41,9 sec. - 82 Kb.
song & Prodution : Johan Verminnen, Bert Candries
Year : 1999
Record co. : BMG
Verminnen was the centerpoint of a bunch of musicians in Jette (Brussels) with
a taste for blues music. Among the friends where Lamp & Lazarus (see Lamp
& Lazarus), Erik Van Neygen, Jari de Meulemeester
(who is the inspirator for Belgian's best music club Ancienne Belgique in Brussels)
and many others. In the sixties he played briefly in a band called Burning
Plague. He left the band soon afterwards and started a solo career.
Later he would say on this time : "My generation was incredibly arrogant.
Me, Raymond van het Groenewoud, Arno ... we would learn the old-fashioned and
muttering artists of the time that there also was something like the Stones and
Robert Johnson. Or Mozart. To conquer the world, we wouldn't settle for less."
He was discovered in 1969 by Jean Klüger, boss of the record company Biram,
who gave his pupil the chance to record a solo album in 1970. The relationship
between Klüger and Verminnen would last more than 15 years, until the artist was
dumped in 1984.
On his second record, he cooperated with Raymond Van
Het Groenewoud, a shy boy who was introduced to the nightlife of Brussels
and Amsterdam by Verminnen. The result was devastating. With this record, Verminnen
also hit the jackpot. The beautiful song 'Laat me nu toch niet alleen' (Don't
leave me now) became a huge hit and started off his musical career.
Van Het Groenewoud went off to form Louisette and his solo career, so Verminnen
formed another band, consisting of Koen De Bruyne (brother of Kris
de Bruyne), Nick Roland, Yvan De Souter and Firmin Timmermans (well known
studio drummer and founder of the LSP-band). On his records of the seventies he
would also get help from Jean-Marie Aerts (Tc Matic
and producer), Jean Blaute (Kate's Kennel, RvhG)
and Eric Melaerts (later Soulsister, Isabelle A,
A career in France never got fully of the ground, although his music is clearly
inspired by French chanson.
The Flemish hits (note : he never made it to the Belgian Hitparades, but they
were at least radio hits) kept coming : Daar gaat ze, Brussel ("a song
he played in 101 ways, but never seems to lose"), Zaterdagavond, In
de rue des bouchers (another ode to Brussels), Ik voel me goed ...
This last song (which means 'I feel so good') was very ironic : problems with
his taxes had made him gone bankrupt in the early eighties.
Verminnen never lost his optimism, slimmed his group down and formed a duo
with the talented piano virtuoso Tars Lootens. He broadened his musical horizon
to Latin America ('t is Amor amor, Ik wil zo graag de wereld zien ...) and moved
from Brussels to Sint-Martens Latem, the country town known for the many painters
who live(d) there.
Verminnen has also been very active as a spokesperson for Belgian musical artists
in respect to the regulations that the politicians impose on their means of living.
In 1993 he released "Zeven levens", a double CD trying to give an
overview of the first 25 years of his career. He toured the country with a 15-man
strong band to celebrate this event. Verminnen said he would take a step down
after that : "I will continue to sing and play music, but on a more modest
scale", he promised at the time.
In 1996 he tours the country (together with Dutchman Stef Bos) with a tribute
program to Jacques Brel called "in the light of
Other Belgian artists see Johan Verminnen as an artist who has merited a tribute
himself. Guy Swinnen, Clouseau,
Patrick Riguelle, Paul
Michiels, Frank Vanderlinden, Roland
and many other join their forces in "Spelers en drinkers"
(players and drinkers - from a lyric of a Verminnen song) and play cover versions
of the songs of the master. In 1997, Nekka-night - a concert evening devoted to
Dutch sung pop music - was also a tribute to Verminnen who topped the bill.
As Johan said at the time of the release of his 1996 album "Suiker en
zout" (sugar and salt) : "My boyhood dream was : singing. Now my
dream is : singing with as much artistic freedom as possible. Maybe in the past
I have tried a bit to much to follow the trends, what others were doing.
From now on, it's about what I wish again. Lately, I've been thinking again about
a quote from Jacques Brel that I saw hanging in the Sabam-building : "I wish
you many a dream, and hope you will realise some of them". I still have a
few left in the closet for too long."
In 1999, Johan Verminnen celebrated his 30 years in the musicbizz with a retrospective
release (Vroeger en Later) in combination
with a new cd, recorded with the help of many Flemish musical artists (Kommil
Foo, Laïs, Patrick Riguelle, Jo
Lemaire, Roland, Big Bill,
Kris De Bruyne, Stef Bos en Wannes Van de Velde). In
the meantime, this mind-traveller is now also planning to travel around the world
with Stef Bos.
In 2001 he first toured very soberly with Michel Bisceglia on piano ("Luistervinken",
there was also a -very- limited edition with an impression from this tour sold
at the concerts), but then Johan Verminnen chose another direction, as he went
on the road with a big band (just as Jo Lemaire, coincidentally).
With this program called "Swingen tot morgenvroeg" (swinging
'till the break of dawn, a wordplay with a song of his that was called "zingen
tot morgenvroeg"), he premiered in September 2001.
In the same month, there was also an album with the same title and content, and
a double celebration: 50 years of age, and 30 years on stage. Among the tracks,
there was also a surprise duet with Raymond van het Groenewoud
in his "Hallelujah, ze houdt van mij".
Johan Verminnen also made the headlines when he agreed to play the part of Captain
Haddock in the musical "Kuifje en de Zonnetempel" (Tintin). As he sung
himself in "Jongen van 50"
: "Deze jongen van 50 - wil maar één ding - veel gevoel
en veel swing, dus ik dans en ik zing. Deze jongen van 50 - waarvan houdt hij
het meest, van het vieren van feest, blij om wat is geweest..."
Buy CD's of this artist
- Johan Verminnen (Klüger, 1970)
- Stilte als refrein (Biram, 1973)
- Elle chante na na na (Biram, 1974)
- Live (Biram, 1977)
- Als mijn gitaar me helpt (Biram, 1979)
- Ik voel me goed (Biram, 1981)
- Tweemaal woordwaarde (Biram, 1983)
- Melancholie (Biram, 1984)
- Traag is mooi (RCA, 1987)
- Mooie dagen (Ariola, 1989)
- Volle maan (Ariola, 1991)
- Zeven levens (Ariola, 1993)
- Alles leeft (Ariola, 1994)
- Suiker en zout (Ariola, 1996)
- Marin d'eaux douces (Ariola, 1998)
- Vroeger en Later (BMG, 1999)
- Swingen tot Morgenvroeg (BMG, 2001)
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