- World Of Music - Interviews
Interviewer: Dragutin Matošević
Interviewer: Dragutin Matošević
Jan Akkerman, Holland -
musician (guitarist) and
(Interview performed on December 11, 2009)
- The world of music met you as member of famous Holland band Focus. It
seems that the critics and audience were not ready for the high level of
quality music you were playing. Is this right conclusion? What observation
you have about it now - from long time distance?
Well of course there's a lot of eclectic material but somehow, the
dustbin noise seems to be more sticky then the more ethical stuff. I mean,
to the Stones or Hendrix or all the epigonists, Because Blues is comprehensible
and people can anticipate on three chords and an artist can go bananas over
the fact that he rediscovered the E chord on stage with the appropriate lyric's
to go along. Like eh [slow shuffle] "How can I miss you, when U don't
wanna go" :-) and a whole stadion goes nuts because everybody is exited
they all rediscovered the E chord at the same time the artist does...
in their name... of course!
I thought I invent something like that in the form of "Hocus Pocus",
but I don't sing. So the flautist took care of the honors and started yodeling
instead of singing. Once again, please, don't ask me why, I still try to
figure that one out, but it was very necessary he did otherwise nobody
my lousy playing :-)
- "Sylvia" - Focus' greatest hit brought
to you worldwide recognition. In the same time - you were requested to
be more commercial (and less artistically).
Did you accept those suggestions?
I think "Sylvia" or "Hocus
Pocus" were highly commercial
but as the saying goes "if
U don't shoot U always miss" and by watching the "Deer hunter" right
now U probably catch my drift. The problem is, like with Mozart, if he didn't
write so much crap there wouldn't be the great stuff neither, so what's
commercial?! At least, it didn't stop me from exploring a lot of other areas
in Music, like
the lute or very experimental stuff with Joachim Kuhn or Mark Nauseef, U
name it. It didn't make the charts but I really don't give a damn, never
did something against my will, how could I, Music has always been my way
Sometimes they called it Focus or Brainbox or God knows what, but that's
just labels, or selling arguments if you like.
- What caused that you left that band (Focus)?
that's a long boring story of envy and jealousy, but in the end the problem
wasn't in the music, at least not for me.
- Decade or two later you had some joint projects
with Focus' colleague - Thijs van Leer. Were that such a "must do" or "wanna
do" cooperation? What
is, according to your opinion, key achievement of these cooperation?
As I explained before, I never ever did something against my will
and this was after 20 years or something and I made a mistake in thinking
van Leer changed and became a little bit more humane. But alas, false hope
and he was even crazier then I thought was possible, so after that one
I decided to never play with him or "Focus" ever again. That
was my key achievement.
- Later on, you continued to play as studio musician.
Which cooperation would you mark as very important and why?
the whole record business doesn't interest me at all. I did a lot of session
work but as soon I left the studio I forget about it all... still
I like to play live for an audience and if they record that fine with me,
at least that's the most honest thing to do as far I'm concerned...
the people in our region the most important cooperation of yours was with
Vlatko Stefanovski. What meaning it have had for you - or business,
or pleasure, or...?
I dunno, he wanted to do a blues album and I said fine, just book me
a ticket and I'll play for U. Later he asked me to to a small tour through
and I agreed. That's it. And what I found strange is that he wanted to prove
that he could play in 9/4 or 11/4 or 13/4. or whatever for.
So, I wounded up playing the backing chords to "Sylvia" and some other pieces
which he and his backing band where able to crab.
He just send me an e-mail he was doing the support act for the "Sample
Minds" I think thru the same places. Good for him.
- You are writing for the Dutch magazine GitaarPlus.
What is focus of your interests (articles)?
Actually that's a crazy
thing because I'm not into gadgets so much or this or that amp. I find
it very boring to talk about Guitars etc. So I talk
about the whole polychromatic social scale of the Music business, the part
understand of it.
It's a bit Zappianic, I have to admit, and a lot of people think it's hilarious
but some really take offence at my point of view, but it never leaves them
The nucleus of the story is that the editor in question got sacked from
on day to another and he had nothing left. His wife got cancer and his
daughter was in peril and sick, so I offered him to start a magazine for
him and promised him to write a monthly column. So that's the main reason
I write for a magazine, otherwise I wouldn't have dreamed of it.
- The music brought you in every corner of this
world. Do you feel consequences of nowadays global (financial) crisis?
How do you beat it?
No, man, there's always a place to play and
I'm not into 5 boats or 10 cars or God knows what... like a mausoleum with
a golden turd on my rooftop.
One could compare it with Elephants, beautiful animals, but I never like
own one. But don't get me wrong, I still make more a year then the 1st
president in my own country. Besides that, I just love to play.
- Is there anything you did not achieve yet
in the field of your music activities?
I achieved everything I wanted
to achieve and that's playing the Guitar worldwide.
As a little boy that was my dream and some tell me I managed fairly well.
That I had to be famous for that I didn't know and in what kind of incredible
assholes I would run into I didn't know either but alas, live's to great
to get bothered about that for too long,
I just feel privileged and blessed to be able to do what I want to do.
- What are you planning to do (related to the
music) in 2010?
Oh well, according to the prophets the world will
stop in 2014 but what counts is what I learned from survivors of the holocaust.
I made a lot background Music behind documentaries of the holocaust in
40/45 and in fact, I'm working on one right now and one survivor told me: "My
dear Jan, live every day one day to the fullest, that's enough"!
That's good enough for me.
- Happy New Year to you Jan and thanks a lot for
Same over there my man, take care and all the best
wishes for the New Year. Jan.
- Sylvia (1973)
FOCUS - Hocus Pocus