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. with Rene Haak and Ronald Brautigam from Dutch Progressive Rock Band PLACKBAND
.                                   by Sergio Motta, Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

Sergio Motta - Your band was formed in the mid-seventies, and as far as I know you were
very active that time by doing a lot of live performances but unfortunately you did not
have any chance of releasing an album. Did this situation cause you any sort of

Ronald: In a certain way of speaking, yes it did. And after all it was the reason that we chanced our music-style. We spoke with some people from a record company and wanted so badly a record deal that we decided to chance our music and at the end took another singer from the other Dutch symphonic rock band called Taurus. It was a frustrating time for us and even more for our lead singer Kees Bik. We do not like to remember this time!
Rene: In the mid-seventies the recording facilities where bad. Also for the live performance the recording equipment wasn’t good enough for the quality we want in recording. So we decided to build our own studio but the problem was that when it was finished, the band split-up. By the way, the studio still exists and it’s today a high professional recording studio.
Plackband was always taken as one of the best surprises from Dutch musical scene where
success should be just a question of time. What do you take today as being the main
impediment for the success of your band?
Ronald: Now we are so much older and we are making music for fun! So no pressure, no stress. Just making music we like to play, with or without a record deal. For now I say we keep playing till we die…..
Rene: Old musicians never die…
In those days we play a lot of concerts all over the country. We had our own equipment for sound and lights. A part of the light system we buy in England from Led Zeppelin. We have two large trucks for moving all the stuff from place to place.  For each concert we need more than 6 hours to build the stage and soundcheck. Now looking back, it was a great time but no thanks….. Today we take only the backline with us and some special lighting. 
The concerts of the Plackband where always a spectacle show. Good sound and lightshow, and a theater show, driven by the music on stage. For those days people came from all over the country to see the show. When we make our come-back last year, we must create a bigger show than ever. We have an obligation to our fans. Fortunately we have success and the receptions were great.
You were taken by quite a few people in Europe as being the next Genesis, some of them
even got to say you should have reached the top if you were an English or American
band. Do you feel alike in this matter?
Ronald: I don’t know. I still have a great respect for Bands like Genesis or Yes and do not see myself on the same musical level. But on the other hand it is the public that compare and if they say so, maybe they are right then. It’s surely  a compliment!
Rene: I think that we would have a better chance if we were an English or American band. The market for progressive rock is big but you never heard it on the radio. We have to consider to bring out or CD first in America and then to come back to Europe, but it’s a long way.
Although Plackband has stopped its activities in the beginning of the 80’s,  the band’s
name was often echoing in the musical scene, even without having that occasion
perpetuated its music through an album. Do you personally think you were owing an
album to your audience?
Ronald: Yes, looking back I do think so. That is the reason that we are working on a studio album with a compilation of the old songs. After 20 years finally a real studio album that sounds like the old days!
Rene: Absolutely. In the 20 years of not playing we always heard the missing of that album by the fans. Also for us own it was a missing part of our life’s.
The Plackband’s music was always characterized by strong lyrics, varying from cynical
to romantic and even sarcastic at times. Do you intend to keep this characteristic on
this current phase of the band?
Ronald: Absolutely! Kees Bik (who wrote/write all the lyrics) has not chanced at all. Maybe a bit wiser but still the same vision on life. 
Rene: As Ronald says, we know that the lyrics in future songs will be the same. The look of life isn’t changed at all, only we look now trough the glasses. (we are very old!)
Your band is now returning with a Cd titled ‘’The Lost Tape’’. It really sounds like an
interesting fact whereas you have just found an old tape in the attic, which results now 
on a Cd. By the way, do you believe this work should have already seen the light if you
had found it previously?
Rene: No I don’t think so. They were found at the right time. You see, all the members of the band were doing other things, like the November project from Ronald and Michel. In fact Plackband was a closed chapter for all of us. There was another reason for not thinking of a reunion: the music was not written on paper at that time and the songs were so complicated that we did not even dare to think of playing this music again! But as you know by now we succeeded and we are playing the songs even better this time.
Ronald: If you ask me several years ago if the Plackband will play again, I probably say “no way”. During my “November” (*) project with Michel van Wassem and several other musicians it never came to my mind. Still in every interview they asked me about the Plackband. When the November project stopped after 2 CD’s, Michel and I had the same thoughts because we have some much fun in playing music. We contacted the old members of the Plackband and almost at the same time, Albert de Keijzer, our bass player, found the lost tapes.
I heard your band return was strongly motivated after the discovery of the old tape,
beyond of course a massive popular demand and also a personal desire of the band’s
members. Do you  feel today more optimistic than in the past to go on playing this sort
of music?
Ronald: It sounds funny, but yeah: we now feel that we play a kind of music that is really unique. We are not listening to people anymore who says it’s old fashioned or something like that. We believe in our music and we know that there are people that loves it. So it gives you a feel of freedom, knowing that we can play anything we want. And if there are 100 or 5000 people listening to a concert, we enjoy playing!
Rene: Yes. When we started in the mid-seventies everything we did was based on amateur enthusiasm. The name Plackband is a Dutch name for “cello tape”. All of our equipment was kept together by tape and nails. Most of the works for the live performances we did ourselves. For now we have professional instruments and equipment, so we can focus on our music. And after all, we like the music we play, and every time we intensify to do something different and we always end where we started, the progressive rock.
As far as I have been noticed Plackband is doing afresh a lot of gigs in Netherlands, such
as you did in former times. By the way, are you able to describe your old fans’ reception?
Rene: It’s very motivated for the members of the band that so many fans returned after so much time. Some of them have gray hair and a big belly but they take their kids with them and say to them “ look, this is what your father and mother likes”. We also notice that young people like our music. They say that our music is a revelation in this time of computer music and commercial easy songs.
Ronald: It was a big surprise that the fans remembered so many songs from then. I saw, playing on stage, people singing the songs word by word, after almost 20 years. And the reactions were even more enthusiastic till then. People were yelling and singing all the way, so it was a great experience.
According to you, you have plans to accomplish an extensive tour across the Europe
this year and also coming to play in Brazil opportunely is a will. What are the requisites
to bring your band here?
Ronald: The fact that we all have a family and have a job to do, it is not easy to plan things like this. The only way to do so is planning concerts in a short period. Coming to Brazil is like a dream come true, but wisely we have to think how we can manage an operation like this. We do not want to make a fortune (ha,ha) but we also do not wish to spend a lot of money to do so. So when for example, tickets and hotels are paid we are willing to talk about a tour in Brazil.
Rene: Of course we want to play in Brazil but we are also realistic. We concentrate now on making the studio CD. Later this year we continue our live performances in Europe, starting with some concerts in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. We have some invitations from England, Spain and Italy. The problem is that we all have a job so we must do the tour by weekends. Coming to Brazil is a wish for all of us. If it’s possible to make a tour for two weeks, and someone in Brazil organizes it, we will instantly come. (if one of your readers can organize it, feel free to do so)
I have been told you are lately working hard upon a new album, where you have even 
entered the studio to record it. By the way, have you given already this album any title?
What may I know about it beforehand?
Ronald: We are working hard on this new studio album. We are thinking of first recording a mini-CD with a new song and 2 old songs. This will be ready in the end of the year. The album will be released in the first half of the next year, as I told you before, there are no hurries! We do not have a tittle for both albums. Kees Bik had an idea for the album: “They don’t make them like this anymore….”
Just to close this interview, would you like to impart any message for the progressive
rock fans in Brazil and in the world, who will probably have the opportunity to read 
your interview?
Ronald: I would say, believe in the music you really like and don’t listen to people who say things like old fashioned music or things like that. Progressive Rock (or Symphonic Rock as we say) will stay forever. We hope that we can give you the pleasure of listening to this music with our next coming albums and hope to see you on a live concert of Plackband.
Rene: Specially for our fans in Brazil our website www.Plackband.com will soon be translated in  English and we also intent to donate a mp3 button to download one or two new songs. (before the new CD is coming out) So anybody can hear the music of the Plackband. We also hear that some fans have donate our music by the napstar site and also by WINMX. 
We hope that we play in Brazil soon to meet our fans and we have the opportunity to bring our music to our friends far away. For now I will end to say thank you for this interview and hope to see you all soon.
Sergio Motta
is a friend and partiner from the Progressive Rock And Progressive Metal Site

