Saturday, December 5, 2015

TDATS #127: Blue Planet [inc. Cinderella and Art Bausch interview]

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The Netherlands was surely home to many rocking pop bands back in the early days, and Blue Planet was one of the best. Presented here is all the music they recorded. Something of a TDATS tradition now, we have another focus on a Dutch band that only made a few 45s. Blue Planet was cultivated in The Hague, a European rock mecca to rival London and Hamburg in its heyday. Their singles possess heaviness, deceptively wrapped in a hook-laden glam/pop disguise, a talent that many other Dutch bands of the time had. One major quality of BP which jumps out is the vocals of Ron Bausch. They have an emotive strength, but also vulnerability, that gets you straight away. Reminding maybe of Rod Stewart, minus the whiskey-soaked gravel.

Included below is an interview I conducted with the drummer of Blue Planet, Art Bausch. He was really helpful and more than happy to answer anything I asked. He has great enthusiasm for the times and says that he really enjoyed every minute of Blue Planet, even though after the big break of touring with Golden Earring, the band didn't realise its potential in the end, and there were a few sad consequences of the rock n roll life style. He still plays today. I also got a few answers regarding the early days from bassist Peter Wassenaar. Peter in particular painted a picture of the The Hague and Scheveningen being exciting and heady places to be for players and fans, with happening clubs like The Scala, Club 192 and The Flying Dutchman.

As is the case with other talented Dutch singles bands that have appeared here before, including Cobra (Vol111) and Panda (Vol119), some Blue Planet members are associated with Dutch bands that had greater success, and made albums. Guitarist Aad van der Kreeft was in InCrowd, The George Cash band, Big Wheel, Twelve O'Clock and later, Think Tank. He currently plays in Electric Blues (link). Drummer Art Bausch was in Barrelhouse, Trail, later in Livin' Blues, and still plays with The Oscar Benton Band. Bassist Peter Wassenaar was later in Galaxy Lin. All these guys have played in many other bands and musical projects up to the current day. Aad in particular, is an admired guitarist, and you only have to hear his understated, fluid ability, adding to every one of BP's songs, to see why.

I must say many thanks to Marc Emmerik of Dutch band Vitamin X (fb), who has always been a great help with this blog and in this case pointed me to some great newspaper articles and translations! Alex Gitlin's Nederpop Files (link) were also very useful as usual.

Blue Planet Discography

I'm Going Man I'm Going / Nothing in the World
Philips 6075 105
'I'm Going Man I'm Going' was the band's first release and it was their most successful one too, reaching no 16 in the charts. It is grinding, melodic and memorable, Ron Bausch's vocals are immediately arresting and invoke sympathy. Flipside 'Nothing in the World' is heavier, starting out with a stomping riff and great guitar hooks from Aad.

Boy / Climb the Mountain
Philips 6075 110
'Boy' is another memorable track which has a story to tell of a young guy learning the ways of the world. Flipside 'Climb the Mountain' is a slower pensive tune which again highlights Aad's great double-tracked electric and acoustic guitar skills.

Times and Changes / Please Don't Shake Me Baby
Philips 6075 128
The final Blue Planet single goes in a different direction and contains two upbeat country-flavoured tracks, with 'Please Don't Shake Me Baby' having the most grit. US Country rock had an influence in The Netherlands around this time.

From Town to Town / The Love That We've Got
Imperial 5C 006-24448
Although the cover shows a full, mostly-female band called Cinderella, all the music on this unique single was played by Art, Aad and Peter of Blue Planet. It was written by Betty Raatgever who started the band Cinderella. Both sides are fantastic, including a richly-shimmering folk ballad with a stella closing solo from Aad and a heavy glam stomper which could be mistaken for one of Blondie's heavier tracks.

Interview with Blue Planet drummer, Art Bausch

Following is a phone interview I took with Art about six months ago. Since then he has come back from a successful international run of shows with the Oscar Benton Band.

Art Bausch in recent times
Me: Hi Art.

