Kliko Fest Q&A
The last six editions of Kliko Fest featured legendary bands such as The Saints, Claw Boys Claw, The Fuzztones, Reverend Beat-Man and Mudhoney, to name but a few, and a slew of newer favorites such as The Alla-Lahs, De Spa ties, King Khan and the Shrines, Sreaming Females, Nick Waterhouse, The Jackets, The Phanthom Four and many many more.
In this interview with Jeroen, the man behind Holland’s premier garage rock festival, we delve into his musical past, get some exclusive behind the scenes stories and hear about his plans for the future editions.
Heatwave: How’s it going Jeroen? Please give us little info in how you got involved with the music scene?
Jeroen: Hi Marko, all’s going really well, thanks! We just had our complete lineup confirmed for our 7th annual Kliko Fest. It’s the best so far, if you ask me. So yes, I am really siked about that!
My involvement in the music scene was pretty unavoidable. Growing up in the so-called ‘Bollenstreek’ in Holland there was completely nothing to do. So we created our own ‘flip hok’ in Voorhout right next to our local pub called, De Twee Wezen. There we experimented on all levels and used anything we could get our hands on to create music. Also then we had these squatter venues I went to – very inspirational as a kid.
I was really into metal and saw lots of shows and was there the first years of Dynamo Open Air. I didn’t really go to school and started setting up shows at the local youth centre, Magnifiosi, which in the 90s was a typical sanctuary for grungers, gothics, punkers and junkies. One of my first shows was with a band called The Treble Spankers, who were pretty popular at the time because of the surf revival due to Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.
I started listening to The Velvet Underground and from then on everything changed. Some guy, Tony from Toni’s Music, asked me to work at his stockroom full of vinyl. My duty was to organise them all. This was heaven to me and I could have grown old right there and then, but I got offered a job in the Plaatboef Leiden and quickly was asked to replace the alcoholic director of the Plaatboef Haarlem (I just moved to a houseboat there).
This second hand record store broadened my musical interest by the day. Lots of music professionals came there to sell their promo CDs and I got to know lots of people. Mind you, this was the old school record store – messy, drunk and smoky with lots of weirdos coming in and out.
It was a small step, looking back, for me to start organizing events from there. In stores, festivals in squatters places and I started my own label (Muze Records) and released DIY small releases of my own projects and other Dutch underground bands, but also art projects.
In 2001 the promoter of Patronaat told me he was going to leave Patronaat and stimulated me to apply for his job. Without him they’d never hired this longhaired, smelly hippy. And now I am director, 15 years later. I still promote lots of shows, mostly the garage, rock n’ roll shows.
Heatwave: Was there a special gig that got you hooked on rock n’ roll/garage music?
Jeroen: I remember listening to the radio at night, yes kids used to do that in those days… I am not sure if it was the same broadcast, but I remember the VPRO broadcasting all the original songs of The Cramps. I didn’t know The Cramps at that time, but these originals I recorded on tape and played them over and over.
The other thing I heard was Dead Moon. It was ‘In the Altitude,’ a B-side of a single they took from the classic album Stranded in the Mystery Zone. I think they also played ‘A Fix on You.’ It was something else!
I went to Patronaat for the first time for Dead Moon in 1991. I keep this tradition alive by booking the band in all its forms at Patronaat. Fred and Toody played a few months ago again…
I always played in this moody experimental band called Min. Only a decade later I decided I was fed up with playing in that kind of band and as a joke I started ET Explore Me with friends in 2000. And we’ve kept that going until today, always keeping it real. A year ago we brought out this wicked Nederbiet record under the name De Kliko’s.
Heatwave: How did you get the idea to do Kliko Fest and how did you get such an ambitious project off the ground?
Jeroen: I promoted lots of rock n’ roll shows in Patronaat. Reigning Sound, Jay Reatard, Thee Oh Sees, The Black Lips, Wau y los Arrrghs, Lost Sounds and King Khan, to name a few of the notorious ones. But it always felt that we needed one moment in a year to celebrate this for real. It was just that, “Why don’t we just do it once a year for real and throw all these bands together in all the halls we have at Patronaat.”
