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FREEK KINKELAAR
INTERVIEW 2005

Record Collector

Record Collector's Freek Kinkelaar and the hand of God

Record Collector's Freek Kinkelaar and the hand of God

In late April 2005, a CD single of Adam Ant's Beautiful Dream was put up for auction on eBay. Up until then, only one copy had been known to exist. This second copy sold for £2120 (just over $4000 back then). Was this an indication that Antmusic is highly collectable?.

UK magazine Record Collector has been the ultimate authority on collecting music, and it's by sheer coincidence, the June 2005 issue hit shelves within a month of the auction with a highly detailed feature on collectable Adam And The Ants' releases, complete with an illustrated discography and valuations.

The man responsible for writing the article is Freek Kinkelaar. He's a Dutchman with what can be described as a "home counties" English accent. The only thing that convinced Carty that he was Dutch was that Freek (pronounced "frake") agreed to an interview in his home, in the next town to where Carty lived.

June 2005 issue of RC
June 2005 issue of RC

Carty: The last Ant feature in Record Collector (RC) was in December 2000 (AntBox) and prior to that, in early 1989 - over 15 years ago. Tell me about the process that was involved in getting this one to print.

Freek: I started writing for RC about a year and a half ago. I contacted Joel McIver who runs the "Digging For Gold" feature in the magazine. I noticed there weren't any reviews in the magazine on experimental (avant-garde) music, which is what I am mostly involved in. So I wrote in saying I wanted to do reviews on experimental music, and they said said, "sure, send something in". From that moment on I started doing reviews, which number about two or three a month.

F: I then asked Joel if I could do something for the "Digging For Gold" section as I had a lot of rare records and all sorts of weird stuff that people would perhaps be interested in reading about. So I would write 150 to 200-word pieces for that. So, I thought if they are going to accept these small bits, why not try larger articles? I said I knew enough about Adam & The Ants to be able to write a piece and they said, "go ahead". I was told to keep it roughly 4000 words.

F: I sent it in and they said, "fantastic"! I had all my covers scanned, etc. - it was quite a lot of work (but a labour of love)! And then it stalled! I kept thinking it was going to be in the next issue and it never was. So I started writing to the editor and said that the Ants were due to be re-released on CD. I said, "you have to print it now or it's going to go past its momentum". Meanwhile, I had written the reviews for the remastered Kings Of The Wild Frontier and Prince Charming albums, which were printed.

C: So the KOTWF and PC reviews in RC were your reviews?.

F: Yes. I gave Kings five stars.

C: You're biased.

F: Only slightly. I mean Dirk also got five stars, but that one wasn't written by me. Someone had beaten me to it.

C: Most of the reviews I have seen of the remasters fail to acknowledge the extra tracks. They just review the album as it was. How did RC recognise the bonus material?

F: In my opinion a review has to has three objectives; what's literally on there (objective), what I think of it (subjective) and the packaging. So it's more like if you haven't heard the album, here's what it sounds like, this is how it was in the 80s and how popular it was. I also include whether I like it or not, or stuff like if the booklet falls out.

(laughter)

F: I wrote a bit about the extra tracks. I think I wrote about Scorpio Writing on the PC review. It was such a strange track to find on there.

C: It was a nice discovery that.

F: It was brilliant, created by a very tired Adam and Marco, late at night. Prince Charming I gave three stars because I felt it was musically less interesting than Kings.

C: So how would you find out about the constant non-appearance of your Ants article? Would you contact RC?

F: No, I would dash downstairs and get my free copy (from the mail) and see it wasn't in there! I was waiting for this Adam & The Ants thing to appear on the front!

C: When did you get some indication that it was going to appear?

F: When I wrote to Jack Kane who was the editor of Jack's Added Value. He's the guy who puts prices to records that people send in and he turned out to be an Adam & The Ants fan, which I didn't realise. He said it was going to be in the next issue, so maybe he twisted some wrists.

C: Was anything left out of what you initially submitted for the article for space reasons?

