AD GROENE HART - April 2011

Every experience makes you richer..
‘Singles Only’ is Kane singer Dinand Woesthoff’s (38) latest project. With the CD, the book and the concert sessions in Ahoy he proves the point of the motto that helped him through deep despair - “Life is moving on.”

The atmosphere is peaceful and cheerful at the house of the Woesthoff family in Scheveningen. ‘Little hurricanes’ Dean (7) and Jimi (4) are in school; the nanny is changing baby Che. The master of the house makes coffee from a sachet. “Normally we only drink tea here.”
The walls of the atmospheric forest house are full of photographs of Dinand and his English wife Lucy Hopkins, and of the two oldest boys.
The portraits mainly tell the fairytale of radiant family happiness, but also a story about the deepest despairs of life. There is a photo of Dinand’s father, who died in 2006.
On the dresser a large portrait of Guusje, Woesthoff’s first wife. The actress, who became famous as Roos in the soap ‘Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden’ (the Dutch version of ‘Home and Away’), died from breast cancer in 2004.

In the living room there is no Kane-memorabilia. These have found a home in the summer house. A TMF award, a MTV award, a platinum record for the most recent album ‘No Surrender’ and a Rembrandt for the best soundtrack of last year (‘Love over Healing’ from ‘Komt een vrouw bij de dokter’ (A woman comes to see her GP) are somewhat randomly distributed on a shelf above the sofa.
“I have been working here with Dennis” (Ed: van Leeuwen) says Woesthoff (38). With his Kane-partner he is working on the CD which will appear next autumn.

On the eve of the three almost sold-out concerts in Ahoy, where Kane will perform all the singles the band has made so far, Woesthoff is very into the “here and now” and “very balanced”.
The front man of one of the most successful Dutch rock bands ever is “simply very happy”. With his unrestrained desire to follow his heart and dreams he had long fought against the Dutch mentality of “just act normal, that's crazy enough.” It made him as much hated as popular in the polder. A ruthless braggart, they say. He still has that image with some people. Woesthoff accepts it.

He flops down on a chair with a mug of tea, with a photograph of ‘Dean Maddy Woesthoff, pool champion’ and starts his own spiritual State of the Union 2011.

“If I listen to our 24 singles, I hear a bunch of guys who hit the mark a few times but also complete missed sometimes. But I do understand how it worked, when we started with ‘Where Do I Go Now’ in 1999. So much energy and drive even then! But no-one could predict that it would be so intense. Our story is a boy’s novel with great heights and deep troughs. But that’s life. That is the feeling that lingers.”

“Music has always been a sort of therapy for me. In good and bad times, till death do us part. Even after Guusje passed away, it stayed that way. I turned to the band, more than ever before. With ‘Rain Down On Me’ we had a single that could succeed internationally. But we had to work hard for that, I found. This was our chance. At the same time I discovered the dark side of life.
But still the release mechanism of music appeared to be working.

The death of Guusje still grips him but after her passing he kept going and has found happiness again.

“Listen to ‘Fearless’ again. The second part especially is pure therapy. I have tried to give Guusje’s death a place in that.
‘Dreamer’ has a totally different story. A little song for Guusje and Dean as consolation for an incredible situation. A month before she died, I sang it to her for the first time. “So beautiful, so simply beautiful” was her reaction. “I’m going to record it straight away. Then you can hear how I hear it in my head”, I said, but it never got that far. Two days after Guusje died, I recorded it.”

“In the evening there was a wake for Guusje. Twenty friends attended. I played ‘Dreamer’ twice. Very intense. The next morning we buried her. By noon every radio station played ‘Dreamer’. A unique moment still. An answer to all the energy which build up over a period of months. In the weeks that followed it was hard to mourn in peace and quiet. The attention of the press I found shameful. The fear of one’s own death turned into a horrible craving for the misery of another. I was even photographed at the cemetery!”