I also have the opinion that most shows in Holland need more rock n’ roll. With my band I play in lots of venues, which are really wild – Pacific Parc, DBs, all Stefan and Marleen’s shows in Nijmegen, and Sleazefest, to name a few, but in the more established venues it’s all so tame.
The rock ’n roll scene is all about energy and the energy from the audience is usually better the later it gets… So this is why Kliko fest is until 6 o’clock in the morning. After 2am you see things are changing. This is what I really love. So we just started.
I got Ty Segall offered in the middle of the summer and I thought, “I must do this,” but how can I attract people when it’s 30 degrees outside and there’s a beach 10-minutes cycling from the venue?
So I added eight extra bands and called it Kliko Fest. The name I stole from my own band, but it was too good not to use it… Over the years we built up a name, which led us to this year’s program and established Kliko Fest as one of the biggest garage, rock n’ roll festivals in the country. But it doesn’t need to big. It needs to be dirty and not dependent on any hype. It needs to be real.
Heatwave: Wow, same here! Seeing Dead Moon for the first time was a special moment for me too and I kept coming back to Haarlem to see them. And speaking of legendary gigs… I remember meeting Juanito from Wau y Los Arrrghs in the toilet of Patronaat back in I think 2004. What a beautiful mess that was. Any crazy behind the scenes stories you can share with us without getting people in jail?
Jeroen: Wau y los Arrrghs drove straight from Spain in one go with a bottle filled with something that sounds like the punk band GBH. They arrived just in time for the show and went straight to the toilet area. I remember that it was better to give them some privacy at that point…
After the show I emailed Beatman to thank him for the show with some sort of review. He replied that he wanted to use the text for the album of Wau y Los Arrrghs. And indeed it appeared on their debut album. Most of the time it’s just musicians being professional with the usual habits and egocentric behavior. Nothing that I think is really shocking.
Actually I try to avoid having the same conversations with bands all the time, so I like to meet bands when I, or they, don’t expect to. Like a nice conversation I had with Paul Major of Endless Boogie in front of Patronaat. He didn’t have a clue of who I was and that’s what I like – that you don’t have the obligation conversations.
Mostly I have the funniest moments with artists I’m not really am a fan of. I still am a fan, most of the time, and it always gives me an awkward feeling. With Ian McCulloch for instance, the singer of Echo and the Bunnymen. The show was a routine, but backstage he gave a standup comedy show for two hours just for his booker and me. It was hilarious.
High as kite, he was of course, but so funny! I remember thinking he should be doing that on stage instead of Echo and the Bunnymen.
We also were called the day after the Snoop Dog show. It appeared he bought a king-size television, lots of expensive clothes and left lots of dope, if we would like to collect this… Of course we did and we have it at the office to remind us of this historically bad show at Patronaat.
Which reminds me… We also had a complaint from the hotel Dead Moon slept in. There was a telephone, like these old real telephones, stuck in the toilet. So we had to pay for the repairs. I never found out how the telephone got there. As you know conversations with Andrew were always a bit, how we do I say, about one topic only.
Heatwave: Lastly, tell us your plans with Kliko? Any acts that you still have on your wish list?
Jeroen: Oh man, lots! This year only I tried to get Black Lips, Heavy Trash / Boss Hog, Reigning Sound, Ron Gallo, Fat White Family / Moonlandingz, Thee Oh Sees, Fidlar, The Goggs, Moon Duo, Hanni El Khatib, The Black Angels, Sonido Gallo Negro… I could go on and on…
The thing is, rock n’ roll will never die. There will be always lots of bands with raw energy and that’s what Kliko is about to me. Not strictly rock n’ roll only. That’s what I liked about Los Piranas last year. Completely different, but it worked!
That’s why I really wanted to have Sonido Gallo Negro, which is in some ways live the cumbia version on King Gizzard. Well, next year maybe…