Showing posts with label Panda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Panda. Show all posts

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Day After The Sabbath - Best of 2015


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password:  tdats

The Day After The Sabbath - Best of 2015 by Rich Aftersabbath on Mixcloud

The blog has now reached the ripe old age of six years! The past year of doing this has been a very enjoyable one - there's been two Dutch band profiles, Panda (119) and Blue Planet (127), a special and interview on the archival label World In Sound (114), a profile on krautrock producer Conny Planck (116), two heavy metal-inspired volumes; US (126) and NWOBHM (121), Scott Blackerby of The Acid Archives and Bad Cat Records (115) and a profile on The Gurvitz Brothers (125). Regional specials have honoured Spain again (123), Serbia (120), Portugal (113), Boston (117) and Iceland (124). Other themes have included Chicano rock (118) and a special on long prog tracks (122).

A year ago I promised I would be doing more interviews; I got an exclusive with the previously mysterious psych figure of Roy Rutanen and his band (link) and an exclusive with Jim Smith of Stonehouse (link). More exclusives came with Jaap van Eik of Panda (link) and Art Bausch of Blue Planet (link) and I spoke to four of the names appearing in Volume 126; Mike Gandia of Squadran, Danney Alkana of Alkana, Darren Welch of Axxe/Impeccable and Rob Griffin of Tyranny / Graven Image.

I hope that people still enjoy reading and listening to TDATS as much as I enjoy making it, here's to the on-coming year of many new ideas which are in the pipeline. As ever, please drop me a line via email or otherwise if you have any suggestions, and join up at the fb group where you can participate even more fully. My special thanks goes to the group admins that have increased greatly in number and efforts this year and been doing a great job there - you know who you are. Keep it PROTO guys :)

For what is now an annual round-up (last year's) of some of the best tracks appearing on the blog in the last year, here is a comp of fifteen tracks, one from each of the fifteen numbered volumes posted in 2015 so far. Enjoy!

TRACKS
01. Beatnicks - Back In Town (1972) - from v113
       single
02. Gold - No Parking (1970) - from v114
       single and W.I.S. retrospective 'San Francisco Origins'
03. Fanny - Place in the Country (1971) - from v115
       from album 'Charity Ball'
04. Lokomotive Kreuzberg - Comeback (1975) - from v116
       from album 'Fette Jahre'
05. Brother Fox and the Tar Baby - Steel Dog Man (1969) - from v117
       from album 'Brother Fox and the Tar Baby'
06. Yaqui - I Need A Woman (1973) - from v118
       from album 'Yaqui'
07. Panda - Medicine Man (1971) - from v119
       single
08. Pop Mašina - Vreme Za Nas (1975) - from v120
       from album 'Na Izvoru Svetlosti'
09. Fuzzy Duck - In Our Time (1971) - from v121
       from album ‘Fuzzy Duck’
10. Fusion Orchestra - Sonata In Z (1973) - from v122
       from album 'Skeleton In Armour'
11. Rockcelona - Queen, Friend And Dread (1979) - from v123
       from album 'La Bruja'
12. Svanfridur - My Dummy (1972) - from v124
       from album 'What's Hidden There?'
13. Gun - Runnin' Wild (1970) - from v125
       single
14. Asia - Law Of The Land (1978) - from v126
       from album 'Asia'
15. Cinderella - The Love That We've Got (1971) - from v127
       single
Beatnicks


Starting the volume is one of its heaviest tracks, from Lisbon's Beatnicks. They made some of Portugal's best and heaviest rock in the '70s, with the "Cristine Goes to Town / Sing It Along / Little School Boy" and "Money / Back in Town" singles. They introduced progressive/electronic influences on later singles (youtube) which were good but very different, by the time of 1982's Aspectos Humanos album they had been through major line-up changes and seem to have become an inoffensive progressive pop band. Oh well, listen to "Back In Town" and it's clear they had the chops to become Portugal's top hard rock act, it's original and brilliant from start to end! Final members Ramiro Martins (bass, guitar), Antonio Emiliano (keyboards) and Tó Leal (vocals, percussion) all appear to have made more music later but nothing of interest here.

There is an interesting article here (portuguese, english), regarding the many changes the Beatnicks went through, including the brief membership of female singer Lena d'Água, and guitarist Manuel Cardoso, who was later in Tantra (coming later on here). Read Rock em Portugal's full Beatnicks bio here.



Gold

"A CD / LP combination. The CD contains 2 parts S.F. underground history with the first Gold line-up feat. lead singer Richard Coco. Their 45 record “NO PARKING” was already reissued on LP by Rockadelic and issued on the CD compilation “Nuggets from the Golden State”.

Part 1 (only on CD) are the Studio Sessions of Leo Kulka´s Golden State Recorders, 9 heavy guitar cuts (same as Rockadelic LP) with great congas and bizarre Rock´n Roll vocals and the previously unreissued 45-rpm flipside a 4:45 minute sensitive but totally unexpected version of Gershwin's "Summertime" produced by Country Joe McDonald (Country Joe and the Fish)."

