A minor requiem

When I open my Skype, there is one pinned connection that has been silent for over a year. On December 23rd, I sent my last message to Colin Tench, promising him to get back to him on his new album minor Masterpiece for which he had just sent me the final digital version. A few days after, Colin would leave us, and I never got to tell him what I thought of the album. Today, a year after his passing, I think it’s time to tell him.

Colin, you always told me you were very fond of what you heard in the sixties and seventies, and that you wanted those sounds to return and live on.

In terms of style, musicianship and production, that’s what you aimed for, while at the same time making sure your original, humoristic and musically surprising twist was there. We talked a lot, and we shared some music on the first CTP album, the one with the 2 million guests. On the second one, your minor Masterpiece, you decided to keep it smaller – not too many guests, and a piece of music centered around the drum tracks you got form Joe Vitale. It worked – the album is varied, and musically and productionwise it got very close to what you always told me you wanted to achieve. Listening to the album, I can see why you pointed out The Beatles’ I Want You (She’s so Heavy), a track that a lot of people don’t even recognise as a Beatles track.

It took me the best part of a year to get around to listening to the album in full, because it’s so hard to do without being able to discuss it with you personally. I did it however, and I like it – it’s your own ‘white album’ – varied, original, recognisable at the same time and exactly how you wanted it – rock combo and orchestra in one, with your friends Joe, Gordo, Petri, Joey and Peter shining with you.

Thank you for the music, Mr. Tench. We’ll meet again.

To be raised in fairness

So… we’re going to have a son in early 2019. Today Arianna and myself were talking about the future, and what we would want for the boy. Two of the options that came up were that he could become a lawyer or a politician. Although there is merit in those, I have a few strong doubts about them.

Let’s look at the lawyer first. Quite a large percentage of lawyers benefit from other people’s sadness and pain (despite no doubt having good intentions when they start law school) or by downright defending proven criminals in court, trying to get them their freedom or a reduction in of their sentence. A similar percentage make their money by bending the rules for those among us that have too much money already and only want more, at the expense of the majority of mankind and the planet we live on.
Of course, the remaining lawyers do good things as well – defending the innocent, standing up for the weak, but how many of them really do it because they are looking for fairness and justice instead of just the sickening amounts of money involved? And what do they really get done that means something to humanity, to the planet?

Then, the politician. Same thing there, but on a far worse scale. They are supposed form governemnt and opposition, using democracy as a means to form a fair government for us and our planet and to represent and support all of us equally. The past 20-30 years, I’ve seen more and more examples of how this simply does not work. People mention time and time again, and rightly so, that our politicians mainly look at the benefits of the rich, and of business, with the excuse that that will help the economy and thus all of us. An economy that is screwed, on a planet that is deteriorating because of that same economy. Deteriorating, because they deliberately allow it, even enforce it. This week I read the worst example so far. A UN report on climate change was suddenly lacking the support of four major UN members, including the US and Saudi Arabia. And suddenly the discussion was over the wording of that in the closing statement of the conference: did the aggregation ‘welcome the report’ or ‘take note of the report’. Here we have the people we elect to guard our welbeing quarelling over using 3 or 5 words on a report that may determine the future of the planet.

That’s what politics and law have become – a play on money and a play on words, with no regard for the actual goal.
My feeling today was that I want our son to become someone who achieves something, implying that that something is useful to the world and it’s people. Right now, that means either not becoming a lawyer or a politician, or becoming the one that can find the support to actually change something there. If not, there’s always the possiblity to find something meaningful to become, meaningful to all our futures. Someone that loves people, helps people, supports people. Someone who receives the merits that come with giving to others and caring about them.

Born out of love and light, to be raised in fairness. I’m ready for you, young man. See you in about 2.5 months, when our journey begins.

Namy Shinnyo ūüôŹ

Don’t ever cry, just remember…


Today it’s been 10 years since the massive voice of Mike A. Baker, vocalist of Shadow Gallery was silent forever. A heart attack at 45 – as Bruce Dickinson sang “Only the good die young, while the evil seem to live forever”.

I remember buying the first two Shadow Gallery albums right away when they were released in the early 1990s. The production of especially the first one wasn’t flawless, but the music, the vocal harmonies and the great voice of Mike Baker really made me a fan from the start. Shortly afer, from mid 90s till 2005, I had a period of about 10 years during which I lost interest in the music that I grew up with – rock and metal. However, there were a few bands who’s albums I kept buying during that period, although a lot I only listened to first after 2005: Ayreon, Rush, Dream Theater, and Shadow Gallery. Every single album of the band has something magical and unique – although Digital Ghosts lacks Mike’s voice.

