was a Dutch ska
band with punk
influences. Their career ran from 1978 to 1984 and they were one of the most successful pop bands in Dutch
history. Doe Maar sang in Dutch
and were therefore only popular in Dutch-speaking countries (the Netherlands
and the Netherlands Antilles
translates as Go Ahead
, a phrase mostly used in a deprecatory, sulky manner.
Doe Maar were formed in 1978 as the resident band of that year's Festival of Fools
. Afterwards the 10-piece line-up was reduced to four; Ernst Jansz
(May 24 1948
; keyboards, sax, percussion), Jan Hendriks
(September 20 1949
; guitar), Carel Copier
(drums) and Piet Dekker
(bass). In 1979 they appeared on a sampler-album (Uitholling Overdwars
) made up of new bands singing in Dutch. They also released their self-titled debut on Telstar
omitting the sampler-track Blozen
); the ska- and reggae-influences that permeated their best known stuff were practically absent and the critics weren't impressed either.
"I fail to see how this lot will make a positive contribution to the future of Dutch music". Muziek Expres January 1980
Entering the new decade, Doe Maar hit the bubbling-under charts with the Caribbean-/Indonesian flavoured Ik Zou Het Willen Doen (I'd Like To Do It) and the album sold 2000 copies. But it wasn't enough; after a fallout between Ernst and Piet Dekker (with the latter sent packing) the band seriously considered to split up, but not before finishing their spring tour. Joost Belinfante, a versatile musician/free spirit with whom Ernst used to be in CCC Inc and Slumberlandband, agreed to step in for the time being.
Having completed the tour, Doe Maar decided that it would be a waste to give up the band. They asked Henny Vrienten (July 27 1948), a professional musician/composer who previously collaborated with Ernst as backing musicians for singer-songwriter Boudewijn de Groot during the mid-1970s. Henny initially refused, feeling that Doe Maar wasn't the right move in anybody's career, but he got second thoughts and decided to join the band after all. Henny came right on time to contribute the remaining three tracks (and the ska-/reggae-influences) to the second album; 32 Jaar (about a lovestruck, shaky-legged 32-year-old), Smoorverliefd (Smitten) and De Laatste Keer (The Last Time). This song is about breaking up and starting over, a subject close to Henny's heart as he recently split with his wife and stepsons. Joost Belinfante was also involved and delivered Nix Voor Jou (Not Your Type; one of Carel's two lead vocals) and crowd favourite to be Nederwiet. Where Henny plays the role of the observer, Ernst's lyrics witness a left-engaged ladies man being a stranger in his father's land (the Indonesia-themed Ruma Saya) and having intimate moments with a girl whose heart belongs to someone else (Alice).
, packed in a Henny-designed green-/pink sleeve, was supposed to be released in December 1980, but Telstar
(still not convinced that Doe Maar had quality work to offer) postponed the album to March 1981 (post-carnival
). It was felt that the band's effort would not survive amidst bigger names during the end of year festivities.
However, Telstar did start marketing the album and samples were sent to the radio stations. Due to an error, the DJs did not know that the record had not been released, and played the music on the radio.
Listeners immediately picked up on the song, 32 Jaar, although they struggled to remember the original name Sinds 1 Dag Of 2 (For a day or 2), until radio DJ Frits Spits renamed it to the current title.
'32 Jaar' reached No. 29 in the Top 40 and Doe Maar did a lot of gigging (although the attendance-figures still left a lot to be desired). Joost Belinfante regularly joined them on trombone and handpercussion, and sang a few tracks intended for his 1982 solo-album Fante (produced by Henny). The band received an encouragement award and released Smoorverliefd (Smitten) as the next single in September, but then fate struck...
Carel suffered from a fractured muscle which basically ended his career. Searching for a replacement they recruited Rene van Collem (1961), a seaside bartender who knew how to play a reggae-beat. He joined in time to record the third album of which the title track (Doris Day) was a complaint against TV boredom. The song initially had a reference to the legendary movie programme host Simon van Collem till it transpired that the good man was Rene's father. Henny's other efforts dealt with subjects such as unhappy marriages (Is Dit Alles), failure to quit cigarettes, junkfood and alcohol (OK) and desperately searching for a warm embrace (Radeloos). Ernst delivered songs about getting the cold shoulder (Situatie), sleeping with a 16-year-old (Belle Helene, featuring a sax-solo from the man himself) and dumping a girl for being overexperienced (De Eerste Keer). With Joost he co-wrote Nachtmerrie Op Hol (Nightmare On The Loose) about dreams of revisited exams.
