Minny Pops

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Minny Pops
GenresPost-punk, electronic, new wave, art punk
Years active1978–1985, 2012 and 2014
Factory Benelux
Associated actsSmalts, Streetlife
MembersWally van Middendorp
Past membersWally van Middendorp (vocals, drum machine)
Frans Hagenaars (bass guitar)
Peter Mertens (guitar)
Stephen Emmer (guitar)
Dennis Duchhart (guitar)
Willem (Wim) Dekker (keyboards)
Leon van Zoeren (bass)
Gerard Walhof (guitar)
Pieter Mulder (bass guitar)
Mark Ritsema (guitar)
Orpheus Roovers (drums)
Pim Scheelings (guitar)
Thomas Myrmel (keyboards)

Minny Pops is a Dutch, Amsterdam-based new wave/electronic/art punk band, associated with the Ultra post-punk movement in the Netherlands and the Factory Records label in the UK.


The vocalist/songwriter/programmer Wally van Middendorp formed the band in 1978, taking the name from a primitive Korg drum machine, the Mini Pops.[1]

Minny Pops, which van Middendorp originally intended to be a project for just three performances, had an initial lineup of van Middendorp, bass guitarist Frans Hagenaars, guitarist Peter Mertens, and two dancers, including van Middendorp's older brother, Rob.

The band's first commercially released recording was the "Kojak" single[2] (b/w "Footsteps" and "Nervous") (Plurex 005), issued in 1979 on Plurex, the independent label founded by van Middendorp in 1978.

Minny Pops' first full-length album, Drastic Measures, Drastic Movement (Plurex 900) was released in 1979.[2]

After opening for Joy Division in Eindhoven and Den Haag in January 1980, the band was brought to the attention of Factory Records by Rob Gretton, Joy Division's manager.[1]

Minny Pops' first single for Factory, "Dolphin's Spurt"/"Goddess" (FAC 31) was produced by Martin Hannett and recorded at Strawberry Studios in Stockport. It reached number 23 in the UK Independent Chart.[3] Further releases for the label included the single "Secret Story"/"Island" (FAC 57), the flexi single "Een Kus" (FACBN 13 - later reissued as 7" vinyl on LTM Recordings with "Son" on the B-side), the single "Time"/"Lights" (FBN 11) and the full-length album (FACBN 15), which was released by Factory Benelux in 1982.[2] Sparks in a Dark Room The band's first live appearance in England was at the Beach Club, a Manchester venue associated with Factory.[2] They went on to share further bills with Joy Division and, after Ian Curtis' death, New Order, as well as appearing with A Certain Ratio, Scritti Politti, the Au Pairs and Comsat Angels. In 1980, Minny Pops undertook a seven-date North American tour[1] during which they played with Suicide in New York.

Curiously, the original line-up of Minny Pops never performed live in Brussels, despite their close association with the Factory Benelux label, based in that city.

In 1980, they became the first Dutch band to be invited to record a Peel session for BBC Radio. A line-up of van Middendorp, Dekker, van Zoeren and Walhof recorded "Dolphin's Spurt", "Mono", "Jets" and "Ice Cube Wall"; the session was broadcast on 12 November 1980.[4] Minny Pops' final live performances were in December 1981. Van Middendorp and Dekker subsequently recorded two dance singles for Factory under the name Streetlife. Between 2003 and 2004, the bulk of the Minny Pops studio back catalogue was issued on remastered CD by LTM.

In November 2011, van Middendorp told an interviewer with the Dutch national public broadcaster VPRO's 3Voor12 programme that Minny Pops would perform their first gigs in 30 years in early 2012, and that a live CD/DVD package, Standstill to Motion,[5] would appear via LTM in January 2012.[6]

In 2012, the band (original members van Middendorp, Dekker and Mulder, with guitarist Mark Ritsema) performed to some acclaim in Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester and London.[7] This lineup, augmented by programmer/keyboard player Thomas Myrmel, also recorded a double A-sided 7" single, "Waiting for This To Happen" / "Glistering", for Tim Burgess' label O-Genesis, which was released in November 2012.

During the course of 2012, Minny Pops also performed in Brussels and participated in live multimedia events in the Netherlands organised by the revived Ultra group. A recording of a complete live performance at the Melkweg in Amsterdam on 7 April 2012 was included as a bonus disc with the 2014 reissue of Sparks in a Dark Room via Factory Benelux. As of 2014, they are back performing and have played in the UK.[8]


Studio albums

Compilation album

  • Secret Stories (2003), LTMCD 2353, LTM

Live album

  • Standstill to Motion (2012), LTMCD 2566, LTM - CD/DVD package of live album from Melkweg show on 19 March 1981 (DVD features original source footage from various shows in USA and Europe).


  1. ^ a b c Nice, James (2010). Shadowplayers: The Rise and Fall of Factory Records. Aurum. ISBN 978-1-84513-540-9.
  2. ^ a b c d Kellman, Andy, "The Minny Pops Biography", AllMusic, retrieved 17 July 2011
  3. ^ Lazell, Barry (1998) Indie Hits 1980-1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-9517206-9-4, p. 149
  4. ^ "Keeping It Peel", BBC Radio 1
  5. ^ Raggett, Ned, ", AllMusic, retrieved 28 February 2012
  6. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Robinson, John, Guardian Guide Live Picks, The Guardian, retrieved 28 February 2012
  8. ^ Simpson, Dave (21 April 2014). "A Factory Night review – 'Section 25: the best new/old band in Britain?'". The Guardian.

Further reading[edit]

In English[edit]

  • Nice, James. Shadowplayers: The Rise and Fall of Factory Records London: Aurum, 2010. ISBN 978-1-84513-540-9.

In Dutch[edit]

  • Rijven, Stan (1987). "Alles wat je echt wilt kun je verwezenlijken: Interview met Wally van Middendorp", in Tachtigers: glimp van een generatie, ed. Boudewijn Klap, Stan Rijven and Paul Rutten (Hilversum: Anthos/Ikon) pp 175–184. ISBN 90-6074-241-9
  • Jonker, Leonor (2012), "No future: de reformatie van Minny Pops", VPRO, retrieved 28 February 2012

External links[edit]