A minor requiem

When I open my Skype, there is one pinned connection that has been silent for over a year. On December 23rd, I sent my last message to Colin Tench, promising him to get back to him on his new album minor Masterpiece for which he had just sent me the final digital version. A few days after, Colin would leave us, and I never got to tell him what I thought of the album. Today, a year after his passing, I think it’s time to tell him.

Colin, you always told me you were very fond of what you heard in the sixties and seventies, and that you wanted those sounds to return and live on.

In terms of style, musicianship and production, that’s what you aimed for, while at the same time making sure your original, humoristic and musically surprising twist was there. We talked a lot, and we shared some music on the first CTP album, the one with the 2 million guests. On the second one, your minor Masterpiece, you decided to keep it smaller – not too many guests, and a piece of music centered around the drum tracks you got form Joe Vitale. It worked – the album is varied, and musically and productionwise it got very close to what you always told me you wanted to achieve. Listening to the album, I can see why you pointed out The Beatles’ I Want You (She’s so Heavy), a track that a lot of people don’t even recognise as a Beatles track.

It took me the best part of a year to get around to listening to the album in full, because it’s so hard to do without being able to discuss it with you personally. I did it however, and I like it – it’s your own ‘white album’ – varied, original, recognisable at the same time and exactly how you wanted it – rock combo and orchestra in one, with your friends Joe, Gordo, Petri, Joey and Peter shining with you.

Thank you for the music, Mr. Tench. We’ll meet again.

Don’t ever cry, just remember…


Today it’s been 10 years since the massive voice of Mike A. Baker, vocalist of Shadow Gallery was silent forever. A heart attack at 45 – as Bruce Dickinson sang “Only the good die young, while the evil seem to live forever”.

I remember buying the first two Shadow Gallery albums right away when they were released in the early 1990s. The production of especially the first one wasn’t flawless, but the music, the vocal harmonies and the great voice of Mike Baker really made me a fan from the start. Shortly afer, from mid 90s till 2005, I had a period of about 10 years during which I lost interest in the music that I grew up with – rock and metal. However, there were a few bands who’s albums I kept buying during that period, although a lot I only listened to first after 2005: Ayreon, Rush, Dream Theater, and Shadow Gallery. Every single album of the band has something magical and unique – although Digital Ghosts lacks Mike’s voice.

With the first self titled album, I fell in love with the flute in Dark Town and the mystery carried by Mike’s vocals in the Queen of the City of Ice. On the second one, Carved In Stone, the brilliant Crystalline Dream, and the epic Cliffhanger and Ghostship were added.

And so, the story continued, and Mike was always there. In recent years, long after his untimely death, there is however one album that has a special place in my musical heart – Room V. After another untimely death, that of my Arianna’s mother, the track Comfort Me became one of our cherished tracks – both to comfort Arianna and to remember her mother. If he was still here, I’d send a thank you message to Mike, likely on the Facebook page he never had – now I just post it here.

Thank you, Mike Baker, voice of memories and comfort. Rest in Peace in the musical havens.

Your touch to comfort me
Just comfort me
Your sheltering soul not a moment too soon
You’re a sweet tourniquet
For my soul lies rife with open wounds
And yes I thought as I closed my eyes
I saw phantom apparitions dance
And are we really safe on our own
Or are they out there watching
Right now I don’t want to care at all


Hey, what’s going on…?

Hey, what’s going on…?  A line that may remind some of a 90s pop song by a band called 4 Non Blondes, others will recall the song by Marvin Gaye, and yet others of a song from the s60s song For What It’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield, in which it is actually ‘everybody look what’s going down…


Either way, the line is the title of this post, because it’s a question I’ve been asking myself for the past months, especially when it comes to music. For some reason, I’ve not been so keen on listening to new music – be it prog, metal, or anything else since the end of summer. Likewise, I haven’t had special fun running my weekly show on ISKC rock radio, except for a few good days.. It’s not that I don’t like doing it, but when the music is not making you feel good, running a show becomes a chore. I don’t know what’s blocking me, but it’s been a nuisance. Luckily, it’s slowly changing.

Yes, it’s slowly turning, since I picked up a guitar and bass again a few weeks ago. I was preparing for the tribute show for Colin Tench, listening to some music, together with Arianna. She’d been asking me to play a bit for her for a while, and I picked up the acoustic Gretsch and we ended up doing some acoustic songs together – To Be With You by Mr. Big being the most memorable one. That revamped my musical feel again, and I’ve been playing more music since. Still not on the level I used to be at, but on last week’s show I had some of my old favourites going – the new ones will come soon.