"Part 2 of the CD is the vinyl release, a live set at the Fillmore-West Audition, a qualification gig for Bill Grahams club circuit, which was successfully passed - gigs at Winterland, Fillmore-West followed. These 42 minutes reach the highest level of power and a unique kind of heavy acid rock sound (especially the 6 min. killer version of “NO PARKING”) - Ed Scott´s hypnotic rhythm guitar, a mind blowing bass and drums create an outstanding and surrounding flow, Joe Bajza´s soaring solo guitar played in a kind of aggressive Cipollina / Jeff Beck style is brilliantly intense and brings true Sixties S.F. Hell´s Angels party feeling to your home. Detailed 12 page color booklet - 78 minutes of hot music reflect the “golden sprit” of the late60's early 70's in San Francisco....15 years later bands like Metallica, Slayer, Exodus…..continued these powerful Bay Area guitar excesses…"


Fanny

Scott's RYM review here.  "Penned by Barclay, 'Place In the Country' was one of the album's best rockers. Nice showcase for the group's harmony vocals.   rating: **** stars"

"1971's "Charity Ball" found Fanny continuing their partnership with producer Richard Perry. Featuring largely original material (the one exception being a dynamite cover of the Buffalo Springfield's 'Special Care;), this time around the band seemed interested in showcasing their more commercial edge. Material like the title track, 'What's Wrong with Me?' and 'You're the One' seemed to have been crafted with an ear to top-40 airplay.

That wasn't to imply the band couldn't rock as hard as their male competitors. Nickey Barclay's 'Cat Fever', 'Special Care' (which I'd argue crushed The Buffalo Springfield original), and 'Soul Child' were all rockers that were worth hearing. Add to that, Jean Millington had a powerful, soul-infused voice, while June Millington was an overlooked lead guitarist with a penchant for fuzz leads. Interestingly, listening to the album for the first time in years, I guess the biggest surprise came in terms of band contributions. Jean and June Millington were clearly the band's focal points, but  being responsible for over half of the material, keyboardist Nicole Barclay was clearly the band's creative mainstay."


Lokomotive Kreuzberg

Lokomotive Kreuzberg Fette Jahre (1972)
Lokomotive Kreuzberg
Fette Jahre (1972)
Track 4 brings something a little different to the party. Lokomotive Kreuzberg was a Berlin polit-rock band that started in 1972. Not speaking German, it's impossible for me to comment on the lyrics, but the music on their 1975 album "Fette Jahre", engineered by Conny, is captivating. They mix many styles, from symphonic prog, to folk, to funk, to hard rock. At all times it is played with extreme talent, these guys sure had the chops to compare with the best. I have chosen the hardest rocking track on the album, which was recorded at Conny's studio, but you can take your pick from it. Others, such as the title track "Fette Jahre" (youtube), are equally good.

I've not had a chance to check out all of their four albums. I certainly will but they may not be the easiest band to get into for non-German speakers, especially as they use a lot of spoken-word skits to get certain points across on their agenda.


Brother Fox and the Tar Baby

Brother Fox & The Tar Baby
Track 5, "Steel Dog Man", starts as it means to go on with a stomping hard rock riff and tight playing, punctuated by glorious psych breaks, backed-up by earthy vocals that cut straight to the bone. Brother Fox and the Tar Baby featured the talents of former Profits guitarist Richie Bartlett, bassist Tom Belliveau, guitarist Dave Christiansen, drummer Bill Garr, singer Steve High and keyboardist Joe Santangelo. Dave Christiansen, Joseph Santangelo, Tom Belliveau and Richard Bartlett were previously in Front Page Review, also appearing in this volume. Belliveau  was also in Pugsley Munion (see vol59), and Bartlett was later in '80s new-wavers The Fools. They were signed by the small Oracle label, which released 1969's Bruce Patch-produced self-titled album. Christiansen was credited as writing all eleven tracks.

Brother Fox & The Tar Baby LP
This has a commercial edge and is a polished product, but it's done right and there's more than enough heaviness here too, over half the album is hard cuts with quite a unique take on combining late-'60s heavy psych with the chunky riffs and hammond organ of the freshly-emerging hard rock sounds of the times. This is what the first Boomerang album should have been like! (see Vol9)


The countrified feel, and high production quality with orchestration, shows that this was a serious stab at a successful album. The mellow tracks and ballads are all good, so make for a nicely diverse listen. The song-writing is consistently good, and the excellent vocals deserve a mention, sounding somewhat like Robert Plant in the heavier tracks. Highly recommended!

Panda - Stranger Medicine Man

Decca 6100013
Stranger begins deceptively, with a heavy Sabbathian tri-tone metal riff, but quickly morphs into a Slade-elic glam stomper with a sing-along chorus and more flashes of flute, great fun.  B-side Medicine Man is built around a similarly heavy, lumpen riff to "Swingin' About", this time with no flute and forays into blues, it's another of their best heavy tracks.


Pop Mašina

I consider there to be a 'big three' of heavy Serbain bands from the former half of the '70s, YU Grupa and Smak have already appeared so now it's time for the last of that trio, Pop Mašina (Pop Machine). They were formed in Belgrade in 1972 by Robert Nemeček (bass, vocals - formerly of Dogovor Iz 1804 and Džentlmeni. The other formative members on their two studio albums were Mihajlo Popović (drums) and Zoran Božinović (guitar - formerly in Džentlmeni).


Na Izvoru Svetlosti LP 1975
Their 1973 debut LP "Kiselina" (Acid), had contributions from members of S Vremena Na Vreme, Grupa SOS and acoustic band Dag. Although excelling in their heavy rock tracks like "Svemirska Prièa," the band played an equal amount of acoustic pop and folk-infused songs in a similar approach to Led Zep's album 'III'. The second and final studio album "Na Izvoru Svetlosti" (At the Spring of Light) followed suit, having a little more emphasis on the hard rock, with a great opener which is the track I have used in this comp, "Vreme za Nas". Track 2 gives you a good idea of their stage show with a live-recorded blues workout. Over-all this album is more consistent and you can hear the improved arrangements and more confident playing.


