Tent Demos (1979)

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first published 16-03-2005


For the Tent album the band wrote several new songs and also used some older songs from their pre-debut period (e.g. Take A Piece, Out Of Suburbia). The new songs were written, rehearsed and recorded in their rehearsal room, the Nelis II Loods in Amsterdam. The songs were then recorded again in a real studio for the album. Unfortunately when the songs were re-rerecorded they lost some of their spontaneity. Not that the album version are bad, but they could have been better. Luckily several of the Nelis II recordings surfaced and give a good overview of the original versions of some of the songs. There is only one unreleased song in the Nelis II collection, but all the other songs have significantly different arrangements. A handful demos of mostly unreleased songs from another source also surfaced.


4 Ankles

length: 2.37 / soundquality: excellent

The intro is similar, but sounds a bit less light than the released version. The music is moslty just bass and drums, although the guitar and synth become more prominent as the song progresses. The main lyrics however sound more fresh than the released version with Michiel more prominent in the mix than Henk. The jumpy chorus has a few layers of Henk and Michiel singing. The song fades out for some time with some nice electric guitar work present in the mix. 


length: 2.46 / soundquality: excellent

A pleasant, light version of this song. The guitar and synth bass dominate the music. The drums aren't too loud in the mix and also the synth mostly remains in the back. Michiel's singing is excellent. The song ends like the tape is being eating by the machine.

A To B; C To D - version 1

length: 2.34 / soundquality: excellent

The bass is very much to the front in the beginning of this version and everything sounds a bit muffled. Suddenly everything almost drops out, except for the synthesizer and later the guitar. The drums and bass sometimes come a bit more to the front but then drop away again. This bare mix sounds very strange. The song has the same structure as the released version.

A To B; C To D - version 2

length: 2.27 / soundquality: excellent

This version sounds a bit more slick and new wave than the released version with typical synth sounds and almost ska-like rhythm guitar. The song doesn't deviate much from and has the same structure as the released version. The ending is different though with fading vocals and instruments, except for an atmospheric synth part that continues for a while.

A To B; C To D - version 3

length: 1.29 / soundquality: excellent

This starts out with some backwards vocals. Further it's a short, vocal-heavy version of the title repeated over and over with a hesitant percussion backing and alienating backwards sound effects and plenty of odd synth bits near the end. This version was also tacked to the end of 'Mirrors and Scissors'. 


length: 2.51 / soundquality: excellent

Not too different from the album version, but slightly more bright sounding. A repetitive, slightly varying synth melody starts and ends the song, but is also continued through large parts of the song giving it a more light-hearted nature. The pounding synth bass and drums and restrained singing keep the song from becoming too jubilant though.

Burgers And Beer

length: 1.57 / soundquality: very good

This fun sounding new-wave tune with cynical lyrics is sung by Michiel. It's from a different source than the Nelis II sessions. The music consists mostly of a dominant melodic carnival-like synth and beat-guitar. This was played regularly during the Tent Tour. The sound is a bit muffled. The song starts with a fun guitar part that is repeated a few time as a break in the song.


Sit down Laura (?) and listen to me
and I'm over [..] to you
But do not be angry and do not be sad
Because you know what I say is true

We got to get out of this dirty old place
Before we get too old
The winter falls, what going to [..]
It's getting mighty cold

Wake up Laura, take a look at yourself
You're not a shadow of what you used to be
You're face is so pale, your mind's getting stale
You are not [..] to see

And all I care is who may seem [..] to you
I'm laughing about you behind your back
Let's pack our things and move out of here
There's no-one to stop me

What else is keeping us here
Except [..] burgers and beer
We have the right to disappear

Haven't you noticed the smile on your face
Is getting very rare
You must abandon your days and your lazy ways
And you don't seem to care

You used to believe there is coming a changing
And everything will turn out fine
I wonder about a great many things
But [.....]

What else is keeping us here
Except [..] burgers and beer
We have the right to disappear

Drum Effects

length: 0.53 / soundquality: excellent

This follows from thhe Umbrella alternate mix. It's nothing more than a slow rhythm with echo-y drums. Nothing special. 

Frozen Fred

length: 2.26 / soundquality: excellent

Similar in structure to the album version. Like with most Nelis II recordings, this version sounds a bit warmer and pleasant than the released version. The synths sound less polished and in most cases this gives the songs a more natural feel than the more harsh and precise recordings on the album.

Hello I'm A Song

length: 1.37 / soundquality: excellent

This song, which is not from the Nelis II sessions, is unfortunately incomplete. It cuts of after about a minute and a half, but I dont think a lot is missing. The music is jumpy and upbeat. Henk starts singing, but soon Michiel takes over. Henk returns to sing a verse later on and does a bit of backing vocals here and there The song features some nice breaks, but stylistically it is more like the debut album than the Tent album and the lyrics are amazingly silly. 