Art: First I want to say it’s very nice that you from England are so interested in this period of music and Dutch bands. Back then in the ‘70s we were in our twenties and we learnt it from the old guys.

Me: It was all still relatively close to the days of the beginning of Rock n’ Roll in the 40s and 50s. Things hadn’t changed too much at that point. I’ve always been drawn towards the sound of the ‘70s, no digital technology in those days, you had valves and organic-sounding instruments and production.

Art: Yes, and it was very loud. Next to me I had 400watts bass equipment and on the other side I had 400watts guitar. The old Marshal amps. And my brother the singer had a 600 watt installation, we didn’t have a PA system at that time, but the drummer (myself) wasn’t mic’d up. Because it cost a fortune for drum heads and sticks and foot pedals, cymbals, because I just ruined them competing with the sound next to me, but, it worked haha.

Me: I noticed the BP singer had the same surname as you but I wasn’t completely sure that you were related.

Art: Ron Bausch was my older brother.

Me: How did you get into being a musician in the first place?

Art: Ah well, I can speak for my brother too. My father was a military man. He was an airplane mechanic. He was also a very talented young man, he came from Indonesia, from a family with money. He played classical violin. He came to Holland just before the war broke out in 1939. Just before he came to Holland at the age of fifteen, he had a scholarship arranged to study violin in the Hague but a week before he arrived by boat in Holland hell fell with his left hand through a window and hurt it so badly that violin was no option anymore. So he signed up for the army, pretending to be older than fifteen. So he went from playing music in to the army; he never spoke about that time very much but it wasn’t a very nice time.

So he came through the army first to Scotland, he was on a boat to protect the transport on the ocean from Murmansk in Russia to Scotland and then all those Indonesian guys came to Holland after the war, they still were in the army, so that’s how my father met my mother because she was a nurse somewhere where all those guys were, and they got married and this is the result. In the army he played guitar, piano, he sang and he had a big band. There was always music from all kinds of sources in the house where I grew up, from classical to Elvis. It comes from my father. When I was thirteen I had my first amateur band.

Jan Frederik Bausch, second from left, 1947

Me: So you started out as a drummer originally?

Art: Yes. As a small boy I was sitting next to the drummer from my father’s big band, we were in the Dutch part of New Guinea. My father rehearsed with his big band every Sunday in an airplane hangar, I was sitting next to the drummer with my sticks at 5 or 6 years of age.

Me: Were you in bands with your brother at the age of thirteen?

Art: No, my brother was a couple of years older than me, he was a very talented guy, he discovered for me Cliff Richard, Elvis Presley, Otis Reading and the old blues guys, that’s what I learnt from him. That was my start, which was a good one. Blue Planet was my first proper band, when I was just eighteen. Peter the bass player was seventeen. My brother and the guitar player met and they had a thing going while I was just playing at an amateur level. They were already rehearsing and working on the heavy stuff, Zeppelin, Free, and then one Sunday evening they came while I was playing with my band at that time in a very small venue in Leiden,  I was still living with my mother at the time, and suddenly I saw Peter and my brother and Art the guitar player there on the side of the stage and then I knew they were going to ask me. That was exciting.

I was not the first choice of drummer. They were not happy with the first guy, Jack Wolf. He wasn’t in to their groove, I met him shortly afterwards and he was very angry. Ron and Aad had a very clear idea of what they wanted by did not always agree with each other, they were both very talented guys and both had big egos which often came into conflict with each other. But it worked for a short while, we only existed for two years, three months.

Me: What clubs/gigs were you going to back then? What was the life like then?

Peter: The Hague was rock city #1 in the '60s (link) , with clubs and bars were everybody met after gigs, like The Scala, Club 192, The Factory and De Drie Stoepen [The Three Sidewalks].
In The Scala, drummers, bass players and guitarist all had their own corners. In Scheveningen (link)   there was The Flying Dutchman, you could see the bands playing by looking through the upper windows, the club was below street level. On the beach in Scheveningen were lots of people playing all kinds of instruments, mostly blues, I started playing the blues harp in 1966.