Fuzzy Duck

Fuzzy Duck s/t 1971
Fuzzy Duck s/t 1971
A belated appearance from a record that that I surely should have used by now, as it's really good. This is the eponymous Fuzzy Duck LP, one of the older entries here, recorded in 1971. They play jazzy prog rock, with excellent musicianship, driving hammond organ and plenty of rocking riffs. Bassist Mick Hawksworth had previously been in Andromeda (Vol51) with John Du Cann, another similarly cool band. He was also in other TDATS bands, Killing Floor (see Vol7) and Toe Fat (Vol2). Drummer Paul Francis had been in The End, and briefly in this volume's opening band, Tucky Buzzard. The Duck enjoyed some radio play, including "A Big Word From D" and "Double Fine Woman", which were both favoured by BBC stations.

Fuzzy Duck in the studio
Fuzzy Duck in the studio
In the Esoteric Recordings CD re-issue Paul Francis stated that one of the major things that broke the band up was internal friction with guitarist and founder Graham White, which he regrets in retrospect. They managed to turf him out and replace him with Garth Watt-Roy (Steamhammer, The Greatest Show On Earth) who was a great guitarist, but it didn't go down well with the record company. After the Duck had quacked it, Graham White joined Capability Brown (Vol54), Paul teamed up with Chris Speading and Steve Harley, playing on a couple of Cockney Rebel LPs and Mick Hawksworth worked with Alvin Lee among others.


Fusion Orchestra

Fusion Orchestra - Skeleton In Armour line-up, clockwise from left, Dave Bell, Stan Land, Dave Cowell, Colin Dawson and Jill Saward
Fusion Orchestra - Skeleton In Armour
line-up. Clockwise from left, Dave Bell,
Stan Land, Dave Cowell, Colin Dawson
and Jill Saward
Fusion Orchestra might be of interest to Babe Ruth fans, or those of Room. Frequently-heavy prog with a great front woman in Jill Saward, who also played flute, keyboard and more. The sole album 'Skeleton In Armour' is good progressive rock, drawing in many influences from Canterbury scene to hard rock, thankfully the band has a great attack and this LP keeps up momentum throughout, as you can hear in tracks like the one appearing here, and "Have I Left The Gas On?".

On the album, she is joined by the three founding members Dave Bell (drums), Stan Land (2nd guitar) and Colin Dawson (lead guitar). Dave Cowell played bass. Later in the bands' life Colin Dawson quit, so Alan Murphy took over, he later played in English pop bands Level 42 and coincidentally, Go West, who cropped up in the last volume via Hustler drummer Tony Beard. Although the band had a good live reputation, with fans frequently enjoying Jill Saward's titillating stage antics at the Marquee in London, they did not achieve commercial success on EMI and didn't get the green light for a second album. Jill had the most successful career afterwards, in the pop group Shakatak, and surprisingly none of the other players were in notable bands later. Colin Dawson started Fusion Orchestra 2 in 2008, in which he is the only original FO member.


Rockcelona

Continuing into heavier territory, "Queen, Friend And Dread" from Barcelona's Rockcelona hits you hard.The LP it's taken from is like this all the way through, it never lets up. This unique and timeless collision between punk, heavy metal and garage rock recorded in 1979 is a real gem for anyone out there who looks for the ultimate in unrelenting fuzz. The group was founded in 1977 by Alfredo Valcárcel, and recorded only one album called "La Bruja" (The Witch).



Svanfrídur

Svanfrídur
Svanfrídur
Courtesy of Shadoks music (link) :- The Icelandic prog-rock band Svanfrídur released only one album, recorded six months after they played their first gig. This short-lived band rapidly rose to fame, receiving rave reviews for live performances, but in fact their music was way ahead of its time. They were unable to seal a recording contract so they formed their own label - Swan Records. When the album 'What’s Hidden There?' was released in autumn 1972 it got mixed reviews and sold only a few hundred copies, leaving the band with a great album but sadly not the income they had been hoping for. Recorded at London’s Majestic Studios the album was cut and pressed in England. Perhaps one of the best heavy prog / underground albums from Scandinavia with amazing guitar and all-English vocals. Would have been a famous and successful album on Decca UK.


Asia

Asia 1978
Not to be confused with the British "Asia", South Dakota's Asia made two LPs of heavy progressive rock and hard rock. They have an epic, regal quality to many of the songs, somewhat reminiscent of the kind of atmosphere conjured up by Led Zep's No Quarter or Kashmir for instance. They evolved from White Wing with members Michael English on vocals and multi-instrumentalist Mike Coates. Asia achieved some success playing the club circuit in the more urban areas of the upper Midwest. Their self-titled debut was recorded in two sessions at ASI studios in Minneapolis in 1978 and was privately released the same year.


Cinderella

Following is a snippet of the interiews I conducted with Art Bausch of Blue Planet and Betty Raadgever of Cinderella.

Cinderella in 1971
Me: 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 2000EyelinerNasty Girls and The Betty Ray Experience. The other Cinderella members stopped playing in bands.

