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Melo´s Band Directory => Bands & Musicians - K => Kayak (NL) => Topic started by: ObiwanKenomi on October 23, 2015, 10:21:59 AM

Title: Kayak - Biography
Post by: ObiwanKenomi on October 23, 2015, 10:21:59 AM
The History of Kayak:


line up: Ton Scherpenzeel, Ron van de Werff, Chiel van Praag, Pim Koopman

Kayak's roots are in the Dutch town of Hilversum, where founding members and neighbourhood friends Ton Scherpenzeel (keyboards, bass guitar) and Pim Koopman (drums, guitars) played together in several bands like Balderdash (1967) and High Tide Formation (1970, pictured above). Guitarist Johan Slager played in HTF's final line up until the group disbanded in 1971. That same year Ton, Pim and Johan began to record a number of demos (a project called 'Ten Ride Ticket') and occasionally played live (as Alta Quies). Around this time both Ton and Pim started studying at the Hilversum Music Academy, where fellow student Max Werner joined forces with Ton and Pim by lending his unique voice to their musical efforts. Ton's main classical instrument was the double bass, Pim and Max both studied percussion. When bassplayer Cees van Leeuwen (replacing Frenchman Jean Michel Marion) completed the first line up, the group that was to become Kayak managed to get a recording contract with EMI- after being dismissed by Phonogram who had an initial interest in the band, even recorded some demos with them, but in the end let go when Ton and Pim refused to record other material than their own.


line up: Max Werner, Pim Koopman, Cees van Leeuwen, Johan Slager, Ton Scherpenzeel

Kayak was launched by EMI and manager Frits Hirschland as a new supergroup, although the individual members were hardly 20 years old, had little experience as a live band and basically had not proven anything in the music business other than having an original and stubborn mind of their own. The first two albums, "See See the Sun" and "Kayak II" delivered three modest hits ("Lyrics", "Mammoth" and "Wintertime"), but more importantly made Kayak's name as a talented young band with a growing progressive following.


line up: Ton Scherpenzeel, Pim Koopman, Bert Veldkamp, Johan Slager, Max Werner

In 1974 bass player Cees van Leeuwen decided he couldn't combine his university studies with the hectic tour and recording schedule of the band, and left. He was replaced by Bert Veldkamp. In this lineup the band recorded its third album, "Royal Bed Bouncer", which generated another modest hit single, "Chance for a Lifetime." If the first two albums showed an even balance between the two main writers of the band, Pim and Ton, RBB showed Scherpenzeel at a creative peak. The band kept on touring and by 1976 was an established top act on the Dutch/Belgian music scene. A row between manager Hirschland and EMI lead to the departure of the group from EMI. It turned to Phonogram, the same company that in 1971 had refused to sign the band. With LP number four, "The Last Encore", Pim Koopman found himself solidly back in the writer's chair with Ton. The first big setback came later that year, when Pim left the band. Bass player Bert Veldkamp also quit, so within two months the band lost its complete rhythm section and one of the group's main songwriters.
Title: Re: Kayak - Biography
Post by: ObiwanKenomi on October 23, 2015, 10:22:17 AM

line up: Ton Scherpenzeel, Max Werner, Johan Slager, Charles Schouten, Theo de Jong

At the end of 1976 Pim and Bert were replaced by Charles Schouten and Theo de Jong. This line up recorded "Starlight Dancer." The title track, one of the band's all-time classics, reached number 14 in the Dutch charts, and Kayak seemed to be back. The American release of the same name (a compilation of the Dutch LPs "The Last Encore" and "Starlight Dancer") was even a minor success in the USA, with "Want You to Be Mine" peaking at 55 in the Billboard charts. Kayak was even voted Most Promising Band of the Year by the influentual American music paper Record World. But as time went by, musical differences between the original and new members appeared to be unreconcilable, and within 18 months the band (or what was left of it) again had to find a new bassplayer and drummer. And not only that...


line up: Ton Scherpenzeel, Johan Slager, Max Werner, Edward Reekers, Katherine Lapthorn, Peter Scherpenzeel, Irene Linders

