swore off

Herman Brood

Herman Brood (pronounced "Broat" /bro:t/; Zwolle, 5 November 1946Amsterdam, 11 July 2001) was a Dutch musician, painter and media personality. Brood was known for his hedonistic lifestyle of "sex, drugs and rock 'n roll".


After playing piano in Cuby and the Blizzards and several other bands since 1964, Brood started his own group, Herman Brood and His Wild Romance, in 1977. The band had made their first, and best known, album Shpritsz—a play on the German word for syringe—in 1978 This album contained anti–drug use songs like "Dope Sucks", but also "Saturday Night". "Saturday Night" was their first hit single.

Brood's outspoken statements in the press about sex and drug use brought him into the Netherlands public arena even more than his music. He was romantically involved with the German singer Nina Hagen, with whom he appeared in the 1978 film Cha Cha. He is reputed to be the subject of her song "Herrmann Hiess Er" (English title "Herrmann is High") on the Unbehagen album, 1979, about a drug addict. Brood relished the media attention and became the most famous hard drug user in the Netherlands. "It is quite common for an artist to use drugs, but not for him to tell everybody. I admit that it scared me that my popularity could make people start using drugs", he once said in an interview.

Brood swore off most drugs, reducing his drug use to alcohol and a daily shot of speed. In 2001, depressed by the failure of his drug rehabilitation program and after finding out that he had only a few months left to live, he committed suicide on 11 July by jumping from the roof of the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel at the age of 54.

Bart Chabot, a friend of Herman Brood, wrote about his life in several biographies: "Broodje gezond", "Broodje halfom", "Brood en spelen" and "Broodje springlevend".

In 2007 the film Wild Romance was released, which was a film about Brood's life, Brood was portrayed by Daniël Boissevain.

Visual arts career

In the 1990s he took up painting and became as successful as a painter as he was as a musician. Although Herman Brood was known outside of Holland mostly among music fans, in his homeland he was also well-known and loved for his paintings, poetry and contributions to public art and for creating murals in various public spaces around Amsterdam. Most art critics have difficulty trying to describe his unique style, but his paintings (and murals) are considered by many to be a valuable contribution to Dutch culture and art.

On 5 November 2006 the Groninger Museum (Museum of Groningen) opened an exposition devoted to Herman Brood's life and work, comprised of paintings, lyrics and poetry, portraits by photographer Anton Corbijn, a collection of private pictures (from the family album), concert photos and videos. The exhibition was on show until 28 January. It was centered around Herman's atelier (studio) where he created most of his paintings. The atelier had been entirely re-built in the museum. During the 90's Herman Brood's studio was located on the second floor of the gallery in the Spuistraat in Amsterdam and has remained untouched since his death in July 2001.

The work of Herman Brood continues to have a significant impact on new generations of Dutch painters, as well as street and public artists.


  • Street (1977)

Original 1977 release of Herman Brood's "Street". Jan Akkerman plays guitar on one track "Romanza di Cavalli", which he also wrote. Gatefold cover.
Year: 1977
Media: Vinyl LP
Label: Bubble records
Release no: 28 711 XOT
Manufactured: Holland
Musicians: Herman Brood, Fredie Karmelk, Gerrit Veen, Peter Walvecht, Ellen Piebes, Ria Ruiter, Jan Akkerman
Producer: Jan Schuurman
Engineer: Jan Schuurman
Studio: Soundpush studio, Blaricum
Tracks: Street, Turn it up, Syrup, Back in your love, Crocodile, Pop it, Romanza di Cavalli, Spide pain, One more doze, Feels like love

  • Shpritsz (1978)
  • Cha Cha (1978)
  • Go Nutz (1980)
  • Wait a Minute... (1980)
  • Modern Times Revive (1981)
  • Frisz & Sympatisz (1982)
  • The Brood (1984)
  • Bühnensucht/Live (1985)
  • Yada Yada (1988)
  • Hooks (1989)
  • Freeze (1990)
  • Saturday Night Live! (1992)
  • Fresh Poison (1994)
  • 50 The Soundtrack (1996)
  • Ciao Monkey (2000)
  • Back on the Corner (2000)

50 The Soundtrack is a tribute album for Herman's 50th birthday, on which he sings duets with various guests.



  • "liebes blutbad", Revonnah Verlag, Hannover, ISBN 3927715239.
  • Brigitte Tast, Hans-Juergen Tast "be bop - Die Wilhelmshoehe rockt. Disco und Konzerte in der Hoelle" Verlag Gebrueder Gerstenberg GmbH & Co. KG, Hildesheim, ISBN 978-3-8067-8589-0.


  • Herman Brood never gained an audience in the USA , but a poster of 'Herman Brood and his Wild Romance' can be seen in the David Cronenberg film Scanners (about 53 minutes into the film).
  • Black Francis' 2007 album Bluefinger is based on stories from Brood's life and work, and includes a cover of one of Brood's songs, "You Can't Break a Heart and Have It".


External links

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