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KRACQ Interview with George Rossolatos

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    Posted: April 21 2022 at 08:05

KRACQ Interview with George Rossolatos

Kracq are:

Jos Hustings (JH)

Twan van der Heijden (TVDH)

Cees Michielsen (CM)

Bert Vermijs (BV)


GR: Can you give us a biographical account of how the band first started, and lead us through its major milestones up until its dissolution?

KRACQ: Twan and Cees searched for a keyboard player and met Bert. They formed King’s Ransom. Around the same time Jos (aka Carmine Queen) was up to something new and placed an advertisement in OOR that he was looking for musicians. Bert came to visit and the rehearsal was love at first sight. After a few more than successful rehearsals and reassuringly well received live gigs, we decided to go for an album that was going to be published by the foundation Jos was involved with (Pop Promotion Foundation). We concentrated fully on the album and when it was released we set the sails for Britain because we had the feeling that we were more than a Dutch Band and we proved right. We had a very good review in the Sounds magazine and from there the album was soon sold out in England and the United States. Because Cees decided to move to England we did a final concert and after that the band broke up.


GR: What does the band name stand for, and how did you come up with the album’s name?


KRACQ: The band’s name came from the first letters of the bands that we were in before: King’s Ransom and Carmine Queen. I don’t recall how we came up with the title for the album.


GR: Which route did you follow mostly in the composition process? Music first and then lyrics or vice versa?


JH: Compositions usually follow the process of having this idea in my head about wanting to write about some event or idea, grab the guitar or piano and start playing while the words gradually come forward. As soon as the composition is finished I finalize the lyrics.

BV: Music ideas are the most important, so these are written first.


GR: Your lyrics appear to touch various topics, from interpersonal matters, emotions, up to social criticism. Yet, they are couched in quite poetic terms throughout. Are they intended as an emotive enhancement of your music? Are lyrics important for prog rock?


JH: In my opinion lyrics are only necessary as an extra means to convey an idea. Sometimes music alone is sufficient. I like a combination of words and music to flesh out ideas. And I simply like the poetic side of lyrics, it suggests so much more than the bare words would. I don’t see myself as a poet, though. I’m not that good with words.


GR: In which bands did Kracq’s members play prior to the brand’s formation? With which genres did you engage prior to forming Kracq?


JH: I played in several bands, high school bands mainly, like Psychedelic Reaction, Artificial Renascence and Φοινιξ. The music ranged from Byrds-like songs to early Pink Floyd-like songs and alternative pop. Because of my ever growing hunger to discover new musical areas I formed the ‘band’ Carmine Queen as a way of having others perform my musical projects. The name Carmine Queen was chosen with a hint to King Crimson, not because of the music, but because King Crimson hosted so many musicians and was led by the one and only Robert Fripp. As Carmine Queen, I wrote a lot of instrumental, sometimes experimental music and a lot of material that still hasn’t been published or performed.

TVDH:  I played in a classic-rock cover band where I learned to play the bass guitar. I played with that band about 70 gigs (1973-1975). After that mostly did jam sessions with a lot of musicians. I met Cees during those sessions and soon after that Bert!

CM: School bands mainly

BV: 1974- Dionys: improvisation

1974- K.U.T.:  prog rock

1976- Na’migi: symfonic/prog rock

1977- King’s Ransom: symfonic/improvisation


GR: What music genres and artists were on top of your music charts in the early to mid 70s?


JH: Early Pink Floyd, King Crimson, The Byrds, The Move, Soft Machine, Henry Cow, Caravan, Hatfield & the North, Silver Apples, Van der Graaf Generator, Richard Strauss, Ligeti, Pierre Henry.

TVDH: Symphonic and experimental rock like Yes, King Crimson and Frank Zappa

Bert: King Crimson, ELP, Yes, Soft Macine, Gentle Giant, Ravel, Bartol, Bach



GR: Kracq’s sound is quite unique, accommodating various genres under its umbrella, from classical, to avantgarde, to electronics. Who is responsible for bringing what into your sound?


JH: That is hard to say, I really want to believe that the sound was made by all of us. Of course Bert and I both had our classical music influences. But apart from that…


GR: Did you approach any major labels prior to releasing your album as a private pressing? If yes, what was the response?


JH: No we never did.


GR: Tell us a few words about the fantastic cover of your album. Is there a specific meaning behind it? Perhaps an indirect reference to surveillance society? Or a visual statement that your album is an introspective, self-reflexive journey?


JH: …


GR: Some people have drawn parallels between Supersister and Kracq, although claiming that Supersister had a uniform sound throughout their releases would be a massive error, given the versatility of their compositions. Did you ever look up to Supersister for inspiration or even success, given their relative standing in the Dutch prog establishment? Were you personally acquainted with them at that time?


JH: We never had any awareness of Supersister, and therefore we had no personal contact. You might say that we were a very autistic band J


GR: Which other bands from Holland and abroad were you affiliated and/or performed with live?  Other artists in UAP’s repertoire (e.g. Sustain)?