What followed was a very chaotic year, in which the band's break up often seemed near, because in spite of the possibility of an American tour and the long-awaited international breakthrough, lead vocalist Max Werner made it clear he wanted to withdraw as Kayak's frontman. Werner had always felt like a drummer, and had more or less happened to find himself trapped in the lead singer role because of his unique voice. When the drum chair became vacant, he told the others of his wish to become the band's new drummer, which meant that Kayak had to start looking for a new leadsinger. All plans had to be discarded and the group basically had to start from scratch. Edward Reekers became the new vocalist. With him three "newcomers" joined the band: Peter Scherpenzeel (Ton's younger brother) signed on as the new bass player, while backing vocalists Irene Linders (Ton's wife and lyricist for many of his songs from then on) and Katherine Lapthorn were added to give the band a whole new identity. All these changes, and the release of the new album "Phantom of the Night", meant a significant break with the past in more than one way -- for many old fans this band had little to do with the original Kayak. But the "new" group suddenly and unexpectedly reached a bigger audience than ever before. "Ruthless Queen" was Kayak's first and only really major hit single (number 4 in the Dutch charts). The album even made it to number one, being awarded platina for over 100,000 copies sold in Holland.

Ton, Max, Johan, Irene, Peter, Katherine, Edward in Toppop

The next album, "Periscope Life" (1980), was recorded in Los Angeles. It was similar in style, but lacked the big hit and surprise factor that made its predecessor such a phenomenal success. However, it still outsold the first five albums. With its next album, "Merlin" (1981), Kayak returned to its original progressive and symphonic rock roots, with a suite about the legendary medieval magician on side A. This album, together with "Royal Bed Bouncer", was generally considered to be Kayak's best work. With the decline of commercial success however, personal and musical struggles within the band surfaced. The desperate financial situation that manager Hirschland had led the band and its members into only made things worse.


line up: Ton Scherpenzeel, Johan Slager, Peter Scherpenzeel, Edward Reekers, Max Werner

While Max Werner celebrated a number one single as solo singer (!) in Germany with "Rain In May", the band finally collapsed under its own weight. Kayak (now without the two female backing singers) still managed to produce one semi-live album, "Eyewitness." This LP contained three new songs, but mostly consisted of recordings that were done 'live' in the studio, with only minor repairs and dubs added. The applause was overdubbed, something that became clear when later the CD version of the album was released: Ton Scherpenzeel explained in the liner notes that he had decided to have the album edited and re-released without the clapping and yelling audience, something that had always irritated him so much that he had never been able to listen to "Eyewitness" himself in its original form. This album would be the last that was heard from Kayak for a long time.
Title: Re: Kayak - Biography
Post by: ObiwanKenomi on October 23, 2015, 10:22:39 AM

Seventeen years would go by with only one sign of life of the band: In 1997 Kayak reunited for a TV program called "Classic Albums", that concentrated on the album "Royal Bed Bouncer", featuring the lineup that made this record in 1975. Meanwhile, all the original LP albums were re-released on CD, most of them with extra tracks and lost B-sides, some as compilations. Besides EMI and Phonogram, a new and specialized record company called Pseudonym Records took care of the re-release of several LP-s.

In the TV program it became clear that Ton, Pim and Max had been busy with demo recordings (of an unnamed "project"), but this unfortunately didn't attract too much interest from the major record companies. It looked like Kayak would never return.


