Kayak

Biography

In 1968 the band Balderdash is formed by Ton Scherpenzeel and Pim Koopman, who know each other from the Hilversum Muziek Lyceum. In 1969 they changed the name of the band into High Tide Formation. The members of this band were: Ron van der Werff (guitar), Chiel van Praag (bass guitar), Ton Scherpenzeel (keyboards) and Pim Koopman (drums). In 1970 they release a single Fluffy/White walls (Omega 35 914). Because of a lack of success the band falls apart.

In 1972 Ton Scherpenzeel  and Pim Koopman form a band with Max Werner (vocals), Johan Slager (guitar) and Jean Michel Marion (bass guitar). They call themselves Kayak. They play symphonic rock, inspired by Yes. The same year Marion is replaced by Cees van Leeuwen, who they find through an advertisement. Talent scouts of EMI-Bovema are impressed and offer them a contract. In 1973 a debut single is released, Lyrics. It is followed by the first album, See See The Sun. A second single, Mammoth, is also released and becomes a hit.

High Tide

In 1974 their second album is released, and by now the popularity of the band is growing. The Yes influences of the album are further decreasing and a sound of their own is developing. A year later Cees van Leeuwen is replaced by Bert Veldkamp. Van Leeuwen couldn't longer combine his study (law) with the hectic touring schedule. In 2002 Van Leeuwen becomes the new minister of state for culture and media. At the end of the year another albums sees the sun: Royal Bed Bouncer. The press is very positive, and they expect Kayak to conquer the world.

The high expectations are not fulfilled and manager Frits Hirschland has a row with their record company EMI. The band leaves EMI and signs a contract with Vertigo. On this famous label the fourth album, The Last Encore, is released. The band's best so far. However, Pim Koopman, one of the main writers next to Scherpenzeel, leaves the band and becomes a producer with EMI. He is replaced by Charles Schouten. Bert Veldkamp also leaves the band and his successor is Theo de Jong. The band tours with Jan Akkerman (ex-Brainbox, ex-Focus) and Kaz Lux (ex-Brainbox) in England, but it isn't a big success.

The next album, Starlight Dancer, divides the fans and press into two camps. The album is much more commercial than the previous releases. The sales figures are however much bigger than the have ever been before. The single Want You To Be Mine even becomes a minor hit in the States. There are also some changes in the line up. Max Werner becomes the drummer in stead of Schouten and Peter Scherpenzeel, brother of Ton, changes places with bass player Theo de Jong. As a new singer Edward Reekers is recruited. A choir, the Kayettes, is also added. They are Irene Linders (Ton's wife) and Kathreen Lapthorn. In 1979 Phantom Of The Night is released, this album aimed primarily at the American market. The sound of the band can hardly be called symphonic rock, it is more AOR, but it is their best selling album. The single Ruthless Queen becomes a big hit. The American magazine Record World names Kayak as the most promising band of 1979.

Max Werner, Pim Koopman, Cees van Leeuwen, Johan Slager, Ton Scherpenzeel

A year later Periscope Life is released. The album is a bit of a disappointment. The songs are not that b, and the album sounds to much like the previous. In 1981 the concept album Merlin, about the wizard in the court of King Arthur, is released. A the end of that year a live album, Eyewitness, is released. The album was recorded live in the studio and on it were only three new songs. This appears to be their final album, as the band breaks up. Scherpenzeel and Slager started a new band Europe. Later Scherpenzeel worked with Andrew Latimer in Camel.

In 1997 Kayak reunited for a Dutch tv special called 'Classic Albums'. In this special Dutch seventies bands talked about their most important album and played together once more. It also included an episode with Focus. The episode with Kayak considered the album Royal Bed Bouncer, featuring the line-up that made the album. This reunion is so much fun, that they start writing new material and recording demo tracks. When Dutch band De Kast (meaning The Closet) asks them to do a performance on another tv program 'De Vrienden Van Amstel Live' they don't hesitate. They also perform together on three new year concerts in football stadium Gelredome. This leads to a new formation of Kayak in 2000. The line up consists of Ton Scherpenzeel, Pim Koopman, Bert Veldkamp, Max Werner and Rob Winter (guitar). The same year a new album is released, Close To The Fire. Kayak also returned to the stage and ex-Vandenberg singer Bert Heerink became the second lead vocalist. Unfortunately Max Werner had to leave the band because of health problems in the autumn of 2000. An extra guitarist/vocalist, Rob Vunderink was added. In 2001 a double live album, Chance for a livetime, was released. The same year saw the birth of another studio album, Nightvision.

Ton Scherpenzeel, Johan Slager, Max Werner, Edward Reekers, Katherine Lapthorn, Peter Scherpenzeel, Irene Linders

In 2002 guitaris Rob Winter leaves the band. He no longer could combine his commitments to the Marco Borsato Band. His replacement is Joost Vergoossen, who in recent years played in the Ilse de Lange band. With this new lineup a new album is released in 2003, Merlin - Bard of the unseen. On this album there is a new version of the "rock opera" Merlin released on the album of the same name in 1981.  In the same year Ton Scherpenzeel plays along with Camel on the European leg of their farewell tour.

In 2004 the band starts working on a new CD. It will be another rock opera, and this time the subject is Nostradamus (Nostradamus - The fate of men). When the album is finished Kayak will start touring Holland again in early 2005. When the double cd is finally released in April 2005 it seams that bass player Bart Veldkamp has left the band. The bass parts are played by Ton Scherpenzeel on the album. During the tour new member Jan van Olffen will play bass guitar. In 2006 singer Bert Heerink leaves the band, so now Edward Reekers is the main singer of the band again. In 2007 they release an acoustic live album and they start recording a new album.

On November 23, 2009 came the sad news that Pim Koopman had died of a heart attack, aged 56.

(sources: Oor Popencyclopedie, Nationaal Pop Instituut, Album sleeves, Nederpop)

Rob Winter, Ton Scherpenzeel, Pim Koopman, Max Werner, Bert Veldkamp