After CEMETERY came to a halt during the first half of 1983, Jan Boogaerts (guitar), Wim Wouters (guitar) and Luc Van Roy (drums) decided to continue the path once chosen together, albeit under a different name : ORACLE.
Another school buddy, Willy Rens, became the band’s new bassist and vocalist. Drummer Luc Van Roy’s brother Dirk eventually joined the fold as well, which meant that ORACLE had a triple guitar attack from then onwards. Although it soon turned out that Wim Wouters took over some of the complex basslines on stage as well, and that Jan Boogaerts took care of some keyboards from time to time as well. Besides, Jan also took care of the vocals of the songs that he had composed himself.
The first ORACLE show that I’m aware of was at Dancing (!) Cobra in Zoerle-Parwijs (Westerlo) on September 23rd 1983. ORACLE also performed at the Shock festival in Voortkapel on March 23rd 1984, in between openers FUEL and headliners TAILS BLUE. By that time it had become obvious that things weren’t really working out within the band. Willy Rens turned out not to be a real rocker and wanted ORACLE to continue in a more mellow way. Jan Boogaerts on the other hand wanted to continue in the real hard rock style that the band had started out with in the early days, when they were still called CEMETERY. As a result Willy Rens was forced to leave the band. From then on Wim Wouters switched to bass on a permanent basis, and as their new vocalist they decided to ask FUEL’s frontman (and huge DIO fan) Marco Van Houdt, who had made quite an impression during his performance with FUEL at the Shock festival. Marco, most known for his rough and bluesy voice, auditioned for the band and was enlisted on the spot. FUEL fell apart shortly after as a result.
On June 22nd 1984 Zaal Centrum in Rijkevorsel was the place to be for this renewed ORACLE line-up, as they supported TAILS BLUE once more. Shortly afterwards though, Wim Wouters left ORACLE, as he had been approached by the Van Dessel brothers to become TAILS BLUE’s new bassist. An offer he gladly accepted.
The remaining members (Jan, Luc, Dirk and Marco) decided to keep ORACLE going nevertheless. While the Van Roy brothers stuck to their instruments, Jan simply decided to switch from guitar to bass, and they continued as a quartet from then onwards, with just one guitarist.
From then on ORACLE was mainly inspired by the likes of MÖTLEY CRÜE, TWISTED SISTER, … Simply put : straight-ahead rock with a hint of satanism (lyrically) here and there, and centered around Dirk Van Roy’s melodic guitarplay. The band also decided to go for a more appealing stageshow, including specially designed stageclothes, make-up, a backdrop, flashpots, … The setlists in those days were a combination of covers and newly written originals. The one from their March 9th 1985 show (once again in support of TAILS BLUE) at the Kokatoe in Turnhout read as follows : Intro (Apocalypse Now) – We Wanna Rock – Breaking The Law (JUDAS PRIEST cover) – The Hunter – No Guts No Glory – You Can’t Stop Rock & Roll (TWISTED SISTER cover) – Dressed To Kill – Feelings – Drumsolo – Red Hot (MÖTLEY CRÜE cover) – Road Racer – Satan.
Luckily this show was captured (both on tape and video), as it is the only living proof of the band’s existence today, simply because, just as was the case with CEMETERY, ORACLE never managed to record a proper demo. Early on in 1986 ORACLE changed style towards a more glam rock orientated kind of music, and as a result they changed the bandname to WICKED MAIDS.
Dirk Van Roy continued to play guitar for a couple more years, albeit more low-profile. His brother Luc started to learn playing guitar as well. Jan Boogaerts married and ever since became a well-known personality in the world of horses. In fact, both Luc and Jan surfaced in a country band called STAMPEDE STRINGS in the 1990’s.
Wim Wouters continued to play bass for TAILS BLUE until they called it a day in 1994. He played keyboards on their final (1994) demo as well. While still being in TAILS BLUE Wim also joined a Rock cover band called ROCK CIRCUS in 1988, of which Luc Van Dessel was already a part of. ROCK CIRCUS also included former VICTIM drummer Guido (Guy) De Bock and eventually called it a day in 2002. On April 16th 1988 Wim helped PARIAH out as a one-off favour when they were scheduled to play a gig at Zaal Lux in Herenthout, just about one month after PARIAH’s original bassist Jan ’t Seyen had died in a car crash. From 1994 onwards Wim has also been the bassist in BOOGIE CLOWNS, another Rock cover band that also included the Van Dessel brothers. As a matter of fact, BOOGIE CLOWNS still exists today, albeit very low-profile. The rest of their line-up today includes Died Daems (vocals), Luc Van Dessel (guitar) and Geert Mariën (drums). Furthermore Wim also helped out as a guest musician in such bands as BLACKJACK (featuring KILLER’s Shorty), SMOOTH FLAVOUR (a disco ouftit) and BROWNSUGARDRUMMERS. As of 2004 Wim is also the bassist for UNDERCOVER, another Rock cover band, in which he rejoined forces with both Luc Van Dessel (guitar) and Guido (Guy) De Bock (drums).
Wim Wouters, Luc Van Roy (extra special thanks to Pascal d'Hooghe)
September 23rd 2009