Countdown to a murder

Some of you may not know this, but March 21st 2017 is a very important date.

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Extract From The One Rule of Magic

I promised to give y’all a sneak Halloween preview and I think this little episode sums up the dark and light and frivolity of The One Rule of Magic. The novel is out now, a Halloween release, and expect to see a couple of reviews in the future from a couple of stout yeomen who agreed to put aside some time for it. (If you want to review it after reading this, let me know; there’s a free voucher code for Smashwords to the swift footed amongst you.)

In this section, Frieda Schoenhofer, believed by her parents to be dead, is in Prague where she has met Tomas Druba, a ventriloquist who adds the voices to puppets created by his wife Natasha. With time to kill, Frieda finds herself in the puppet theatre and decides to use her magic for a bit of nocturnal entertainment…

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Blurb request – The One Rule of Magic

In a few weeks time I’ll be self-publishing another entry in the TotenUniverse. The One Rule of Magic is the first book in what I call the Reflections strand of novels following the new life of Bamberg witch Frieda Schoenhofer.

Frieda was first encountered in Who Among Us… (still doing the rounds with literary agents) and I thought she deserved her own series. And thanks to Au4 in Canada for the inspiration to get started on this novel.

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There Will Be Blood – Extracts: Raven’s Dilemma

In the third Toten Herzen story Raven has lost her mate, Rob Wallet, and suffered a second setback when Susan Bekker does the dirty on her promise to turn Raven into a vampire. After a brief meeting with an Interpol investigator Raven lets off steam in a phone call to a friend back in Britain.


Raven is questioned by Interpol investigator Pierre Dremba…

“Why are you called Raven if you have blue hair?”

“Because the only bird I know with blue hair or blue feathers is a peacock, and I’d sound a bit stupid calling meself Peacock, wouldn’t I.”

“I suppose so. . . .”

“Rob told me about blue tits, but that’s even worse.”

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The Book Of Revelation

5 the book of revelation - v1

The final book of the Totenseries and all answers provided to explain Rob Wallet’s Toten phenomenon.

Finally, the answers to the mystery, for many the greatest hoax of the 21st century, revealed. Rob Wallet’s identity; Susan Bekker’s Big Lie; what really happened to Peter Miles; the fate of Raven; the significance of Elaine Daley’s tattoo and the true nature of the Malandanti.

The question so often asked, who are Toten Herzen, may finally be answered.

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No publication date yet.

Behind The Wall

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Events take a dark twist in the fourth book of the Totenseries.

Builders break through the wall of a basement in a London house and discover the remains of four people: three women and a man. The link to Toten Herzen emerges when the house turns out to have belonged to the owner of the band’s original record label in the 1970s.

Could the bodies be those of the original members of Toten Herzen?

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No publication date yet.

There Will Be Blood

3 there will be blood - v1

The third outing in the Totenseries. And a major surprise in store.

Finally out of the studio the band are ready to go on the road, prepare for the world premiere of the film and sort out Rob Wallet. They think they have the world eating out of their pale white hands until . . .

A Russian svengali has big plans for his own band: There Will Be Blood. More shocking, more outrageous, more depraved than Toten Herzen. The wedding party circuit beckons as the band look set to become a pastiche of themselves.

In the south of France, an ostracised Rob Wallet teams up with three ex-pat English ghostbusters. And are they delighted when their equipment lights up every time Wallet goes with them on a mission?

Throw into the mix a serious Interpol investigation into the band’s links to a string of historical murders (the list goes on and on), only Raven’s interference can save them. But then she discovers something unusual about Rob Wallet, discovery that forces him into doing the ultimate deal with her.

There Will Be Blood is a sordid tale of deception and identity in the long tradition of Toten Herzen’s dark paranormal humour. The Gwando Awards will never recover.

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Publication date 2016

 

The Author Hot Seat with Chris Harrison

Jane Dougherty Writes

Chris Harrison is my last guest (appropriately enough) in this second round of The Author Hot Seat. On the face of it, Chris’s books sound…weird. Funnily enough though, I can immediately think of at least one person who would enjoy them. Are you listening Jane Risden? Read what Chris has to say and see if you end up as intrigued as I am.