With the first self titled album, I fell in love with the flute in Dark Town and the mystery carried by Mike’s vocals in the Queen of the City of Ice. On the second one, Carved In Stone, the brilliant Crystalline Dream, and the epic Cliffhanger and Ghostship were added.

And so, the story continued, and Mike was always there. In recent years, long after his untimely death, there is however one album that has a special place in my musical heart – Room V. After another untimely death, that of my Arianna’s mother, the track Comfort Me became one of our cherished tracks – both to comfort Arianna and to remember her mother. If he was still here, I’d send a thank you message to Mike, likely on the Facebook page he never had – now I just post it here.

Thank you, Mike Baker, voice of memories and comfort. Rest in Peace in the musical havens.

Your touch to comfort me
Just comfort me
Your sheltering soul not a moment too soon
You’re a sweet tourniquet
For my soul lies rife with open wounds
And yes I thought as I closed my eyes
I saw phantom apparitions dance
And are we really safe on our own
Or are they out there watching
Right now I don’t want to care at all


The sun in my room

I’ve got the sun in my room whenever you are next to me,

and the blue sky all around whenever you smile.

These sparse lines intertwine with my curls as you play with them.
Loose and floating by without directions, but hitting home.
Travelling from far away, easily covering 900 kms in an ear whisper,
these words shaped our reality and became solid ground.
The wood people gently tend them, as we sip the last spell of sun behind the trees.

  • Arianna –

Hey, what’s going on…?

Hey, what’s going on…?¬† A line that may remind some of a 90s pop song by a band called 4 Non Blondes, others will recall the song by Marvin Gaye, and yet others of a song from the s60s song For What It’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield, in which it is actually ‘everybody look what’s going down…


Either way, the line is the title of this post, because it’s a question I’ve been asking myself for the past months, especially when it comes to music. For some reason, I’ve not been so keen on listening to new music – be it prog, metal, or anything else since the end of summer. Likewise, I haven’t had special fun running my weekly show on ISKC rock radio, except for a few good days.. It’s not that I don’t like doing it, but when the music is not making you feel good, running a show becomes a chore. I don’t know what’s blocking me, but it’s been a nuisance. Luckily, it’s slowly changing.

Yes, it’s slowly turning, since I picked up a guitar and bass again a few weeks ago. I was preparing for the tribute show for Colin Tench, listening to some music, together with Arianna. She’d been asking me to play a bit for her for a while, and I picked up the acoustic Gretsch and we ended up doing some acoustic songs together – To Be With You by Mr. Big being the most memorable one. That revamped my musical feel again, and I’ve been playing more music since. Still not on the level I used to be at, but on last week’s show I had some of my old favourites going – the new ones will come soon.

Meanwhile, it’s also been quiet on my blog, except for the said memorial post on Colin’s passing. The reasons are the same, but I’ve also been busy doing other things. One thing that made me happy were the Christmas holidays. I spent two weeks with Arianna, in Italy and The Netherlands, with our children taking turns in being there – one time we’ll all be at the same place at the same time. Our first Christmas (of many to come) really together, and New Years eve and her birthday as well. A picture to prove … It was magical <3

Now what’s next? More radio shows, some musical cooperations in the making (I want to get back on my bass, for real) and a bright future. Join me again here, more to come…



And so, Today… in memory of Colin Tench

On December 30th 2017, just after midnight, Arianna and myself had just finished packing for our first flight together from Italy to The Netherlands and were ready to go to bed, when my phone buzzed. An incoming message from Gordo Bennett. Normally, I would have left the message till the morning, but the small bit that showed on the notification made me want to read it right away. “Angel my brother… My dear friend… It deeply saddens me”, it said. I opened the message and all I could say was ‘Nooo!’ – or something a bit more profane, I can’t remember. Colin Tench, musician, composer, producer, but most of all friend, had past away in the past few days. We didn’t sleep for a while that night, there were just tears, and short call to Gordo to bond in our grieve. I had talked to him only a few days before, just before Christmas, when he sent me his new album, and I promised to listen and call him after my holidays, in the first weekend of January. Tonight, actually, as I write this.

We cried, we talked about Colin and played only one song, before giving in to sleep. A song that he wrote at the end of 2016, the year that so many musicians left this earth – And So, Today….