Me: Thanks Betty!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Day After The Sabbath 119: Panda comp and interview with Jaap van Eik


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Unzip password:  tdats



TDATS 119: Panda, band profile and interview with Jaap van Eik by Rich Aftersabbath on Mixcloud

Panda was yet another great short-lived Dutch band that made some singles but no album. Even though they existed for a very short time, some notable names passed through the ranks. These included Emile den Tex (Tortilla, Turquoise, Electric Tear, solo), now a famous producer, Herman van Boeyen (Livin' Blues, Supersister, Vitesse), Rob Kruisman (Island v1, Modesty Blaise, Bintangs, Brainbox, Ekseption), Ben de Bruin (Cobra, Bintangs, Turquoise, Rob Hoeke) and Rob ten Bokum (Bintangs, Vitesse). Another was bassist Jaap van Eik, who has kindly agreed to take part in an interview about himself and Panda.

Before going further, two invaluable sources that I must thank for making searches in all things nederbeat easier are Alex Gitlin's Nederpop Enyclopedia and Erik Hessel's nederbeat.info.


Panda Discography

1971
No Coockies / Swingin' About
Philips 6075 130
Panda's first single, a-side No Coockies is a heavy flute-tinged progressive instrumental with great guitar and a poignant central motif. B-side Swingin' About starts with a lumbering, off-center groove which makes it sound mean and nasty, Rob Kruisman's added flute and sax combines to make this a unique track that's genuinely heavy and doesn't sound quite like anything else I can think of.

1971
Stranger / Medicine Man
Decca 6100013
Stranger begins deceptively, with a heavy Sabbathian tri-tone metal riff, but quickly morphs into a Slade-elic glam stomper with a sing-along chorus and more flashes of flute, great fun.  B-side Medicine Man is built around a similarly heavy, lumpen riff to "Swingin' About", this time with no flute and forays into blues, it's another of their best heavy tracks.


1972
Living for Tomorrow / Blue Boy Blues
Philips 6012182
Living For Tomorrow shows another side of Panda. The lilting melody and affirming lyrics on casting away the past to look to the future makes for a perfect pop song, it would've been a hit for a famous band. B-side Blue Boy Blues returns to the bluesy glam of Stranger, with a hint of country rock. Jaap van Eik's imaginative bass-lines and Rob ten Bokum's catchy licks make for a final addictive track to end their career, albeit far too soon.


Jaap van Eik and Panda

Jaap was born in The Hague, in the western part of The Netherlands. At around the age of three his family moved to Venezuela, so along he went. When he was eleven he suffered appendicitis, for his own sake his parents decided to send him back to the old country to recover, and to get a better educational grounding. He started playing the guitar at fourteen, but switched to bass three years later; "because in those days there were always too many guitarists!". He would however return to the guitar in some bands later on, such as Trace. When asked about early inspirations, he had this to say; "As everybody in the sixties I was hugely influenced by The Ventures and The Shadows. Later it was The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, Little Feat and Allman Brothers, to name a few. My personal favourite was Jack Bruce, would you believe it. Also guitar players like Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton."

While studying graphic design in Arnhem, Japp met pianist and fellow student, Herman Brood. Herman is a famous character in Dutch rock, who became an artist later on (wiki). Sadly he committed suicide in 2001, after years of health problems resulting from life-long heavy drug use.  At this point Jaap had already played in a Shadows covers band, with Herman and some other local guys he formed a band and started hanging out in small clubs. They were The Moans, later just "Moan". Soon they were playing further afield; "We mainly played around the city of Arnhem. When a serious fight broke out during a gig and the police had to intervene, we were expelled for a while and started to play in Germany (Arnhem is located close to the border). We played in Germany quite often, where we met loads of English bands and musicians. They were like gods to us!".

From the late ‘60s into the ‘70s, Jaap became an in-demand bass player. In his own words, he had a "tendency to use the bass as a solo instrument", which goes some way in describing his personal style. He spent time in many bands, including Cuby + Blizzards, Blues Dimension, The Motions and Solution. He also played on the Jan Akkerman ‎solo LP, “Profile”. He regards the most defining moment in his career as his time with blues rockers Cuby + Blizzards. Herman Brood had already joined, and recommended Jaap. This is where he and Herman first made names for themselves. Jaap remembers: “This was a whole new step up. They were quite famous then and played many gigs, made a few albums and toured a lot in Germany and other European countries. As a matter of fact we even went to England, where we met people like John Mayall (we did a tour with him and his band in The Netherlands afterwards) and Alexis Korner.” Jaap left Cuby in 1969 and switched around various bands and styles in the ’70s. "Blues Dimension was brief, Solution was great, we toured the UK extensively in the seventies, and I was foolish enough to turn down an offer from Jan Akkerman to join Focus! Trace was the last band I played in. That was a nice period although things became rather complicated then.”

Interview with Jaap

Me: Hi Jaap! How and where did the members of Panda meet, was it in Alkmaar? Why was the name ‘Panda' chosen?

Jaap: No, it wasn’t in Alkmaar. I once saw a young drummer who impressed me. His name was Herman van Boeyen. So when we needed someone for Blues Dimension, I suggested him. We kept in touch after that and at one point we decided to start a new band together. I lived in a place called Zwolle, he was located in Amsterdam. The name Panda was chosen because Panda was a popular figure in a comic strip, about a small panda bear.

Originally a Dutch strip written by Marten Toonder,
it was also published in German translations, 
as seen here.