JH: We never performed with any other band except during a presentation of the U.A.P. artists. This was one of the reasons we asked Sam Samshuijzen and Richard Davis to contribute to our album.


GR: Although you only played a handful of live shows, can you describe the atmosphere in terms of audience, participation, duration and how it felt after each show?


JH: The audience was definitely enthusiastic, there was an atmosphere of relaxation and utmost acceptance of even our improvisations. It was always a wonderful experience with heartwarming reactions.


GR: Why did you disband after a successful first album release (at least for a newcomer underground band)? Weren’t you approached by major labels? Didn’t you aspire to a career as performing and recording artists?


JH: Cees’ moving to England was the only reason we disbanded. I think we couldn’t find a proper replacement for Cees. It is very much so that the chemistry of the 4 of us was intense. Couldn’t be revived with other musicians. If Cees hadn’t left we would have proceeded, there was already new material waiting.

We were never approached by a major label other than distributing the album (Recommended Records was one of them).


GR: Have you been keeping touch with contemporary prog? Any bands that stand out according to your taste? How about new crossover genres, such as prog/symphonic metal? Bands like Carach Angren?


JH: I still listen to prog music. King Crimson is still one of my favorites. I like to listen to Centipede, Keith Tippett, Fred Frith and other former members of Henry Cow. Death/black metal has never been my cup of tea, but I must say Carach Angren makes me smile. They are funny.


GR: Tell us a few words about your side project Persephony, also on UAP. Although occasionally it is tagged as ‘folk’, the band appears to be closer to a theatrical performance, an act that might be encountered in East Village (NY). How would you position Persephony, and what was the artistic vision behind them?


JH: Persephony was not so much my project. I contributed, musically also, but mainly in making the project possible. Dolph (LP) was a friend with whom I started Polumnia, a virtual publisher of music, literature and art. Though we had a different approach on how to dwell on life and its meaning(lessness) we both welcomed humor as a necessary part of our creative attempts and that’s what made us friends. We are still in touch, as he’s living in Tokyo at the moment we don’t see each other as frequently as we did while he lived in Paris.

I think the description in Andersen’s Scented Gardens of the Mind is very appropriate.

I would like to position Persephony as ‘phony per se’. But of course Dolph could disagree. After all it’s his project. And I liked very much being a very small part of it.


GR: By the mid 70s, the earlier experimentation had given place to less free-form genres such as punk. Would you say that by the time Kracq appeared, interest in experimental and prog music had waned in favor of other genres?


JH: One of our friends in those days, and yet a fan of our music, played a kind of punk. I think it was a refreshing way to make music. I think the audience for progressive music was always very small and limited. When I first heard the Piper at the Gates of Dawn there was only one friend I could share it with. Same goes for the early Mothers of Invention. Most of the people around me were still in their Beatles/Rolling Stones period. To my knowledge punk did not push experimental music away. It was just harder to find, because new bands emerged every day and the scene grew accordingly.

Twan definitely thinks a Yes!


GR: The 70s prog and psychedelic Dutch underground was characterized by the lack of a characteristic, dominant sound (as may be said, for example, for Spanish Flamenco rock or Italian neoclassical progressive). Where do you think this versatility is attributed to?


JH: Probably the Dutch culture didn’t let itself be converted to pop culture as easily. Given the taste for tearjerkers and so on. The rich musical history of Spain and Italy is so different that it’s almost inevitable that groups like Carmen or Premiata Forneria Marconi emerged. But to be honest, I really have no idea. I never felt any kinship with Dutch culture.


GR: Over the past 10 years, there has been a massive global upsurge and interest in prog rock, while newer generations become ever more appreciative of the sound that was developed in the 70s, in all its magnificent versatility. To what cultural and technological factors would you attribute this trend (e.g. free availability of and access to previously considered obscure acts whose music was available within a closed circle; the current effervescence in cross-genre musical experimentation, etc.)? This rekindling of interest has also resulted in many bands reuniting and even releasing new material. Would this be something you might be keen on pursuing, even as a once-off live reunion?  


JH: The younger people I meet are not very much into the mainstream music that is being made. Of course Imagine Dragons is an exception (I must say I like that band very much) and lately Boy & Bear are very popular, but they also know they have a crunch for music that ‘sounds’ older. I really don’t know why. Does it give them a sense of depth in the otherwise flat and global desert culture is becoming? 

The fact that music is so easily accessible these days may contribute to the vast knowledge young people can build up, but I don’t see how it could possibly turn them into prog lovers.


Bert is not very enthusiastic about a reunion of any kind. If something would come up, though, like an invitation for a special occasion, I still wouldn’t believe it impossible.



GR: Your individual musical careers have progressed ever since the Kracq days. Can you give us a timeline with major milestones in terms of recordings, collaborations, live appearances? Highlights and best moments? How about the rest of the band members?


