User story: to the rhythm of nostalgia

11 Aug 2022

We often come across infectiously enthusiastic (link in dutch) users. This time, we’re telling the story of JaapJan Schermer (1950), a Dutch musician who was searching beyond national borders for footage of some of the bands he had played with. helped him find a surprisingly high-quality recording from almost 50 years ago. also helps private individuals

In addition to researchers, local historians, documentary makers and students, we also see a large group of nostalgics finding their way to They’re looking for clips of programmes from their childhood, news stories that made a particular impression on them or part of their own past, as was the case for JaapJan.

Musical jack-of-all-trades

JaapJan Schermer looks back on his past as a musician with a certain sense of pride. But he’s still looking ahead, too, because music remains a main focal point in his life and there’s a lot more he still wants to do. In his studio, he kindly laughs: ‘I’ve been playing the drums since I was five. I had my first band when I was eleven, The Rocking Hurricanes.' His next band, The Scouts, found its way to our country. ‘We played our first single, Last Week, in the American Theatre, close to the Atomium, for BRT-tv,’ he explains.

When he was seventeen, JaapJan joined the Rob Hoeke Rhythm and Blues Group as a drummer. He performed regularly in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, also on television. And it’s these performances that he’s now trying to find. ‘Not many recordings were kept back then, so there’s a lot I haven’t found yet, but I might come across a live show every now and then.’ He discovered a great recording of the song Double Cross Woman in a Dutch archive, which whetted his appetite for more.

Pictured: 'JaapJan Schermer with Johnny Laporte Live', photo by Edwin Fabriek, made in Café Laporte in Meppel.

I watched it and realised it wasn’t too bad. We were better than I remembered!

- JaapJan Schermer

Sounds from the past

‘I wasn’t able to perform during the coronavirus pandemic, of course,’ says JaapJan, ‘so I went looking for some recordings from the past.’ And this is how he found, after some searching. ‘I knew that we’d once appeared on a programme called Tienerklanken, so I looked it up!’ And he found a great VRT recording from 1973 in which he was the drummer, aged 23, for the Jaap Dekker Boogie Woogie Band. The location? A church in Lombeek.

‘I’m still delighted with this find,’ explains JaapJan. ‘I had the clip within a week, and the picture and sound quality were much better than I imagined, with some very experimental camera work for the time.’ So it was a wonderful discovery. ‘It was notable that the presenter had been cut out, and all performances were neatly edited in the right order.’

The show must go on

‘I’m still looking for a couple of things,’ adds JaapJan. ‘There should be a recording of an opera based on an idea by François Weyergans, Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, in a completely new form. And we played with The Rob Hoeke Band in 1970 at De Gouden Zeezwaluw festival in Knokke casino, too. I’m still looking for a recording of that. Unit Gloria played there as well, with the Francis Bay Orchestra accompanying the other artists.’

So the search goes on, and JaapJan is not standing still in the meantime. He’s still playing and recording music, including with the blues band Johnny Laporte Live. He also plays Rolling Stones covers and arrangements with Memphis Revisited, and Bob Dylan songs with Black Coat. He’s also involved with launching a new rock band, Dunkey SR, who recently released a new CD. And he’s still making his own music in his studio, too, playing all the instruments himself. The search for his musical past is mainly so he can have a better record of it all.

I’m not making a documentary or anything; I’m just doing it for myself. And of course I’m letting my former band mates know what discoveries I find.

- JaapJan Schermer

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