Fire & Iron
Last year was a year of celebrations for Dutch music fans. Somehow, somewhere it was decided that the birth of Dutch pop music happened 50 years ago with the first single of Indo-rockers the Tielman Brothers (on a Belgian label!). As always the true heroes, the people that paved the way were grossly over-looked. Hardly a word about legendary Dutch bands Q65, Outsiders, Cuby & the Blizzards or the Bintangs. An embarrassing oversight, especially where the Bintangs are concerned, as they were founded in 1961 and still active today. Which makes the Bintangs arguably the longest existing rock band in the low-lands, possibly even in the whole wide world. In '61 brothers Frank and Arthy Kraaijeveld started the Bintangs in Beverwijk, a city mostly known because of it's smelly and smoking steelworks. In the beginning they were playing Indo-Rock, at that time in the Netherlands a popular form of music styled by expatriates from Indonesia or, as it was nostalgically known, at the time, Dutch India. Bintang means 'Star' in the local Malaysian language and it is also the name of a well-know beer brand in Indonesia, hinting at the star in the logo of Heineken, it's owner in the 'colonial' days of pre-1948. The Bintangs soon switched to a raw R&B style, strongly influenced by artists like Bo Diddley and Howlin' Wolf, comparable to the music of British bands like The Pretty Things and The Rolling Stones. The similarities in their repertoire and in the voices of the late Bintangs vocalist Gus Pleines and Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger earned the band the nickname 'The Dutch Rolling Stones'. Fast forward to 2009. Frank Kraayeveld still leads the band. The way a young terrier puppy would. Blinders on; amp on 11, 'all right, all right', jumping head over heels into the next raunchy song without parachute or net. With the same gusto, the same raw energy, drenched in sweat, as 50 years ago. But yet more energetic, more fanatic than ever... Frank's vocals sound like the roughest grade of sandpaper, his bass must hurt like hell. Around Frank a pack of wolves from a much younger generation. Brothers Maarten and Gerben Ibelings, guitar and drums, have been Bintangs fans forever and are now playing the classics they grew up with plus the new greasy, greasy, coal-dusted blasting furnace sounds of "Fire And Iron": 'the riff... it's not so complicated. The riff.... You love it or you hate it. It's hypnotizing, paralyzing, bad for the brains! The riff... it feels like you are dying. The riff... I wanna hear you shout. The riff is gonna kill ye tonite!' It's gotta be exciting, just like a flash of lightning! And then there's Dagomar Jansen. His father Jimmy was the original Bintangs' drummer from 1961 through 1963. At the age of nine Dagomar stepped into his shoes, but later switched to guitar. He adds lap steel, guitar and harmonica. Dagomar, Gerben, Maarten and Frank 'the voice' are one helluva team: 'everybody is a smoldering fire - the heat hides in everyone - it takes just a sigh to light up the flames - and let it burn till it's over and done'.... Frank's wife Diana is well aware that the Dutch patriarch of rock of 'n roll will most likely breathe his last breath on stage. He'll either explode or drown in his own sweat! 'Please lick my sweat, all that dripping is making me mad - temperature's rising, 2000 degrees - it looks like meltdown paradise..." The new album is boiling, red hot, sizzling in a melting pot, flames are licking everywhere, spitting smoke into the air, bubbling steel and liquid heat: "Fire And Iron".