A song, that now fits so much his own case. A talented man, in the middle of work and way too young to die. Actually, our friend Lucas Biela found the best words to express it a few days later: ‘Colin was too young to die, and nowhere near to old to rock n roll’

I’ve known Colin since early 2013, and we became closer friends after september 2014, when Corvus Stone released their second album. Arianna has known him since even a few years before then, around the time the BunChakeze album was released. When I had a burnout in 2015, Colin was one of the people that got me to use music as a way back to sanity – he got me in touch with other musicians, other music, reviewers and radio stations – and through that also to Arianna. He was a funny, talented and above all intelligent man. He was all over the web and the new music distribution channels, but hardly anything personal can be found about him online – although the past year he was a bit more open about the renovation of his house (and saving Shaun the Sheep from his roof – poor animal). Even the date of his birthday was a mystery, and most of us only found out the real date in the saddest possible way. Still, by talking to him, and being open about my own situation, he became more open about himself – and we learned a bit more about each others life. Things he told me, that he told us, and that we will cherish always, but that won’t be out in the open out of respect for our lost friend. A friend who we were planning to visit within the next two years, and who promised that once we settled on a wedding date, he would drive his Bentley south for us, and to learn how to play at least one song by heart for the occasion.

So much we talked about in so few years, and it feels like a void now.¬† Rest in peace – or rather, sit with the folks you wrote ‘And So Today…’ for, and rock the afterlife till the roof flies off.¬†We miss you Colin, and we will always love you. You live on in your music, and the memories you left with us and so many others all over the world these 63 years.

And so, today 
Heard the news 
Did you hear what they say? 
The knight on the hill is sleeping 
Sleep well dear friend 
Your music is here to stay 
The magic still fills my ears 

Colin Tench – May 30, 1954 – December 27, 2017

Silhouette CD launch – The World Is Flat…

After three years of hard work, especially the past 6 months, it’s finally there. Silhouette’s new album The World Is Flat (And Other Alternative Facts) will be presented to a live audience on September 22nd at Parktheater Alphen. That evening, you will hear the new music, by a band that wants to go for it!

The band will share the stage with British prog act The Gift, who released a wonderful album Why The Sea is Salt in 2016. If you missed them at ‘t Blok in February, here’s your chance to catch up.

A fairy tale

Once upon a time, two years ago, I moved into a small cottage on a forest estate – a former holiday park. It was quiet, it was peaceful and it got me far enough away from things I was facing to start seeing them for what they are. I’m still working on that, but a year ago last week, I found a fairy that helped me further on the way to achieving that. A fairy with special magic, that radiates from a pair of sparkling green eyes. Last week, almost exactly a year after we met for the first time, she came to what should be the home of a fairy like her, the forest where I live.

That was a wonderful experience, full of surprise. Who would have thought that fairies know tricks to light a fire more efficiently, without using magic? And who would have thought fairies would feel so at home in a house of men, a completely different species?

We did a fire dance, around the barbecue, throwing in small twigs occasionally to get the fire going, and once the embers were glowing as hot as they could, we roasted meat and vegetables. We feasted together, and drank the wine of the elves. We went out to¬†meet other people, traveling around the cities that surround the forest, and we enjoyed the food and wines at a nearby festival. Most of all, however, we enjoyed each others company, and that wonderful thing called love…

Tonight, I drink to many more encounters like this and to the fairy that lighted up the darkest time of my life. Here’s to years to come!


Under Nike’s wings

She said yes,
the glass of the pyramid shone brighter,
just like her eyes, and the Winged Victory smiled
benevolent from her faceless body,
wings spread and ready to fly.
The lock shines under a moonless garden,
its key buried in their hearts.


And the poet in her heart stepped into the light
No longer hidden, the question answered
To be forever, and never not to be

A new dawn..

Last night I was side kick on Into The Mirror Black, next to my wonderful DJ Morgana. We had an interview with Arjen Lucassen and a showcase of the forthcoming Ayreon album The Source. I had a great time, we had a great time – and we’ll do this again.

Does¬†that mean my own show will stop? No, of course not. But there will be some changes in other areas. My reviews have become very infrequent and that is how I feel about reviewing right now: I’d rather enjoy the music and write she. I feel like it, without the pressure of ‘having to deliver’. So there will be a few more soon, for Background Magazine, but after that I’ll go back to doing it on my own. No pressure, and only do it when I feel like. And as for the 100 words? That will stay, because it’s a nice way of writing about the essence of things. And it allows people to get an idea of a album, and then go straight to the music.

So, leaving planet Alpha and on to planet Y, for a new dawn. Not through the black hole, but Into The Mirror Black….