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J: Tell us what the story/your work is about, the setting, the background, and where it takes the reader.

C: The story is called Toten Herzen Malandanti. Toten Herzen are a rock band murdered in 1977, but thirty five years later a down-at-heel music journalist called Rob Wallet investigates the murders and discovers the band are still alive.

He persuades them to make a comeback and in TH Malandanti they’re in the studio to record their comeback album. The first since 1976.

The conceit of the Toten…

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Who are Toten Herzen?

Discover everything you need to know about the band: the story, the tragedy, the comeback. Hear the music. Become part of the journey. (*You need to be a vampire to see this content.)


The legend: 1973 – 1977

Toten Herzen formed in 1973 from the fragments of two earlier bands: singer Dee Vincent and bass player Elaine Daley came from Lincoln-based Cat’s Cradle, whilst Dutch band After Sunset delivered lead guitarist Susan Bekker and drummer Rene V. The marriage was administered by local rock promoter and scrap metal dealer Micky Redwall.

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The Kuip Cafe in Rotterdam where Susan Bekker and Rene van Voors, along with Marco Jongbloed and Wim Segers, met to form After Sunset. Originally inspired by Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck and Deep Purple the band decided that any success would only come by gigging in England. (photo FaceMePLS)

Cat’s Cradle and After Sunset were appearing on a triple bill at Hooly Goolys in Ipswich alongside Cambridge band The Scavengers. After one member of The Scavengers fell off stage the two bands had to improvise and Redwall persuaded the four better players to ditch their less interesting bands to create a formidable new one. Redwall, a collector of World War Two memorabilia, came up with the name Toten Herzen (Dead Hearts) and a legend-to-be was born.

Rene-van-Voors-1971

Rene V leaves his mark in 1971.

(Later accounts of the band’s origins claim there was a fifth member, Peter Miles, a local guitarist, who went missing before the first album was recorded. Claims that he was eaten by the other band members were never proven.)1

Toten Herzen’s first album in June 1973, Pass On By, was largely unnoticed on release, but did relatively well in Europe particularly Holland, Belgium, Germany and Austria.

A tour of the UK and Europe went by quietly with just the occasional hotel room wrecked and tales of drunken parties. Nothing the average rock band wasn’t already used to.

Facing obscurity and the emerging trend of glam rock the band stepped away from the scene in the spring of 1974 before going into Foghorn Studios in Kings Lynn to work on new material. The result was the seminal album We Are Toten Herzen and the controversy was immediate.

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A rare photograph taken shortly before it burned down in 1975 of the original Hooly Goolys in Ipswich. Micky Redwall, Toten Herzen’s first manager, would hire the venue for £8 to host his weekly rock nights. Even though Toten Herzen were formed at Hooly Goolys they never played a gig here. (photo Ell Brown)

The album cover had Dee Vincent gorging on Susan Bekker’s jugular vein. Publicist for the band, Izzy Starling said the cover was a tribute to Peter Miles (a photograph of his headstone was used on the innersleeve).2 At the time the band refused all interviews leaving Starling to cover for them. Censorship was never very far away and the band’s image veered from pale faced emaciation to bloated excess. The press described them as ‘vampiric.’3 They were goths before goth was invented.

Dee-Vincent-1973

Rumours surrounding this photograph from 1973 have persisted to this day. Is the guitarist behind Dee Vincent Grant Downey from Cat’s Cradle, or is it an early image of Toten Herzen with Peter Miles?

The following UK tour was described by venue owners as chaotic, violent and bloody with people bringing dead animals into the halls and theatres. On one occasion in Bradford police impounded a horse box containing a dead pony.4 The tour of Europe was bedevilled with police searches and drugs investigations, but no substances were ever found, no charges ever brought.

