12 December 2010

A hard days night







It wasn't really.... Last Sunday we spent some time in Erik and Petra's sound studio to work on the new Beequeen album Port Out Starboard Home. As there was a lot of earth hum on my guitar in Giant's Hill, we re-recorded that one. We also re-did the vocals on Patience and the vocal middle bit of Giant's Hill. And, since we were on a roll, we re-recorded the vocals to Port Out Starboard Home as well for good measure. Even though the physical temperature was challenging, the mental temperature was warm and cosey. Three nice shots from that afternoon; I like the one where Erik holds the Ancient Light of Magic in his hands. That helped a lot. We worked well and hard, leaving enough time to look at Erik's collection of guitars. Enviously. Obviously.

30 November 2010

Dar who?


In the mid-80's I was an ambitious angry young artist, studying the arts and all geared up to save the world with my conceptual art - whether the world was ready for it or not. Ah, I remember it well... With my compadre in art, Rob Woesthoff, we formed a new art-group called Nivo Stilo and spent hours/days discussing art and producing the Nivo Stilo art magazine, which we filled with poems and articles and manifestos and drawings and and and (all under different names of course - to give the impression we were a real Movement). Rob was R. Incultejardin and I was Flynn Besoin (Flynn from Errol Flynn and Besoin was, very dada, randomly selected from a dictionary). Rob and I were very enthusiastic about this project. In fact so much, that we even decided to form a band. The band name was Dar Pomorza (Polish for "gift of Pomorza", the name of a boat, Pomorza being a Polish town) and we played guitars (badly), synthesizer (borrowed from the art academy) and sang out of tune. We even produced a tape, a C60 TDK tape called The Dar Pomorza on TDK. One side featured spoken word, the other side featured a couple of our songs, recorded in our rehearsal room in Arnhem. When you are a band, you need to perform to spread the message to the People. Oddly enough, we were asked to play live in Willemeen in Arnhem, when someone from Willemeen heard us rehearse. We were programmed for 28 January 1987 with two local speed metal bands. It was truly a frightening night; our paltry equipment (one guitar, said synthesizer and a rhythm box) was nothing compared to the shiny drumkit, Fender guitars and huge Marshall amps of the speed metal bands. The show itself was something I will never forget; we nearly got killed by the audience, who didn't dig our loverly tunes at all. That's me in the background, playing Rob's guitar and looking desperate. Rob is steady as ever, playing the synthesizer with one finger. Flash forward to 2010. Having lost contact with Rob and haven't spoken to him in over 20 years, he recently sent me an e-mail out of the blue! We met up in a local restaurant and had a truly great evening discussing Dar Pomorza and Nivo Stilo. We looked at old magazins, the old tapes and pondered at how old we had become over ancient photos made at Willemeen at that memorable gig in 1987. I've enclosed one example here. The quality is not that good, but then again, neither were we. It is a testament of what we tried to achieve on that unfriendly stage. It didn't work of course, but what a great time to look back on! Rob is still involved in art and has a great site where you can buy his work http://www.robwoesthoff.nl/

24 November 2010

Swans




Dear reader, last night I went to see Swans live at the Tivoli club in Utrecht. I saw Swans live before, in the late 90s, just after they had released the brilliant 2 CD Soundtracks For The Blind, which considerably brightened up the dark ages of the history of music. Anyways, before I went in, there were warning signs that the volume that evening would be Loud. Extremely Loud. Luckily I had brought my professional earplugs, so no morning-after peep for me. The set was loud, slow, heavy and classic Swans. Here are some images I took. I like the green one of Michael Gira, but also the one where the bass player and guitarist re-tune (which they had to do after each song, because of their string-abuse). A lovely evening that ended with me buying a souvenir double CD and dashing off to catch the train back to Nijmegen. The dashing proved to be premature, as there remained plenty of time to fetch a cup of Chai Latte at Utrecht's Starbucks. Bloody expensive at 4 Euros (for a size "tall", which means "small" but they can't spell at Starbucks), but hey, that is rock and roll.

