The Haigs - Never die (Op-Art 10” OAMLP 005)

Liner notes (from an article in Dutch Kink Magazine, 1967):

“Dutch pop is as dead as a doornail and it’s our own fault”. “Dutch top outfits, compared to English bands, are third rate at most”.
Such statements were uttered before, yet this time around they came up during a conversation with some Beat musicians themselves and that happens less often. The Haigs, who are close to reaching the Top 40 with the Sam Cooke song “Saturday night”, visited the editorial office of “Kink” magazine and turned out to be very modest guys with a totally down-to-earth view on their own way of living.
“Was a new sound ever brought forth by Dutch pop” asked Paul van Melzen, their bassist (formerly with the Mack), heavy sideburns ‘n all and he gave the answer himself: “No, never, it’s just nice melodies, tunes, what we make here. Name any given top outfit, say the [Golden] Earrings. What did they make? A whole lp with just tunes”.
Rhythm/solo guitarist Rob van der Zwam jumps in: “We really don’t want to exclude ourselves: we’re going down a blind alley ourselves as well. Sometimes, after a night’s work, we hardly know, whether we played or not: everything went automatically”.
Drummer Jaap Mossel: “There’s a lot of complaints about audiences: they’re so lame, so un-interested. But the Beat groups themselves are to blame, really. WE should come up with something new, something has to HAPPEN on stage”.
Rob van der Zwam is the only surviving member of the original Haigs. Last year [1966] they released the outstanding, yet not very successful 45 “Never die”. Shortly after the group died, due to ever increasing alcohol consumption. Teetotaler van der Zwam remembers with a wry face: “We had three crates of beer in our van. By the time we arrived at the venue those were empty. Sometimes the band were too plastered to climb upon the stage”. So things didn’t work out for the band, formerly known as the Entertainers and for some time The Hague’s top outfit, next to the Golden Earrings. The Haigs came to an inglorious finale. Rob’s former colleagues are now students at the Technical University in Delft.
After a few months of “reflection” Rob put together a new band. After a lot of deliberation and in spite of the unfavorable ring it had with venue owners, the name the Haigs was maintained.
The new line-up (completed by singer Barry Hay) recorded “From now on”. It didn’t reach the Top 40 but the guys at Veronica [Dutch pirate radio station, broadcasting from a ship on the North Sea] liked it and played it a lot so the Haigs’ market value went up considerably anyway.
“Saturday night (and I ain’t got nobody)”, their latest 45, is a good song, but should still be ranked under “nice tunes”.
So what are the Haigs actually doing, to put an end to the pop-rut they complain about so much themselves?
Rob: “Well, “Saturday night” is just another great sing-along-song, that goes down well with live audiences. We DID want to do something different, but Polydor isn’t too keen on experiments. Those guys first look at the commercial side. We’re really working hard on our own sound, processing influences of the Cream, Jimi Hendrix, the Butterfield Blues Band and so on, into something that’s our own”.
Paul: “Once you start making music you like, you will naturally put on a good show, ‘cause you can feel into that sound, convey it to the audience. If you have to scamp through Top 40 material, you can hardly put on a raw show, as it will get un-genuine. But a guy like Hendrix is totally comfortable in his act, he turns himself on with his sound, that’s how it should be done, really”.
Jaap: “Which Dutch group really has something like a stage-act? Maybe the Tee Set, lately. I heard they give it quite a go, especially the English guy. But there you have it: it’s not until an English guy joins a band, before they dare do something like that. The Q65 do well on stage as well, I think. They have personality, really like ‘Audience, I’m expecting you’, they’re really impressive. But for the rest it’s just lameness on stage, whether you see the Motions or some band from the country-side who just started: a bit of shaking on stage, that’s all”.
We have to do without singer Barry Hay’s comments. He didn’t come along and for reason: he’s to join the Mack soon and is followed up by Jack, now singer/guitarist of the Moody Sec, a band with two Negro-girls, who are hittin’ it big right now in The Hague and surroundings.
Ron enthusiastically states: “Jack is just the person we need right now. He’s a true fanatic, completely obsessed with music. If he talks to you shiver go up and down you spine. He’s a very special guy. Lately he was on stage, crying with emotion and the girls in the audience started crying as well. Hey! That’s the way we should be heading: the audience should be participating again”.

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