At the age of sixteen guitarist Jan Akkerman forms a band called Johnny & his Cellar Rockers. The other members are Paul Hubert (guitar and vocals), Ron Bijtelaar (bass guitar) and Sidney Wachter (drums). They play instrumental rock and even record a few singles in the mid 1960's. In 1965 the band's name is changed to The Hunters. Under this name they also release a few singles. None of them are a success. But then Jan Akkerman together with producer Casper Koelman write a song called The Russian Spy And I. The song is released as a single and becomes a big hit, mainly because the fantastic guitar solo by Akkerman. A few more singles are released, but they can't match with The Russian Spy. Because this lack of success Akkerman disbands the band in 1968. In the same year Jan Akkerman records his first solo album, Talents For Sale. He is helped by his former Hunters mates Bijtelaar and Wachter, and the album is produced by Tim Griek. The rest of the time he is busy recording as a studio musician for several acts.
At the same time a young man with a polish father, Kasimirz (or Kaz) Lux starts singing in several bands and starts writing his own material. In1968 he enters a talent scouting and wins. The first prize is to record a demo for the Bovema label. Because the producers aren't much impressed by his fellow band mates, they suggest he records the demo with the help of studio musicians. Here he meets guitarist Jan Akkerman, drummer Pierre van der Linden (who also played in After Tea) and pianist Wim Jongbloed. Because Lux didn't like the playing of Jongbloed, he asked Rob Hoeke. In the recording session they recorded two songs: Down man and Woman's gone. Akkerman played the bass guitar during the session. Only the second track survived.
A few months later Lux is asked by Akkerman and Van der Linden to form a band. As a bass player they recruit Andre Reynen, as was suggested by their manager, John van Setten. And so Brainbox is started. The band plays a sort of progressive bluesy rock. In 1969 they score big hits with the singles Down Man and Summertime. That year saw the release of Brainbox' debut album, simply called Brainbox. As guest musician Tom Barlage on flute, he played in his own band Solution, was invited. A few years later the new band of Akkerman, Focus, would record a song of Barlage, Tommy on Moving Waves. For this debut album, the also record a new version of Down man, which would become their first hit.
Despite their success Jan Akkerman is forced to leave Brainbox. In 1969 he jammed one time with Thijs van Leer, the Brainbox manager found out, and asked him to leave. So he left Brainbox and teamed up with Van Leer to form Focus. He is replaced by two guitarists Rudi de Queljoe (ex-Dragonfly) and Herman Meyer (a jazz-guitarist who has passed away). The latter would soon be replaced by John Schuursma, who had played with Rob Hoeke. A year later, in 1970, Pierre van der Linden joins Akkerman and also leaves Brainbox for Focus. For a short period he is replaced by Schel Schellekens (who would go to Drama) but his permanent successor is Frans Smit (ex-September). In this line up a few singles are released, but it is hard for Brainbox to maintain their status without Akkerman.
There is also more and more trouble between the manager and Schuursma. The conflict comes to a highpoint when Schuursma is finally sacked. He is replaced by Ronnie Meyes. For the other members this was the bottom line and in 1971 the other co-founders Kaz Lux and Andre Reynen leave the band. They are replaced respectively by Michel van Dijk (ex-Ekseption) and Robert Verwey. For a very short time is Tony de Queljoe (brother of Rudi, and also ex-Dragonfly) a member of the band. And so there is a complete new Brainbox with none of the original members left. These changes don't do them very good. A second album, Parts, is released but it isn't as half as good as the debut album. The popularity is decreasing even more and the band ends. Michel van Dijk would later become the new vocalist of Alquin. Ron Meyes would later play in Earth & Fire.
Kaz Lux starts a solo career and his first album is released in 1972 and a few more in the years to come. In 1976 he teams up with Jan Akkerman again to make an album together, Eli. Among the other musicians are former Ekseption and Trace keyboard player Rick van der Linden and ex-Brainbox, ex-Focus and ex-Trace drummer Pierre van der Linden. The album becomes a success. In 1980 Akkerman and Lux make another album together, Transparental. Again musical help is provided by the two van der Lindens.
In 1982 Brainbox reforms again. The members are Lux,
Schuursma, Reynen, Van der Linden and De Queljoe.
They tour a lot, record a few demos, but an album is not recorded. In
1984 the band disbands again. Kaz Lux still works on his solo
career. In 2003 there is another reunion of Brainbox, with the
same members as in 1982 except for Reynen who is replaced by
Eric Bagchus. In the fall of 2004 they release an live album with
recordings from their final tour, which was held in September 2004. This
means the definitive end of Brainbox.
(sources: Oor Popencyclopedie, Nationaal Pop Instituut, Album sleeves, Nederpop, Aloha)