It was June 2002. "Sold out", read a sign on the door of the Dutch venue Paradiso. Was it a concert? Yes, that too. More of a party, really. Heideroosjes (pronounced; hi-duh-rose-yes and it's HR, in short) celebrated their twelve-and-a-halfth anniversary. To a seething crowd of fans (Ã¡nd the band members' relatives: that older lady on the balcony, that was bass player Fred's grandmother), Heideroosjes performed a cross section of their six studio albums, supported by numerous guests, members of both successful Dutch artists and underground bands.
"Lad, how you've grown. I can remember you being only this big", the uncle is in the habit of saying at the family party. After all, were Heideroosjes not that band that once rattled charmingly but did get the fields of The leading Dutch music festival, Pinkpop, to its knees? That band with the high calibre of likeability, despite those four grim faces on stage, despite the punk noise they produced on the spot?
In the early days, perhaps. But after 14 years (without any changes in cast) and almost 1000 live shows Heideroosjes are --with all due respect- the most successful punk band ever to be produced by the Netherlands. Dedicated to the Dutch underground scene they stayed. But on the other hand, they have managed to stay in the Dutch album charts for over half a year and have had some radio hits in The Netherlands and Belgium. Heideroosjes have toured with Pennywise, with Bad Religion and with The Offspring. Noodles, the Offspring's heavily spectacled guitar player, fell silent for a moment when he saw HR live in action. And then he made the following note in his diary: "I have a new favourite band, Heideroosjes. These guys rock and make me feel old." There were the smashing gigs at Pinkpop, at Lowlands, at the legendary Dynamo, at the German Bizarre Festival, the Belgian Rock Werchter and victory at Pukkelpop, there were the headlines when Jerry Springer proved to be a good sport by presenting the critical Jerry Rules In The Land Of The Free in his talk show. There was the show with the classical Metropole Orchestra. There was the tour across the former Yugoslavia. And there was the legendary 'red t-shirt'-concert in Amsterdam, when the hall was packed with 1250 Heideroosjes-fans who had been allowed free entrance provided that they wore a red band shirt.
Now there is SINema, the first studio-album of Heideroosjes since the anniversary and the extremely successful live record It's A Life. Once again with Oscar Holleman (Krezip, Within Temption) at the controls, the man who has been responsible for enabling the band to sound as dynamic on CD as they do on stage since their Epitaph debit Smile...You're Dying!
"On this album, the vocals are in nine different languages," says vocalist Marco Roelofs. What he means is: this is the album made by a band of the world. A band that found kindred spirits on its European tour in bands like Terrorgruppe (Germany), Burning Heads (France) and The Shandon (Italy) and now allows the vocalists of these and three other bands to sing along in their own language on Euronoise, the punk anthem that closes SINema. This is the new album of the band that toured across South Africa, performed in a township (Roelofs: "So there we were, a white band playing punk music, perhaps even the most white kind of music there is. For the first time in my life, I felt that the colour of my skin mattered.") and now invited the youngsters they had met over there to sing along on one of the new album tracks Mamelodi Melodies.
SINema has been written in punk, metal, rock, hardcore and folk and is the report of a world in which, according to Marco Roelofs, "reality is even more bizarre than the movies". The reality of missing rolls of film (Come Clean, a song with a nasty taste to it, which Roelofs wrote after having seen the documentary A Cry From The Grave, is about the Netherlands' political failure in the Muslim-enclave Srebrenica), fatal friendships ("Dan Breekt De Hel Los" or "That's When Hell Breaks Loose") and "De Portier" or "peckerheads in patent leather shoes". Sometimes Roelofs dreams of escaping that reality (Delete Me), now and then he spits on it (The World, the most boiling song on the album), but ever so often he embraces the folly. Which results into Ebersberg, a hilarious song about experiences from touring in Germany. And Damclub-Hooligan, which is about a hooligan who crosses the country while demolishing it in name of his draughts club "Ons Steentje". This is the single that preceded SINema and is being accompanied by an absurd video.
That uncle on the family party, he would say that Heideroosjes have made their most "mature" album yet. Whatever. The fact is that the band has never before put so much effort into an album (and you cÃ¡n trust them to put their effort into something: for a punk band Heideroosjes have a suspiciously large work ethic) and has never before sounded that versatile. And now on tour across Europe! Roelofs: "We can hardly wait. We get agitated and uptight from not having performed for a long time." Soon coming to a club in your neighbourhood: live-SINema. And you may want to make a note of December, 2014: the twenty-fifth anniversary.
# Noisy Fairytales ('92) Fairytale Records
# Choice for a lost generation ('94) Fairytale Records
# Fifi ('96) Play It Again Sam (PIAS)
# Kung Fu ('97) Play It Again Sam (PIAS)
# Smile....you're dying! ('98) (compilation) EPITAPH
# Schizo ('99) EPITAPH
# Fast Forward ('01) EPITAPH
# It's a life (live-album)('02) EPITAPH
# SINema (February '03) EPITAPH