JAN MAGAZINE - MAY 2010

‘Dare to dream. And dream with your eyes open'

For a long time, Kane has been Holland 's most successful rock band. With their success – their dream was created. For singer Dinand Woesthoff (37), music has always come first until ‘real life' comes round the corner. A rebel by heart with both light and dark sides to his character. ‘You stand against the storm, with all the positive strengths that you have.'

‘The Ship Boys of Bontekoe, that is my Bible. As I child I read that book a lot. The first page reads ‘The life of a man does not pass by without any storms. The further away from land you are, the more difficult and more dangerous the journey. Do not allow your ship to succumb underneath you. Then people will later say: “He sailed through many storms, but his journey became a journey from ‘Bontekoe'.” If we are talking about a way of life, then I still experience the same thing. Follow your heart. Dare to dream. And don't let go.'

I. Why am I standing on stage? Why would I want to satisfy my ego in a packed stadium? That is something I have often thought about. Is that attention seeking? Possibly. The stage for me in any case is a launching platform. From there all that matters is the here and now, without past, without future. But there's more. Before I used to be really timid on the stage. When most of the audience are standing close by and I can see them, then I would open up. I was like this from when I was ten, when I went on a talent show and sung You Can't Hurry Love. I won. That was great. In high school I was the lead singer of a band called Reckless. We played Prince, Simple Minds, Michael Jackson, U2 to name a few. The head of the school thought it was great. He said: "You have the keys to the school, now go to the caretaker for the code to the alarm.” We could therefore as young boys on a Sunday afternoon go to the empty school building and start rehearsing. I was so enthusiastic that on a Friday I would set up all the equipment. For a couple of months we organised a battle of the school bands for neighbouring schools in Gorkum ( South Holland ). It had a fifties theme so was very Grease like.

I grew up with Jack Jersey and the Tielman Brothers, but also with Linda Ronstadt and Henk Williams. In fact music didn't count for much at home. My mother is Dutch, my father is Indian. They come from the time after the war, the time of rebuilding. Hard work for little money, but with the belief that their children would have a better future. Security for my parents was very important; a good education and a good job, with a regular income. My dream, to be a musician, didn't fit in with their ideals. It was that simple.

I was lazy. One time I had to repeat the year in school. My attitude was: if I really needed to, I would revise for 2 days solid for a maths re-sit and just manage to scrape through. I wanted to make music and school was something else I did, you know. It was a joke really. After school I could go to the academy, but that vocation had nothing to do with rock and pop. I also wanted to be a music teacher. For me music felt like an inner need, hence I went my own way. I choose to study Civil Design, and later on Engineering. Building bridges; now that did interest me. So my parents were satisfied, and I could postpone the confrontation about my real passion.

After about 6 months I escaped. The braking point came one night. If I close my eyes I can see that moment again. The paper, my drawing table, the radio on… For the first time I heard a song by Moby: Go. I thought: What's this. The environment, the dance heat, the rhythm and the beat…The following day I went out and got the single. For weeks I played that song. This song hit me right in the heart.

With a few friends I started Mecca , a beach tent in Scheveningen. I felt let down with bands. For me music is all or nothing, you know. I am really passionate that way. I didn't want to play anymore with people who wanted to be home at five thirty or couldn't come to practice because it was grandma's birthday. But with underground dance and house, it completely lit the flame inside me. In the sixties, rock and roll was a necessity of a generation that needed to come outside. The rise of dance and house music wasn't that strong, but it was a new musical form that also wasn't understood by outsiders. I sat in the middle, really excited.

In the current of the music, dubious things happened. I got to know the night.. As someone from Gorkum, I did not know what I was experiencing! A party began not at twelve O'clock but at four O'clock with an eclectic mix of night types. It connected with me in a big way – I saw myself as a dark horse. Dancing next to the abyss. With pills as well, ecstasy, and back then they weren't cut with all sorts cheaper things like they are today. Look, I want control. When I was 18 I was even more into drugs and alcohol. That was an echo from the education from my parents. But then, from the influence of music, I liked to control the impulse and let celebrate. I was looking for the edge. Sometimes I went over.

Still I never completely went with that bullshit, it was a black romance. I saw first hand people addicted to heroin, coke and pills. It wasn't something I wanted. I have a strong willpower. And if you go along even with living in the night, you see for yourself the downside of that superficiality. I now look back with an enormous smile. Then I don't think about the drugs and alcohol, but the music. That was the last time that music was rock'n roll for me.

