Tröckener Kecks, from punk to new wave to rock

Tröckener Kecks - Mid 1980s (facebook.com)

Tröckener Kecks mid 1980s, f.l.t.r. Theo Vogelaars, Rob de Weerd, Leon Kenter, Rick de Leeuw

Introduction

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Dutch band Tröckener Kecks, the 35th anniversary of the release of their best album, Betaalde Liefde, and the 20th anniversary of their last studio album release, >tk. Time to look back at my favorite band from The Netherlands, whose lyrics were written and sung in Dutch.

Tröckener Kecks

In 1980 guitar player Rick De Leeuw and drummer Leo Kenter formed a punk band: Tröckener Kecks. Because of their apolitical stance they deviate and (therefore) stand out. It doesn’t take long before they establish their own Tröckener Kecks label, using it to release their singles and albums.

Tröckener Kecks - Niet Alle Meisjes Zijn Verliefd Op Kors (single) (discogs.com)

Tröckener Kecks – Niet Alle Meisjes Zijn Verliefd Op Kors (single)

The first single, Rick Ringers, is released in 1981. At the time of the release of their debut album Schliessbaum the band consists of both founders, bass player Theo Vogelaars, guitar player Piet Van Dijk and singer Edward van Tilburg. Schliessbaum was my introduction with the band and it was a pleasant one. The album was followed by the release of a few singles, like Niet Alle Meisjes Zijn Verliefd Op Kors, which received some airtime on Dutch radio.

At the time a friend of mine was in contact with Rick de Leeuw and they exchanged music through mail. Through the use of this channel we heard the band’s songs sung by a Dutch actress. The band played a (small) part as the backing band to Lucia (played by Marina de Graaf) in the Dutch movie An Bloem.

In 1983 the band reached the finals of the Dutch music awards De Grote Prijs Van Nederland. In the meantime Rick de Leeuw had been promoted to lead singer and guitar player Rob de Weerd was added to the band’s line-up. The best music was about to follow.

In 1984 Tröckener Kecks release the fine album In De Krochten Van De Geest, the first album to be produced by Dutch singer/composer Thé Lau (who played in the Dutch band The Scene). In 1985 the band released their best album, Betaalde Liefde. The early-day-fun-punk has been replaced by a more mature indie, rock sound. The lyrics are as funny and spot on as ever before.

Tröckener Kecks - Mooier Dan De Rest (single) (discogs.com)

Tröckener Kecks – Mooier Dan De Rest (single)

With successor, 1987’s Een Op Een Miljoen , the first album not to be released independently, I started to lose sight of the band. In 1989 studio album De Jacht and live album Meer! Meer! Meer! are released.

In 1990 Tröckener Kecks sign a deal with a major record company: Ariola. The first single, Met Hart En Ziel, even breaks into the Dutch top 40. The album with the same name is rewarded with a Zilveren Harp (the Dutch Grammy). In 1991 the band plays Dutch festival Pinkpop. After the release of Andere Plaats, Andere Tijd the band parts ways with Ariola.

In 1994 keyboard player Rob van Zandvoort is added to the band’s line-up. Following the release of the 1994 album Het Grote Geheim, drummer Leo Kenter leaves the band. Kenter’s involvement with the band remains intact, he stays on as the main lyricist. In 1995 the ‘best of’ album Hotel Nostalgia is released, in 1997 followed by Dichterbij Dan Ooit, after which guitar player Rob de Weerd says goodbye to the band as well.

In 1999 the band sings a deal with Play It Again Sam, leading to the 2000 release of >tk, which is lauded by the Dutch and Belgian press. But at the end of August 2001 the band calls it quits. At the end of December the band play their final shows, followed by the release of goodbye live album Meer Niet! in 2002.

Discography

This discography focuses on the first albums, since I own them and rate them higher.

N.B.:
In the Dutch version of this article some Dutch lyrics are enclosed. Because they don’t make much sense in English, I haven’t enclosed them here, but added a short description of what the lyrics are about.

Tröckener Kecks - Schliessbaum (source unknown)

Tröckener Kecks – Schliessbaum

Schliessbaum

(1981)

The Tröckener Kecks debut album. Short, fast punk songs by a somewhat shabby band, that stand out for their lyrics, which are highly original and hilarious.

