Bart Strik, The Jazzmaster King
The Hurricane Rollers (1963)   Photo: Paul van Boxtel
L2R: Wil van Gurp, Paul van Boxtel, Jos van Muyen, Frits Maréchal and Bart Strik

Bart Strik was born on December 17, 1945, in Vught (Netherlands) and he sadly passed away on July 26, 1993 in 's-Hertogenbosch. From his early childhood on, all Bart really cared about was playing rock 'n' roll music on his guitar. At age 14 he already played in his first rock 'n' roll band "The Jet Black Robbers". Rehearsals and gigs were done at the "Hoki Poki" cafeteria in Vught, owned drummer Wil van Gurp's parents. Bart was an admirer of Indo-Rock guitarist Robbie Boekholt, who played a lot around Vught en 's-Hertogenbosch with his band "The Hap-Cats". Robbie was also the composer of the famous Indo-Rock hit "Once", released by "The Hurricane Rollers" on Philips in 1959.

Bart was one of the first guitarists who learned to play "Once", and he also mastered Robbie's Hep-Cats arrangements "Dardanella" and "Raindrops". It didn't take long before Robbie noticed that young Bart was playing his songs pretty darn well, and when they met in 1962, Robbie gave Bart permission to use the name "Hurricane Rollers" for his own band. The original Rollers had split up by then and the members were playing in "Oety & The Real Rockers", "The Crazy Strangers" and "The Strangers". Robbie himself was playing with his own Hep-cats again.

In 1963, singer Paul van Boxtel joined the Hurrican Rollers. Paul had won several talent contests already and took on the stage name "Paul Hurricane". The musical development of the band was going just great and the boys were saving up every penny for equipment and amps. Finally Bart had gotten himself a Hofner guitar and an Egmond amplifier. The sound was really  spectacular!

After a talent contest at the Carlton Hotel in Eindhoven, the band got an invitation to make a recording for Radio Luxembourg in Tongelre (Belgium). At that time, The Hurricane Rollers were playing a lot of gigs at "De Looiersbeurs" in Tilburg. In 1964 Paul van Boxtel left the band and joined "The Cedar Stars". Later on, during the beat-period, he was the singer of "The Siphons". Indo-Rock singer Johnny Wiskerke (a.k.a. Johnny Wisse) replaced Paul as vocalist for The Hurricane Rollers from 1964-1965.

Ten years later, in 1975, Bart walked into a bar in 's-Hertogenbosch where a couple of friends, Jan van de Boom, Johan Damen and Peter Timmermans, were playing rock 'n' roll music. Bart got the itch again and in no time he was jamming with these guys. Shorlty after the guys were playing live gigs again, still using the name "The Hurricane Rollers". Bart noticed that a local band "The Playing Rockets" were doing rather well, playing Robbie's old songs (Once, Dardanella, The Hungry Eye) and other well known Indo-Rock songs from The Tielman Brothers, The Hot Jumpers and many others.

Bart decides to get himself a Fender Jazzmaster and starts rehearsing all these Indo-Rock goodies. Jef van den Akker, the last Hurricane Rollers' drummer in 1965, joins the band. First as a roadie and later on as drummer again. Eventually Jeff also starts singing and the band is doing just great. They are very popular with a big crowd of old time rock 'n' rollers and in 1976 the band records their first single for the Crossroad label. These days, Bart's instrumental "Hurricane Rock" is a classic Dutch rock 'n' roll song. Harry Klep introduced the band to Louis Smeets, producer of the famous Dutch radioshow "De Rock 'n' Roll Methode", presented by DJ Felix Meurders. Lots of airplay brings fame to Bart and his band nationwide.

Discontent causes Johan Damen (bass) and Jan van den Boom (rhythm guitar) to leave the band in 1977. They were replaced by Henk de la Cousine (ex- Jet Black Robbers, Four Men) and Jo van Hamond (ex- Jumping Tornados). A second single is issued, again with one of Bart's own instrumental compostions "B.J. Rock". The song sounds almost American, with Jeff van den Akker tearing up the house with his saxophone solo's.

Late 1977, a well know rocker from Tilburg named Kalman Smits (ex- The Rocking Explosion Boys and The Rocking Birds), who was also involved with the organisation of the Tilburg Rock & Roll Meetings, decided to start a new band and gets in touch with Johan Damen, Jan van den Boom, Bart Strik and drummer Tim Schouten. Early 1978 the band presented themselves as "Savage Kalman & The Explosion Rockets". In fact, the original Hurricane Rollers are back together again, with a new singer; Savage Kalman. Johan is quick to leave again, because he wants to play solo on a Jazzmaster himself, and late 1978 he's already touring with his new band "Johnny & The Rollers".

The Explosion Rockets went into the studio several times and they delivered many memorable recordings, like an EP with the fabulous "Explosion Express" and two of the best Dutch rock 'n' roll LPs "School Of Rock 'n' Roll" (Killroy, 1979) and "Savage Kalman & The Explosion Rockets" (Killroy, 1981). Many of Bart's unissued guitar wizzardry was later released on an LP titled "The Explosion Rockets - The Rehearsal tapes" (Guitar Records).

To be continued...

Overview of Bart Strik's Rock 'n' Roll bands:

The Jet Black Robbers
The Hurricane Rollers
The Hurricane Rollers
Savage Kalman & The Explosion Rockets
The Explosion Rockets
The New Explosion Rockets
The Rockin' Devils
The Rhythm Kings

Story by Piet Muys, translated by The BlackCat, 2001
Used with permission

Also visit the fabulous Dutch Bart Strik website:

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