It was all great fun, we were young, and there were lots of things to do both in The Hague and Scheveningen. The well-known bands from The Hague were The Motions (Rudy Bennet and Robbie van Leeuwen later in Galaxy-Lin with me), Golden Earring, The Tielman Brothers, Shocking Blue.

I saw Fleetwood Mack playing in Club 192 back in 1968 even got their autographs in the dressing room, Jerremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan, Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood etc.

Blue Planet all rehearsed in a place called "Het Kraajenest" in de Jan Vossensteeg in Leiden, among other local bands from Leiden. The reason for forming this band, was the first album of Led Zeppelin, in a week we played all the songs from the album. Also of inspiration were J Geils band and Love, Buffalo Springfield, Moby Grape.

Me: Why the name "Blue Planet"?

Peter: During that period we all watched rockets go into space and, also to the moon (Bowie sang it; "planet earth is blue, and there's nothing"….in Space Oddity, later that year). It was a catchy and short name. Here in Holland bands changed their names; The Golden Earrings became Golden Earring etc.

Art: We started as opening band for Golden Earring. Their first appearance after their first American tour, and they had just changed from being a commercial band to what they are nowdays. They were getting very heavy, and our manager at that time arranged their homecoming gig in The Hague which was sold out of course, and we were the opening act. We played only for 35-40 minutes, to an audience of 2000 people. Bearing in mind that I had just come from playing gigs in Leiden to only 50 people. When we finished our set, George Kooymans and Rinus Gerritsen from Earring asked us to play their whole tour which was in 1970, it was 36 gigs in a row, with one evening off, at that time I learnt much.

Being professional is what I learnt from those guys. They were big and they had hits. Me and Peter were just enjoying the hard work. We had no money at all. My mother kept the band alive by feeding us and buying us equipment, we got a loan from my mother for a drum kit, that’s the way it was. The start of Blue Planet was just like a fairy tale, Golden Earring’s manager was also their producer, he said that BP was special, we had a sound, and he recorded "I’m going Man I’m Going" and produced our three singles. This guy was so big in the music world, he knew “This is gonna work”, and it worked, we went into the hit parade, and we had work.

Me: How did you get the gig with Golden Earring in the first place? That’s quite an achievement for a young new band.

Art: Because our manager at that time, Henk van Leeuwen, came from The Hague and he knew all those guys. He was very smart and he had a view. We played all weekend, Monday was our day off and Tuesday until Thursday we rehearsed, starting each day at 9am and leaving at 5pm. He told us we have to work hard. So after the Golden Earring tour we went to the studio and recorded “I’m Going Man” and “Nothing In The World”. The machine started working from Fred Haayen’s side (Earring manager) and the booking agency, and we had at that time the pirate music stations out at sea.

Freddy told us “this single is too long” and we said “this is what we have, we are not going to make a sale from two minutes and twenty seconds”. In the end everybody on the radio stations was playing I’m Going Man I’m Going haha. I still meet people when i’m out playing who ask me about my past and what my first band was, and I tell them I was in Blue Planet and they say “woo man, that was the first single I bought” haha.

Me: Was one of those pirate stations Radio Veronica?

Art: Yes, and the Red Bullet agency, Freddy Haayen, they had all kinds of business connections, and they were also rebels, who understood the need to get this music out there. They were very smart, they made a lot of money but also gave a lot of bands the chance to be on the air.

Me: Was it Freddy that negotiated Blue Planet signing to the Philips label? Many other Dutch bands I like were also on Philips.

Art: Yes at that time they were very progressive.

Me: Did Fred have a lot of input in your recording of the singles?

Art: Yes. First you give in a tape with the number and you say this is what we’re gonna do. Fred was very good in feeling the energy of the band and he didn’t want to change too much, he was very good.

Me: Did he suggest things in the studio to improve songs or did he come up with original ideas?

Art: He added the mellotron in I’m Going Man I’m Going. We were the first band with a mellotron as it was a new thing then. It was in the studio and he suggested using it.

Me: Who was playing the mellotron?

