The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Indulgent Dutch Music & Art Fantasies

3-20-08 Indulgent Dutch Music & Art Fantasies

I have been discussing music with a pen-friend in Holland. He is always amused / interested when I find Dutch music occupying my mind (which it seems to do a lot). We talk about Herman Brood, Tom America, “La Grande Parade” etc.

I had the idea that there should be a new “Rock Dreams” book – remember “Rock Dreams”? I think it was by a Belgian artist, Guy Peelaert (sorry if I got the name wrong, I’m doing this from memory at work, without my reference materials in front of me). It is a book of wonderful ‘fantasy’ drawings from the early-to-mid 1970’s. He famously did the cover of The Rolling Stones LP, “It’s Only Rock & Roll”.

Well, the small book I propose would have that style of artwork, but with fantasy situations that included (mostly) only Dutch musicians & friends. A few examples:

One drawing could be called “Drug Of Choice” – it is set inside of an Amsterdam café, with Herman Brood seated at the piano – there is, of course, a syringe and drug ‘works’ on the piano, as Mr. Brood’s “refreshment” – and he looks happy. Seated near him, is Tom America, the Tilburg artist responsible for Sammie America’s Gasphetti and Mam. Tom is sitting at a table with a drip coffee-maker, which is slowly brewing decaffeinated coffee for him, he has a look of bemusement at the proceedings, a tolerance for the others seated at his table: Henk Hofstede, the Nits main man, has a glass of whisky (without the ice), he is convivial, having a drink before dinner, he loves being in the room with Brood and America. Also at this table is Arjan Ederveen, in his “Theo” outfit – he has a glass of Chocomel. He is wondering where “Thea” (Tosca Niterink) is. Happy, but confused – he doesn’t know who the other people in the room are. Finally, Willem Wisselink, of The Kewis (and Idiot Records) is there (long-sleeved striped shirt) – his drink has not arrived yet, so he is tapping his fingers on the table, and waiting for the waitress to bring his request (whatever that may be). The waitress is Meike Touw, one of the Gruppo Sportivo women – she has on a waitress uniform, is possibly on roller skates…and probably is holding a tray of mystery drinks, but she’s not looking at the table with Henk, Tom, Arjan, Willem…she is looking towards the bar of the café, where Hans Vandenburg is behind the bar, pouring drinks (he is wearing a ‘checked’ shirt). There is a delivery of beer being made at the rear of the café, and it looks to me like the truck is being driven by roadies – rock & roll men – one of them has a sweat shirt on that says “Nits Helsinki Crew”. Beginning to get the idea?

Another drawing would be “The Quentin Hotel” – combining several scenes that I witnessed with my own eyes (as I used to be resident in The Quentin during the winter months). In the hotel lobby: Fay Lovsky is sitting on a white couch, with a cup of tea – she has on a red scarf. Sitting next to her is Frits Jonker, my friend who is a genius at comic text lettering – he isn’t drinking anything, but on his thumb, he has a stack of hfl1.- (or less) 45’s that he just found at the Waterloopleinmarkt – he is shy, but he likes that he has found these junk 45’s. On the other couch is Pieter Bon, the singer of Mam (still in his overcoat). He has set a bottle of Remy Martin cognac on a small table next to the couch, and is holding a glass of Remy with one hand, trying to talk to Fay & Frits… Behind the hotel desk is Tortelvis (who is not Dutch), the singer of the group Dread Zeppelin, still in his costume. He is pretending to tend bar, answer the telephone – but actually he cannot be 3 places at once, so he can be pictured as a blur. He doesn’t know what to serve to whom or when! The TV is on, probably with Adam from Countdown. Also in this picture is Marco, the latter day guitarist of Mam. He has on a bomber jacket, having just come in out of the cold. He is one of the people that Tortelvis wants to serve, but can’t (because he’s so busy). Marco recognized Pieter Bon, but that’s all. This drawing must include all the fine details of the hotel lobby of The Quentin Hotel – but I wish to make some additions – the framed art on the wall above the couch where Fay and Frits are sitting is a drawing by Herman Brood. There is a cat in the room – the one that used to live at The Quentin Hotel (“Miss Puss”).

Of course, there must be a “Hague” version of my “Rock Dreams” drawings – set in a Haagsche Indonesian restaurant in front of a glorious Rijstafel, seated around the table is Aad Link (in a leather jacket – the manager of Supersister, R.J. Stips, The Nits etc), Barry Hay (singer of Golden Earring, wearing a T-Shirt with a skull on it, and a snake is coming out of the skull’s eyeball, the skull also has a golden earring on it), also Cesar from Earring (dressed in a very fine-looking suit, recently purchased in Brussels)…we must also have Robbie VanLeeuwen (ex-Shocking Blue, wearing leather pants – it is obvious to he other diners that he is going to be paying the bill!). Across from Aad and the Earrings and Robbie, sit the blonde-haired twin Koerts brothers from Earth & Fire, who appear to be trying to eat all of the food on the table. The dinner is being served by The Blue Diamonds, each carrying large trays of steaming hot wonderful Indonesian food. There is a large clock on the wall. Again, Hans Vandenburg is the bartender. This drawing must include spicy shrimp wrapped in banana leaves being served to the diners.

The last drawing that I wish to propose is my own “Drug Of Choice” drawing – I am standing next door to Febo, which is now transported to being the shop next to Concerto Record Shop (on Utrechtsestraat in Amsterdam) – my head must be turning between the two shops – Febo or Concerto. I am sort of between the two shops, on the street, clutching a bag of LP’s. Also, I am holding a Frites Speciaal with onions, satay, cheese, mayonaise, ketchup etc. Echte Belgische Frites! In the line of Febo, you can see Peter Te Bos of Claw Boys Claw, holding a large pair of crash cymbals. He looks tired, but hungry for something from the order desk of the Febo. He is wearing a tuxedo jacket with no shirt under it. Behind him is Michiel Peters, the original guitarist songwriter / singer of The Nits. He is holding a list of the requests of his family for something from Febo. He has a thought balloon (that can be lettered by Frits Jonker) that says “Even ‘The Queen’ eats at Febo sometimes” and then a small illustration of the (Dutch) Queen. Looking the other way, Ron can see into the window of Concerto – where all of the records of his dreams are in the window, for various prices – Crazy Casey “The Beast & I” (original Polydor LP, with a large price-tag that says “Earrings, hfl. 150.- niet op CD”), the 45 of Supersister “Europe On 5, 10 or 20 Dollars A Day (tag says “Rare, hfl. 250.-, n’existe pas”)…and some fantasy records, such as the country & western LP of The Nits etc. The drawing must make it appear as though I am having a difficult time choosing between the Febo and Concerto, as both will probably be closing soon. You can’t take your frites into the record shop, of course.


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