“The story about ‘Dreamer’ in our book about our 24 singles had to be super honest, I found. No concealed promo talk. Pff.... that was harder than I thought. So much energy was released.
Suddenly I became totally gripped by the emotions of those days. To be honest I thought I had managed those better. At that time I was really ready to put the grief behind me but apparently some things are too intense to draw to a close.”

“I am not sure if this is a sad conclusion. I am only 38 and really very happy at the moment. Life is beautiful. If you go through something, it makes your richer. But if you had asked me then, I would have asked: “Why do I have to go on?” The only thing that kept me going was that I had Dean as a child. What a dark misery. But it is about continuing, not about solutions. So many years later I find existence totally tremendous again.”

“My happiness is mostly in having a home, a safe haven. A place where you are loved. I have that with Lucy - I met her when she did the PR for Kane’s English adventure - and the three boys. The five of us are really close. I am a f**king lucky bastard that I may experience this after all that shit. Of course, paternity also brings worries. But that is alright. Look at Che. He is five months old and so wonderful. In his eyes I see nothing but unconditional love. I was talking about this with Lucy the other day; did we feel the same with Dean and Jimi? Yes, but it was different nevertheless. We are older and less restrained and not overwhelmed by all the newness of a child. Thanks to parenthood I no longer do things for myself but for my home, my clan.”

“What also creates joy: being allowed to do things that inspire. That is my keyword these days: inspiration. This is the bloom and fragrance of life. If you lose that, then you only exist. I don’t want that. That so many people embrace the result of that inspiration is an unforeseen circumstance, but incredibly beautiful. The feeling that what you do makes people happy.

I am grateful for that. Success and fame? Like Neil Young said: “A career is a turning wheel. First up and then down again. The down is just as down as for every other mortal.”
We experienced that too. But if you are lucky, you may go up again. And now I am at the top again and hope the wheel has a really big radius. So I can stay at the top for a long time.”

“My inspiration and passion for music I have had from a young age. I was a good student, but didn’t find it very interesting. I have been on stage since I was 10, had some sort of primal power in me to make music. As a teenager I wrote letters to every hall in the Netherlands to see if they were interested. Once I was invited to come to Amsterdam. To play in a pub. It felt like a world tour!”

“Was he a nice guy, that Dinand of the past? Depends who you ask. That kid had romantic ideas about making music and of life. Always follow your heart and be ruthless if you have to. My parents found that hard. They are of a conservative generation, worked tremendously hard to give me a better future than they had themselves. And then they have a child that completely goes his own way and does not comply with their expectations.”

“Music was allowed but on the side. For me it was everything! You need a very strong back to follow your own path. Luckily I did and have. But not everyone has that power.
Because of that, a lot of talent is lost in our country.”

“My father was a very quiet man. Worked for the Belastingdienst (Inland Revenue) for forty years. He always stood next to our stage with Dennis’ father. Two duos together. I still miss that every day.
Not until the year he died, he said to me: “What you are doing, I wanted too.” But he let his dream go and chose stability. A waste, I think.
When he died, I thought about which characteristic I inherited from him. His perfectionism I suppose. He might not have had a passion in which he could release that, but I did notice it. For instance when we went on holiday. Ideally, he would drive the whole trip to Italy on his own to make sure nothing could go wrong.”

“From my mother, I have the fire, the energy to move mountains. Only her fire imploded. As a child she had no incentive to make more of herself and had to be like everyone else. After primary school she had to work for a living. Because of that she totally focused on raising us. The result was a certain expectation for my sister and me. She wanted us to be safe. And that would be possible by making us go to university: preferably economics or business studies. For me it was civil engineering, later engineering. But I was a lazy student, my heart wasn’t in it. I did it for my parents. A sensible choice. But that didn’t work.”

“It was quite difficult at home. I phoned with the announcement: I am only going to study in the winter from now on, because I’m opening a beach bar in the summer. I was 21. That is not nice for parents: they work very hard to allow their son to study, he doesn’t want to.”

“From the moment I found myself, there were clashes at home. Sure, my mother is proud of me but she didn’t understand my passion. And therefore she was not open to it. And who is not open to it, is in fact against me. I had to go through that as a kid.”