Art: It was a well known jazz pianist Cees Schrama.

Me: Did you talk to Cees much or did he just come in and do his own thing?

Art: It was different at those times, when those guys came in there was more animosity. He was not a studio player, you know, “Let me hear the number”, “OK, I think I do this, maybe that”. And we were all there, yeah it was quite an experience. We were living as rebels in hippy times, Rock n’ Roll...

Me: And he was from the more old-fashioned way of doing things?

Art: You could think at the time “You work in an office”, that’s what we thought, everybody with a suit was an office guy haha.

Me: Can you tell me about the 1970 TV clip of "I'm Going Man I'm Going"?

Art: It was late 1970, this was a promotion project named "Beat Behind The Dikes" to help Dutch groups to go international, directed by Bob Rooyens. It was recorded in Hilversum, and also outside on lake IJsselmeer.

After looking into "Beat Behind The Dikes", I found that other bands appearing included Golden Earring, Shocking Blue and Earth & Fire.

Me: So we have spoken quite a lot about your first single, do you have any favourite songs, like Boy or Climb The Mountain?

Art: Climb The Mountain is my favourite, of the ones we recorded. My brother came up with the lyrics, and he sings it very nice.

Me: Yes I do like your brother’s emotive singing on all the tracks, and his lyrical stories, one of the great things about the band. Who was the main song writer?

Art: My brother came with the rough guitar parts, then Aad would come in with suggestions. After that it would go to the rehearsal room where the whole band would have equal say in finishing it off. Everybody was at that time equal. Like I’m Going Man I’m Going, the first two chords are mine. And then the rest came, Pete had ideas....It was the new era, “We are all equal, and we are gonna change the world” and all that bullshit haha.

Me: Well, it worked for a while at least I guess!

Art: Yes, it worked for two years, don’t forget at that age there was a lot of dope going on, it was almost free, a couple of guys in the band enjoyed it very much...

Me: A bit too much?

Art: Yeah, Yeah and they went on to LSD, and speed, and blow. Everyone was going to change the world on LSD. I’ve been there once but I left, I thought “This is a crazy world, this is not my thing”.

Me: Yes abusing drugs usually ends badly.

Art: At that time, for example in Holland, Golden Earring was a totally clean band, they didn’t even get drunk. It was all healthy. And look at them now, they are on top of the world.

Me: Yes it’s respectable to be able to do that really. It’s very easy to give in to these temptations, especially when you’re in that atmosphere, of clubs and groupies and what have you.

Art: Yeah, and a lot of people come up to you “Eh, Eh do you want a pill, do you want a sniff?”. Not for me. That was that time you know, it was total anarchy.

Me: Sure, much more so than now.

Art: It’s also important for our story, as especially my brother and Aad, were doing a lot of speed which is a lot of fun when you are young and you can go for a day or four or five but it wears you out you know, and then they were finished, but there was drive in the band, we thought we were the best in the world you know. “We’re gonna make it”, but reality says we didn’t play sixteen times a month, we played four or five times.

Me: You think that's one of the reasons you didn’t last very long in the end was you weren’t playing enough?

Art: Yeah there was a lack of money, and those two egos of Ron and Aad were too big. They were quite arrogant.

Me: They used to argue?

Art: Yes. Later when the band was finished, years later, then you realise, talking to people, even now, going to my home town, people talk about “Do you remember that concert in the park? Beautiful weather, and you started at twelve o’clock in the night and you ended at three”. People remember. It had something special as a band, we gave a lot from the stage, there was energy.

Me: Can you tell us about the last single, 1971’s Times and Changes?

Art: It was our last record, it didn’t make an impression, nobody was interested. At that time there was no work, little money, our manager wasn’t getting things going. I called everybody together and said “This is the end, this is not what I want”, at that time I was very busy and I didn’t see a future. Aad was starting to get interest from other bands, and that was the moment it was finished.

1971 newspaper article, the band are quoted as saying their
third (and ultimately final) single "Times and Changes" is to
be in a less heavy style, with the goal of reaching a wider
audience. It also says that the band got good responses
playing in both France and Germany.