line up: Rob Winter, Ton Scherpenzeel, Pim Koopman, Max Werner, Bert Veldkamp

In 1999 Kayak was asked by popular Dutch/Frisian band De Kast (once big fans) to be its guest on a TV program called "De Vrienden van Amstel Live." Kayak, for the first time in 17 years, agreed to perform live in front of an audience. Ton Scherpenzeel, Max Werner, Bert Veldkamp and Johan Slager, together with Pim Koopman's temporary replacement Marc Stoop (Pim, partly living in Ireland, couldn't make it in time), played this legendary gig in Café de Paap in The Hague in November 1999 together with members of De Kast. This marked the beginning of Kayak's "second" life. The demos that were slowly gathering dust in Ton's studio, surfaced again, and drew the attention of a new record label called ProActs, a project in which De Kast participated. And what no one had dared to hope, finally happened: Kayak (this time with Ton, Pim, Bert, Max and new guitarist Rob Winter) started working on its new album, "Close to The Fire." Released in May 2000, "Close to The Fire" got an extremely positive reception, partly because original singer Max Werner had again taken to the microphone, drawing fans from the early years. The old magic, the inspirational fire was back. Kayak also returned to the stage, this time as a six-piece band. Ex-Vandenberg singer Bert Heerink became the second lead vocalist, giving Max the opportunity to share the frontman responsibilities with somebody else and expand his percussion ambitions. With Bert, Kayak could also perform the songs that Edward Reekers used to sing, like "Ruthless Queen" and "Merlin", to name but a few. Unfortunately, severe health problems kept Max from maintaining his position as lead singer very long and he was forced to leave the band in the autumn of 2000. Soon after that it became clear he had never intended to stay with the band much longer than that first tour and would have quit anyhow. He was not really replaced, because Bert Heerink had already taken over some of his vocal duties, but an extra guitarist/vocalist was added, Rob Vunderink. Rob had played in bands like The Hammer and Diesel.


line up: Rob Winter, Ton Scherpenzeel, Bert Heerink, Bert Veldkamp, Rob Vunderink, Pim Koopman
Title: Re: Kayak - Biography
Post by: ObiwanKenomi on October 23, 2015, 10:23:06 AM

2001 saw the release of two new Kayak albums: 'Chance for a LIVE Time' and 'Night Vision'. 'Chance for a LIVE Time' was the first real live album Kayak ever released ('Eyewitness' was recorded live in the studio, but the audience was added to the tracks later on). The album, recorded during the 'Close to the Fire'-tour 2000, reflected the new energy and inspiration within the band, that proved to be stronger than ever after Max Werner's sudden departure just before the tour started and Bert Heerink had to take over lead vocal duties. Shortly after the release of 'Chance for a LIVE Time' Kayak started working on their twelfth album called 'Night Vision', which was released in November. At the same time the band started working on ideas to rework the 'Merlin' suite (from the album of the same name that was originally released in 1981) into a full concept album and a theatre tour that included a real orchestra, planned for 2003.

line up: Bert Heerink, Rob Winter, Rob Vunderink, Pim Koopman, Ton Scherpenzeel, Bert Veldkamp.


2002 started off with the succesful 'Night Vision' tour. After the tour Ton, Pim and Irene concentrated on writing and arranging for the new Merlin 'rock opera', which would become the most demanding and most pretentious project Kayak had ever taken on. But not just that. To make it even more demanding, halfway through the year the band was confronted with two dramatic changes. The first major drawback was the split within record company and tourpromotor ProActs, which meant that Kayak had to look for a new record company to release the new album which was considered to be vital for the future of the band. The second blow came when shortly before the recordings began, guitarist Rob Winter announced his departure, as he found it would become impossible to combine his work with the Marco Borsato Band and Kayak. Rob's successor was found in Joost Vergoossen, who in recent years had played (among others) with the Ilse de Lange Band (with... former Kayak bass played Theo de Jong!) Joost joined the group in the autumn of 2002 and could start right away with his musical contribution to the new album. Another remarkable change in the line up took place: for the album and upcoming tour, that was based on the story of Merlin, and that was going to be presented in the form of a rock opera, Kayak needed another singer to fulfill the role of the scorceress Morgan (Merlin's adversary). Leadsinger Bert Heerink already played the part of Merlin, while second vocalist/guitarist Rob Vunderink was reinvented as Mordred, the illegitimate son of Morgan and her halfbrother, King Arthur. The quest for a female vocalist that could perform that role ended succesfully when Cindy Oudshoorn accepted the offer. Cindy had not only been a solo singer with a few singles (in Dutch) on her name, but had also worked as a session vocalist, live and in the studio, for acts like K-Otic and Ruth Jacott. Once more, the cast for Kayak was complete. And the show could go on- which it did. The second half of 2002 Kayak concentrated on recording their magnum opus 'Merlin- Bard of The Unseen'.


