Rockklassiekers Kayak 40 Jaar Symfonische Rock

(Book, 2012, Verbum Publishers, ISBN: 0789074274616)

(April 2013, text by Henri Strik, edited by Peter Willemsen)

X On the 21th of September 1972, during a meeting of the band's management and the record company, it was decided that a young Dutch progressive rock band would be called Kayak. This date was also chosen as the starting point for the band and thus, in 2012, the band celebrated their fortieth anniversary with a Dutch concert tour called Journey Through Time that I witnessed at De Pul in Uden, the Netherlands (see review). At the same time a book was published called Kayak 40 Jaar Symfonische Rock, which of course means 'forty years of symphonic rock'. As the title already indicates the book has been written in the Dutch language by Irene Linders, the spouse of keyboardist Ton Scherpenzeel, the only original and founding member who's still in the band after Pim Koopman, his friend and drummer, sadly passed away in November 2009.

Maybe it's a pity that no English version of this book was published, because the summary of Kayak's history has been written well. Besides being the author of this book Linders has always been the band's manager and main lyricist. She even joined the band for a while as one of the two backing singers who named themselves The Kayettes. This book, dedicated to the late Pim Koopman, features many interesting facts seen from Scherpenzeel's point of view. Most of the facts and figures in the book came from his archive and his personal diary in which he kept all the memories since the birth of Kayak. Page by page the history of the band unfolds together with quite a number of interesting anecdotes that provide you with a lot of inside information.

Ton Scherpenzeel
(picture by Arthur Haggenburg)
The book consists of two main chapters called 'the first period' and 'after the reunion'. Chapter one covers the first ten years before they broke up in 1982. After a hiatus of eighteen (!) years Kayak reunited in 2000 and from that point in time chapter two provides all the details. The book has been built up from year to year and even some pre-Kayak years have been included. At the same time not only the history of Kayak is told, but also what happened that year in the outside world by telling some facts of historical world events. Of course it's impossible to give you all the details in this review, but nevertheless I will give you some interesting facts.

Ton 'Mr. Kayak' Scherpenzeel started his musical career on the bass guitar before switching to the keyboards. It's also interesting to know that the gay manager of the band was in love with the young, but straight Scherpenzeel. He told him that he goes for men with long blond hair... The same manager appropriated a lot of the band's income; later on he committed suicide. A few fans probably know that after the break in 1982 Scherpenzeel formed the band Europe featuring former Kayak members Bert Veldkamp (bass, backing vocals) and Johan Slager (guitars, backing vocals). The band also did some live gigs as Kayak.

In 2000 the band reunited after an episode of the Dutch TV-version of Classic Albums. They got an invitation to perform on a Dutch live TV-show with the help of De Kast, another Dutch band. Initially the band included three original band members (Scherpenzeel, Koopman and singer Max Werner), alongside bassist Bert Veldkamp and guitarist Rob Winter. The re-establishment of the band resulted again in some wonderful albums. The musical highlights of Kayak's second period are without doubt the two rock operas Merlin - Bard Of The Unseen (2003) and Nostradamus - The Fate Of Man (2005). These albums are mentioned as well in the book just as the dark pages about the sudden death of founder member Pim Koopman. Furthermore the book contains a complete discography and many fantastic pictures taken throughout their career. The many photo shoots at different locations are discussed as well for example the pictures on the beach in Madeira or the horse riding in Zandvoort! They underwent much pain during those sessions!

Kayak December 2012:
(left to right)
Joost Vergoossen:
guitars, backing vocals
Cindy Oudshoorn:
lead and backing vocals, percussion
Hans Eijkenaar:
Jan van Olffen:
bass guitar
Edward Reekers:
lead and backing vocals, additional keyboards, percussion
Ton Scherpenzeel:
keyboards, backing vocals
Rob Vunderink:
guitars, lead and backing vocals
X (picture by Henri Strik)

This book is a real must for all Dutch Kayak fans. Foreign people who don't have full command over the Dutch language may enjoy the many historical pictures. Personally I was very amused while reading about all the things I didn't know before. After all, that's what a biography is for!

More info about Kayak on the Internet:

       review album 'See See The Sun' (1973)
       review album 'Royal Bed Bouncer' (1975)
       review album 'Letters From Utopia' (2009)
       review EP 'Cleopatra/Symmetry' (2012)
       Concert review 15-Sep-09
       Concert review 24-Nov-12

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