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Hans Sanders (18 june 1946 - 3 november 2007)

The Dutch formation Bots actually revolves around singer/songwriter Hans Sanders although Bonkie Bongaerts and Bertus Borgers formed the band in 1974. In 1965 the 18-year-old Hans became a member of De Rockets, the backing band of Peter Koelewijn. Part of the Rockets took up the name 4PK and recorded the garage single ‘Down and out’ in 1966. Without much result. Later Sanders became a member of Dirty Underwear, which he left after a conflict with the same Bertus Borgers.
Together with Bonki Bogaerts and Sjors van de Molengraft he began in the early 70s the symphonic rockband Fanfare before the differences with Borgers were settled and they formed Bots. Helped by Koelewijn the band was able to record their first album ‘Van Kwaad Tot Erger’ (From Bad To Worse) in 1975. The singles "Het Lied Van De Werkende Jeugd" ("The Song Of The Working Youth") and "De Man" ("The Man") are released and due to their social-political lyrics place them right into the left wing youth movement. In 1976 the DDR (East Germany) shows an interest in the band and the band is invited over. The song "Zeven Dagen Lang" ("Seven Days On End"), a cover version of the Breton folk song 'Son ar Chistr' popularised by singer-songwriter Alan Stivell, becomes a huge hit. The second album ‘Voor God En Vaderland’ (For God And Country), in camouflage cover, handles themes like feminism, racism, solidarity and militarism.

In 1978 the band works together with the theatre group Proloog Bots and creates the musical Barst. And the tour ‘Bots Rood Show’. This musical theatre production is, however, not very successful. Their popularity in Germany grows however and in 1979 the band is one of the headliners at the ‘Rock gegen rechts’ festival, a manifestation against the growing rightwing extremism. Although playing mainly in Dutch the crowd accepts them with cheers and applause. This result in 1980 on a new Dutch album ‘Je Voelt Pas Nattigheid Als Je Droog Komt Te Staan’ (which translates into the English saying 'You Won't Smell A Rat Until You Come Across One') and a first German-language album Aufstehn! (Stand Up!) with features a translated compilation of former albums. The songs are translated by German authors Günter Wallraff, Henning Venske and Peter Tobiasch. The album sells over 400.000 copies. But the success also has a downside and there are many changes in the band's line-up. Eventually this ends in a major dispute within the band. Hans Sanders is accused of holding back money from the other bandmembers. It is the beginning of the end. In Holland is already out of the picture and now a third German-language album 'Schön Krank' flops. The band is on the road a lot and plays for free in front of half a million people at the 'Künstler Für Den Frieden' (Artists For Peace) festival in West Berlin.

In 1990 there is suddenly a new Dutch album Paradijs (Paradise) produced by Sanders and keyboard player/singer Kees Buenen. Bots sporadically performs in their hometown of Eindhoven. When local football team PSV wins the national championships in 1997 Sanders re-records his classic "Zeven Dagen Lang" and turns it into "Zeven Jaren Lang" ("Seven Years On End"). Former BOTS band members and fans respond insulted. In 2001 Bots play the Folkwoods festival in Eindhoven. The rave reviews and enthusiastic responses from the audience strengthen the members of the band in the belief that she still has a right to exist. End of 2003 Hans Sanders began writing new songs for a new album. In May 2007, during recording sessions, singer Hans Sanders gets to hear that he is terminally ill. He ends up singing four songs and then selects guest singers for the rest of the album. On November 3, 2007 Sanders passes leaving the remaining bandmembers to continue with the material.

On the web:

- Bots' website:http://www.bots-muziek.nl/

If you like this, you probably like.. / european counterparts:

Karat (Germany)

- Blå Tåget (Sweden)

What do we think:

DB: Bots has been almost forgotten in the Dutch pophistory. And that while the band was one of the few at the start of the seventies to decide to sing in Dutch and was able to become popular with that. Maybe mostly due to the very left orientated song material. No wonder the DDR was interested in the band. They were even one of the few Western bands that toured former East Germany. But possibly the folk orientation also became a handicap when punk knocked on the door and the Dutch left found a new sound. Suddenly their folky-cabaresque pop was outdated. Lucky for them they were able to prolong their demise in Germany but eventually they became a relic of the seventies. Still, those old albums, when you give them a spin are undeniably a display of good craftsmanship and intelligent songwriting. In 2013 the National Television made a documentary about the band which forms an interesting tribute.


♪♪♪ - Van kwaad tot erger - 1975

♪♪♪ - Voor God en vaderland - 1976

- Wie zwijgt stemt toe - 1978

♪♪♪♪ - Je voelt pas nattigheid als je droog komt te staan - 1980

- Aufstehn! - 1980

- Entrüstung - 1981

- Schön krank - 1983

- Paradijs - 1990

- Botsproeven - 2005

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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  EUROPOPMUSIC - Netherlands