In November 1974, Dee Vincent held a rare interview with Melody Maker in which she described her life as undead and ‘very liberating.5

In 1975 We Are Toten Herzen was racking up platinum sales all over the world. The band’s whereabouts leading up to their third album was the subject of speculation with various commentators putting them in the Caribbean, Canada, Ireland and even Penzance.6 The album, Nocturn, was released in May of that year.

micky-redwall

‘Never far away from the metal.’ Micky Redwall was considered to be the driving force behind Toten Herzen’s image and reputation. (photo iMorpheus)

Noted for its sonic construction, Nocturn was bigger, heavier and gloomier than its predecessors. Its frantic key signatures and varied rhythms brought the band critical acclaim as well as commercial success.7

But throughout the process rumours surrounded Susan Bekker’s health after being hospitalised in Germany with a serious blood condition. Because of the band’s reluctance to do interviews, the public drew their own conclusions. A roadie from their 1974 tour claimed to have witnessed the band drinking the blood of people backstage and that Bekker picked up an infection as a result.8

The press, turning a blind eye to the facts, ran with the conspiracies: the band never do interviews, never play festivals because they would have to perform in daylight, were never seen during the day, and never performed in France because there was too much garlic.9

In 1975 Toten Herzen appeared on the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test and played an eighteen minute set. At the end they were asked to confirm or deny the rumours that they were vampires. Dee Vincent replied simply ‘we are not vampires, we are the undead.’

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The Mid South Coliseum in Memphis where Toten Herzen played a sold out concert to 8500 people in 1976 without trouble. (photo BC Buckner)

In August 1975 the tour promoter for Alice Cooper offered the band a six figure sum to play support, but the band declined claiming they were the real thing, and not pretenders.10 In September they played their first tour of the States and caused a particularly nasty row in Boston and New York, two cities with large Catholic populations.11 Toten Herzen’s twenty seven dates Stateside were sell outs and the band arranged to go back in ’76 to do a bigger arena tour.

live-daley

Elaine Daley in flight, 1975. (photo Miemo Penttinen)

The rumours followed them into 1976, but the band, management and record label, Crass, were happy to let them propagate. They travelled to Europe to record their fourth album, Black Rose, and the arena tour in both Europe and America sold out.

The first serious controversy to hit the band occurred on their return to the UK when the family of Peter Miles sued them and their management over his disappearance. The family claimed they knew what had happened to Miles, but were refusing to reveal anything. The Daily Mirror claimed the band were a bigger threat to society than the IRA.12 The judge in the court case, Mr Justice Behringer, ruled in their favour.13

Toten Herzen now appeared to be untouchable with Black Rose becoming their biggest selling album and tours sold out. Groups of fans were claiming, and in some cases boasting, that they had been attacked backstage.14 Again, no charges were ever brought against the band members.

The momentum of success carried the band into 1977 and Klaxon Studios in Swiss Cottage for their fifth album. A live recording of their 1976 tour, Dead Hearts Live, was released and immediately banned because of innersleeve photos allegedly showing dead fans they claimed to have killed.15 (The artwork was reissued, but copies of the original sleeve sell today for thousands of pounds.)

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Susan Bekker onstage in the US, 1976. (photo Cindy Sims Parr)

The band announced plans for a tour to promote the forthcoming album Staying Alive, but a news story was about to break that they would have no control over.

On March 21st, 1977, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police announced the deaths of the four members of Toten Herzen. No details were revealed, but it later emerged that all four had been staked through the heart and their bodies left in coffins in a tomb in Highgate Cemetery, north London.16

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Highgate Cemetery as it appears today. In the 1970s the cemetery was the haunt of both immortal and mortal troublemakers! Rob Wallet’s investigation into the band’s murder raised doubts about Highgate Cemetery being the true location of the killings. (photo George Samuel Bentley)

Two days later, on March 23rd, a 29 year old man, Lenny Harper, walked into a police station in London and confessed to the murders.

All tour dates were cancelled. Staying Alive was never released. And the rumours that had gone before were nothing compared to the ones that were about to emerge.

