The day my ears met Roine Stolt

Posted 181021

By Frans Verweij

It was May 1980 when I decided to take a trip to the Scandinavian Countries. Starting off in Hamburg, taking the ferry to Denmark to continue the journey to Copenhagen, Oslo and eventually Stockholm. Beautiful landscapes and impressive nothingness driving from Oslo to Stockholm. However, this is not a travel journal, I merely wanted to paint a picture before getting to the core of my story. Staying a couple of days in Stockholm, not too long because the cost of living there, especially the beers, is quite steep. There was a record store around the corner and I decided to give that a go, asking the shop assistant if the Swedes have made any music similar to that of Genesis and/or Yes. She was more or less overwhelmed by this question and had to think for a moment.  But after a little while she handed over five LP’s, four from Kaipa and one from Kebnekajse. Without even listening to the albums I bought them all and off I went. I was eager to get home to have a listen to my recent treasures. Them days you could still judge a record by its cover, to use a familiar phrase.

Some five days later and returning home I immediately put the Kaipa LP's on my Thorens record player. What I heard blew my mind. This is great, I thought, although all the lyrics were sung in Swedish, which is a language I did not, and still don't, master, but the tone of the voice and the music to accompany that voice was terrific. Long symphonic pieces with lots of keys and a sharp guitar, playing beautiful melodies. I thought I had just come across the new Genesis, who let us sympho lovers down the last two albums. The album I bought there was all their work at that time: "Kaipa", "Inget Nytt Under Solen", "Solo" and “Händer”. They're still among my favourites. The albums were not released in Holland, at that time, for that matter Kaipa apparently didn't tour outside Sweden (apart from Norway, I just gathered from their website).

My comrades at (NSA) Symfonic Credo magazine had never heard of the band, although after my introduction, they staged an interview with guitar player Roine Stolt. As you all know, Roine Stolt later became famous with his Flower Kings, Transatlantic, his outing on tour with Steve Hackett and his album together with Jon Anderson, for which a follow-up is in the making. He also made three solo albums, one shortly after his break with Kaipa entitled “Fantasia”, “Hydrophenia” and “The Flower King” . The latter sets the forming of the band The Flower Kings. What about that other band, you may ask? The album I bought there was “Vi Drar Vidare” which is a very pleasant album: symphonic jazz rock I would call it. Very enjoyable. Kebnekajse, I later learned, is a more folk driven band, and this album is/was their only symphonic outing. The only album without Kenny Hakanson, I must add. He played guitar and has since then reunited with the band. By writing to the Swedish record company I eventually received the albums missing in my collection thus far. Since the “Vi Drar Vidare” album they didn't release any other album until 2009.

Ekseption on Gevers Deynootplein in 1993

Posted by Frans Verweij

161120

If you no longer live in The Hague, you are going to miss it in some way. You want to go back to it every year, also to see what new buildings haven been added now, but in my case to take a breath of fresh air at Scheveningen. So we did, on that now actually quite special day. I simply parked the car in a street near where I was born, and therefore know the way flawlessly, to avoid the also then exceptionally high parking rates. Of course we walked to the Kurhaus, because that is quite a crowd puller and to enjoy the ambiance of the many terraces on the Gevers Deynootplein. In the middle of the square was a kind of music chapel in which a band played, I said to my travel companion "that sounds familiar"! Curious we walked on and I actually saw Rick van der Linden behind a battery of keys and Max Werner behind the drum set. Hey I thought that's strange, what is Max doing with Rick together. Anyway, we stood there for quite some time, because all those old classics sounded fine. You should know that I have always been a fan of Ekseption, for me it was certainly one of the influences that gave me my present love for symphonic and progressive music. (The others were Radio Caroline and Moonlight Records in the Wagenstraat, by the way). How did I get to share this with you you will ask. Well, a CD of Ekseption has been released with a live recording, although for German TV from 1993, but precisely in the line-up that I saw on stage there. Perhaps the show in Scheveningen was a warm up for their tour in Germany. By the way, this CD is the only live album released by Ekseption to my knowledge. But at least it's one.

A somewhat special release

By Frans Verweij

Posted 091218

This single release was a hit for Bryan Ferry in 1977 and taken from the album "In Your Mind" and features John Wetton on bass and Mel Collins on sax. What makes this record special is that the B-side never made it to the album, and that makes the song "As The World Turns"  not only special, also the fact that none other than Eddie Jobson and Robert Fripp show their skills on it.

Offshore Radio together with a certain record store in The Hague and Prog

By Frans Verweij

Posted 091118

It was when Radio Veronica was forced to close down on that dreadful day Saturday the 31st of August 1974 when there was only one station left to listen to: Radio Caroline. The public radio services didn't meet my requirements by any stretch of form. And although my heart was a Veronica heart, I took great pleasure in listening to Caroline, especially night times when they played long tracks one after another with only once in a while a deejay announcing what we have just been served. I liked that! I particularly liked Simon Barrett, he played quite a lot of symphonic rock in his program. So my musical taste has been very much influenced by that one deejay. Some years earlier (1972*) infected by the Radio virus a couple of school friends and me started our own "offline" radio station called Radio Fiasco, named after a comic figure drawn by René van den Abeelen (Frederic Fiasco). It was more a hobby thing but a couple of guys took it very seriously, and so did René and I. When Veronica and Radio Northsea International where taken off the air we decided to go to Slikkerveer (near Rotterdam) since the Mebo II of Northsea was docked there, and we wanted to have a closer look. When we were there, and now comes the second part of the story, we met Hans, he was there with his father with the same intention as ours. We got acquainted and it turned out he came from the Hague as well. We stayed in touch after that and he introduced me to Peter van Dijk who ran Radio Loosduinen (a local pirate radio station in the Hague). We both had a couple of years making programs until it was taken off the air. Hans was working at a local record store called "Moonlight Records", owned by  Bob (Pythagoras) de Jong (  7-12-2011). Moonlight records had a stack of symphonic records in store, of bands I had never heard before. So Radio Caroline and Moonlight Records both had a big influence on my musical pallet, and it's still there. :-)  

* our first recording/broadcast (I wouldn't call it a radio show, but then again) was made on the 2nd of February 1972 on a Fairmate cassette recorder