Kees Bik - Lead vocal and keyboards
Ronald Brautigam - Guitars and backing vocal
Michel van Wassem - Keyboards and backing vocals
Tom van der Meulen - Drums and percussions
Albert de Keijzer  - Bass and bass pedals

Rene Haak - Management and light design
John Groen - Sound design

Plackband Home Page

For more information: 
send e-Mail to: renehaak@wanadoo.nl

The Plackband is a band formed in the mid-senventies and have a solid progressive rock sound.

Their massive, yet crystal clear sound, was the basic for the best Symphonic group in the Netherlands. The Inspired lyrics, for sometimes cynical or even sarcastic, to romantic fantasies or down-to-earth observations, gave a extra dimension to the performances.

Helped by a wonderful tage-sound and spectacular lightshow, ther made their gigs something to look forward to and experience. As a critic explained in one of his columns: " Plackband has just one thing working against them, they are Dutch".  "If there were a Englisch or American band, they would be the next Genesis".

Beginning of the eighties the band split up, cause by different opinions of the road to follow. The name of the band however kept popping in progressive rock-land while, to the regrets of many, no records or tapes of their music were available.

In August 99, on the attic, carelessly throuwn in a corner, a menber found some old dusty Revox-tapes of their last live performance, at Chrismas eve back in 81. The tapes where recorded directly from the mixer. The lost tapes where found!. Inspired by this good fortune the band decided to restart and 18 years later they are back to meet popular demand and personal desires. As the say themeselves:" Never before and never after have we had so much fun making music.

Though digitally cleaned, the document CD I will send you, have six songs as Plackband performed them on that night in 81 (mistakes included)

For now the Plackband has make there come back with a several concerts and the fans, also new, where impresed. A brand new lightshow, great sound and a proffesional performance, will take the Plackband where it must be, on the top of the progressive rock scene.

The menbers of the Plackband are now in the Studio for recording a brand new CD. (release date September)

Later this year, the band continues their live tour and will be played all over Europe. (maybe Brazil???)

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