Turn on your radio
And you will hear me loud and clear

Hello I'm a song on your radio
I was written a long time ago
You may think this is an ordinary song
But lyrics and music guide them along
You are all wrong to think (that thing)

Made up from black dots between the lines
I guarantee to give you good time
I settle down somewhere inside your head
And I regret it if you should forget
You should forget all about my melody

Please mister do me now
Don't turn me off
Don't me down

Please get out of my head
Oh won't you please get out my head

there is no reason to change this song
If the words are still valid 
the melody's strong
I am available on record and tape
And I do not mind [cut off', probably continues as 'if a copy is made' or something like that]

Hook Of Holland

length: 3.53 / soundquality: excellent

This is the best example of the superiority of the Nelis II recordings over the album version. This demo version is incredibly full of atmosphere. While the structure of the song remains similar and the recording sounds somewhat muffled and the mix is somewhat odd, the atmospheric synths, guitars and warm backing vocals give this song a lot of character. The backing vocals are done slightly different with Michiel singing 'A Train A Boat' over and over again very prominently. At one point the music stops and only this is heard. A final Train-Boat ends the song after a fade out. Apparently the band could not recreate this version perfectly in the studio.

Mirrors And Scissors

length: 3.32 / soundquality: excellent

The only unreleased song on the Nelis II demo tape. It's a song which is similar in style to the other songs and wouldn't have sounded out of place on the album. It starts with a melodic guitar part. A jumpy drum and bass rhythm enter. The synths remain in the background. The chorus features high vocals (probably by Michiel and maybe also Alex) and more prominent synths. The lyrics are sung by Henk (with some distroted echoes here and there) and deal with a murderous hairdresser.. The song ends with the 3rd version of A o B; C To D, which seems a bit tacked on at the end. Even though the song's lyrics aren't very subtle, this song is absolutely fun to hear.


It's nine o'clock, it's late
My customers can't wait
Good morning gents, who's first?
This nitty head's the worst

[..] the girl's on
Mirrors and scissors

I cut your ear when you talk
I knock you up on your head
I strangle you with the towel
I cut your throat and you're dead

[..] the girl's on
Mirrors and scissors

Good morning gents, it's late
My customers can't wait
Good morning gents, who's last?
My customers have passed

[..] the girl's on
Mirrors and scissors

Ping Pong - version 1

length: 2.37 / soundquality: excellent

This version starts of with the drum and bass rhythm. The synths enter and the vocals start with the 'You're on my side /  I'm on your side' part. The 'Young red guards' is not present. This version is less varied and also less interesting than the released version.

Ping Pong - version 2

length: 2.12 / soundquality: excellent

A very different, atmospheric sounding synth starts this one of. The song then goes into the monotonous rhythm, similar to the first version. The guitar parts are a bit more to the front at one point and more to back at another point, the singing is more varied with some nice choirs. The drum part is broken up a few time to good effect. Some more synth noises are in the song. But while better than the first version, this version is also less interesting than the released one. 

Skateboard Boy

length: 2.07 / soundquality: excellent

A fun, simple (even stupid) up tempo song that was performed with and without lyrics a lot between 1978 and 1980. It wasn't on the Nelis II tape, but appears on a few other demo tapes. It's bass and drum led with Henk singing the verses and Michiel and Henk the choruses. The rhythm changes for the choruses. An instrumental sections features a wailing guitar. While it may not seem so, this song formed the basis for Different Kitchen.


I am Rodney the Skateboard Boy
Four alligator wheels under my toy
Blue red rubber sole tennis shoes on my feet

Sunset Hawaii T-Shirt
It's yellow, green and it is dirty
Helmet is upon my head
it's red

Skateboard Boy, a Skateboard Boy
Riding days up on my toy
Skateboard Boy, a Skateboard Boy
Riding days up on my toy

Riding fools up in L.A.
I used to park them every day
I'm cool O.K like cornflakes 
and O.J.

Kick dirt faster, rock wall slow
I'm on the edge and here I'll go
I lost my helmet and my head 
I'm dead

Skateboard Boy, a Skateboard Boy
Riding days up on my toy
Skateboard Boy, a Skateboard Boy
Riding days up on my toy

Skateboard Kid, a Skateboard Kid
I like it and you like it
Skateboard Kid, a Skateboard Kid
I like it and you like it

Skateboard rider in the rain
Randy sing that song again
Skateboard rider in the rain
Randy sing that song again

Skateboard Boy, a Skateboard Boy
Riding days up on my toy


length: 2.08 / soundquality: excellent

This has the same structure as the released version, but it sounds much more organic and it has an extra light-sounding synthesizer line in the chorus. The backing vocals are also more light sounding. This is a really nice version.

Tent (Reprise)

length: 0.59 / soundquality: excellent

A warbled synth is very prominent throughout. Both Henk's and Michiel's voice sound more loose than on the album. the song ends with Michiel singing a few extra lines ('ladies - gentlemen - this way') over a type-writer like sound.


length: 3.30 / soundquality: excellent

This isn't on the Nelis II tape, but comes from another source. It sounds like the same recording as the released version, but it is a slightly different, less polished mix and it continues a bit for some time longer with Henk singing and ad-libbing a bit. A drum effects part immediately follows this song.