Me: Is this the correct line-up for all three singles?
 Ben de Bruin (guitar)
 Emile den Tex (vocals)
 Herman van Boeyen (drums)
 Jaap van Eik (bass)
 Rob Kruisman (wind)

Jaap: No, Here's how it was. The original band was started by myself and drummer Herman van Boeyen. Only the first line-up was with Emile den Tex (vocals) and Ben de Bruin (guitar). Emile didn’t stay very long and was replaced by Rob Kruisman (Ekseption, Brainbox and Modesty Blaise etc.) for vocals, saxophone and flute. When Ben de Bruin left, we added Rob ten Bokum (Modesty Blaise) who played guitar and also flute.

So the final stable lineup was myself (bass), Herman van Boeyen (drums), Rob ten Bokum (guitar, flute) and Rob Kruisman on vocals, saxophone and flute.


(l-r) Rob Kruisman,         Jaap van Eik,    Rob ten Bokum,    Herman van Boeijen

Me: Can you describe when and where you recorded the three 45s that Panda released? Do you have any favourite Panda songs? Can you remember anything about recording them?

Jaap: I’m not quite sure who plays on which track. No Cookies was definitely with Rob and Rob, the b-side and Medicine Man were with Emile, Stranger was with Rob Kruisman and Ben de Bruin, Blue Boy Blues again was with the two Robs. I’m not entirely sure, to be honest, so I’d have to listen to the recordings.

As far as I can remember the recordings are from different sessions. Most of them were done in the Phonogram Studio in Hilversum, No Cookies was definitely recorded in The Hague with Jaap Eggermont (ex-drummer of Golden Earring - producer of Cobra seen in Vol111) producing. The other songs were produced by Tony Vos (Cuby + Blizzards, Blues Dimension) or Hans van Hemert (Q65, Inca Bullet Joe). I particularly remember the sessions for No Cookies, which in my opinion is our best track. I was a fan of Chris Squire’s bass sound [Yes], although he played a Rickenbacker and I played a Precision Bass. So Jaap Eggermont suggested I use a small amplifier turned up all the way plus a direct line to the mixing board. The sound was great. 


Me: What was the song-writing process of the band? And who was the creative leader of the band, if there was one? 

Jaap: There wasn’t a real creative leader, which was one of the problems we had. Herman van Boeyen was a strong personality with many ideas, especially when it came down to riffs, I always fiddled with sliding sounds and melodies, but most of the actual writing came from Rob Kruisman and Rob ten Bokum. That is, in the line-up with them. Also there was a lot of improvisation.  


Me: Panda's music is fantastic, all the members’ performances gel brilliantly. It’s generally got an anthemic sing-along melodic style, and heavy rockers like 'Swingin' About' and 'Medicine Man'. Can you explain your thoughts on the band’s versatility and what influenced the sound of Panda? To me, Panda has more of a 'hard rock' sound than bands you and the other members were in previously. Was this a sound that Panda was particularly aiming for?

Jaap: I’m rather surprised that you know the music at all, let alone that you like it so much. It was a great little band that never sounded the same on any gig. Also we were accomplished players, and as I said before, much inclined to improvise. Our sound was obviously influenced by bands that were popular at the time. Led Zeppelin for instance, but also an American band like Moby Grape. We wanted a lot of power, we were loud and aggressive and we played long solos!


Me: There is some great wind instrumentation like flute and clarinet (I think) on the songs 'Swingin' About', 'Living For Tomorrow' and 'No Coockies'. Can you remember who wrote and played these parts? 

Jaap: It’s a flute. The parts were played by Rob Kruisman. I think the melody line in No Cookies was written by Rob ten Bokum.  


Me: What equipment, bass and playing techniques did you use? 

Jaap: I used a Fender Precision Bass with a 100 Watt Marshall Bass stack. I never played with a pick, but sometimes used a technique I learned in the classical guitar lessons I had when I was sixteen: instead of the fingertips of my right hand I would pluck the strings with my fingernails. 


Me: Did Panda ever play live? Do you have any memories of such that you could share? 

Jaap: Oh yeah, we did many gigs in The Netherlands, Germany and even France. I’d have to think about the memories, it’s a long time ago.  

As a rule Dutch bands tend to play a lot in Germany as that country is literally next door. With Panda we mainly played in what is called the 'Ruhr Gebiet': the area between city's like Düsseldorf, Krefeld, Essen and Duisburg. At the time there were many clubs around. About France, I happen to remember we played once or twice in the northern part of the country and traveled to Germany from there. In all the years I've been playing I met quite a few English bands on the road - Pretty Things, Hollies, The (New) Searchers, Renaissance - and also guys from Holland. Golden Earring for instance.

We once performed a gig on a balcony of a beautiful villa in the town of Arnhem [Netherlands]. It's located in a park called Sonsbeek. The particular occasion was a free festival with bands, but also other types or artists. I remember it was a lovely day then and a great surprise that I met my mother! She hated me 'wasting my time with bands', but was nevertheless there.

Sonsbeek Villa roof, free festival in Arnhem
Herman van Boeijen (drums) - 
Rob ten Bokum (guitar)
Jaap van Eik (bass) - Rob Kruisman (flute)


Me: Do you know if any Panda singles had success in the charts or TV shows? 

Jaap: The only recording that was heavily played on the radio was No Cookies. It looked like it was going to be a hit, but unfortunately that never happened. But we did appear in TV-shows. 


Me: Do you remember which TV shows you appeared on?