2003- 'Merlin- Bard of the Unseen' line up, f.l.t.r. Ton Scherpenzeel, Bert Heerink, Cindy Oudshoorn, Rob Vunderink, Joost Vergoossen, Pim Koopman and Bert Veldkamp.


In April 2005 Kayak is expected to release the CD 'Nostradamus- The Fate of Man'. Although recordings have already begun, at this moment it is still unsure whether or not all 28 (!) new songs will be featured on the CD. This would then have to be a 2CD because of the total track time of ca. 1 hr 50 minutes. Much will depend on the progress of the preparations for the tour. Kayak plans to release a DVD that will feature all the songs, after the tour.

For promotion only a special mini-CD will be released, that will contain the most 'accesible' or 'radio-friendly' songs.

Nostradamus - The Fate of Man - 2005 Tour

Kayak's line up (or should we say: cast?) for 2005's theatre tour 'Nostradamus- The Fate of Man' has been confirmed. The band (Ton Scherpenzeel, Pim Koopman, Bert Heerink, Rob Vunderink, Joost Vergoossen and Bert Veldkamp) will be joined by guest vocalists Monique vd Ster and Edward Reekers. Together with Bert and Rob they will perform the leading roles in the rock opera about the famous 16th century French astrologer.

Besides these (solo-)vocalists two more singers/dansers will be performing in the show. The name of the female singer/dancer that has been selected is Marjolein Teepen. Marjolein currently plays the leading role in the Opus One theatre production 'Alice in Wonderland', with music by Ton Scherpenzeel.
Title: Re: Kayak - Biography
Post by: ObiwanKenomi on October 23, 2015, 10:23:36 AM
2006 • KAYAKoustic


Singer Bert Heerink’s unexpected departure has no serious consequences because Edward Reekers returns to the band after the succesful collaboration on ‘Nostradamus’, and Cindy Oudshoorn has become a full-fledged Kayak member.
There is no new album release this year. After the sudden demise of Nostradamus – despite the quite successful tour, the financial risk of a continuation of the project was too high – the band decide to opt for a small tour.
In the fall of 2006 there is the start of the KAYAKoustic Tour, which runs until the beginning of 2007. The band's original intent, an almost acoustical show, is watered down because of the late announcement: there are not enough theatre bookings to do the tour as planned, so a number of clubs has to be added to do the tour.
Eventually, a semi-acoustical approach is adopted, in which a great number of old songs that have rarely been played live before, like ‘Daughter or Son’ or ‘What’s in a Name’, were transformed by completely new arrangements.
In the theatre shows the strong vocal line up is emphasized: while Ton Scherpenzeel plays the grand piano, the guitarists stick to their acoustical instruments, Pim to his brushes and hotrods, and Jan van Olffen excels on double bass. Some of the shows of the tour have been recorded for a CD that is meant to be released in 2007.

2007-2008 • Coming Up For Air


A few months after the last KAYAKoustic concert the live album from that tour is released in May 2007. Just like the tour this release is on a small scale: the CD can only be ordered directly through Kayak’s internet web shop. The rest of the year there are no more gigs, as the band concentrates on writing and recording a new studio album, planned for an early 2008 release: ‘Coming Up For Air’, that will also once again take the group to the theatres and clubs of Holland. No rock opera this time, like the last two albums ‘Merlin’ and ‘Nostradamus’, but a ‘regular’ CD with fifteen songs without any conceptual connection.
The tour is also marked by the 35th anniversary of Kayak. In February 1973 ‘Lyrics’, the bands first single, was released. In the autumn of 2008 a live DVD is recorded in Paradiso , and subsequently ‘The Anniversary Box’, containing the Paradiso concert as well as a collection of fan chosen tracks is released.

2009 • Letters From Utopia


In 2009 Kayak releases a new album, a 2CD no less with 19 new songs, entitled ‘Letters From Utopia’. The line up had remained unchanged since 2005, the longest period in Kayak history. At the release of the album, shortly before the beginning of the tour, Kayak announces that it might just be their last tour. The band does not give a reason for this decision, but it is apparent that it is becoming increasingly difficult to set up a tour under professional conditions.
Having announced this, Kayak also made it clear that the band did not have the intention to quit the Dutch rock scene altogether though: they promised to keep on looking for other ways to continue.