Early 1982 Doe Maar were still playing to below-capacity crowds, but that all changed after the March release of Doris Day which made the top 10. Regular television appearnces and sellout gigs all over the country mainly attended by teenagers. Ernst, Henny and Jan H. enjoyed the success, unlike Rene whose behaviour was seen as a problem. Therefore the band decided to replace him with Jan Pijnenburg (1955). But again fate intervened; Jan P. made one television-appearance in May when he practically broke all his bones in a car-crash. Rene came back while his successor spent the next six months recovering. He played his b(igg)est-ever gig at Pinkpop on May 31 where the band (including Joost who still joined them from time to time) kicked off a sunny day. Offstage pics legendarily showed Ernst in his swimming trunks.
New Dutch Wave
Doe Maar's newfound success continued with Is Dit Alles
(Is That All
; a song that questions the perfect marriage) and gave rise to the Nederpop
(New Dutch Wave) explosion; (relatively) young bands singing in their own language at a time when serious music fans snubbed it. In October Doe Maar made their second appearance at Flaterpop, an indoor-festival celebrating contemporary Dutch-language
music and they headlined the first edition of the live-broadcast Veronica's Rocknight
and Golden Earring
. Birthday Boy Joost (October 8 1946
) was present to sing Nederwiet
during the jam-session.
By the end of 1982 Doe Maar notched up their first number 1-hit with De Bom,a joint Ernst-/Henny-composition with the underlying message 'What's the point of making a career/doing your homework when the (atomic) bomb can drop at any moment?'
In January 1983 Jan P. was finally installed for the band's best-remembered line-up (although he spent a few more months walking on crutches). After a warm-up tour they taped a TV-special predominantly miming tracks off their yet-to-release fourth album (recorded with Rene) including their latest single Pa about a father-/son-dispute with the former mellowed out and the latter still carrying on regardless. Again it hit the top spot. The B-side, Nachtzuster (Nightnurse, written by Henny) became as equally popular, courtesy of its inclusion in the TV-special.
By this time the boys stopped enjoying their success; greedy businessmen selling green-/pink merchandising, overzealous fans tapping their private moments , girls fainting at gigs in sports arenas and gossip press coverage were the order of the day. Shortly after the release of Virus
(creatively spelt 4US
) in March, Doe Maar announced a publicity-break; i.e., no interviews and radio- and television-appearances. Dexy's Midnight Runners
(for whom they opened at a 1981 radio-broadcast concert) would've been proud.
This decision backfired, as Doe Maar-mania grew even bigger. But it wasn't just them who had enough; headlining Pinkpop on May 23 the band were targeted with apples for selling out to the teen-mags and turning the festival into a glorified children's matinee. Henny, who got one in his face, responded by saying "If you keep this up then there'll be a real Nightnurse on hand. We don't mind you lot throwing at us but we do mind that our fans get hurt. And another thing; if you really don't like it, then fuck off". Henny would later say that 'Applegate' "made us realise that we couldn't go on like this".
Lifting the publicity-ban in September, Doe Maar embarked on their first proper tour of Belgium with a surprise-performance at Flaterpop (October 9) thrown in for good measure. Ernst released his debut novel Gideon's Droom about the immigration of his Indonesian father. Henny recorded his first Dutch-language solo-album (Geen Ballade; released in March 1984) with a little help from his friends. The entire Doe Maar line-up even appeared on closing instrumental Amstel Hotel 13:00.
In December the band flew to the Antilles where Doe Maar-mania also reigned supreme. They played shows on Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten In between they recorded a new single; Macho, released in January 1984, a resentment of lad culture from the viewpoint of a man who grew up as part of an otherwise all-female offspring ("If I only was a woman, we'd be knitting together"). Because of its no. 12-peak and its 1960s-style video, Macho was dismissed as an artistic and commercial failure.
The B-side was Grote Broer, which translates as Big Brother. Coincidentally Ernst wrote a Happy New Year-message for Popfoto-magazine in which he expressed hope for a better outcome of 1984 than predicted in the book he once read.
In February Doe Maar went into the studio to record their fifth album, but the vibe wasn't happening, and during a crisis meeting on the 13th they decided to call it a day. The split was officially announced three days later after a newspaper-leakout. The 8 O Clock News
spoke of "weeping teenage-girls who couldn't believe that it was all over".
