G.W. Sok was born in the Netherlands in 1979, when he co-founded the music-group The Ex, a group renowned for the bracing physicality of their songs and for their long-standing practice of calling out the world's wrongs and considering one's own complicity with them. Never afraid to venture outside the postpunk comfort zone, without ever growing soft or complacent.
Sok became their vocalist and lyricist, more or less by coincidence, since he'd written the occasional poem and nobody else wanted to sing. He also turned himself into a graphic artist, designing record-sleeves, posters and lyrics books. He wrote for various alternative Dutch DIY magazines, co-founded the independent music distribution company Konkurrent, played part-time for two years with Dutch band De Kift, and started his private Druxat publishing as an outlet for his Dutch prose and poetry. After 1,371 concerts in Holland and abroad, and about twenty-five record-albums later, he left The Ex at the end of 2008.
A Mix Of Bricks & Valentines consists of all the song-lyrics, written (mainly for The Ex) during his first thirty years of Sokness. Outspoken, poetic, and thought-provoking. At present he is working a.o. with the French group Cannibales & Vahinés and the (ex-No Means No/ex-Dog Faced Hermans) guitar-duo Two Pin Din.
A Mix of Bricks & Valentines: Lyrics 1979-2009
Authors: G.W. Sok
Foreword by: John Robb
Publisher: PM Press
Published September 2011
Page count: 384 Pages
G.W. Sok co-founded of the internationally acclaimed independent Dutch music group The Ex in 1979. He became the singer and lyricist, more or less by coincidence, since he wrote the occasional poem and nobody else wanted to sing. At the same time he turned himself into a graphic designer of record sleeves, posters, and books. Together with The Ex he was awarded the Dutch Pop Prize of 1991. The band is well known for its energetic live performances, their inventive music, and for their politically outspoken and thought-provoking lyrics. After about 1,400 concerts in Holland and abroad, and twenty-five record albums later, G.W. Sok decided to leave the group at the end of 2008.
A Mix of Bricks & Valentines showcases the lyrics G.W. Sok wrote during his three decade period of Ex-istance. More than 250 songs of agitprop lyrics, poetry, and rantings are included along with an introduction by the author discussing his development as a writer. A foreword by English journalist, author, and musician John Robb (the Membranes, Punk: An Oral History and Death to Trad Rock) puts the work of G.W. Sok into perspective.
A Mix of Bricks & Valentines is written with a sharp pen; provocative, creative, and witty, everything punk and art intended to be from the start. And yes, it can be quite loud at times, too
hour.” —SF Weekly
"Deep intellectual analysis of geopolitics and fearless insertion of their socio-anarchist perspective is a bold, defining path drawn by The Ex. Few of their peers, either in their nascent days in the late '70s and early '80s, or now amidst all the emo-punk caterwaulers, have equaled this loud, defiant cry." —Pop Matters
"There has always been space in The Ex's music, space filled by singer G.W. Sok with socially engaged lyrics, which, from the very start, transcend by far the sloganesque tongue of most of his punk peers." —HUMO
"G.W. Sok's lyrics probably seem more relevant to the band’s American fans
than they ever have." —Dusted
"Lyrics with insightful socio-political standpoints. They are influential, provocative, creative, perceptive, and above all defy categorization. Everything punk & art intended to be from the start prior to being commodified." —KJFC
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For 30 years GW (Goat-Woolly) Sok was the singer of The Ex—the word "front man" would nullify the collective nature of this former squatters' band. That was long enough a period to fill a book of no less than 378 pages with his lyrics, although it also contains some of his post-Ex work. And there are also a few forewords / introductions, of course. British punk-ideologist and ex-Membrane John Robb positions the work of The Ex and the lyrics of Sok in the troubled climate of the eighties (he saw the band at that time in the drafty squat circuit) and the present years. Sok (who's real name, unknown to most people all these years, is actually Jos Kleij) outlines in his introduction the circumstances under which his texts were created. The Do It Yourself mentality of punk struck the band just as hard as the political, anarchic vision set by the squatters movement. But he also reveals personal sources of inspiration, such as the work of Peter Hammill (who was also greatly admired by Johnny Rotten—apparently the gap between prog rock and punk wasn't that very wide after all). Sok delicately explains why he doesn't sing in Dutch: that was too much Rock Around the Clog. And then all these texts have yet to come: sometimes explicitly political, sometimes venomous, and in a very personal way close to the skin of the zeitgeist. But always intelligent and committed. Good to read, therefore, that slowly he's becoming musically active again.Buy book now | Download e-Book now | Back to reviews | Back to top
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