|The biography below was written by Jan-Simon Hoogschagen.
Please check out his web site with Kliek-related info.
The Kliek was a Dutch garage-/sixtiesband that was around from 1987 to 1996, a period in which sixties music was not hip at all. The Kliek was therefore condemned to a life in the underground. This didn't stop the band from touring the whole of Europe during the 10 years the band existed. Especially in Spain and Germany they reached an unexpected popularity.
Color version of the Behind Bars promo photo (Amsterdam, 1989)
The core of the Kliek was formed by guitarist Marcel Kruup and singer Robert Müter. Kruup, coming from Haarlem, carried with him a long career as Mod and guitarist in many Dutch sixties-orientated guitarbands.
One of the pictures from the very first Kliek photo session
The Stoneage Romeos did a couple of gigs in 1986 / '87, among which one at a schoolparty in honour of the 10th anniversary of the school, a show in Amsterdam (all spectators knew the bandmembers!) and one in Bovenkarspel (I have a tape of this gig!). Even in these early days the band's sound was characterised by the large number of not-very-obvious covers of songs from the sixties, something that became a trademark of the Kliek in later days
The Kliek story begins
After graduation of some of the bandmembers in 1987 The Stoneage Romeos split, and all bandmembers went separate ways. A short time later Robert Müter became singer with the Kliek. Peter Bodde, also ex-Stoneage Romeos, joined as bass-player. Guitar was played by Marcel Kruup, by then already a seasoned veteran of the Dutch neosixties / garage scene who had played in numerous bands such as the Other Side and the Comedown. Both bands could count on some attention during the garagerevival of the early 80's. I am afraid I can't tell you anything interesting about Stefan Sleutel, the drummer of the band (simply because I don't know, not because there isn't anything to tell...).
The first ever Kliek gig in "de Stip" (1987)
The band's name is said to be thought up when a name had to be given for the rent of a practice room. Actually there was no name, and they said something like "put it on the usual bunch" (Kliek being the Dutch word for bunch). All bandmembers also played in several other groups and were regular users of the practice rooms. The English article "the" was added and a new band was born.
The highpoint of the record is without any doubt the song Paarse Broek ("Purple trousers"), a long-forgotten Nederpop classic from the 60s. If it were only because of saving this song from eternal oblivion, the Kliek deserve it to be remembered.
The Kliek performing Paarse Broek in "De Melkweg", Amsterdam (1988)
The main attraction of Paarse Broek are the extremely nonsensical lyrics. Although it loses much of its appeal in translation I'll give it a try and present you the chorus of this classic:
"...I have purple trousers,
As you can see I am not really much of a poet or songwriter, but the deeper thoughts (!) behind the lyrics have come through, I think...
How to get famous?
Shortly after the release of the "When Father etc." EP the classical Kliek line up was formed. Peter Bodde was replaced by Gert Veltink, who played in colleague sixties-band from Amsterdam the Exist. Many other singles, EP's and LP's followed, but the Kliek was always at its best as a live band. From the very start to the last encore, no matter if they played in the Paradiso or the Melkweg in Amsterdam, in the Dukdalf in Wieringerwerf or at a squatter's party: the Kliek gave it all. As you can hear on the Kliek's live-registrations, the guys liked to play the odd cover or two (three, four...). Apart from the already mentioned Paarse Broek the song "(We're) Pretty Quick", some sort of surf-instro with vocals by the Chob (this is the only song of them I know), became a Kliek-live classic. Whereas the original barely crossed the 2 minutes mark, the Kliek turned this into an epic in which all the tricks of the trade were shown (including the guitar-solo-on-the-back gimmick of Marcel Kruup, later made into a trademark with the Treble Spankers).
Near "De Hortus", Amsterdam (1988)
Along the years the band became something of a favourite of the sixties- and mod-underground. That there was such a scene was new to me, but especially outside the Netherlands the band gets quite famous. This leads to several great tours through Europe. Of all bands, the Kliek happened to be one of the first touring in the East-European countries. What must have helped with these tours is the fact that by then (1990-1991) the band has a Russian-born drummer, named Zjenja Guberman. He came from Leningrad to Amsterdam in June 1989. In Leningrad he had played in numerous bands, among which the rather popular undergroundband "Aquarium" (in a time when popmusic was still decadent and capitalistic). In Amsterdam he became a member of the Exist, where he played with Gert Veltink. Since november 1989 he also played in the Kliek. Stefan Steutel left the Kliek a few months earlier because he could no longer combine playing in a band with his studies. Michel van der Woude kept the drumseat warm in the months between Stefan's departure and Zjenja's debut. He made a good start. His first gig was in the Dukdalf, Wieringerwerf, but only a week after that the band went on a long tour through just reunited Germany.
A memorable evening! Bischofsmühle, Hildesheim, Germany. (January 1991)
At first the Kliek was ignored by the so-called serious musicpress. Only when they had made a name for themselves by relentless playing and gaining quite a reputation outside the Netherlands, some media got interested. The band has been on TV (in a VPRO-program), appeared several times as guest in radioshows by Fons Dellen and co (yes, also VPRO) and even had Ray Davies of the Kinks as a fan. But even this and getting known as the Nederbeat band of the moment, couldn't help the band leaving the underground. Perhaps it was because their records were released on small, obscure labels.
On the way back from Vienna, Austria. (1991)
And maybe they were simply too far ahead of their time with their sixties-inspired sound. Other bands, such as Daryll-Ann did the same thing a couple of years later, but with remarkably more success. It would be a little bit too far fetched to proclaim the Kliek a frontrunner for the Britpop-hype. The fact remains nevertheless that famous bands as Oasis and Blur use the same sources as the Kliek.
After 8 years the Kliek called it a day in 1996. Of the original band only Müter and Kruup remained. All bandmembers now do different things. Marcel Kruup is most successful with his new band, the Treble Spankers, and found his well-earned success after all. The Treblespankers are the successors of Ouke Baas, a band that is an offshoot of The Exist (always that band...). Unfortunately the Treblespankers had to stop, due to an injury the lead guitarist Frank Gerritsen suffered from. He had to stop playing because of RSI. Marcel Kruup's latest band is called Ronnie and the Splinters. Michel Terstegen, an old friend from the scene is the singer, but main attraction is Ron Splinter, a Nederbeat legend who used to play guitar in the Outsiders with Wally Tax.
The last ever Kliek live performance. (1996)
Theo Brouwer now plays in 2 bands, Big Paulus and the Sgeurvreters. Both bands play a form of dirty, mean fratrock. With Big Paulus we find Frank Sloos again, the last drummer of the Kliek.