23 November 2010

A few pointers...

As Frans rightfully suggested, I should offer our audience some pointers for their browsers.

Are you comfy? Ready? Here we go!

Two nice movies on You Tube can be located at:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPzXn6AHpBk
www.youtube.com/watch?v=dC-gNiyVo58

And while you're at it, why not download the whole set in, alas, abnominal sound quality at:
www.beequeenarchives.blogspot.com

The Polish Tour







So Beequeen was invited to play the Wroclaw Industrial music festival in Poland. And we gratefully accepted! We sent quite some time putting a good set list together and rehearsing till we all felt it sounded fine. We then packed our meager equipment and flew to Krakow, where we were awaited by our driver, who drove us in his Karma-proteced van in 3 mad hours to Wroclaw. He was a good driver and we arrived safe at our hostel. We strolled around Wroclaw, enjoyed traditional Polish food (takeaway pizza) and had a great evening. The following day I bought new shoes and did the soundcheck at 16.00 hours. Again, everything sounded fine. We enjoyed some hurried dinner and later that evening we played as second band our 45 minute set to around 150 people in the old dining hall of a 14th century monastry. Later that evening, the hall filled up to around 400 people, all dressed to a tee for the evening. The organization was perfect and very professional. The Polish people were extremely friendly and willing to help us out with even minor quests. The set went really well, the audience seemed to enjoy themselves with lots of heads bopping to our tempting rhythms. At 01.00 o'clock we went back to the hostel and enjoyed a few hours of sleep, as Miranda (who came along for the ride), Olga and me had to get up at 05.30 hours for our journey back to Krakow airport. Frans, being the true trooper he is, had some hours more to sleep. Later that day he went to Germany and Scandinavia for more live shows. This very brief tour of Poland was truly a wonderful experience. The atmosphere in the band was great and we all had a loverly time! Marcin Pflanz took some amazing pictures of all bands at the festival and I've taken the liberty to include three shots here. A few days after the event, movies turned up on YouTube. So far, two Beequeen movies have been posted. Both of these include The Lord Is My Shepherd; trust the audience to film me making my only guitar mistake of the evening and put it on the internet!

1 November 2010

You and me and Sinterklaas makes three


A few weeks ago I was aked to join the UNA orchestra in Kekerdom as a guitarist. The UNA orchestra is actually a very old orchestra, over 100 years old, who used to play traditional music, but now focusses on big band, jazz and even film music. They needed a guitarist for the annual live show on October 23. I joined on a very short basis: with only 3 rehearsals to learn 21 songs! In the end, I managed to squeeze out 11 and I must have done something right as they asked me to become a permanent member after the show. It was hard work as I don't read sheet music and everybody else in the orchestra does (they must have been quite desperate). The evening was great, and slightly surreal, fun. Around 80 people were present. We had a 16 year old girl singer on a few tunes and a dancing couple who demonstrated the Rhumba and Mambo. The town vicar was present as well (in full ornate). So now it's every Tuesday night off to Kekerdom for me, trying to work out complex chord schedules, tempo changes and wondering what the hell all those funny symbols mean on the sheet music. Great fun! As there are no images of the night yet, I thought this nice image of Sinterklaas would to. After all, it is the season...

21 August 2010

Fame, fame fatal fame


Local television station Nijmegen 1, a station I readily confess to not knowing even existed, will be filming a documentary on Frans de Waard. And rightfully so. In order not to show the identical live image of Frans behind his laptop too much, it was decided to include some Beequeen as well. On Friday 20 August 2010 Olga, Frans and myself performed three songs (Breathe, It's A Fine Day and The Honeythief) live in the Extrapool Geluidwerkplaats. Bits and pieces will be included in the upcoming documentary, about which more information can be found at http://www.nijmegen1.nl/. Unfamiliar with being filmed, it was quite a fun experience. Even more fun was the fact that we played the songs really well. Aural evidence of the fact can be found at http://www.beequeenarchives.blogspot.com/ where you can download the full set. The arty image shown here was photographed straight from the camera. A fun way to spent an afternoon!

