songs : Van Nueten / Vanderhaegen
Productie : Bill Janovitz & The Sands
Jaar : 1995
Record co. : Megadisc
The Sands was a band around Guy Van Nueten (keyboards & piano's)
and the shy singer/guitarist Michel Vanderhaeghen. As so many Belgian bands
they tried to get known through the Rock Rally (they participated in 1990 and
1992), but this didn't quite work out for them. Van Nueten about this later in
Humo : "1990 was our first gig with a P.A. The review of it was ruthless,
and probably not quite unjustified. We weren't doing music really seriously back
then. We were still searching. In that period we also halted the band a while:
we lost our rehearsal place, the bass player got a job in the South of France
... That kind of stuff". However, in edition of 1992 the band also didn't
get past the first round.
A bit later, more pleasant things started happening, as their debut single
- released on the "garagerock"-label Boom! from Ghent - immediately
came to be a radiohit. The fragile "April & June" got very
heavy airplay on Studio Brussels for quite a while, or as newspaper Het Nieuwsblad
wrote "A record so fragile and sensitive that it simply hád to
stand out between all the guitar- and dance-violence on the radio". This
(relative) success was certainly a complete surprise for the band itself: "That
April and june became a radiohit, can only be described as a small miracle. We
hardly knew how to tune our guiter when we recorded that song." Things
got ugly with Boom!-records rapidly though ("The single wasn't even in
the shops. You couldn't find it anywhere. While we had paid for the recordings
and the pressing from our own purse. With money we had saved by doing gigs").
After this single, it grew quiet again around the band from Turnhout, at least
for the outside world. Because behind the scenes high hopes were being carried,
and big plans were being made & executed "After "April &
June" we realized that we didn't suck completely. A few months later we went
to the Ardennes for twe weeks with an eight-track cassette-deck, and there we
had a sort of collective Aha-erlebnis. It was if it all finally fell into place.
The Sands sounded like a real tight band for the first time. Those were very special
days". They did record a demo there and then, which would lead them one
year later to a record deal with the Dutch label Megadisc. This nice deal became
even better, when they learned they could go and record a debut CD in Boston,
with as the producer Bill Janovitz of the also Megadisc-signed band Buffalo
Tom. Although the recording sessions weren't a painless affair (Alhoewel de opnamen
niet geheel pijnloos verliepen ("We had 12 days of studio time. The pressure
was enormous. Just imagine: you're in the studio were Sugar and Dinosaur Jr. recorded
before you, but you haven't even got the time to get nervous about that. You're
just thinking one thing: make sure that what you play is perfect the first time
round, for there isn't any time for a new attempt"), the result of the
sessions was excellent. The CD was eventually released in October 1995, and went
title-less trough life as "The Sands".
The reactions in the Belgian press to the album were very satsifactory. For
example, in the very critical Humo mvs wrote: "keyboardman Guy Van Nueten's
presence is felt emphatically in every song, but not one second - quite a feat!
- he gets on the nerves, on the contrary ... Michel Vanderhaeghen reveals himself
as a singer in the style of Stephen Malkmus & J Macis, masters of singing
with boyish flair, half through their nose, about inner pains and tortures ...
you feel that there are True Emotions behind all this, and that these lads aren't
in rock to make a pass at cheap bimbo's in some West-Flemish dump or make loads
of money ... We hope from the bottom of our hear that the world will lend this
little album the attention and time that it deserves, for the more you listen
to it, the more it shows its innier richness. Hats off.".
All in all about 10,000 copies of "The Sands" were sold, and most
of these abroad (3,500 in Belgium). Not really an enormous lot, but enough for
the ambitons of this modest band. In 1996 they continued the effort with "...
And other True Stories", a CD with 4 new songs, a few songs that hadn't
made the cut for the debut-CD, and new version of the debut-hit "April and
June". This last track was a re-recorded version, with guets vocals by singer
Tine Reymer of the band Flowers For Breakfast.
At the end of 1996 they did a club-tour with Tom Helsen
and Sheffield Wednesday. Althoug there were definitely plans for a new CD, and
Jacky Huys was already calling The Sands a "sure bet" when he reviewed
"... and other true stories", it quickly became very silent in the Sands
corner. End of story.
Afterwards Guy Van Nueten became very present within the different project
of the "Antwerp scene" : he worked with Daan
Stuyven on his solo-cd, became a member of Mitsoobishy
Jacson, played some of the keyboards on "The Ideal Crash" by dEUS,
stood at the side of Tom Barman of the same dEUS during his solo-gigs such as
the tribute to Nick Drake at De nachten or his performance at the Swiss Montreux
Jazz-festival, founded Zon & Zero together with Jef
Mercelis, took part in the recordings of the country project Chitlin Fooks
(with Bettie Serveert & Pascal Deweze) etc ...
From the other band members, nothing much was heard after The Sands.
- Guy van Nueten (piano, keyboards)
- Michel Vanderhaeghen (guitar, vocals)
- Roel de Loore (bass)
- Thor de Boos (drums)
- April & June / Dew-Eyed Child (S, Boom!-records, 1992)
- Girl in Flower / Memory Lane (S, Boom!-records, 1992)
- Change / Kristine (S, Megadisc/MCA, 1995) - The Sands (CD, Megadisc/MCA, 1995) - Sky is Blue (MCD, MCA, 1995)
- Sometimes / Hungry Again / Marchpane (MCD, Megadisc/MCA, 1995)
- Candy (S, Megadisc/MCA, 1995)
- ... And Other True Stories (CD, Megadisc/MCA, 1996)
- Love / Grain of Sand (S, Megadisc/MCA, 1996)
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