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REFERENCES:

BAND LINE UP:
Dee Vincent, (Denise Leslie Vincent) b 1953 Lincoln – vocals, guitar
Susan Bekker, (Susan Johanna Bekker) b 1951 Rotterdam – lead guitar
Elaine Daley, b 1950 Lincoln – bass guitar
Rene V, (Rene van Voors) b 1952 Rotterdam – drums
Peter Miles, b 1953 Ipswich – rhythm guitar (alleged)

 

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ALBUMS:

album-passonbyPass On By
(label – Crass; year of release – 1973; sales 32 780)

 

 

 

track listing
01 Endemic
02 Strange Behaviour
03 Tell Me I’m Wrong
04 Dirty Dreams (single – no 187 UK charts)
05 Parasite
06 Pass On By (single – no 204 UK charts)
07 Love Me When I’m Dead
08 Simple
09 Crown of Thorns
10 Hollow Man

 

album-we-are-toten-herzenWe Are Toten Herzen
(label – Crass; year of release – 1974; sales 954 250)

 

 

 

track listing
01 Holocaustus
02 Transformative (single – no 5 UK charts)
03 Electro Therapy
04 Blinding
05 Blood on the Inside (single – no 3 UK charts)
06 Facelift (single no 4 – UK charts)
07 Neverending
08 Dead Hearts
09 Requiem

 

album-nocturnNocturn
(label – Crass; year of release 1975; sales 2 212 380)

 

 

 

track listing
01 Nocturn
02 Chase the Lady
03 After I’m Gone (single – no 2 UK charts)
04 Feed Me, Feed You
05 Psychotic
06 Body Shock
07 Buried Alive

 

album-black-roseBlack Rose
(label – Crass; year of release – 1976; sales 2 675 300)

 

 

 

track listing
01 Two Steps Forward
02 Ominous
03 Behind the Mask
04 Parade of the Millions
05 Senses Overload
06 Mindfuck
07 Judith Loves You
08 Engage, Sign Off
09 Rotten to the Core
10 The Visitor

 

album-deadheartsliveDead Hearts Live (live album)
(label – Crass; year of release – 1976; sales 1 985 000)

 

 

 

track listing
01 Dead Hearts
02 Rotten to the Core
03 Senses Overload
04 Crown of Thorns
05 Electro Therapy
06 Facelift
07 Psychotic
08 Mindfuck
09 Speed King (Deep Purple cover)
10 Transformative
11 Chase the Lady
12 Parasite
13 Crown of Thorns
14 The Visitor
15 After I’m Gone
16 Blood on the Inside
17 Body Shock

 

Staying Alive
(label – Crass; year of release – unreleased;)

 

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ARTICLES:

1 Shock Wave: The New Heavy Metallists – Alan Duncan (Coleridge Press) 1979 p273
2 Melody Maker (August 1974), We never forget our friends
3 The Sun (November 28th), Nutritionists worry over singing corpses’ influence
4 Halifax Observer (June 11th), Sick fans headless horse was offering for shock rock band
5 Melody Maker (November 1974), No rules in the afterlife
6 Daily Mail (February 20th), Pity the Penzance public
7 The Times (July 5th), Undead rockers who know their music theory
8 Daily Mail (April 12th), Rock band’s roadie in bloodsucking sensation
9 Daily Mirror (December 4th), Ten things a vampire band can’t do (apart from sing)
10 Billboard (August 1975), No show for Brit rockers Toten Herzen
11 Boston Herald (September 3rd), British vampire band in sick crucifix claim
12 Daily Mirror (October 9th), Evil rockers more deadly than the IRA
13 The Times (October 18th), Vampire rock band did not eat original member
14 Manchester Evening News (January 30th), Rock fans badly bitten in monster orgy
15 Daily Mirror (February 14th), Latest rock outrage angers Prime Minister
16 The Sun (March 22nd), Thank god for that

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MEET THE BAND

susan

NAME:
Susan Bekker

BORN:
February 24th 1951

FROM:
Rotterdam, Netherlands

IN THE BAND YOU ARE:
Lead guitarist, songwriter.