‘There was someone really dead, but there was also someone really alive. I said to myself: whatever comes, I want to see the end. I will not run'

II. I have always thought that I fall for difficult women. But if that is still true I don't know? I judge the level of difficulty by how long it takes a girlfriend to finish with me, haha. Then she is rapidly difficult, and I have myself a considerably complex character. For true love you need to break down all the walls and you need to be daringly open with one another before you can do that. You have to be ready for that. If you then think back to how shy and introverted I was, and in a stubborn way only interested in music… I don't point the finger anymore. I have always had interesting women.

Guusje was like that. One hundred per cent. Initially I knew her as the rest of Holland knew her: as Rose in Good Times, Bad Times. Rose was a nice girl, not dangerous, a girl next door. Great. I didn't know much else. Until I got to know Guus at an award show in 2000. During that time I felt something… Wow. It astonished me that Guusje Nederhorst was my type, holy fuck, there was so much more to her than her role as Rose! She really got me. Guusje was super-bright. Intelligent. Sharp. And really funny. She had depth, but on a light-footed way. But more than that she was a woman with enormous spiritual power. She took me by the hand. In rest, in wisdom, in strength she was light years ahead of me.

There are questions in life when the answers create feelings of good and bad. Music can be like that. Love as well. When your girlfriend tells you that she is pregnant… well it's great. Very simple, so primitive. I was abroad when Guusje phoned me with the news. With Dennis (van Leeuwen), the other half of Kane, we went to the closest bar and ordered a double gin and tonic. Cheers. For everything that is coming. I always thought that I never had such a necessity to be a father. A child was also not planned. But this just made sense.

On June 28, 2003 I was playing with Kane in the Amsterdam Arena. Straight after the performance I had to rush out the stadium because my wife was on the brink of giving birth, haha. Twelve hours later I had Dean in my hands. A baby… totally mad, totally insane. You could say: a rebel could be caught out, stay-at-home. But that is just the appearance. A rebel has nothing to do with a leather jacket or a tuft of hair. They are externalities. The rebel sits in your heart. This child was an adventure. I was going to give him a good, inspiring life. Everything was light.

III. I got to know Dennis in 1998 in Mecca , the beach tent, where he was a guitarist. We clicked instantly. Finally I'd found someone with the same fire for music. I had left the darker, experimenting with dance and house behind me. We wanted to make our own music, to perform and become famous for it. Success with Kane came very quickly in 1999. Our single ‘Where do I go now' was played by Rob Stenders on 3FM. That first radio-moment… wow. The thought: now our song roams the air. That naive enthusiasm of: we're going to make it. We were the prince of the ball.

Kane looked unstoppable. You can like it or not, but our breakthrough was inescapable. It was a bang. Definitely live. First the world is as big as Gorkum. Then the circle gets as big as The Hague and Scheveningen. After the local breakthrough we could play everywhere, the music travelled for us, the gigs were full, the people were happy. At some gigs the circus flags were already waving, and like apes we were allowed to be the headliners. From the first album almost a quarter of a million copies have been sold. That also gave us artistic freedom – we could do what we wanted. Music for me was only a positive thing. The only dream that I had, became true!

From Ruud van Nistelrooy I got a football shirt from Real Madrid. On the back it said the Kane-number ‘Just Go'. “This was my inspirational song when I was injured for a year.” He said. The scope is still the same. Dare to dream. And dream with your eyes open.

Wait on to the end

And never let it slip

Coz sometimes

Sometimes you've gotta be strong

No matter what they yeah

You've got to find your own way

And go yeah yeah yeah

For one day you see One day you see Time runs out From underneath your wings Time runs out 

‘A normal relationship begins fantastically, and you soon realise which mountains within yourself need to be overcome. Lucy and I stood right below Mount Everest .'