Shocked by the fans' responses Doe Maar pencilled in a farewell-concert at the Maaspoort in Den Bosch on April 14. Due to overwhelming interest a second one was added as a matinee. Both shows were broadcast live on radio and television. As on several occasions during the 'Virus'-tour, the band were augmented by second keyboard-player Jakob Klaasse and a horn-section featuring Joost. At the matinee, that didn't sell out, Herman Brood and Belgian musician Jean Blaute dropped by for the only live-performance of Als Je Wint (When You're A Winner). The big surprises though, were saved for the evening; all previous members appeared to revive the actual line-ups. During the second encore Joost took the front-stage for a special version of Nederwiet with lyrics about birds and fish. De Laatste Keer proved to be a fitting closer. Many fans were left in tears, fully aware that life would never be the same again.
The days of New Dutch Wave were soon drawing to a close. A few notable exceptions aside, bands were splitting up because they didn't want to go the same way as Doe Maar or briefly turned to English material.
Henny refused to go on the road with his solo-album; he was scoring the 1985-released thriller De Prooi (The Prey) and producing albums for others. One of these acts was Dutch-born, Belgian-raised singer-turned-institution Raymond van het Groenewoud. Habba (released at the end of 1984) is a fine example of what the fifth Doe Maar-album might have sounded like had they decided to take time off and start from scratch.
Ernst went back to the annual CCC Inc reunion gig and also turned his hand to producing; De Drie Heeren (featuring Joost), and indie-band Blue Murder. In 1985 he released his second novel; De Overkant (The Other Side) deals with the damage done by colonialism on the Dutch Indies.
Jan. P. continued working with Henny, and Jan H. with Ernst. The increasingly hirsute Joost worked with both camps.
In 1986, Henny, Jan P. and Joost resurfaced in The Magnificent Seven, a collective that played ancient tunes like The Teddy Bear's Picknick
. One of their early performances was at a benefit-concert for Radio Freedom
. The other ex-Doe Maar-members were also present with their current outfits, and at the end of the day the inevitable happened.
A song for the ladies
In 1987 Ernst and Jan H. got involved with female-fronted bands, both fictional (television series Switch
) and real-life. (Midnight Hour and Rien Ne Va Plus). In 1990 Ernst wrote a song for Patty & Shift from the successful Spijkerhoek
series. The actual season saw Patty facing the wrath of an obsessive, lesbian fan played by Switch
-actress and Mrs. Jansz-to-be Jaloe Maat.
News from the bassman
That same year Henny appeared in the low-budget-movie Let The Music Dance
(starring a semi-retired Boudewijn de Groot) while The Magnificent Seven had their first and only album out. Henny also worked with Belgian singer-songwriter Jan De Wilde
and recorded a duet with the lead singer of demissionary New Dutch Wave-survivors Frank Boeijen Groep
A follow-up for Geen Ballade
was in the pipeline, and then in 1991 someone decided to celebrate the tenth anniversary of 32 Jaar
by re-releasing it. Doe Maar were back in the charts seven years after their split. A Best Of
followed but the expected revival appeared to be non-existent. However, that November a much younger audience was exposed to the songwriting-talents of Ernst; the 12th annual album by children's choir Kinderen voor Kinderen
(who once coined the request to stop singing De Bom
) included Verliefd Op De Meester
, a song about a schoolgirl fancying her teacher.
Songs from the heart
Early 1992 Henny finally released Mijn Hart Slaapt Nooit
(My Sleepless Heart
). Jan P. and Joost contributed, as well as prominent names from the Dutch Latin music
scene. Thus the outcome was Doe Maar-meets-Magnificent Seven with a Caribbean twist. Henny used wandering pigs as a metaphore
for racial inequality (Scharrelvarken
, the first single), was happy not to fit in, mocked vanity
in two versions, and called all Dads traitors. Second single Zonnebril
saw him hiding behind sunglasses to play a different type of observer ("Looking up and down from breast to bum"). As with Geen Ballade
the album got limited promotion; a few television appearances both live and playback (Countdown
, where Jan P. mimed somebody else's drumming parts), and one acoustic solo gig the Vondelpark
Secret reunion II
Meanwhile rumours were abound that Doe Maar would reunite for Veronica
's annual Golden Oldie
-festival; it didn't happen, but in December Ernst, Henny, Joost and the two Jans were on stage together at the Milky Way
in Amsterdam to open for CCC Inc.'s 25th anniversary concert. Only few took notice.