F: I don't think so. I kept really close to the 4000 words. There were some grammar corrections and English words they changed.

C: I can't believe you had issues with English - you don't even sound Dutch!

F: There's only a limited vocabulary I have mastered to use in a magazine, so they changed a few things around. They also changed the captions of the scans. I had different captions.

C: What's your reaction to somebody doing that?

F: Well the main thing they changed was under the Young Parisians cover, which was the one signed by Adam. It had underneath, "signed on Camden Lock one misty morning", because I bought it signed from some guy who had seen Adam go by and he made him sign it. They put under it, "signed to the author", which isn't true as I've never met Adam (alas).

C: At least it's in there.

F: Yeah. And they didn't use some of the covers I sent in.

C: Is that the one you haven't got? The Young Parisians 'Eiffel Tower' sleeve?.

The Italian sleeve for Young Parisians
The Italian sleeve for Young Parisians

F: Yes, I really want to have that. I would probably kill some minor living being for it.

C: It's a nice sleeve. They also left something else out, didn't they?

F: Yeah. The La Belle Image (bootleg LP) of which only 50 numbered copies were made. Can you believe that?

C: What else was left out?

F: Not too much (some other bootleg albums). In the end, they only used the A.N.T.S. double bootleg album.

A.N.T.S. bootleg double LP
A.N.T.S. bootleg double LP

C: Did they crop the sleeve in the article?

F: Yes.

C: They cut off the "T.S." off the end of "A.N.T.S."! When you were working on the article, it took you two weeks to do, but how much research did you have to put into it?

F: I have been actively following the band since 1981, so I knew a few bits and pieces. I researched magazines and online then pieced it all together and edited it down to cater for a wider audience, as well as people who like Adam & The Ants.

C: I don't profess to know everything about AATA, in fact I know very little. I learned something from the article. The fact that the Japanese pressing of Deutscher Girls contained the uncensored version. As far as I was aware it never been on an official Ants' release. So thank you for that! It was worth forking out the postage - in stroopwafels!

(They then chat aimlessly about how Carty used the Dutch delicacy, stroopwafels, as currency to get the magazine sent from the UK to The Netherlands and how Brits and Americans will do anything for them!)

F: I wonder if that also goes for gevulde koeken?

(To which Freek offers yet another Dutch 'yummy' that had never passed Carty's lips. "Het was erg lekker" - work it out for yourselves!)

C: You said you sent in all the scanned images for the article and you also say they didn't use the Young Parisians 'Eiffel Tower' sleeve. How did you send that in if you haven't even got it?

F: That was the only one that wasn't from my collection. I had to take that from the Internet.

C: Ah!

F: The one cover I never actually saw was the Maneaters' 'Adam & Toyah' sleeve.

C: Oh, I'm after that!

F: I haven't seen the sleeve nor an image...or anything!

C: I've seen an image. Someone on eBay was selling an original print. But there is someone who has and they have said they will scan it for me (this scan now appears below).

The Maneaters' rare Adam and Toyah sleeve
The Maneaters' rare Adam and Toyah sleeve

F: I didn't put it in the article as I wasn't sure if it even existed commercially!

C: Now, what about discography values?

F: I read on the (Ant Rap) forum that some people were disappointed by the low values, but they were based on the Record Collector's Price Guide. So I used that plus values that were paid on the Internet and of course on eBay. The prices featured in RC are the prices which will please both buyer and seller. I try to put realistic values for the dealer and the seller.

C: What I like about RC is that when somebody has written an article, the following issue has all the readers' letters that come flooding in...

F: I can't wait!

C: ...with errors here, there and everywhere. There will always be those minorities who will pick out errors and the guns and fingers will be pointing at you! What are you expecting?

F: Well I was told to go to the (Ant Rap) forum to see some reactions. One person wrote about the Kings album with the alternative version of 'Antmusic', saying you CAN tell the difference comparing the matrix numbers. I didn't know that one.