Jaap: In Holland we had something called the tip parade. So what happened is they selected a single and played it every hour. Usually that particular song became a hit and sold well. In our case that unfortunately did not happen. There were many pop shows on TV in those days, but I can't really remember the exact names. They were all play-back, so rather frustrating [meaning they were mimed to a backing-track]. Also we had a couple of pirate radio stations on ships, that were very popular: Radio Veronica and Radio Noordzee.

[I had not heard of the "tipparade" before, and found it hard to get a good definition, so I asked fellow tdats fb group admin (and Dutchman) Mark, and he explained: "The tipparade back then was a list of singles that had a big chance of entering the charts, the Veronica Top 40. It was broadcast on the famous Radio Veronica. I think the name is still used today though of course with downloading etc. it's very different from how it went back then. they changed it from 20 singles to 30 in 1970, so around the time Panda was active it was 30 singles. The list was printed and you could get it at your local record store. The number one on the Tipparade is called "Alarmschijf" This was the track that was played every hour on Radio Veronica."]


Me: How and why did the band end? 

Jaap: I’m not sure! I think there was no progression anymore, it was hard to survive and also, Herman van Boeyen and I had an offer from Livin’ Blues, a highly popular Dutch band with a busy schedule. So we joined them for a while.   


Me: Was Panda ever intended to be anything more than a singles band? Do you think you had the potential to last longer, be more successful and more well-known? 

Jaap: You know, back then you mostly had to prove yourself. First you made a single. If that was a success, you made another one. If that one was also well received, the record company would start thinking of an album. Of course there were exceptions, but as a rule that was how things went. Had No Cookies been a hit, the band might have stayed together and who knows what would’ve happened then. We certainly had the potential. 


Me: I've been told that it was particularly hard for rock bands to get backing from Dutch labels to record a whole album back then, and they were often encouraged to focus on writing radio-friendly pop singles, in search of a 'hit'. Because of this, many bands with great hard-rock potential like Panda made a string of singles which may have been more commercially-oriented than they would have liked, and unfortunately made no albums. What are your thoughts on the accuracy of this viewpoint? Did any of these issues affect Panda?  

Jaap: I think I just answered this question. What you state is absolutely true. When you went to a record company with a string of songs, the usual reaction was: "quite nice, but I don’t hear a hit". Every Dutch musician from the period has learned to hate that attitude. 


Pierre van der Linden,      Jaap,      Rick van der Linden
Trace c.1974
Me: Can you tell us briefly about your involvement with Trace? How did that happen, and what are your memories? Was Trace's 'symphonic prog' style something you preferred to Panda's hard rock? I'm guessing it was more challenging on a technical level.

Jaap: My involvement with Trace is quite a long story. I didn’t prefer the symphonic style to hard rock, although it was indeed rather challenging to play. Also I thought it was a great opportunity to form a trio with fantastic musicians like Rick van der Linden and Pierre van der Linden (not related by the way). In this case we had full support from the record company and could make an album right away. We had a great time, toured a lot (mainly in Germany, Scandinavia and the UK) and switched drummers just before recording the second album. Pierre went back to Focus, we replaced him with Ian Mosley [later of Marillion], who was a great drummer and also a great guy.   


Me: What else have you done since Panda, in music or otherwise, and what are you doing now? Tell us about your decision to become a journalist, and appointment as editor of Music Maker.

Jaap: Briefly, since Panda I played in many bands: Livin’ Blues, Solution, Trace for instance. Around 1976 I got a strong feeling that I’d reached a dead end and could only repeat what I’d been doing before. Also, the economic circumstances were worrying me. In the Dutch music scene we have a saying: ‘what you primarily need to be a rock musician is a girlfriend with a good job’. I was fortunate enough to have that girl friend with a good job (she was a fashion model) and did enjoy some success, but nevertheless it was getting me nowhere. I’ve always been interested in writing and journalism, so when a publishing company offered me a job as an editor I gladly accepted - with the idea of playing in a band in my free-time. When I became editor of Music Maker Magazine, I didn’t have the time anymore and also discovered that as far as playing was concerned, it was all or nothing for me. So I had to decide between music and journalism. I never regretted choosing journalism. I had a great job until 2001, when I became a freelance-writer.


Jaap van Eik
Jaap in recent times
Me: Do you have any final thoughts or stories that could give readers some more insight into the times and the band? 

Jaap: It was a tight very little band, especially after changing the line-up with Rob Kruisman and Rob Ten Bokum. The latter was a good songwriter and guitarist, the former quite a showman and apart from being the singer, also a good saxophone and flute player. Our repertoire was a mix of original material and covers. I remember we included explosive versions or The Beatles' I Wanna Hold Your Hand' and a few Stones songs. We mainly played small clubs around The Netherlands, were usually quite well received, but for some reason never got very far. Being on stage was always great fun, as we didn't rehearse that much and mainly relied on our improvisational skills. This meant that songs could go on forever if we were on the right track.

We liked to party, which sometimes annoyed our drummer Herman van Boeyen, who at one time tried to enforce a no-alcohol rule during gigs - obviously the others didn't comply. Apart from being a good drummer Herman was a funny guy. He never liked being dependent on other people and one day decided he also wanted to be a singer. The problem was, his voice wasn't that strong. So we said to him: 'Herman, that won't work, your singing is just no good'. 'Oh, I can learn that', he insisted. 'No Herman, no way', we grinned. Then Rob Kruisman said jokingly: 'You know what you should do? Gargle with whiskey, that'll do the trick'. Five minutes later he was gargling whiskey! We laughed our heads off, but a couple of years later, in another band called Vitesse, Herman proved his point: he became the drumming singer and had a couple of hits!