“A permanent distance arose because my mother and I experienced life so differently. Existence has already shown me extreme lows and therefore I know one thing: you have to do it now, follow your dream unrestrained. Too often I have seen people drop out after a few months. I am not the Carpe Diem type; live every day as if it is your last, is rather exhausting. But I do say: seize the week. That philosophy is too far removed from the conservative thinking of my mother.”

“Of course it is regrettable that there is no further contact, but the parent-child relationship is bizarre. I have seen a lot of friends cut their parents off. It happened to Lucy as well. We want to try to prevent that happening in our home, we have to be that warm nest and stay that way. Of course, the boys will be different from me later. Dean said last year he wanted to become a tram driver. Great! They are allowed to go their own way. The only thing I aim for is that they will be happy”

“However, I am curious about their life path. Three fantastic little boys, whose book is almost unwritten. They are totally different. Che is still a big mystery. Dean appears to be a real entertainer and Jim is the type that doesn’t ask how to do things, but rather explains it himself.”

“I am quite a strict father. Grew up in a tiny little apartment; we had to watch every penny. Compared to that our boys live on a different planet. We can do whatever we want and still have money to do something for others. That’s fine of course, that freedom, but I do not want spoiled little brats at home. We teach them the value of money step by step. Recently Dean is getting pocket money. 2 Euro per week. I was in the shop with him. “I am going to buy something, papa!” He found out that in 2011 you can’t buy a nice toy car for 2 euro. He is now practicing to save.”

“Lucy and I want to offer them a strong home. Our family is rather introvert. That puts people off. We are not looking for loose friendships. I have to follow my heart and expect people close to me to understand that. I have no desire for superficial “Hey, how are you?” Or thousands of friends on Facebook. I am after true and real. That is why I choose friendships that are truly in my heart. There are maybe four or five like that”.

“Of course Dennis is included! We are totally different from each other, but can still go deep. He is my calm me. Our first record executive said: “If Dennis and Dinand are standing in front of a locked door, Dennis will ring the bell and Dinand will beat the door down.” And with that he saw the essence of it all. It is yin and yang. If the musical click was the only thing, we would no longer be together. We would have wanted to punch each other’s lights out and would have done. One of us would have been knocked out and Kane over and done with.”

“That almost happened once. After the album ‘Fearless’ Dennis and I had an intense conversation. I didn’t know what I wanted any more. Did I want to finish with Kane? Were things wrong between us? No, it turned out we were not at odds with each other. It was the combination of something very dark privately and the passion for Kane.
‘Fearless’ was my album really. I had something really big to get off my chest. There was little space for Dennis to contribute. Therefore we thought for a while; we needed to let go of each other. As it turned out there was no need for that. The circumstances were intense. Dennis is simply a very warm and lovely person. Even though we don’t see much of each other outside the music. That’s okay. Kane is rather intense.”

“Nowadays we sit here in this little den again. No more expensive studios. You may call it going back to square one, but I say: we have come full circle. The point is that the two of us make things that inspire us a lot ‘at this moment’. As long as we have that feeling and are making new things, Kane will exist. If that vibe disappears, I will be the first to say: dead end and the end of the road.”

“Actually, during that trip I hardly changed; I still try as hard to get everything out of myself as much as in the beginning. But I am a lot less naive. The boy then was only concerned with making music ‘now’ and breaking through. He had no idea how much could happen in twelve years.

Now I know: that can be an awful lot, that there is no point in looking beyond six months. That is the only large similarity between the Dinand now and the ambitious guy then: for both, this moment is the only thing that counts.

Kane: ‘Singles Only’ 21, 22 and 23 April in Ahoy, Rotterdam. The CD ‘Singles Only’ has been released. The book will be launched on 21 April, in Ahoy, and then in the book stores.

Translation from Dutch to English credited to Jenneke Edwards. Typing up in Dutch credit to Karin Leer-Heins.

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