PREVIOUS BANDS:
After Sunset

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT AFTER SUNSET:
I found out Rene was a big fan of rock music, he went to the same school as me, so we decided to form a band of our own. I wanted to be like Jimi Hendrix and he wanted to be Ginger Baker. We dragged two other guys along with us, Wim Segers on guitar and vocals, and Marco Jongbloed on bass. I did some singing early on, but the others finally managed to stop me.

We were getting nowhere in the Netherlands, so we saved up, bought tickets to get to England and started touring around Norfolk, Suffolk, north London, getting nowhere basically. We ran out of money in Ipswich, which is when Micky Redwall, Toten’s first manager, met us.

We played covers of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, all the bands and musicians we liked. We did our best, but it didn’t work out. It was purely luck that Micky saw us that night. We didn’t have enough money to get back to Rotterdam.

WHAT INSTRUMENT DO YOU PLAY:
I play a Gibson Flying V. It was a birthday present from my mother and is an original 1969 model. I know it’s not worth as much as Dee’s Explorer, but in terms of sentimental value I’d kill myself if anything happened to this guitar. I’ve got two other Vs from 1976 and then I bought one around 1992.

ANY OTHER MODELS:
I practice and rehearse with an ESP M103FM, but once the serious shit starts, it’s back to the Vs. You have a sound that’s associated with your playing and you’re never happy with a song or a performance until you hear that sound, and it all comes through the guitar.

WHAT IS YOUR STRONG POINT:
Someone once described me as cunning. If I was cunning After Sunset would still be around, so I can’t be that cunning. But I think I’m good at analysing a way out of a situation or a way round people.

WHAT IS YOUR WEAK POINT:
Narcissism. I want to be something I’m not.

WHICH IS WHAT:
It’s embarrassing.

IT’S OKAY, NO ONE’S READING THIS:
My hero was Jimi Hendrix. I saw him perform in Rotterdam in 1968 and I’ve never forgotten that night. I won’t rest until I have that effect on someone else.

TELL US ABOUT THE OTHER MEMBERS OF TOTEN HERZEN:
Rene is very level headed, he keeps quiet in the background and lets us girls get on with arguing, then comes forward with a few words that make us all look stupid. I always turn to him for a second opinion. Dee is naturally confrontational which creates a tension in the band, and that’s a good thing because if everyone in a rock band got on beautifully you’d sound like the New Seekers. There has to be some poison in there. With Dee you can fight and argue about something and it’s all done and out of the way. You know where you stand with Dee. Elaine is the hidden hand. She has a great musical understanding, but she never expresses it until she picks up her bass and you hear what she’s playing and I think ‘shit, I hadn’t thought of that.’ She adds the finishing touch to the music, it just wouldn’t work without her input.

TELL US SOMETHING THAT WILL SURPRISE US:
The back of your hair’s on fire.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF TOTEN HERZEN FANS:
In the seventies we used to read the headlines and think it was all made up. Then in Halifax we heard about the dead horse, but we heard it from the police before we heard it from the media and that’s when we started to think, fuck, maybe it’s not made up. Sometimes we wish they’d settle down and grow old, but then another generation comes along that thinks it should maintain a reputation. Fine, maintain it, but just stop burning things down.

WHERE DO YOU SEE TOTEN HERZEN IN TEN YEARS TIME:
Touring, bigger tours, bigger arenas. I don’t want to set a limit and say there, we’ve made it, we can settle down now and become complacent.

WHICH OTHER MUSICAL ARTISTS DO YOU ADMIRE:
My early heroes were Hendrix and Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jon Lord, Ian Gillan, Stevie Ray Vaughan. There don’t seem to be any individuals these days who sort of stand out from the band and become such strong focal points. Maybe Eddie van Halen in the 80s, but I don’t know who the equivalents are today. Rock doesn’t get the same press it once did so it’s harder for the pioneers to spread their influence.

WHICH BANDS DO YOU LISTEN TO:
I still listen to Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, some early Iron Maiden and Motorhead. Early Yes, Pink Floyd.

RECOMMEND ONE NON-ROCK SONG:
Oh, fuck. There’s a song called This Guy’s In Love With You and Rob Wallet, our publicist, heard it the other day and he sort of went into a coma-like shock. So, if that song can shut him up for five minutes there must be something strange and powerful about it. We thought he’d died with his eyes open.