C: In fact, on that note, I had the same conversion with Ant Lady and she has this very pressing. But we have no turntable and the only way to be 100% sure is to have both, play both and compare the matrix codes. Were there any other errors? And I don't like to use the word 'errors' as you're only human.

F: 'Slight imperfections'!

C: Were there any more that came to light?

F: Stand & Deliver being kept off the #1 spot.

C: Well that was an editing error, surely, as you already mentioned that single entering at the top of the charts. That comment belonged after the 'Antmusic' single was mentioned.

F: Yes, that was something that was edited around. I'm happy for everyone to respond because, like everyone else, I'm a fan who wants to know things. So when someone points out that you can actually differ the versions of 'Antmusic' from looking at the matrix codes, that's great.

(Ant Lady, who is also present, adds that she's still not convinced.)

F: Neither am I actually.

C: Same here. It's ironic that we have this friend, Steve Horwood, who recently viewed a fan's collection. He had dozens of copies of Kings. Steve emailed me confirming that there is a matrix number difference. He ended his email with the words, "I think", so we still haven't got there! It's still up in the air. I'll have to physically compare the two.

 

A display of Freek's rare Ant bootleg LPs
A display of Freek's rare Ant bootleg LPs

(They talk about the quality of the alternative version of 'Antmusic' on the remastered Kings. Carty points out that the recording is in mono and has audible 'clicks' alternating left and right where the guitar solo starts. Freek says he thinks there's an edit in there too. Carty adds that an email to Marco about this version has remained unanswered.)

C: In RC there's an article dedicated to the hot sellers on eBay. Why do you think the recent auction of the Beautiful Dream CD single didn't get a mention?

F: The person who edits it has a certain musical preference.

(They then talk about the contents of the CD and Freek brings out his bootleg copy of "Persuasion". In fact, this one comes with a booklet and is called "Persuasion Unlimited". He tells the story of how fellow Dutch Ant fan Rob Lesman put the compilation together.)

C: Your RC article deals specifically with Adam & The Ants - even up to the first solo release Goody Two Shoes - presumably because it was pressed as by AATA initially. When are you going to write one about Adam Ant solo releases?

F: I think we have to wait for the magazine response. It would take a lot more research. I would like to do it, but on the other hand, I'm more of an expert on Adam & The Ants as a band.

C What I'm trying to do is plant the seed as there is a story beyond Goody Two Shoes and up to Wonderful.

(Ant Lady throws in "Save The Gorilla")

C: Absolutely. And other demos we have yet to uncover. Would you consider such a thing?

F: Again I would love do it, but it would take a longer time to write. This one I wrote all by myself. If I did a solo Adam Ant article, it would take more research from other experts.

Freek's US pressing of Kings with bonus Stand & Deliver single
Freek's US pressing of Kings with bonus Stand & Deliver single

(Talk wanders off to the solo remasters for a while, until...)

C: The (Digital Tenderness) Ant DVD is now expected in the Autumn of 2005, so there's now a goal to aim for for an Adam Ant orientated article.

F: I'll wait to see what reactions I get on the article and then I'll suggest it for a future issue.

(Meanwhile, Freek had contacted RC to cater for a solo Adam Ant article.)

(Freek talks about the lack of interviews with Adam for the remasters why may affect national interest.)

C: How did you get into the Ants?

F: In 1979-1980 I was into ska (Specials, Selector, Madness, etc). One beautiful day I was watching TopPop (1980s Dutch music TV show) and they had a section which played 20 seconds of new "musical tips" and which featured 20 seconds of the 'Antmusic' video which made an everlasting impression. I still remember the huge plug...

C: ...the number of discussions online about the whereabouts of that plug...

F: I saw that clip and "wow"! Very exciting and colourful. I went out the next day and bought the single and I dated the record.

C: You mean you wrote on the sleeve?.

F: Yeah! It's in the collection somewhere. Then after that I started to buy everything.

C: You said in your interview, which is a separate article in the back of that issue of Record Collector, that you still play the records in your collection. Even the rare ones?

