Supersister

Biography

Four guys in Den-Haag (The Hague): Robert-Jan Stips (keyboards, vocals), Sacha van Geest (flute), Marco Vrolijk (drums) and Ron van Eck (bass) formed a band in 1968, Sweet OK Supersister. The name was soon changed to Supersister. Their progressive music got noticed and the band earned some status in the club circuit. They became the main band in the Provadya? scene (with for instance Ahora Mazda). At some time Rob Douw (trumpet) and Gerhard Smid (vocals, guitar) were part of the band also.

In the fall of 1970 a single was released: She Was Naked/Spiral Staircase. The song became a hit, and they got a record deal with Polydor. Together with producer Hans van Oosterhout a debut album, Present From Nancy, was recorded. Influences from Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention and from The Soft Machine (especially from the time when The Soft Machine was a trio) can be heard. Lots of organ and sax, and numerous key changes. A second single Fancy Nancy/Gonna Take Easy was released, which didn't do well, but the album sales were reasonable.

In 1971 a second album was recorded and released, To The Highest Bidder. They also performed at the Pinkpop festival of that year. In 1972 they toured a lot and in the same year another single was released, Radio/Dead Dog. Later that year a third album, Pudding En Gisteren (Pudding And Yesterday), was for sale. During a tour they performed it along with the Nederlandse Danstheater (the Dutch Dancetheatre). In the fall of 1972 a compilation album in the Superstarshine series was released. On the album are a collection of singles and b-sides. There is also a version of the favorite live song Wow.

Ron van Eck, Sascha van Geest, Robert Jan Stips, Marco Vrolijk

In 1973 there was a bit of disagreement in the band. Stips and van Eck are a bit tired of playing at the same places all the time and they want to take a different musical direction. The next album is supposed to be a concept album about Alexander the Great, and the music should be more jazz-rock or fusion. Because of this Marco Vrolijk and Sascha van Geest left the band. Vrolijk joined folk band CCC Inc. and van Geest wanted to work on his own projects. Replacements were Herman van Boeyen (ex-Livin' Blues) on drums and Charlie Mariano (ex-Ambush and -Embryo) on saxophone and flute. With this line up, together with producer Georgio Gomelski, Iskander is recorded.

The new sound doesn't bring them new success. The fans don't really appreciate the change in direction. For Charles Mariano this is the sign to leave the band, he joined Porkpie. As guest musicians Rob Kruisman (ex-Bintangs and ex-Ekseption) on sax and flute and John Schuursma (ex-Brainbox) on guitar joined the band. It causes a sensation when also Elton Dean (of Soft Machine fame) joined them. However, all these changes didn't do them good and the band is falling apart. Robert-Jan Stips joined the Golden Earring and made two albums with them. After that he played in Sweet d'Buster and eventually formed his own group: Transister. In the 1980's he joined The Nits and stayed with them for 15 years. After leaving The Nits he formed his own trio Stips. Herman van Boeyen left for Red, White & Blue and Ron van Eck founded the formation Stamp 'n Go. Rob Kruisman joined Carlsberg, John Schuursma was going to play with Third Eye and Elton Dean returned to England. In his retreat Sascha van Geest has recorded a solo album, Spiral Staircase, which was released under the confusing name Sweet O.K. Supersister.

To everyone's surprise Supersister is back, in the bestknown line-up, in 2000 to perform at the Los Angeles Progfest. As a try out, they first perform in Delft. They also do a short tour in the Netherlands to perform in Tilburg, Amsterdam, Den Haag and Groningen. The results can be heard on the double live album Supersisterious. In 2006 the long awaited DVD is released containing material shot at the concert in Amsterdam, but also with some archive footage.

Not long after the success of this reunion came the big shock that Sascha van Geest had died of cancer. And then on July 20th, almost exactly 10 years later Ron van Eck also dies.

Marco Vrolijk, Ron van Eck, Robert Jan Stips, Sascha van Geest

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

Robert Jan Stips, Marco Vrolijk, Ron van Eck, Sascha van Geest (Den Haag, May 2001)