WHY DOESN’T TOTEN HERZEN GO DIGITAL:
We have a Twitter account, I think. And a website. We never had a website in the seventies.

MUSICALLY, MP3S AND SO ON:
A lot of effort goes into making our music and we want that effort returned when it’s listened to. MP3s make it too easy to turn music into a background commodity. And the way MP3s are sold, it’s easy money for the likes of Apple to set up a server and then fuck off leaving it to generate money for them without doing anything.

IF YOUR HOUSE CAUGHT FIRE WHAT WOULD YOU RESCUE:
The [Flying] V.

COUNTRY:
Country?

FAVOURITE COUNTRY:
Netherlands. Are there any others?

IF YOU WEREN’T A ROCK GUITARIST WHAT WOULD YOU BE:
Some bored old woman wishing she could have her time again and be a rock guitarist. There was nothing else in my life. Nothing I wanted to be.

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO PEOPLE WHO ACCUSE YOU OF NOT BEING THE ORIGINAL TOTEN HERZEN:
I can understand that, but if they knew the truth they probably couldn’t handle it.

WHY DID YOU AGREE TO A COMEBACK:
So much went wrong in the seventies, the first time around. This was a chance to start again with us in charge and see if we could do it any better.

AND ARE YOU SUCCEEDING:
It doesn’t look like it!

deeNAME:
Dee Vincent

BORN:
July 9th 1953

FROM:
Good working class stock.

NO, WHERE ARE YOU FROM:
Sorry. Lincoln, Lincolnshire. Some people say ‘Oh! Lincoln, Nebraska,’ and I’m like no, fucking Lincoln, Lincolnshire. England. It pisses me off, but believe me not half as pissed off as Elaine gets.

SO SHE’S FROM LINCOLN TOO?
Why else would I have said that?

IN THE BAND YOU ARE:
The annoying one. Lead singer, rhythm guitarist. Provocateur, usually on the receiving end of litigation.

PREVIOUS BANDS:
Just the one. Cat’s Cradle. Also from Lincoln, Lincolnshire.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT CAT’S CRADLE:
It was a four piece playing blues and sort of early punk, we weren’t sure what it was we were playing, so we just made sure it was loud. Alan MIller, the drummer, put the band together just after leaving school in 1971. Him and a lad called Grant Downey.

They asked Elaine to join, because she was a friend of Grant’s sister, but none of them had the guts to sing so they were playing instrumental stuff for about six months. Everyone used to go watching them and wonder when all these guitar solos would come to an end, but they never did. Eventually, they got booed offstage at a gig in Hull and decided they needed a singer, ‘to add some depth’ as Almer [Alan Miller] said at the time, like they were a football team needing a couple of new midfielders, so they asked me.

We lasted another two and half years, managed to save up about fifty quid and then it all imploded in Ipswich when we met Micky Redwall and a load of Dutchmen (and Dutchgirl).

WHAT INSTRUMENT DO YOU PLAY:
I play a Gibson Explorer. I’ve got two actually, a 1959 korina body and a 1976 black, well it was originally black then I saw someone playing a white one so I painted it white, then couldn’t decide, so painted it black again.

The ’59 Explorer is worth a small fortune now. Someone once told me it was a ’61 model, but it had a 1959 serial number, so must have been original stock. I don’t play it so much because it has sentimental value and if anything happened to it I’d only go out and kill some innocent bastard, so it gets pampered. The ’76 is the workhorse now.

ANY OTHER MODELS:
I like the Explorer shape. I’ve got a Kramer Imperial and I bought a new Jackson JS32, but it’s a bit light on the sound. I prefer the original Gibsons.

WHAT IS YOUR STRONG POINT:
I don’t know. You should ask the others. Elaine says I never give up when I want something and I think you need that perseverance in the music industry. I’m unshockable aswell.