There's a interview with Jaap that goes into much more detail about his life and career here at the DPRP (Dutch Progressive Rock Page) (link). A couple of years ago he wrote a book about Focus called "Focus: Wereldsucces, Ego's en Machtsstrijd".

-------------------------

Thanks very much to Jaap, and I hope you enjoy Panda's brief but brilliant set of tunes as much as I do. If you haven't already seen it, check out a similar interview I did with Rob Vunderink about his old band, Cobra. Till next time, Rich.

© Richard Sheppard / www.aftersabbath.com / Panda / Jaap van Eik

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Day After The Sabbath 64: Afterburner (Roadburn Special)

Download here: [mf] or [mg]
Unzip password:  tdats
Here is Volume 64, the second part of the two-part special which started here. As before, I will leave it to the organiser of Roadburn festival in Tilburg, Holland, to explain some more :-

"We're huge supporters of Rich Stonerdoom's The Day After The Sabbath blog. It's the main source in our quest for obscure heavy 60s and 70s rock. Now, Rich has dedicated some of his compilations to Roadburn; these two special volumes include all the classic 70s bands that have played the festival so far, along with tracks from a host of Dutch rock novelties and obscurities, which we wholeheartedly endorse!" - Roadburn festival 2012.

Supersister
Supersister, from The Hague, started out in 1968 and along the way included ex-members of renowned Dutch bands Brainbox, Bintags and Livin'Blues, including drummer Herman van Boeijen who was also in 'Panda' later on this comp. They had a markedly different, more progressive approach than those bluesy bands and are often associated with the English Canterbury scene which they pre-dated by a couple of years. Centering on Robert Jan Stips' intense and at times evil sounding keyboards, 'She Was Naked' was a single that was not originally included on any of their 4 full-lengths, and it perfectly demonstrates their schizophrenic dark/light nature. Our first Roadburn appearance band is Leaf Hound, who played the fest in 2006, and will do so again this year to celebrate their 40th anniversary (though Pete French is the only original member). Leaf Hound's album, 'Growers of mushroom' was re-discovered in the 80s as a lost classic and at times has commanded silly money from record dealers. Evolving from Black Cat Bones, who originally included later-members of Free - Paul Kossoff and Simon Kirke, and guitarist Rod Price who departed to join Foghat, they were joined by vocalist Pete French with his cousin Mick Halls on guitar. French later left to join Atomic Rooster and then Cactus, so he really is something of a TDATS hero! I have been lucky enough to see him perform with Leaf Hound in London a few times in recent years and am glad to report his voice sounds as good as ever!

Panda were a short-lived act from Noord-Holland that included members of Turquoise, Tortilla, Cuby, Livin'Blues, Modesty Blaise, Bintangs and Tee Set. Herman Van Boeyen (drums) later formed Vitesse. They had a minor hit in 1971 with 'No Coockies', of which the b-side "Swingin' About" is interesting to us heavy-hunters, it's an unusual track with a lumbering sabbathian riff and cool flashes of sax and flute. Track four approaches, I have been aware of the Influenza single for a while now, but have always thought it was French, as that is what's usually stated. With the recent assistance of knowledgeable Dutch fans (take another bow Marc) I have confirmed that they were Dutch and drummer Pieter Voogt was in the successful symphonic prog band Ekseption. Both sides of the single "Astral Plane / Trick" are great pieces of West Coast-influenced dreamy psych. 

Speedtwins
Earth & Fire were a Dutch progressive pop group, who made some interesting stuff in their early career which betrayed hard rock influences. The track I've used here called 'Memories' was a single from 1972, it's like an Abba song (stay with me here) that is taken somewhere else entirely by Gerard Koerts' stabs of heavy distorted mellotron, and they went into even harder Sabbath territory with some of their b-sides like Lost Forever. With the presentable Jerney Kaagman fronting the group, I can't help being reminded of retro-minded contemporary bands like Blood Ceremony (who played Roadburn last year). In a slight diversion from the TDATS norm, we move on to some late 70s punk, Speedtwins (see interesting interview with frontman here) appeal to me as they have a rough distorted sound which lends a heavier and more 'rock' sound than average punk has, and their 1978 album 'It's More Fun to Compete' shows genuine don't-give-a-fuck humour beyond mere punk bandwagoneering. From its intro you'd be forgiven for thinking that 'Midnight Ladies' is going down some Sandinista-era Clash route but you'd be wrong...

Originally the "Sandy Coast Skiffle Group", Voorburg's Sandy Coast formed in the early 60s and after winning a Hitwezen Magazine-organised talent search, were awarded a Negram record contract. Being a band that followed the vogue sound of the times, they started out as a beat group with their '67 debut, then delved into some Beatle's and early-Floydish psych sound experimentation with 1968's 'From The Workshop'. With 1969's LP "Shipwreck", they didn't change their over-all sound too much, and remained quite mellow, except for a couple of important exceptions. With their 14 minute masterpiece 'Shipwreck', pre-dating the story-telling inclinations of Rick Wakeman's Journey To The Center of the Earth and Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds by a few years, they weave an epic mariner's tale of sea-going disaster. By drifting in and out of a heavy, repetitive 'Impossible Mission' theme-like central riff, they convey the ups and downs from a sailor's perspective. Ron Westerbeek's use of keyboards for atmosphere and sound effects, and Onno Bevoort's varied drumming combine to great effect and make for an exciting, tension-building trip. It leaves me wishing they had carried on with this proto-prog pomposity as it shows them in their element, and were a few years ahead of their time with it too.