On November 23rd disaster strikes: drummer Pim Koopman dies of a heart attack in the middle of the tour. The rest of the tour is, of course, cancelled. Kayak anncounces that the decision, whether to continue the band without Pim or not, will be taken when the time is right.


In 2010 the Pim Koopman Tribute concert takes place in the Amsterdam Paradiso hall, exactly (save one day) a year after Pim’s passing. Kayak performs a special set with guest artists or band members that Pim had worked with in the past as a producer and songwriter, like Pussycat, Diesel, The President, Jose, and Caren Maywood. Pim’s place as a drummer that night is taken by Hans Eijkenaar. A few weeks after the concert Kayak announces their intent to continue as a band with Hans as Pim’s successor on drums. A new album is planned for 2011.

2011 • Anywhere But Here


In 2011 the Tribute Concert DVD of the Paradiso concert in honour of Pim is released. The band works on a new album, that will be entitled ‘Anywhere But Here’ and is- no surprise- dedicated to Pim Koopman. Hans not only takes Pim’s place behind the drumkit, but also mixes the album. In September the album is released, and from October to December a re-energized Kayak embarks on a club tour.

Meanwhile, also having left their former label and bookings agency the year before, Kayak regain the copyrights to most of their releases since 1981 and set up their own webshop.
Title: Re: Kayak - Biography
Post by: ObiwanKenomi on October 23, 2015, 10:31:02 AM
2012 • 40th Anniversary

In 2012 Kayak celebrates their 40th anniversary with the 'Journey Through Time' tour that would continue into 2013. Then there's a book: a biography  (written by Irene Linders, based upon the views and notes of founder Ton Scherpenzeel). In the meantime, preparations are being made for new ambitious project, the third rock opera in the band's history: Cleopatra- The Crown of Isis. The double album is scheduled to be released mid 2014. Because of the fact that the costs of recording and releasing the new project are estimated to be considerably higher than the average album, Kayak starts a crowdfunding campaign, hoping for the financial support and loyalty of their fans.
Title: Re: Kayak - Biography
Post by: ObiwanKenomi on November 29, 2015, 07:10:57 AM
2014 - 2015 Cleopatra- The Crown of Isis


After a period of over two years preparing and recording the new rock opera is finally released. The double album (the band's third within ten years time!) is financed partly by a crowdfunding campaign. Kayak allows fans to participate and invest in the new production, and in return band members are involved in special actions, like a unique semi-acoustic concert for an audience of 50, the possibility to get one's name in the liner notes of the album booklet, or getting the album delivered at home by Ton and Irene. The CD features several guest vocalists: Martin van der Starre, Alexander van Breemen, Marjolein Teepen (who had been part of the Nostradamus-cast in 2005) and Greek singer Tatiana Manolidou.
To everyone's suprise singers Cindy Oudshoorn and Edward Reekers announce that they will leave Kayak after the last gig in 2014. The news comes only a few weeks before the release and upcoming club tour. Though their decision will obviously have quite an impact on the band's future, Ton Scherpenzeel makes it clear that it does not mean Kayak will call it a day as well, but mentions no concrete plans to present a new line up any time soon.
In regards to developing 'Cleopatra- The Crown of Isis' as a spectacle to theaters or special events in the new year it will not make a big difference: for Cindy and Edward's respective roles as Cleopatra and The Sicilian replacements will be found.
In March 2015 Kayak (Ton Scherpenzeel, Rob Vunderink, Joost Vergoossen, Jan van Olffen and Sjoerd Rutten, replacing Hans Eijkenaar) & Guests (with Marjolein Teepen and Rolf Koster replacing Cindy and Edward) perform the rock opera at a special outside event on the Dutch island of Texel for a crowd of 1500 people that endure the cold and windy weather to watch and listen to this unique show. The band and guests are joined by a regional choir and two dancers, and the story itself is enhanced by video images that were especially made for the show.