Just the opening song alone: “Mijn hartje gaat van klopper-de-klop voor het meisje van de donutshop”. But at the time I thought a song like 22:22 was pure genius:

22:22

This song’s about the joys of a digital clock and the excitement one feels when the numbers 22:22 are displayed.

To this day, whenever I see those numbers on a digital clock, I think of Tröckener Kecks.

The album is a collector’s item, because initial pressings amounted to just 500 copies. About time for a re-release!

The album cover is part of my greatest album covers list.

Tröckener Kecks - The beginning (facebook.com)

Tröckener Kecks – The beginning

Songs

All songs written by Tröckener Kecks, except the songs marked with *, lyrics by Jaap Meurs, music Tröckener Kecks.

Side A

  • Het Meisje Van De Donutshop
  • De Gifbeker *
  • Mokerslagen
  • Trottoirterreur
  • Samen Met José (1)
  • Film
  • (Zij Was Een) Slagboom

Side B

  • Bouquet
  • Geinlijn *
  • Zeeuws Meisje *
  • 22:22
  • Samen Met José (2)
  • Lidmaatschap *
  • Ik Slik Die Zever Niet
  • Femme Fatale

Musicians

  • Theo Vogelaars – bass, vocals
  • Leo Kenter – drums
  • Rick de Leeuw – guitar, vocals
  • Piet van Dijk – guitar, vocals, harmonica
  • Edward van Tilburg – vocals
Tröckener Kecks - In De Krochten Van De Geest (discogs.com)

Tröckener Kecks – In De Krochten Van De Geest

In De Krochten Van De Geest

(1984)

The second album, which sounds a lot more professional. With songs like Asfalt, Afrodisiac, De Man In De Lucht and Nooit Meer Honger the absurdist lyrical style was continued, but on Speelkwartier it was all a bit more painful. Musically different and lyrically charged, the album’s highlight.

Speelkwartier

A song about child kipnapping.

Tröckener Kecks - In De Krochten Van De Geest (achterkant hoes) (discogs.com)

Tröckener Kecks – In De Krochten Van De Geest (achterkant hoes)

Songs

All songs written by Tröckener Kecks, except the songs marked with *, lyrics by Jaap Meurs, music Tröckener Kecks.

Side A

  • Asfalt
  • Iemand Anders
  • Afrodisiac
  • Huurmoordenaar *
  • De Man In De Lucht

Side B

  • Koud En Donker
  • Pumps
  • Nooit Meer Honger
  • Levend Vlees
  • Speelkwartier *

Musicians

  • Theo Vogelaars – bass
  • Leo Kenter – drums
  • Rob de Weerd – guitar
  • Rick de Leeuw – vocals, guitar
Tröckener Kecks - Betaalde Liefde (cdandlp.com)

Tröckener Kecks – Betaalde Liefde

Betaalde Liefde

(1985)

The best album by the band (it is part of my top 10 favorite Dutch albums). It all fits. The songs, the lyrics, the production. The album is a monument. Musically it’s great and it even contains moving songs.

The opening song combines the two worlds of Rick de Leeuw: music and football/soccer. Belgian presenter Rick de Saedeleer adds the radio like commentary.

Naar De Top

A song about a fictional football/soccer team that makes it into the finals of the Europe Cup. They are behind until player Rick de Leeuw enters the pitch and turns the game upside down with his brilliant playing.

Tröckener Kecks - Naar De Top (single) - Tröckener Kecks own label (discogs.com)

Tröckener Kecks – Naar De Top (single) – Tröckener Kecks own label

Songs

All songs written by Tröckener Kecks.

Side A

  • Naar De Top
  • Betaalde Liefde
  • De Split
  • Mijn Laatste Beer
  • Los Zand

Side B

  • Dood Van Een Held
  • Kom Terug, Rosa
  • Souvenir
  • Go To The Mosk

Musicians

  • Theo Vogelaars – bass
  • Leo Kenter – drums
  • Rob de Weerd – guitar
  • Rick de Leeuw – vocals, guitar

With help from:

  • Hans Dulfer – saxophone
  • Kim Snelten – harmonica, background vocals
  • Kors Eijkelboom – percussion
  • Thé Lau – keyboards, background vocals
  • Rik De Saedeleer – radio report Naar de top
  • Mike Toering – Hallo in De Split
  • Fred Kienhuis – background vocals
Tröckener Kecks - Een Op Een Miljoen (discogs.com)

Tröckener Kecks – Een Op Een Miljoen

Een op Een Miljoen

(1987)

At the time, the last Tröckener Kecks album I bought. Even though the music was still great, my attention had gone in different directions, other bands and other music.