F: Yes. I know people who buy two copies and use one to keep and one to play. But I don't worry too much about that.

(Freek shows Carty his copy of the La Belle Image bootleg LP)

 

'La Belle Image' bootleg LP sleeve
'La Belle Image' bootleg LP sleeve

C: What other articles have you written for RC?

F: This is actually the first and I have already suggested doing a second feature on Alice Cooper, 1965-1970, before he hit fame. It's nothing like his later heavy metal stuff. It's brilliant free form psychedelic pop music.

C: You also mentioned your passion for experimental music. Describe what that is because it's not a genre I'm familiar with.

F: In the eighties there was a scene in England....

(And as if by fate, Freek's doorbell goes. It's the mailman delivering a package of rare goodies he's ordered. He opens it. It's been packed in old Monkees LP covers! He puts the contents down and continues.)

F: In the eighties there was a very healthy tape scene in England with all these people releasing their home-recorded music on cassette because they couldn't find label for it. Often, the music featured synthesizers, tape looping, splicing tapes, rhythm boxes etc. It was a time when people realized you didn't have to be a member of Queen to make music. You could create your own stuff and it would sound good (probably even better than Queen) and there was an audience out there willing to listen to you. There was one band called the Legendary Pink Dots. I am a really a big fan of them. They made a combination of experimental soundscapes and pop songs.

C: What do you mean when you say "pop song"?

F: Two and a half to three minutes, chorus, refrain, middle 8 - that sort of stuff.

C: Does any of this stop becoming experimental when it crosses over into the mainstream?

F: That's actually a difficult question. I do know that we started a band in the late eighties called Beequeen and we crossed over from making this droney stuff which had all these things happening underneath, to more pop-based music. We do sell more CDs now (laughs).

C: Like Brian Eno?

F: Yeah, a bit like that, only worse!

(Laughter)

Freek's latest CD - Beequeen "The Bodyshop"
Freek's latest CD - Beequeen "The Bodyshop"

F: With Beequeen we tried experimental sounds and I learned to play the guitar and got really experimental, industrial scene combined with pop music. Quite nice actually.

C: Are you still doing stuff?

F: Yeah. We have just put a new record out and did a two week tour in America - very small clubs. It's fun to do.

C: Do you just go into the studio with an idea or...?

F: I believe everyone feels the need to create. Creation as such is nothing special. It's just part of life. When creating music, it feels like a constant stream of ideas all fighting to make their way on an album. We were so proud and excited when we first made an actual album on actual vinyl. Because that's what everyone dreams about when they are 14 - to sell millions of records and be adored by an equal amount of women. I never really quite achieved that actually!

C: But you made the record.

F: We made the record and had one dream fulfilled - and it was very special just to see the record - to put it on your record player.

C: How many copies were pressed?

F: I think we made 100 or 200 of the first one, and then made more records and larger editions. Then we made a CD and it was wonderful . So it developed in that way. And we developed musically as well.

(They then talk about the legend that is Dave Barbe, how Andy Warren is the coolest (looking) bass player, Bow Wow Wow vs the Ants, Dirk's new packaging, the Redux sponge. He also tells a hilarious story of how he was once given an edible record and how he actually ate it, totally unaware that it was one of only TEN copies!)

(Freek kindly gives Carty a copy of his current Beequeen CD, "The Bodyshop". It tasted delicious!)

Somehow I'll regret posting this pic!
Somehow I'll regret posting this pic!

At Freek's request, this interview is dedicated to the memory of Jack Kane, mentioned in this interview, who recently passed away.

To read Freek's Adam & The Ants articles in Record Collector, just click one the pages below (with thanks to Steve Horwood for the scans).

RC June 2005 page 1 RC June 2005 page 2 RC June 2005 page 3 RC June 2005 page 4 RC June 2005 page 5
Just click the above images to view a full size scan

Many thanks to Freek for agreeing to participate and for his hospitality, and also to Ant Lady for starting the ball rolling.

   

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