17 August 2010

THE MAGIC HAS ARRIVED!


I am very proud indeed to announce the release of CRITICAL MAGIC, the brand new cassette by TAPAJAWA on Beam Ends records!


TAPAJAWA is in fact guitarist extraordinaire Barry Gray, who used to play guitar in The Legenday Pink Dots in the 80s, where, due to his amazing guitar skills, he was known as Stret Majest. On CRITICAL MAGIC, Barry offers 9 blistering new recordings featuring him using drum programs, bassguitar, guitars and his own fierce vocals, giving the music a nervous edge. the cassette was released in an edition of 50 copies only. The cassette is professionally made and features an on-body print and full colour artwork.


A copy can be yours for 15 Euros (or the equivalent in most valid currencies on this planet) including worldwide postage. To order, simply send a friendly e-mail to me at info@beequeen.nl and it will be my priviledge to send you a copy of this blistering manifesto.

26 May 2010

Maria Roepaan




Two pictures of the recent Beequeen live show at Maria Roepaan in the nearby town of Ottersum. And what a lovely day it was! Not only is Maria Roepaan a beautiful location (in fact, it's an old monastry), it was also gorgeous weather and quite a few friends took the efford to travel to Ottersum to see us perform, which was much appreciated. We had actually rehearsed for this show quite a bit - it featured some older songs (Sad Sheep, The Honeythief), some newer (Port Out Starboard Home, Patience), some borrowed (Jane's It's A Fine Day) and none blue. Beequeen was on first and played a 45 minute set that wasn't exactly free of mistakes, but full enough of good notes, minor chords and fine vocal work by Olga. In short, a very rewarding set. Shame about the mistakes in Patience, but you can't win them all! In the end, we were all quite pleased with our performance. Also performing that day at Maria Roepaan was Stahlkwartett, who played Bach and Bjork on four home-made-of-metal-sheets-then-bowed instruments. Slow bow - very impressive! Third on the list was Use of Ashes, who perhaps struggled on stage, but put on a good show nevertheless. The atmosphere they manage to create is always highly tense yet fragile. Final performance was by Frans de Waard, Roel Meelkop and a host of others in the specially designed soundlab in the basement of Maria Roepaan. They played a good improvised set using both laptops as acoustic gadgets. In all, a great day with good friends and amazing music. The whole Beequeen concert can be downloaded for nada via our Music For The Head Ballet site. Two brief films of It's A Fine Day and The Honeythief, made by Miranda, can be found on YouTube. Someone stated we looked like a band from Twin Peaks. I quite like that description! The next Beequeen show is planned after the summer in the Lux Theatre in Nijmegen. A date is yet to be set. The evening will be with Legendary Pink Dots and Use of Ashes. Hopefully it will be as special as our day in Maria Roepaan. Thanks to Huub for organizing the lot!

17 May 2010

One step beyond!


The first single I ever bought was Tarzan's Nuts by Madness. This was in 1980, now 30 years ago. I actually wanted to buy Embarrassment, but once in the shop, couldn't remember the title of the single. It was just as well, as the b-side to Tarzan was the wonderful Nightboat To Cairo. I still have that single in my collection. The first album I bought was also by Madness; it was their second album called Absolutely. I was so much of an ├╝ber-fan in 1980, that I even joined the fanclub. Strangely enough, this folded the day I joined. Coincidentally the same happened when I joined the Adam and the Ants and Alice Cooper fanclub. Folded the day I joined. Strange. Anyways, ska was a wonderfully upbeat way to spend a downbeat decade. I loved The Specials, The Beat, The Selecter and Bad Manners, but most of all Madness. They were so utterly zany British. I loved that. Oddly enough I never saw them live in the 80's. To correct that awful omission in my live career, I bought a ticket for their show last weekend in Amsterdam. And what fun we had! I was right up front, in the middle of this uncontrolled mob, jumping, dancing and singing and pushing and shoving like hell. I've got the bruises to show for it! They played a lot of older tunes as well as some ditties from their latest venture The Liberty Of Norton Filgate. The boys clearly enjoyed themselves on the stage as well; they were slightly older, balder and fatter (like most of the audience), but having a lot of fun. All images I took at the concert are blurred due to the dancing, but this one, taken from a distance, is quite nice. The following day, the "day after", I played all my Madness albums again. Always a sign of a wonderful evening.