Me: I consider their final single to have a slight country influence, further away from hard rock than the previous two, but both the sides are great and really grow on you. American country rock was popular in Holland at the time. Bands such as Normaal and Dizzy Man's Band were introducing it into their songs. Mailer Mackenzie Band (listen) made two albums and were actually signed to US label Ampex, with reviewers comparing them to Creedence Clearwater Revival. Members of the band had a couple of links with Aad and Peter W. of Blue Planet, via The InCrowd, Big Wheel and The Motions.

Marc Joseph says of this style. "Southern/country rock was really popular in Holland in the late '60s/early '70s. Bands who were virtually unknown in the rest of the world were playing to sold out venues in Holland. Flying Burrito Brothers even received a gold album while in the US they were playing for 100-200 people."

Did Aad play on your last single single or did you have a replacement at the end?

Art: No, it was Aad. All three singles are with the same, original lineup.

Me: I read that a new guitarist came in at the end of the band's life, is that correct?

Art: Yes that is correct, our manager brought in Peter Dingemans to replace Aad. Very good player, at the time he was 22 with a wife and child, trying to decide if wanted to be a professional musician, but the magic was gone. The energy and the drive was gone.

Me: So Aad was the first guy to leave?

Art: Yes. He was a little bit older, he had played in Germany in night clubs and he had become a well respected guitarist in the Hague scene. He was also a guy who wanted to drive sports cars, and I found out years later that our manager was paying him a separate weekly wage that the rest of us did not know about. It was a dark side to Aad.

Me: Did he leave Blue Planet to go and play for another band?

Art: Yes, he played in a group who was from a record company, called Think Tank. And those guys were on the payroll. The record company had a lot of money for Think Tank, and those guys had nothing to do with Blue Planet, it was a commercial thing to make money. It was a different style of music as well, not as appealing to me.

Me: How long did the band last after Peter Dingemans joined?

Art: Around five or six months, and then it was over. It was a marriage which was doomed along with the band. A nice guy and a good player but from a different musical background.

Me: What background was he from?

Art: He was from a more hippy “be nice to each other” way of thinking and we were more arrogant. In Holland we had the nickname “the Dutch Zep”, the looks, the appearance on stage, we were the boss.

Me: So you decided that you were going to leave before the band broke up?

Art: I called everyone together and we had a meeting in a restaurant with the manager, I said “Boys it is over and I quit, I don’t see any future any more” and that was the end.

Me: Did you have songs that were never released or never recorded?

Art: No

Me: Why didn’t you make an album?

Art:  We got off to a great start with the I’m Going Man I’m Going single but didn’t keep the momentum. But of the lack of playing and lack of money, and the two egos who were in conflict all the time, we just never got to that point.

Me: Can you tell us about the equipment that you used?

Art: I had a West End hand-made drum kit which I couldn’t afford, my mother lent me the money. The drummer from Golden Earring drummer, Jaap Eggermont, who became a big producer, had a West End while we were opening for them. I went to the Hague and “West End” is the name of the street in English. There was a man who makes drum kits, a lot of Dutch drummers at that time played on a hand-made West End kit, they were beautiful, and very collectible now. I don’t have it any more.

Me: And the other guys?

Art: Peter Wassenaar had a Fender bass with an Orange combo. Aad played on a Marshal 200W double stack, he started with a Strat and then changed to a Gibson SG, a hard rock icon at the time.

Me: You mentioned Fred Haayen, he produced another band that I like called Cobra (see Vol111).

Art: Yes, same era, Cobra had this English singer, Winston Gawk. He was a very outgoing person on stage, while my brother Ron was a very introvert person, he didn’t move much, he just stood there and sang beautiful, his appearance was important to him. We played together on a few gigs, which definitely would have been at the Paradiso, Amsterdam, at least once. A big venue where you had to play.