Jos Hustings

1979 Recording improvisational music under the name of Kracq (Bert, Jos and Charlot Rutten), published on CD-R as Beautiful sun-forever lost?

1979-1989: composing pieces for events

1986 Spiral Motion Project: a multi-media project for which I wrote all songs, that I recorded in occasional collaboration with Bert and Twan.

1989-1994: A period of depression following the sudden collapse of Spiral Motion

1994-2003: Home recording of the songs written during the first three bands, published only Renascent Phenomenonas Φοινιξ.

2002 Improvisation with Sam Samshuijzen, to be published as part of In the company of Elektra, probably 2022

2003 A KRACQ reunion (a one-time performance during the wedding anniversary of Bert and his wife Marloes) coinciding with the release of Circumvision on CD

2003-2016 writing and rewriting ‘classical’ pieces

2017 Carmine Queen rising from its ashes as a Φοινιξ would. Recreating the former Carmine Queen as a collective, gathering young musicians to perform a compilation of CQ songs, resulting in

2020 streaming publication of Compulsive Compilation

2021 publication of CD Compulsive Compilation

Working on the next project Remasters (the earliest songs) slowly working our way up to the latest compositions.

Twan van der Heijden

Scrotum a heavy rockband (no metal). A lot off live-gigs with own compositions. 1980-1984.
Gado Gado also own compositions and album named Straight and a few live-gigs.
1984. After several bands as guest f.I. Nederpop Mijn Broer( voorloper VOF de Kunst ) with Nol Havens. Same time.
1994 - 1996 crossover band VIPER (hard-funk free style). Also own compositions.
With this band we won a price Pocket Pop and payed f.I. At Appelpop Tiel.
1996 also played  The Silent Scream as a guest in Tivoli Utrecht.
1999 reunion members Scrotum formed the band Junkfood with an EP and several live gigs.
After this until the present time The Booze Band. A classic rock coverband with hundreds performances and successful in 2016 in the competition Clash of the Coverbands as a winner The Mezz Breda, 013 Tilburg , Paradiso Amsterdam and no winner but finalist in Klokgebouw Eindhoven. Paradiso and Klokgebouw was live on TV Veronica Countdown Café.
2010 also played in the band Get-Stas. This band is a progrock band and recorded an album named ….And Don’t Lose It (Spotify) 
2016 reunion VIPER 3.0 until the present time 


Cees Michielsen

Only a few months after recording the album I moved to England. As far as the musical side of it concerns, I played in a new wave band (Designers), made some studio recordings, toured the south of England. The band was based in Brighton. Highlights were performances in London. After two years I returned to the Netherlands and joined a percussion group, founded by Stefan van Campenhout, called Motel Bokassa. Based in Amsterdam, mainly active in the so-called “alternative circuits” (exhibitions, art galleries and such).

I stopped playing in Motel Bokassa when Lilianne and I moved to Maastricht, coincidentally on the same street as Bert and his wife Marloes. That is where my musical career ended.


Bert Vermijs

1979- RAM: toetsen (zang / gitaar / bas / drums) a la Pink Floyd

1980- Stempelkoor: basstem (SATB) socialistische strijdliederen

1982- documentaire Fred van Tankeren: toetsen / sl*g.erk (gitaar) filmmuziek

1983- Het Vervolg: toetsen / klarinet /zang /sl*g.erk (SATB / drums / altsax / trompet / fluit / viool / cello) theatermuziek

1984- Double Exposure: toetsen (zang / bas / gitaar) jazzrock

1989- Los Chamacos: toetsen / zang (zang / gitaar / bas / drums / percussie / tenorsax / trompet) Mexicaanse feestband

1990- Toneelacademie: toetsen (zang / altsax) theatermuziek

1990- Danscompagnie Limburg: toetsen / samples / drumcomputer (zang) balletmuziek

1992- Het Mobiel Blaasorkest: klarinet / piano (fluit / hobo / klarinet / zang / altsax / tenorsax / trombone / sl*g.erk) theater-, film-, feest- en concertmuziek

1994- Loes Hegger: klarinet / accordeon (zang) franse chansons

2000- Toneelschap Beumer en Drost: toetsen / samples / accordeon / gitaar / doedelzak (zang / trompet / sopraansax / tenorsax / bastuba / sl*g.erk) theatermuziek

2015- De Toneelmakerij: computer, soundscapes

2016- Les JeunesAnnées: accordeon (zang / piano ) franse chansons

2020- Nicole: accordeon (zang) jazz standards

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote siLLy puPPy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 21 2022 at 08:38
Cool. I love that sole KRACQ album. Will check this out later
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hrychu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 21 2022 at 09:11
The keyboard player's live setup looks expensive. :) I mean, wow! A rhodes piano, a clavinet, and a real deal minimoog!?? This shіt was premium even back in the day!
AI-generated prog album covers are utter shіt
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Psychedelic Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 27 2022 at 06:14
It's quite a coincidence that I listened to Kracq for the first time today before I'd even seen this tribute thread. Smile
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