split up, with no future, that is why they would not care about it any more.luc 1981
So the band decided to split up after a turbulent meeting : this was in March 82. Since then, each musician has left the world of music except for Luc and Arnold. The latter produced again different groups in a more rocky style, keeping faith, though, in cool and refined melodies. He released in 1988 a tape under the name of Another Project, including a cover version of “The Muse”, and in 92, together with Luc, a CD single under the name of Easy Heart.


Written by Francis Grosse (translation Paul Stump & Dorian Cumps) and reprinted from the liner notes of the Isopoda cd booklets (acknowledgements by Arnold De Schepper, Dorian Cumps, John Bollenberg, Dirk De Schepper & Erwing Duchateau) by kind permission of Musea records and Bernard Gueffier.


A new sign of life from Arnold came in 2002 when he released a solo cd with Luc on keyboards (“Topical Matters Blues”) who showed another side of this musician. They played some shows to promote that album but even better news came in 2004 when Arnold was announced to support Irish Coffee with an Isopoda-set!
de werf dec 2004
So on December 4th 2004 Isopoda finally relived and returned on stage at “De Werf” in Aalst for a 70 minutes set that contained most Isopoda-classics (Acrostichon, Don’t Do It The Easy way(intro), Join With The Stream, Harbinger, Don’t Do It The Easy way(reprise), Black Mountain Cat, Taking Root, The Muse, OK with Me, Watch The Daylight Shine & Considering) along with two songs from Arnold’s solo album (Anyone Who Loves Me & Names And Faces). Quite surprising was the introduction of a horn section on certain songs, although at the concert a week later (Verviers’ Spirit Of 66) we could hear the pure Isopoda sound without horns again. The four-piece who breathed new life in those songs were: Arnold De Schepper on bass and vocals, Luc Vanhove on keyboards, Hubert Lissens on drums and Jeroen Vanryckeghem on guitar.luc dec 2004
I suspect we haven’t heard the last of Isopoda yet, as I’m sure the standing ovation in Aalst (followed by an extra encore; the Genesis oldie Firth Of Fifth) will make them think…
jeroen dec 2004arnold dec 2004