I hope that Radio Vickers isn’t your first introduction to this great artist. If you are well aware of Mr. Brood’s whacky musical career, then I’m sure the songs below will bring back some very pleasant memories of a special time and place. If you don’t know him any better than you know the Basset Rescue of Old Dominion (BROOD) (http://www.brood-va.org/) then I hope the music below will open your world up to a really special performer.
I first discovered Herman Brood in an article in The Trouser Press. A wonderful music magazine which I greatly miss. When the assigned journalist walked into the interview room, Herman was hiding behind the door. God knows what he thought was coming to get him. It was a fascinating piece. The previous night, Brood and one of his other musicians had been calculating how many cigarettes they had smoked and how many times they had shot heroin. It was a lot. (well over 10,000, if memory serves)
Who would not be intrigued by such an eccentric character? A short time later I had the album, “Go Nutz” clutched in my very curious hands. I don’t remember where I bought it (a flea market?) but when I got it home, it was not in the best of shape. I could only play the first two or three tracks on each side of the record. The rest of the vinyl was so warped that it made the needle bounce up and down. (remember those days, boys and girls?) But I didn’t need more that a few tracks to convince me that this Windmill Hugger was someone I liked. (even thought this record was considered a bit of a commercial disappointment in his own country)
Herman was a musician, a junkie, an artist and a huge, huge personality. By the end of his life, he was making a lot more money from his paintings than from his music (which was still very popular). He had also limited his drug intake to one shot of speed a day. (plus as much booze as he wished to consume)
For about 25 years Mr. Brood and his Wild Romance would visit the charts in his home country. (mostly singing in English like a lot of European bands) The songs below will either grab you or they won’t. To me, they are the epitome of rock and roll. His anonymity in this country is just another indictment on the long list of America’s cultural war crimes.
The rock and roll epilogue:
A lot of musicians die lonely and sad deaths but Herman would have none of that. He was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor at 54. Who knows how any of us would react upon hearing that kind of news. With only a few months left to live, he trotted over to the Amsterdam Hilton and jumped off the roof.
There is a wonderful freedom in not giving a fuck and Herman had that in spades. He lived life on his terms and when life turned against him, he simply tipped his hat and said, “So long”. But he did leave us with some great music. I’ve still got that warped record and warm feeling in my heart for the man who made it.
So sit back, don’t give a fuck, and enjoy.
Old Memories – The perfect song to remember him by. It has the great line, “Old memories. Old memories, won’t pay my liquor bill.” And I’ll wager that they wouldn’t.
I Love You Like I Love Myself – I fell in love with this song instantly. It’s such a beautiful piece of logic.
This is the same song from the movie made about his unique life.
Saturday Night – one of his biggest songs.
Never Be Clever – this could be the theme song for the Republican Party.
My Way – This recording was put out right after his death and became an instant number on in Holland. Beware, when watching this. It even made this crusty-hearted cynic get a little misty eyed. Herman certainly did it his way. Right up until the very last second. Sleep in peace.
Vital info about this Netherlandian crazy man. Wiki doesn’t mention his brain cancer, but almost every other source I’ve read, says that he was diagnosed with it and had only a few months to live.
"Lullaby for the Working Class
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I'm almost embarrassed that I'm only discovering them now.
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