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DUH-DUHDUH-DUHDUH-DUHDUHDUHDUH

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(also published in the magazine iO Pages)

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October 2018

It's a cliché, but like most clichés, it's really true: the older you get, the faster the next decade seems to emerge. I'm 66 now, and 70 isn't even that far away. 70 ??? How does that feel? As a 20-year-old I had no idea of ​​that, and I was not at all busy with it. And that now, 46 years after the start of Kayak, that direction is going but still could be busy with that band, was a far-from-my-bed show. I, we, lived the moment. The next performance, the next album. The future did not last longer. Everything you experience is also new and exciting. Just like the disappointments, which you see at best as small, negligible bumps on the road to eternal fame, musical heroism and a house with swimming pool. The annoying thing is that over the years, those disappointments build up as cholesterol in your blood vessels and at some point become part of your future expectations. Then a modest place in the top 2000, some successful songs and a simple pond in the garden already seem like a lot.

So you become more cynical and more expectant - that's inevitable, unless you're a hopeless optimist. You've heard all those promises, great ideas, and fancy words so many times, and then noticed that often very little comes true. Or that something great happens that you had absolutely not foreseen or factored in. “I think John Lennon once said (or postponed) that life is what happens while you're busy making plans, and that is no different in the music business. What you prepare for rarely happens. And what you don't see coming can suddenly become reality.

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foto Henk Ravenhorst

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In 1978 Irene Linders and I wrote 'Ruthless Queen', the song that turned out to be decisive for the commercial success (and survival) of the band. I was 26 at the time. Did we expect that? No absolutely not. For us, it was just a song for the new album that we hoped would deliver a bit more than the previous records - and I don't mean that purely financially. Well, it did, financially too. And now? In fact, the last 40 years don't matter anymore because I suspect that the Kayak oeuvre, if it reaches posterity, will be shortened to those 4:55 minutes. And then it is not so bad. Lou Reed once said in an interview that his entire decades-long career could supposedly be summarized as follows: duh-duhduh-duhduh-duhduhduh-duh (aka, the female chorus on Walk on the Wilde Side).

There comes a time when you see all kinds of new bands around you catching up. Not that they are necessarily better, or more original - no, they are younger and 'thus' appeal to a younger audience who identify with them and want to go into the future with them. With your musical history of almost 5 decades, you will never leave that audience again, except for those who are really musically interested. Well, maybe as a curiosity. There is an unbridgeable gap. Then we can still feel young (due to all the occupation changes, our average age is even about 25 years lower than that of a band like the Golden Earring), and in terms of energy we can easily compete with much more youthful bands, you are and remain now once the group from the past that even enthusiasts often don't even know that still exists, and, yes, make new records. Nothing to do about it. Many over 50s and 60s, so our original audience, no longer come to pop halls. Standing too long, too much boisterous talk from concert-goers around you. Then they prefer to play the CD or DVD at home.

Why the Stones, Doe Maar and the Earring don't seem to be bothered by that? Kayak has never been as big as the aforementioned bands. But I also suspect that visiting such a concert or event has more to do with a kind of nostalgic group feeling: having fun with many others and singing well-known songs along. I have the impression that Kayak fans, apart from being significantly smaller in number, are also a bit more individualistic - but that is just a barely substantiated analysis on my part.

I make music to reach people, preferably as much as possible. For the appreciation of course, and the idea that you mean something, but also to keep the band running smoothly. On the other hand, those lower tense expectations also give a bit of peace, and I wouldn't sell my musical soul for any money in the world - as someone who would like to have. Conquering the world will no longer work. Is not necessary. And you realize more and more: you don't know anything, even when you're 66. Everything that goes well is included. You can be sure of only one thing: it will stop once. And that's a good thing. Continuing with Kayak for eternity even seems a bit long to me.

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