Highlight is the song Achter Glas, on which Rick de Leeuw remarked in 2000: “That’s the most beautiful lyric Leo has ever written for us. It doesn’t just conjure up an image, but an entire story, not one word too many, and it even rhymes. I wouldn’t be able to do such a thing. I’m so proud of it I forget about my jealousy”.

Achter Glas

A story about a man who has separated from his wife and children and meets prostitute Bleke Jet. They have a fling and she gives him the courage to do te right thing: go back and reunite with his family. Years pass by and the man wants to thank Bleke Jet. But it seems she got burned in a terrible fire. Rumor has it, the fire was set off by an angry spouse…

Tröckener Kecks - Live 1986 (seizoensgebonden.blogspot.com)

Tröckener Kecks – Live 1986

Songs

All songs written by Tröckener Kecks.

Side A

  • 1 Op 1.000.000
  • Nu Of Nooit
  • Vannacht
  • Zonde Van De Tijd
  • Diep In Mijn Hart

Side B

  • Dag En
  • Olie In Het Vuur
  • Achter Glas
  • Tango Aan Zee

Musicians

  • Theo Vogelaars – bass
  • Leo Kenter – drums
  • Rob de Weerd – guitar
  • Rick de Leeuw – vocals, guitar

With help from:

  • Emily Blom – accordion on Tango Aan Zee
  • Frederique Spigt – choir on Nu Of Nooit
  • Marco Braam – choir on Olie In Het Vuur
Tröckener Kecks - De Jacht, Meer! Meer! Meer!, Met Hart En Ziel, Andere Plaats Andere Tijd, Het Grote Geheim, Hotel Nostalgia, Dichterbij Dan Ooit, >tk, Meer Niet! (discogs.com)

Tröckener Kecks – De Jacht, Meer! Meer! Meer!, Met Hart En Ziel, Andere Plaats Andere Tijd, Het Grote Geheim, Hotel Nostalgia, Dichterbij Dan Ooit, >tk, Meer Niet!

Other albums

Like I stated, I kind of lost track of Tröckener Kecks after Een Op Een Miljoen. In 2000 I did buy the album >tk, which was hailed as a comeback and deemed their best album yet. I must admit, it truly is a great album, but it doesn’t measure up to Betaalde Liefde.

For all those that are interested in the full discography, see all the songs on all albums released after 1988 below.

Tröckener Kecks - Vanavond Voor Altijd (B-kantje Vijf Voor Twaalf) (discogs.com)

Tröckener Kecks – Vanavond Voor Altijd (B-kantje Vijf Voor Twaalf)

Prince

What do the Tröckener Kecks have to do with Prince?

If memory serves me right, Dutch music magazine Oor organized a cover tribute to Prince in 1988, who at the time was widely acknowledged to be the undisputed genius of (pop)music. Dutch bands were asked to record their version of their favorite Prince song. The result was added to an Oor issue.

Anyway, Tröckener Kecks released the single Vanavond Voor Altijd in 1988, with Vijf Voor Twaalf, a cover of Prince‘s 1999 as the B-side.

The lyrics pretty much followed the same ‘dancing on the volcano’ feel of the original.

Vijf Voor Twaalf

Dutch interperation of the famous Prince song 1999.

In closing

After twenty years it was all over. A real (or rather: satisfying) reason for the break-up has never been offered. Record company Play It Again Sam quoted the song Meer Niet!:

Don’t ask me what it is
Some things simply are the way they are
That’s all

What do you think about Tröckener Kecks? And which album is your favorite? Let me know!

Video/Spotify
This story contains an accompanying video. Click on the following link to see it: Video: Tröckener Kecks, from punk to new wave to rock. The A Pop Life playlist on Spotify has been updated as well.

Compliments/remarks? Yes, please!