WHAT IS YOUR WEAK POINT:
Impatience, short tempered, speak before I think, careless, heartless, I have a blind spot to other people’s feelings, jealousy, especially of girls taller than me. How much space have you got?

TELL US ABOUT THE OTHER MEMBERS OF TOTEN HERZEN:
Elaine is the root of the band, holding us down, Susan is the flower attracting all the attention, Rene is the stem holding us up. That’s quite poetic, innit? Don’t know what I am. There’s only the leaves left, but I don’t think I’m responsible for photosynthesis.

TELL US SOMETHING THAT WILL SURPRISE US:
Winston Churchill had smaller feet than me.

REALLY:
See, that surprised you, didn’t it?

NO, SOMETHING ABOUT YOU:
I had my tonsils out in 1975 and the doctors nearly decided to take all my teeth out at the same time.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF TOTEN HERZEN FANS:
The old ones are crackers, the current ones are hooligans. They’re like a medieval army of merceneries. You’re never quite sure who it is that’s following you. Never quite sure who’s gonna turn up at the concert. The nutters or the murderers.

WHERE DO YOU SEE TOTEN HERZEN IN TEN YEARS TIME:
History says they’ll be headlining Glastonbury and showing off their MBEs. I say they’ll be selling out playing dubstep and collaborating with a ninety year old Madonna.

THEY:
Fuck, you don’t think I’ll still be around in ten years time, do you?

WHICH OTHER MUSICAL ARTISTS DO YOU ADMIRE:
Burt Bacharach, genius songwriter and craftsman, Lemmy for his integrity, and Susan, even though I can’t stand the fact she’s several feet taller than me she’s still one of the most underrated guitarists in the business.

WHICH BANDS DO YOU LISTEN TO:
Ramones, Clash, New York Dolls, Stooges, Motorhead, some Pink Floyd, some Fleetwood Mac. Of the newer generation I like early Metallica and that girl from Finland. Tarja Whatsit.

TURUNEN:
Whatever, I’ll take your word for it.

RECOMMEND ONE NON-ROCK SONG:
Goodbye to Love by the Carpenters. It’s a beautiful song about a really morose subject with a smoking guitar solo at the end.

IF YOUR HOUSE CAUGHT FIRE WHAT WOULD YOU RESCUE:
The library. I can’t let the books go up in smoke.

COUNTRY:
What country?

FAVOURITE COUNTRY:
Don’t get all Bunty on me, favourite this, favourite that. Luxembourg, blue, deep fried chicken, any real ale.

IF YOU WEREN’T A ROCK SINGER WHAT WOULD YOU BE:
Sixty years old, drawing a state pension.

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO PEOPLE WHO ACCUSE YOU OF NOT BEING THE ORIGINAL TOTEN HERZEN:
Come round to the house and I’ll prove it to you once and for all.

WHY DID YOU AGREE TO A COMEBACK:
Have you ever been bored for thirty five years? You’d accept any offer after that.

elaineNAME:
Elaine Daley

BORN:
May 20th 1950

FROM:
Lincoln

NEBRASKA:
Fuck off

IN THE BAND YOU ARE:
Bass guitarist

PREVIOUS BANDS:
Cat’s Cradle

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT CAT’S CRADLE:
Dee told you pretty much everything you need to know. We weren’t very good, we were never going to get very far. There was nothing distinctive about us.

WHAT INSTRUMENT DO YOU PLAY:
A Gibson Thunderbird bass.

WHY DO YOU ALL PLAY GIBSONS:
They produce the sound we’re looking for. They do all the hard work for you.

DO YOU PLAY ANY OTHER INSTRUMENTS:
No. I had piano lessons when I was a kid, but they stopped.

ANY OTHER BASS GUITARS OTHER THAN THE THUNDERBIRD:
You should have said that. I have an Ibanez five string I use in the studio.

DO YOU EVER PLAY A FRETLESS BASS:
Fretless? I’m not a violinist, I play in a rock band.

WHAT IS YOUR STRONG POINT:
I don’t know. That’s a stupid question, like asking, do you think you’re clever. Ask other people what my strong point is.