27 April 2010

And then there were.... three!




Goodbye to the fabulous four and welcome the tremendous three! Last night The Residents played Nijmegen as a threesome. Not sure what to expect after the Bunny Hop shows from last year (which in retrospect were a tad disappointing) I was looking forward to this show with some anticipation. So three there were last night as "Carlos discovered after 40 years the rock and roll lifestyle was not for him and returned to Mexico". There was no theme connected to this show, just "playing some songs and telling some stories". Well, The Residents are amazingly good in telling stories, ya all know that. The music was great too; bombastic, chaotic, intimate, loads of distorted guitar (courtesy of Otto, the man who can restring a guitar in 15 seconds flat - and proved it three times!) and of course Homer's typical voice. A beautiful evening. Great song. Hell, there was even a reprise for Death In Barstow. Two shots from my mobile phone. They're pretty good eh? Just like the show!

21 April 2010

A race well run

Last night Beequeen rehearsed for the upcoming live show in Ottersum. During rehearsals Frans suggested a name for my new guitar (see previous blog post). Seeing the scratch plate has a lightning bolt and the letter A, he suggested it was an AC/DC guitar and I should call it “Rosie”. As I like the idea of a black and white guitar called Rosie, Rosie it is then.

I would like to thank Stuart Goddard for his suggestion of the name “Prince Charming”, Vincent Furnier for suggesting “Balls” and of course Paul McCartney who sent in “Yoko”. Thank you all!

20 April 2010

More branches from the Bee Tree


On Sunday 23 May 2010 Beequeen will perform a live show at Maria Roepaan in Ottersum.

At this 45 minute show we will play some songs from our new CD “Port Out Starboard Home” as well as some older tunes. Olga will be there as well to provide vocals and looks.


The show will be for the K@R art project.

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Time: around 13.00 hours
Ticket entrance: 5 Euro
For details concerning address and program for this day:
http://roepaen.nl/kunsten/agenda/
http://www.cultureelpodium.nl/nl/contact/

Oh no....


….not another one!

In my endless (or so it seems) quest for the perfect guitar, we have entered another phase. Two months ago I bought a Fender Jaguar, because it had a wonderfully small neck (well suited for my modest hands), a floating tremolo and, well, because it looked really cool. The Jaguar and I have spent the last two months trying to get to a working relationship. I’m afraid to say we both failed. Somehow it just didn’t work out. The Fender Jaguar is a beautiful guitar but the construction is filled with flaws (which I won’t bother you with, but concern the floating bridge and floating tremolo) and the tone is quite sharp. Sometimes, things just don’t work out in a relationship.

Meanwhile, I fell in love with another guitar - the Eastwood Airline Tuxedo. This time, I took the efford of actually testing it in a shop for two hours before a decision was reached. And a positive decision was reached. However, these guitars do not exactly come cheap at 750 Euros. To make a long story slightly shorter; I sold the adulterous Fender and pre-ordered an Airline Tuxedo via the web at a discount price of 650 Euros. Just before this guitar was dispatched, a hunch (a premonition if you like) told me to have a look at Marktplaats; a second hand site based in the Netherlands. And there she was: a beauty of an Airline Tuxedo, like new, with a Bigsby tremolo added to it (normally these alone would set you back 100 Euro) for sale in Bemmel, a little town very close to Nijmegen. So Miranda and I took the bus, drove to Bemmel and bought the guitar at 450 Euro. We had ice cream in Bemmel (it was a wonderful evening) and got home again happy as peaches. The Airline Tuxedo doesn’t have a name yet, but I award one Brunnen “Swoon” CD to the person who sends in the best suggestion.