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In 1978 Doe Maar ('Just do it') is formed by Ernst Jansz (Amsterdam, may 24, 1948) and bassist Piet Dekker. Both were previously active in the Slumberland Band and also accompanied Boudewijn de Groot on his album 'Waar ik woon en wie ik ben' ('Where I live and what I am'). Carel Copier is the band's drummer. The band records its debut album on the Telstar label, which is owned by popular music tycoon Johnny Hoes. Without much success the album get’s a release and the band goes on tour. Music magazine Muziek express reviews the band as "I fail to see how this lot will make a positive contribution to the future of Dutch music".

On the verge of giving up they decide to give Doe Maar a second try. This time they ask Henny Vrienten (Tilburg, july 27, 1948) on bass. Vrienten has already made a name for himself both as recording artist and as composer. Beginning his career in the late 1960s as a member of local outfit 'Les Cruches', Henny spends the early 1970s writing songs for others and recording two himself as Ruby Carmichael. He also works and tours with singer-songwriter Boudewijn de Groot alongside Ernst Jansz. Next to that he played in the night-only reggae-outfit 'Rumbones'.

The influence of reggae is obvious on the second d album 'Skunk', which features guest musician Joost Belinfante as horn player and composer. Although the music press hardly takes any notice of the band, young Dutch music fans do. This, despite the fact that most of the band's lyrics are concerned with typical thirtysomething problems. Doe Maar's big break comes with the singles 'Doris Day' and 'Is dit alles?' ('Is this all there is?'). Both are taken from the third album. It is at this point the Netherlands suffer from 'Doe Maar-mania'. It is this teenage craze that means the quick end of the band. Only two years after their big breakthrough the band decide to call it quits. On April 14 1984 Doe Maar plays two farewell gigs.

Vrienten quickly’s comes up with a solo record ‘Geen ballade’ and has a hit with a ‘Als je wint’, a duet with Dutch rock artists Herman Brood. After this he starts focussing on a career in TV and film-scores and producing for other artists (like Belgian singer Raymond van het Groenewoud for the album 'Habba'). From 1986 to 1991 he plays music from the start of the 20th century with Magnificent Seven, whose members include singer/advert composer Fay Lovsky and unofficial fifth Doe Maar-member Joost Belinfante. In the mid-1990s a new generation of Dutch-language acts emerge; Henny ends up collaborating with rap-group Osdorp Posse. Ernst Jansz writes three semi-autobiographical books: 'Gideons droom' (1983), 'De overkant' (1985) and 'Molenbeekstraat' (2006). The latter two share their titles with Jansz' solo-albums.

In 1999 the band announce that they will reunite and do 13 shows in the Ahoy' in Rotterdam. A new album ‘Klaar’ is released in 2000 next to a tribute album on which Dutch artists such as Postmen (with Def Rhymz), Bløf, Skik, Rowwen Hèze, Trijntje Oosterhuis, Caesar, Prodigal Sons, Grof Geschut, Daryll-Ann, Abel, Heideroosjes, Marcel de Groot, Bob Fosko and Osdorp Posse pay tribute to Doe Maar. 173,634 people went to see the Doe Maar reunion concerts. In 2008 the band did two more concerts in the Rotterdam football stadium ‘De Kuip’. At the same time Vrienten anounced that the band would record a new album soon. But before that Vrienten joins Frank Boeijen and Henk Hofstede (The Nits) for a combined album project called 'Aardige jongens'. In 2012 they hold another reunion-show, this time with an entire orchestra. For the occasion they re-record some of their classics with a variety of young Dutch hiphop artists released under the title 'Versies'. The CD is complemented with some old demo's called the 'Limmen tapes'.

On the web:
- Doe Maar's website: http://www.doemaar.nl
- Dutch fan site: http://www.won.nl/dsp/usr/svketel/Music/Doemaar
- Dutch fan site:  www.doemaardeband.nl
- Belgian fan site: http://users.telenet.be/doemaar

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What do we think:

DB: Without Doe Maar the state of Dutch languaged pop would probably be very miserable. Their heavy-reggae influenced sparked a whole pop scene that's active untill today. I grew up with girls and boys sporting Doe Maar buttons and walking around with pink/yellow sweatbands. It's hard to believe that in retrospect their whole fame is based on only two really classic albums. They even got posthum international acclaim when Austrian lounge duo Kruder and Dorfmeister used their dub-album in their set. Personally I'm a bit Doe Maar tired with all the reunion concerts and the almost untouchable status they get in the media. I'd rather cherish the memory. Classic stuff.

PR: Doe Maar is probably in the hearts and minds of everyone in Holland that's been born between 1965 and 1972. They were the first Dutch band whose popularity took on Beatle-like proportions. Well deserved or not, up to this day their influence is significant. And their hit singles have all become Dutch classics. Their secret? Who knows. But they wrote great tracks and they were great musicians. And they probably just were there at the right time with the right tunes. Very eighties, but still very good!


- Doe Maar - 1979

- Skunk - 1981

- Doris Day en andere stukken - 1982

♪♪ - Doe de dub - 1982

- 4Us (Virus) - 1983

- Lijf aan lijf - 1983

- Klaar - 2000

- Hees van Ahoy - 2000

- Versies / Limmen tapes - 2012

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


  EUROPOPMUSIC - Netherlands