The new generation I
In 1993, the year that Ernst wrote another song for Kinderen voor Kinderen, Henny collaborated with pioneering Dutch-language rappers Osdorp Posse
. Respect was mutual, Henny appeared to be a huge fan while Def P
and his mates went on to sample De Bom
By 1994 a new generation of pop groups emerged who dared to sing in their own language; most of these exponents were in their teens, or even had single figure-ages, when Doe Maar-mania had a grip on the nation. In this climate the farewell-concert was released on CD and VHS for exclusive sales at Free Record Shop
. In 1996 actor/presenter Tim Immers
(1971) released an album of covers and originals, and charted with his version of the Doris Day
-track Beter Bij Mij
(Better Off With Me
). Ernst, now a member of Boudewijn de Groot's new live-band, was offered to work with Immers but turned it down. "He's a nice bloke but he's got no talent".
Secret reunion III
Also in 1996 Henny went into the studio with the two Jans and Herman Brood
to record a new version of 32 Jaar
as a duet for the rock 'n roll junkie's 50th birthday-album. Early 1997 he collaborated with Def P again; the pair of them were interviewed for TMF
, and asked about the chances of "a Doe Maar-album with a hiphop-touch" Henny said "Somewhere next to zero". Fifteen years after Fante
, Joost released his second solo-album (Als Een Rivier
) which he recorded without his famous friends, although some tracks sounded like they did appear on it. In 1998 he teamed up with Ernst and Jan P. to take part in De Nederlied Connectie, an all-star band that toured the country with Dutch-language songs. Meanwhile Henny received an Outstanding Contribution Award for all his TV-/movie-soundtracks, and taped a cameo in children's movie Abeltje
as a vocal group member learning his own Smoorverliefd
The new generation II
Ernst collaborated with Blof
, a Counting Crows
-style group who recently went mainstream with songs as Liefs Uit Londen
en Wat Zou Je Doen
. Their manager Frank van der Meijden used to be Doe Maar's and found himself matching past glories. In 1999 Blof embarked on a Doe Maar-covers-only tour as part of the successful Marlboro Flashback
-series. The real thing were invited to attend the show at the Amsterdam Paradiso
and quickly drew their conclusions. "That should've been us". At the end of October Henny joined Pascal Jakobsen and the boys on stage, but he had another surprise in store.
A nation cheers
; Ernst, Henny and the two Jans held a press-conference at the National Pop Institution's HQ to announce a reunion for one last album (to be released on V2
) and three shows at the Ahoy Rotterdam
. Asked if they were doing it for the money, Ernst explained that "Money is a
reason, but not the
reason". Henny was always the most reluctant member to do a Doe Maar-reunion, but his teenage sons managed to persuade him. "Dad, you're a sissy if you let it pass". Disgusted by the question "How much will you earn ?" Henny responded with "Please Sir, do I ask you about your wages ?". Fifteen years after splitting up, Doe Maar became frontpage-news again, but now for the right reasons; they were going to close off this chapter properly, and finally taking that long-denied slice of the financial pie.
Rene comes clean
After his departure Rene's career went in a commercially downward spiral. Early 1984 he joined funk-/disco-band Spargo
whose biggest successes (and classic line-up) were in the past by then. Like Doe Maar, they didn't survive the year. In 1985 Rene continued with three-piece Powerplay who also had seen their best days with previous members. In an ultimate history repeats-moment he handed over the sticks to Jan P. By 1997 Rene drummed in several bands including the critically acclaimed Sjako
. He was in Belgium
when he learned from the Reunion and felt surprised that they didn't ask him. Instead Rene did a My Drug Hell
-interview for Nieuwe Revu
magazine in which he confessed to long-time heroin
use as a way of dealing with the pressures of fame. "And in my naivety I couldn't tell them apart. Apparently that song (Heroine
) was inspired by me; but it came too late to save me, cause by the time we recorded it I was well into my addiction". Now a drug-free vegetarian, Rene works as a graphic designer.
A shaky tribute
In preparation for fresh Doe Maar-tracks, a tribute-album was released. Trillend Op M'n Benen
) featured covers stripped from the ska-/reggae-angle. The re-released 32 Jaar
appeared in both Dutch and English (phonetically translated as Tastes Of Sweet Desire
sampled Da Da I Love You
by German three-piece Trio
for their version of Pa
, but permission came too late to have it included on the Dutch release. Only reggae-/rap-trio Postmen
, also signed to V2
, stayed close to the original with their version of De Bom
. Rapper/funnyman Def Rhymz
lightened up this doom-laden track with some nonsense-lyrics. It was released on single and became a top 10-hit early 2000 (disappointed by the failure of their own subsequent material, frontman Anonymous Mis would later slag off his heroes' comeback).