Peter Wassenaar   -   Art Bausch   -   Ron Bausch   -   Aad Van Der Kreeft

The Leidsch Dagblad newspaper printed a story that on 10th July 1971 Blue Planet played a festival in Meerlo, with Cobra, Livin' Blues, Brainbox, Focus and Jug Session Group among others. All great bands, showing what circles Blue Planet were mixing in.

Me: Do you remember Big Wheel? I ask because their music reminds me a little of Blue Planet.

Art: Yes, Rob van der Zwan the guitarist was a very big fan of my brother, and at the same time as we had I’m Going... they had the single "If I Stay Too Long". The story on that single was that the producer sang on that single, not the singer Cyril Havermans.

Me: Cyril Havermans sang in Focus later on.

Art: Yes, that’s the circuit Blue Planet were into at that time, we did festivals with Focus, Cuby + Blizzards, Golden Earring. Are you interested in a Dutch group called the Shoes? They had 26 hits! They were older than us, they started off as young guys going to Germany when they were all around sixteen years of age, they did all the hard work you know? It’s so different now days, I was talking to a professional drummer in his thirties and he plays with whoever calls, you know, but in the early days you had a band, it was not done to play with other guys.

Me: I guess you have to be adaptable to make some money, play with a few different bands.

Art: Yes, but you lose your identity.

Me: Are you aware of a split single that Philips released with Big Wheel and Blue Planet?

Art: No, not at all! Someone clever obviously put that one out. I know the drummer Shell Schellekens a little, at that time we admired each other’s drumming.

Me: I’m Going... reached position sixteen in the Dutch hit parade, was that your biggest success?

Art: Yes, but we could have come higher up. But because of the long time it took for I’m Going to reach a high position, Philips decided not to press any more copies. In that week we could have entered the top ten, but It was not available any more.

Me: So it sold-out basically? Why would the label let that happen to a successful song?

Art: It happened because the labels become impatient, and decide to dedicate resources to newer releases. If they had been more patient with us we would have hit the top ten and things could have been very different for us...

Ron Bausch c.1976
Art: Another story also, my brother’s appetite for drugs was large and he had developed addictions. After Blue Planet he didn’t do anything. We tried to get him back on his feet, the family you know.

Me: So he was burnt out? He never worked in music again?

Art: He had plans, but he was going down and down. He never got out of it and he died at age 36 in 1983.

Me: I’m sorry to hear that Art, a cautionary tale.

Bassist Peter had this to say regarding Ron at the time they met: "Ron Bausch was a photo model and a singer with an extremely high vocal range. he was very thin and tall and drove an Austin mini cooper, he was what they then called a 'dandy', and always very sharply dressed"

The Leidsch Dagblad newspaper in 6th Februari 1976 had an article saying that Ron Bausch was in contact with record labels and had arranged a BP reunion LP. Clearly this never came to anything before he died.

Cinderella in 1971
Have you heard of the band Cinderella, that made a single in 1971?

Art: Yes, I did studio work with them on their first single, together with Aad and Peter. That was while Blue Planet was still going. I’ve been seen it on Youtube.

Me: Did you guys write the single or were you just brought it to the session?

Art: The main girl, Betty Raadgever wrote it. Their producer, Gerrit Jan Leenders, I did other work for him too. That’s how that started. My memory is good, especially of that period. Everything was so intense and every day was a party.

We take a brief diversion here to read some responses that Cinderella's Betty Raadgever kindly gave for this article.

Betty Raadgever
Me: Hi Betty, did Cinderella make any more music other than the single?

Betty: Cinderella did make more songs, but they are not recorded on a album, unfortunately. And of course I wrote a lot of songs after Cinderella for my other bands: Eyeliner and The Betty Ray Experience.

Me: I spoke to Art Bausch. I asked him about your Cinderella single and he confirmed that he, Peter and Aad Kreeft played on it. Did Blue Planet play on both sides?

Betty: Blue Planet played on both sides of the single, but I wrote the lyrics and music. Aad was a good friend of mine and we knew the other guys from Leiden/Oegstgeest, where we all came from. A very good band, Blue Planet!