IV. Guus felt someting on her breast. She was agitated, but she went to the doctor with the thought: it'll be fine. Twelve hours later she heard from someone in the hospital that there was nothing they could do. That was as shocking as it gets. Panic. Denial. This isn't happening. But it is happening. Dean was just three months old. I was with Kane, on top of the game, and enjoying the child like luck of success. And then real life comes round the corner and everything that was white becomes black.   It was a strange coincidence. A year before I had lost Maddy, a dear ex-girlfriend. I was then on the way with Guus to her death bed. She said: “So young still”. Not long after that you believe the nighmare again, and it's closer. You stand against the storm, with all the positive energy that you have. We got married. Before that wasn't something I felt I had to do, but I did now. Say yes for the glory of ones lifetime. And then comes the sentence: till death do us part. We both knew: this is so fucked up. It was pure perdition. But we kept our courage – we couldn't loose hope that everything would come good.   I was there when Guusje died. That moment I keep for myself. I can say that that the importance of music – which was always number one – was degraded to nothing. Till the moment comes that you need to loose your emotions. Shortly after the death of Guusje we got the call, fucking hell, to play in England. We'd waited years for such an international oportunity. I said: “We're going to do it”. A month later I stepped out in London with Kane. Finally I was somewhere where no one knew my story. That was nice. I stood on stage, in the here and now, without past, without future. A dream launch pad.   I wrote Fearless, the thrid Kane album. Music became a day book where I could loose everything. Love for the sake of life really dives in that ink black period. I felt like I didn't need to be here, you know. I also wanted to go to the ‘other side' – there were enough good people there. But to kill myself was not an option. There was someone very much dead, but there was also someone very much alive. My son Dean was my rescue. I said to myself: whatever comes, I want to see the end. I will not run away. Dean was here with me. He was my light.

‘I still like to stand on stage, but it is no longer a launching platform. It is above all: pleasure, pure pleasure.'

IV. I am a lucky person. I'm certain now. That's why I quickly found Lucy. I met her a few months after the death of Guusje. She is English and acompanied us on our tour. It was: hello, this is crazy, blablabla, and we played together. I was still a bit confused. As what followed came to quickly. But along the way Lucy and I learned to know each other better. And it clicked. Luce stepped staight into the shadow of someone else. Pretty intense. She came to Holland and offered herself to Dean and me. Look, a normal romance begins fantastically, and you soon realise which mountains within yourself need to be overcome. Lucy and I stood right below Mount Everest .

Lucy is a fantastic, a nice, lovely, intelligent woman. She has a refinement to her. At the same time she is sharp and doesn't accept any bullshit off me. This woman is clearly more rock and roll than I am: she comes from Liverpool , she knows everything about the Sixties and she was for a few years the PR manager for the Rolling stones. That's quite impressive to a guy from Gorkum. And if you dare to make such brutal decisions, to give everything up, then you really are rock-‘n-rock.

At the beginning of our relationship I secretly looked up to God. I also have serious suspicions about Guusje: did you have a hand in this? Later I would talk to Luce a lot about it. How big was chance that without help we were at the top of Mount Everest ? Luckily we were both able to laugh at it. Definitely now. I also wanted to unconditionally say yes to Luce. That's what I did, May last year in Ibiza . It was fantastic. I never thought that an audacious rocker would claim that marriage would be the best day of his life. Still I say it. All the walls were away, all the baggage was removed. And like that we headed to the altar. Till death do us part was now an abstract term, an expression of love. Our second son is called Jimi - after Jimi Hendrix. Jimi is catching up with his brother Dean really quickly. Those two are always making noise. Dean is the entertainer, he's alway making everyone laugh. And Jimi has this fire - he has this passion. I want to teach them to colour outside of the lines. To have a justified manner. Let me put it this way: I will never force them to take any path out of fear.

With my father I could find the right path really easily, in spite of our differences in our own views of security and adventure. But since his sudden death, four years ago, I can see just how really fantastic he was. His love and strength I take with me. Time heals. Maddy and Guusje slip further away, they get blurry, but my father only gets closer. That is because of his father role: that is an ongoing relationship. I understand now his dilemma. My father told me something really nice not long before he died. When he was younger he had also wanted to have success with music and a band, like Kane. He had never told me that before. That dream I had redeemed for him.

The dark was really dark, but the light was also really light. I can now say: the light is really light. Luce and I call our family our band. They are worth everything. The rest is just a side issue. With these old words you learn what is really important in life - all the stupidness falls away. I am freer in my thinking. I still want to stand on stage, but it is not a launch platform anymore. It is above all: pleasure, pure pleasure. In the journey which we take off I feel lighter and younger than ever before. I am a boy really. A boy from Bontekoe.'

Translation from Dutch to English credited to Leoni Lynch

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