Meanwhile, it’s also been quiet on my blog, except for the said memorial post on Colin’s passing. The reasons are the same, but I’ve also been busy doing other things. One thing that made me happy were the Christmas holidays. I spent two weeks with Arianna, in Italy and The Netherlands, with our children taking turns in being there – one time we’ll all be at the same place at the same time. Our first Christmas (of many to come) really together, and New Years eve and her birthday as well. A picture to prove … It was magical <3

Now what’s next? More radio shows, some musical cooperations in the making (I want to get back on my bass, for real) and a bright future. Join me again here, more to come…



And so, Today… in memory of Colin Tench

On December 30th 2017, just after midnight, Arianna and myself had just finished packing for our first flight together from Italy to The Netherlands and were ready to go to bed, when my phone buzzed. An incoming message from Gordo Bennett. Normally, I would have left the message till the morning, but the small bit that showed on the notification made me want to read it right away. “Angel my brother… My dear friend… It deeply saddens me”, it said. I opened the message and all I could say was ‘Nooo!’ – or something a bit more profane, I can’t remember. Colin Tench, musician, composer, producer, but most of all friend, had past away in the past few days. We didn’t sleep for a while that night, there were just tears, and short call to Gordo to bond in our grieve. I had talked to him only a few days before, just before Christmas, when he sent me his new album, and I promised to listen and call him after my holidays, in the first weekend of January. Tonight, actually, as I write this.

We cried, we talked about Colin and played only one song, before giving in to sleep. A song that he wrote at the end of 2016, the year that so many musicians left this earth – And So, Today….

A song, that now fits so much his own case. A talented man, in the middle of work and way too young to die. Actually, our friend Lucas Biela found the best words to express it a few days later: ‘Colin was too young to die, and nowhere near to old to rock n roll’

I’ve known Colin since early 2013, and we became closer friends after september 2014, when Corvus Stone released their second album. Arianna has known him since even a few years before then, around the time the BunChakeze album was released. When I had a burnout in 2015, Colin was one of the people that got me to use music as a way back to sanity – he got me in touch with other musicians, other music, reviewers and radio stations – and through that also to Arianna. He was a funny, talented and above all intelligent man. He was all over the web and the new music distribution channels, but hardly anything personal can be found about him online – although the past year he was a bit more open about the renovation of his house (and saving Shaun the Sheep from his roof – poor animal). Even the date of his birthday was a mystery, and most of us only found out the real date in the saddest possible way. Still, by talking to him, and being open about my own situation, he became more open about himself – and we learned a bit more about each others life. Things he told me, that he told us, and that we will cherish always, but that won’t be out in the open out of respect for our lost friend. A friend who we were planning to visit within the next two years, and who promised that once we settled on a wedding date, he would drive his Bentley south for us, and to learn how to play at least one song by heart for the occasion.

So much we talked about in so few years, and it feels like a void now.  Rest in peace – or rather, sit with the folks you wrote ‘And So Today…’ for, and rock the afterlife till the roof flies off. We miss you Colin, and we will always love you. You live on in your music, and the memories you left with us and so many others all over the world these 63 years.

And so, today 
Heard the news 
Did you hear what they say? 
The knight on the hill is sleeping 
Sleep well dear friend 
Your music is here to stay 
The magic still fills my ears 

Colin Tench – May 30, 1954 – December 27, 2017

A new dawn..

Last night I was side kick on Into The Mirror Black, next to my wonderful DJ Morgana. We had an interview with Arjen Lucassen and a showcase of the forthcoming Ayreon album The Source. I had a great time, we had a great time – and we’ll do this again.

Does that mean my own show will stop? No, of course not. But there will be some changes in other areas. My reviews have become very infrequent and that is how I feel about reviewing right now: I’d rather enjoy the music and write she. I feel like it, without the pressure of ‘having to deliver’. So there will be a few more soon, for Background Magazine, but after that I’ll go back to doing it on my own. No pressure, and only do it when I feel like. And as for the 100 words? That will stay, because it’s a nice way of writing about the essence of things. And it allows people to get an idea of a album, and then go straight to the music.

So, leaving planet Alpha and on to planet Y, for a new dawn. Not through the black hole, but Into The Mirror Black….


Aisles – Hawaii

First time I heard Aisles was on their dark concept album 4:45AM. With Hawaii, they deliver another 80 minute concept album, about a group of human colonies surviving after the earth is destroyed. Musically it’s a very interesting mix of melodic symphonic rock, transferring the sound of the 70s and 80s to a 21st century sound. There is no lack of musicianship in this band, and Angel is one of the best vocalists I know. Highlights for me: jazz rock infused The Poet, and the wonderful, very melodic, symphonic rock pieces CH-7 and Pale Blue Dot. Progressive Rock lives in Chile.


Highly recommended.

To a wonderful 2017, and to forget 2016

Well…. 2016 wasn’t exactly the most fun I’ve seen in the past almost 44 years. A year to forget in many respects – personal, relational and musical. It also had an ending I’d rather have not seen.

However, there’s a bright star I found in 2016 that I intend to follow in 2017. And that will make 2017 a much better year than 2016. So, I’ll be brief and just wish you all the best for the coming year, and see you all on what will be a wonderful trip.

Tja…. 2016 was niet het mooiste van de afgelopen bijna 44 jaar voor mij. Een jaar om te vergeten in veel opzichten, persoonlijk, relationeel en muzikaal. Het had ook een einde dat ik liever niet had gezien.

Maar, ik heb in 2016 ook een ster gevonden om te volgen in 2017. Die gaat van 2017 een mooier jaar maken dan 2016. Dus ik hou het kort en wens jullie allemaal het allerbeste voor het komende jaar, en tot ziens op deze mooie reis.2017