Older & wiser
When Doe Maar entered the studio Ernst and Henny had 30 songs in their pockets, but because there was only so much time they had to cut it down to 18. A 'Making Of'-documentary saw the two frontmen competing for the lullaby-spot as a potential closer, but neither effort made the final cut.
Two weeks into the recording sessions fate struck; Jan P. suffered from back problems and was replaced by Marc Stoop and Rene. Joost didn't contribute, his place was taken over by a professional percussionist, a multi-instrumentalist and a three-piece horn-section consisting of young musicians.
The trademark Doe Maar-sound was spiced up with influences such as triphop (courtesy of Henny whose late-1990s TV-scores sounded thus). As for the lyrics, Henny now sang about growing older (much to Ernst's annoyance); opening-song Alles Doet Het Nog (Everything Still Works) is about coming back in a world dominated by teenagers while the bigband-skanker Dansmuziek (to be adopted as the theme-tune of an I Love The 1980s-style programme) portrays a former King of the Dancefloor trapped in a fat man's body. De Bewoners Van Het Pand (Dear Occupants) is a note-of-eviction to the bored-to-death who wasted their once-in-a-lifetime chance to enjoy themselves, and featured a rap from Def P. Henny's observing nature catches up with him in the Middle-Eastern-flavoured De Droom, in which he dreams of facing The Truth's anger for not lending a hand during wartime "when people disappeared behind the killing moon". His closing title-track Klaar (Done) is best described as The Specials taking the Nightboat To Sao Paolo.
Ernst was still the left-engaged ladies man but even his lyrics explored new territories; in Het Beste he decides that his fatherhood has become a failure, and in Overspel the ladies man has grown up to discover his potential for adultery (although not succumbing to it). The Beatlesque De Oorlog deals with inner-struggle while Bij Elkaar recalls Crosby Stills Nash & Young.
As a first Jan H. takes the lead in the UB 40-ish De Kater, a Henny-written song with a 'Let's drink our worries away and deal with the consequences later'-theme.
In February 2000 two singles were issued on the same day; Als Niet Als by Henny in with a rap from Antwerp-born Dutchman Brainpower, and Ernst's anti-violence track Watje which sees the good man supplying a ragga-style rap halfway.
Klaar was released in April 2000 and instantly went gold.
Due to overwhelming ticket demand the three reunion-concerts expanded up to a whole tour consisting of eight warm-up shows in both the Netherlands and Belgium, and a 16-night stint at the Ahoy interrupted for a one-off at the Antwerp Sports Palace
; the same crew of extra musicians on Klaar
joined them on stage, only Rene was not invited. The set was basically the same as during the 1983/84 shows but with a couple of the new tracks thrown in for good measure. The tour was a hit with both fans and critics, and everything went well till June 26 when Henny was rushed to hospital with meningitis
of the bone (botvliesontsteking); the show was rescheduled to July 5 while Henny finished the tour on painkillers. The finale took place two days later; someone decided to send a SM-dancer on stage during Nightnurse
; the boys were not amused.
In November 2000 a live CD/DVD, Hees van Ahoy, was released. RTL paired a TV-edit. Soon afterwards old ghosts came back to haunt Henny; the gossip press reported that he left his wife and kids to start over for the third time.
Over & done ?
Not entirely; Ernst, Henny and Jan H. reunited on Boudewijn de Groot's 2004-album Eiland in de Verte
In 2007 they attended the premiere of Doe Maar: The Musical for which Henny did supervising work.
Against anyone's expectations Doe Maar announced a 2008 summer tour consisting of four club shows in June, a three-night residency at Rotterdam's Feijenoord Stadium on July 11, 12, and 13, and a performance at Belgium's brand new Werchter Boutique-festival. Henny was recently quoted "This is not a reunion, we're back together" and there's even talk of a brand new studio-album.
- Doe Maar
- Doris Day en Andere Stukken (Doris Day and other performances)
- Doe de Dub (Dub-album featuring Doris Day-tracks)
- 4Us (Virus)
- Lijf aan Lijf (Double Live Album)
- Afscheidsconcert (Double Live Album from farewell concert in 1984)
- Klaar (Done) (Released - April 24, 2000)
- Hees van Ahoy (Reunion concerts registration)