Rotterdam-South is the backdrop to the genesis of this band, which was always looking for the innovative. Autodidacts who started an exciting musical quest in the early eighties, in the pre-YouTube era, from the basement of the still existing music café Spot the Loony on the Beijerlandselaan, named after the band.
Growing up in the Rotterdam Lombardijen neighborhood in the sixties, the boys first meet at primary school. In 1972 John IJzelenberg and Nico de Vos get their first experience playing in pop-up bands. One day in '74 John walks into the infamous "Take Five” bar in Rotterdam and there is Willem Gebuys. Sharing great love for American rock the lads decide to start a cover band they named "ASH". Around the same time John Roos and Nico de Vos formed a band called "The Grand Canyon Divers", playing their own songs and ultimately produced a record.
It's years later when the four boys accidentally meet during the "New Pop" festival in the Zuiderpark in Rotterdam on September 9th, 1979 watching a "Fisher Z" concert. Stars align - and the rest - as they say - is history. A new band emerged.
The other lads, Jeroen, Frank, Ko and Peter came on board as they got their act together and Spot The Loony was born.
In December 1980 they started performing and soon the band got a following because of the energetic and infectious live performances and the bizar antics of singer John Roos.
The Spot The Loony sound was described by the band as "Humo Swing", or "Nutty Sound" a combination of band performance and a mix of music styles. At the end of the seventies, start of the eighties the great youth unemployment were felt and social-critical lyrics and a musically very broad orientation led to a surprising and difficult style to place within a typical genre. The Spot The Loony repertoire, which consisted entirely of self-written songs, was however usually assigned to New Wave, a common genre in the early 1980s.
After the 100th performance in January 1983, a contract was signed with 41 Music, Bert Vegter's label.
The recordings of the first and only single “What A Fool” were made in 1983 in the Bullet Sound Studios in Nederhorst den Berg and in the Sound-Push studios in Blaricum with producer Tjeerd van Zanen and technician Ockie Huysdens. DJ's saw hitparade potential and the Loony's got traction. Vara TV programme "Je ziet maar", Radio Veronica as well as Popkrant radio invited them to play. For the flip side of their single the band had a picture (see above) made by well-know (Music stars- and Playboy) photographer Govert de Roos. The Volkskrant newspaper interviewed the band for the occasion in 1983 - read the article (in English) here.
How it can be done shows is shown by eight-man formation Spot The Loony with a crystal-clear produced (Musper can learn something from that) cheerful ska-tinged song, which is sung in both Dutch and English. Clear horn section, steady rhythm section - 1983 Muziek krant Oor review of "What A Fool"
Next to "What A Fool", producer Tjeerd van Zanen recorded several other Loony songs in his own studio but those were never released. And now, after nearly 40 years a remastered version of the "What A Fool" single is available on streaming sites followed by the other songs (listed below) which were never released previously.
The band played the Rotturdam music scene for years and the style of music coupled with their energy and antics of singer Roos ensured excited fans wherever they went. The Volkskrant article of 1983 captured it as follows: "Singer John Roos, who, according to stories, is not entirely accountable during performances"
Neverheless, it wasn't to be... after years of live performances the band split up and some of the band members (John Roos, Nico de Vos en John Yzelenberg together with Paul M. van Brugge) formed a band called the "The Eurostyle Johnnies", a Frankie Goes To Hollywood spinoff. The band recorded some songs ("Cracking Up" & "Moving On") at RBS Studios but those too were never released. John Roos also released a Dutch "Carnival" song called "Met M'n Rooie Kop" under an alias called "Stier Om De Hoek" (Bull around the corner) with his old Loony mates as backing "choir". On the B-side was a self penned song, co-written with Erik Laging, Michel van Schie & Tjeerd van Zanen, called "Rotterdam Stad Van Mijn Dromen" (Rotterdam, City of My Dreams) which became the anthem for the diehard fans of the Rotterdam Soccer Club Feijenoord. Since 1984 until this day this song's been played in the Feijenoord stadium at almost every home game.
At the same time as Spot The Loony were making a name for themselves, Willem Gebuys and Kees Arons took over a defunct bar called "the good old time" which they renamed Music cafe "Spot the Loony" in April 1982 . Unlike the band the bar is still there, nearly 40 years later. But with, new remastered versions of orginal Loony songs being made available on worldwide distribution channels... who knows what may happen ... watch this space!
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