Me: Did the other guys in Cinderella play or sing on it too (Renee, Bernardien, Nico)?

Betty; The singers on the record are Betty, Bernardien and Renee in the chorus. I am singing the lead, and the b-side, "The Love That We've Go", Bernardien sings. The guys from BP played all the music.

Me: Did Cinderella break up for any reason or did it change into a different band?

Betty: After four years I choose to switch bands and became lead singer of a hard rock band called "For Shame". Cinderella was over... After the hard rock period I had four other female groups: Trevira 2000, Eyeliner, Nasty Girls and The Betty Ray Experience. The other Cinderella members stopped playing in bands.

Me: Thanks Betty!

And back to Art...

Me: You were in the Oscar Benton Blues band after Blue Planet?

Art: Yes, straight after Blue Planet. We leave for Istanbul on the 9th of June 2015 and play on the 10th. Then we have a day sight-seeing and come back on the 12th. The youngest in that band is sixty three and the oldest is sixty eight haha. Can you imagine? This man made one major hit called "Bensonhurst Blues (1973)", used in French movie Pour la Peau d'un Flic (link) in 1981. He sold eleven million singles in Eastern Europe and Italy and France. But the man is not very healthy now, he is only 65. Three years ago came a German agency, saying hey, we want Oscar in Bucharest, and in Russia. Next we play in Istanbul. We will play an hour and fifteen minutes then an encore and that’s it. We are payed in advance and everything is payed for, we are very pampered. They only think we have to do is play well. It’s really fun. I originally played with those guys from 1972 to 1975, they are real friends, we kept in touch. Three years ago we got together again to play Bucharest, it would have been nice to be taken care of like that back in 1970!

I stopped being professional in 1990. The year before I was working from Monday to Friday in bands.

Me: can you name any other important bands you were in while you were a pro musician?

Art: Living Blues from 86 until 1990. I have also had my own bands, I had an old fashioned 12 piece soul band and we played the old stuff, the singer in this band was the singer in my first band from 1963, a guy from Indonesia. We did the old soul stuff you know; Otis Reading, which is the music I grew up with, is in my heart, this is what I want to do. So at the moment I am with Oscar Benton, I have another band called Johnny Feelgood (link).  This is a band that consists of six guys of similar ages who are all in other bands. My third band is called The Blues Factory (link), I am the oldest in that band with the rest aged down to 35, which makes it interesting. I am still ambitious but not to play 17 times a month.

Me: Did you ever stop playing to start a different career?

Art: Yes, in the early ‘80s I stopped because I was fed up with the whole thing, I sold my kits. But after 3-4 years I felt the urge to play again.

Me: What work did you do then?

Art: Since the late ‘80s to this day I have been a self-employed handy man. I have a van and a lot of experience by now, so I am very busy with that.

Me: Do you have any more Blue Planet stories to tell?

Art: Blue Planet was playing in Germany in the ‘70s. We all had long hair. During the day when we were just walking around we got a lot of shouts at us about being gay, and being weak. It did not happen while playing in the venues but it was from the general public, away from the scene. We were bullied on the streets.

Me: I guess it no different to anti-hippy sentiment that you could have experienced in any country back then. German, the UK, America, anywhere. Ironically German had many great rock bands back then, with long hair too haha!

Art: Our attitude was that we were going to change the world, no more politicians, we will look after ourselves. What happened?

Me: That dream didn’t work out in the end did, unfortunately.

Art: You can’t change the mechanism, you can’t change the system.

Me: You can’t change human nature. I guess things will always come back down to the same greed and self-preservation, it’s easy to see what’s wrong with that but I guess it’s also survival instinct that will always be there to some degree.

Art: I do what I can to make the world a better place and help people, that’s all you can do!

Well, many thanks to Art, Peter and Betty for making this article possible. Enjoy the music of these great musicians of the golden age of rock...

Art drumming in the Oscar Benton Band c.2013

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks...interesting piece. Sad tale about Ron...So talented and charismatic. The band had it all , talent .the looks.Probably lacked good management to steer this band to more solid success.