First Utterance
There is scarce information on Fullhouse from Utrecht, they made two or three singles in the late sixties which were quite light affairs, but like a lot of acts back then, they let go with their less commercial intensions on a b-side. "The Wizard of Khu", like Panda's "Swingin' About", was one of these times, It also has some great aggressive vox and the same lurching quality that really gives the riffs a weighty feeling. Heavy stuff for 1968 and one of those tracks you can imagine a modern stoner rock/doom band having a lot of fun covering. Comus are our penultimate Roadburn band, they played the fest in 2010. They are a folk/art rock band making heavy use of violins and eastern percussion. Although being short-lived in their initial incarnation between 71-74, they are cited as influences by many notable musicians. Opeth have made direct references to their lyrics in more than one song and Current 93's folk-experimentalist David Tibett covered 'Diana' from the first album, 1971's "First Utterance", from which I have also taken "The Bite". They have plans to release new material this year, which will be the first in almost 40 years. Johnny Lion & The Jumping Jewels, from The Hague, started in the early 60's as an instrumental beat group. They achieved a reasonable level of chart success and in '65 a falling-out caused Johnny Lion to go it alone. Legal wrangling meant the remaining members were forced to change their name so they became JaysJays. Taking on Willem Duyn as singer they recorded a self-titled in 1966, from which "Cruncher" is taken. A heavy and reckless jam, Cruncher is the perfect name for it and you can just feel heavy-metal barriers being broken down as it plays out, ending on walls of feedback. Heavy stuff for '66 indeed.


Dragonfly
The core of Vlissingen's Dragonfly were brothers Rudy and Tonny de Queljoe, who moved from Ambon, an island in Indonesia, to The Netherlands in 1951. They went through a number of bands and names with singer Johnny Caljouw until settling with 'Dragonfly', and the addition of Huib Power (drums) plus Carlos van den Berg (guitar). Though showing more than enough potential for success, ultimately they only recorded two high quality singles, which were released together as the EP "4 Celestial Songs" in 1968. Disagreements and a falling out between band and manager led to show cancellations which they never quite recovered from, later the de Queljoe bros went on to Brainbox and Caljouw joined Machine. Machine can be found on Vol.10, and Brainbox on my first ever Dutch comp, vol35 from last year. Dragonfly are remembered for two things in particular, Rudy de Queljoe's fine Hendrixian guitar abilities, and each member’s trade-mark black and white face paint patterns, predating Kiss by a few years.

We come to the final Roadburn band for this pair of comps, Guru Guru, who played in 2008. Like their friends Amon Düül, Can and Xhol Caravan, they were a formative Krautrock band that came out of the leftist political scene of the times, living in communes and promoting free thinking through free-form jazz rock. "Der Elektrolurch" is on their 5th, eponymous album from 1973.

Hans Dulfer
We near the end with Dordrecht's Inca Bullet Joe, who came from the remains of the well known Dutch psych group The Zipps. They only made one EP, but all three tracks are great, "Nothing Has Changed" maintains a constant steady rhythm, with glam stomp. It builds in intensity with layers of synth creating a basic melodic refrain. All these parts lend a unique and memorable over-all feeling that I really like. Again I must give props to Robin Wills' awesome blog for digging this rare 45 out. The end is come with Amsterdam's "Hans Dulfer and Ritmo Natural". After further reading I have discovered that Hans is something of an international celebrity within cross-over jazz and jazz fusion circles. Candy Clouds, from 1971, is one of his earliest, least-known works and has some fine jazz that rock fans who would normally steer clear of anything described using the word 'fusion' (myself included) need not be afraid of, it avoids the usual pitfalls of inaccessible jazz-prog wankery....the track 'Candy Clouds' begins with a simple, HUGE doom riff that brings Sabbath to mind, and his saxophone playing is stripped-down but never less than expressive.

Track List:

01. Supersister - She Was Naked (1970)
       single
02. Leaf Hound - Stagnant Pool (1971)
       from album 'growers of mushroom'
03. Panda - Swingin' About (1971)
       single
04. Influenza - Astral Plane (1971)
       single
06. Earth & Fire - Memories (1972)
       single
07. Speedtwins - Midnight Ladies (1978)
       from album 'it's more fun to compete'
08. Sandy Coast - Shipwreck (1969)
       from album 'shipwreck'
09. Fullhouse - The Wizard of Khu (1968)
       single
10. Comus - The Bite (1970)
       from album 'first utterance'
11. JayJays - Cruncher (1966)
       from album 'Jay-Jays'
12. Dragonfly - Celestial Empire (1968)
       from ep '4 celestial songs'
13. Guru Guru - Der Elektrolurch [edit] (1973)
       from album 'guru guru'
14. Inca Bullet Joe - Nothing Has Changed (1971)
       single
15. Hans Dulfer and Ritmo Natural - Candy Clouds [Pt. I] (1971)
       from album 'candy clouds'

Thanks for listening! Rich

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references:
Alex Gitlin's Nederpop Encyclopedia | Dutch Progessive Rock
Nederbeat | Dutch Sixties Beatgroups | Gooisch Pop Archief

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