WHAT IS YOUR WEAK POINT:
Interviews. I don’t see the point of them.

TELL US ABOUT THE OTHER MEMBERS OF TOTEN HERZEN:
Musically, we’re all pretty average, but something happens when we start playing at the same time, but I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s the instruments. Personally, Susan is a driven individual and will probably collapse one of these days, just through sheer psychological mindfuck. Dee will be murdered sooner or later. She has self-destruction written through her like a stick of rock. It’ll probably be Susan who kills her. Rene is switched off most of the time to get some peace, and then when he’s working he can’t hear us because he plays the drums. I’m surprised Rene hasn’t walked before now.

TELL US SOMETHING THAT WILL SURPRISE US:
I was born with hair like this.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF TOTEN HERZEN FANS:
You get the fans you deserve. If they’re all nutters that’s our fault for attracting nutters, but it wasn’t planned. The only downside is when we get the bill for their damage.

WHERE DO YOU SEE TOTEN HERZEN IN TEN YEARS TIME:
It’ll be over in ten years time. Susan will be an ambassador for the UN, Rene will be buying old vintage cars and doing them up, Dee will be a pile of dust blowing around the suburbs of Rotterdam or across the Wash.

AND YOU:
I’ll still be stuck here in this interview.

WHICH OTHER MUSICAL ARTISTS DO YOU ADMIRE:
Chris Squire is really the only name that comes to mind, but not for his bass playing, more his leadership and temperement. He reminds me a little of Dave Gilmour. Single minded, intimidating.

WHICH BANDS DO YOU LISTEN TO:
A lot of rock and seventies punk, some ELP now and again, some Yes. Prog and punk, I should have answered your surprise question with this answer.

RECOMMEND ONE NON-ROCK SONG:
Do you ever say please?

PLEASE RECOMMEND ONE NON-ROCK SONG:
Once. It’s a song in the closing credits of Brotherhood of the Wolf. Always makes me cry.

MAKES YOU CRY:
No. See, I surprised you again.

IF YOUR HOUSE CAUGHT FIRE WHAT WOULD YOU RESCUE:
The insurance policy.

COUNTRY:
Next.

IF YOU WEREN’T A BASS GUITARIST WHAT WOULD YOU BE:
I left school with an aptitude for languages and chemistry so something that combines the two. I like knowing how things work, it comforts me. Maybe engineering or working in a laboratory making things grow in a petri dish.

WITH YOUR INTEREST IN HOW THINGS WORK HAVE YOU EVER STUDIED WHAT YOU ARE:
No. Have you ever studied what you are?

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO PEOPLE WHO ACCUSE YOU OF NOT BEING THE ORIGINAL TOTEN HERZEN:
They’re probably right. I wake up sometimes and think I don’t feel myself today.

WHY DID YOU AGREE TO A COMEBACK:
The others agreed and I didn’t want to be alone in the house.

reneNAME:
Rene van Voors

BORN:
May 2nd 1951

FROM:
Rotterdam, Netherlands

IN THE BAND YOU ARE:
Drummer

PREVIOUS BANDS:
After Sunset

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT AFTER SUNSET:
Some quiet girl at school turns out to be nuts about rock. She opens up, we find two guys who play bass and guitar and we form a band. We’re shit, but don’t know it. We’re broke, but it doesn’t stop us.

We played everything, everywhere, cover versions, blues, it was all over the place. We were in England, but didn’t speak very good English, so people thought there was something wrong with us. It never occured to them we were foreign. Maybe if the band had been called Het Grouewerhengers people might have understood us better.

WHAT INSTRUMENT DO YOU PLAY:
My kit in the seventies was all Ludwig stuff, whatever Ginger Baker played was enough for me! Nowadays I use a kit built for me by a company in the Netherlands. But still use Zildjian cymbals.

DO YOU PLAY ANY OTHER INSTRUMENTS:
I play guitar. I have a Fender, but the girls won’t let me into a studio or on stage with a guitar. Especially as it’s a Fender and they’re all Gibson groupies.

WHAT IS YOUR STRONG POINT:
Ultimate patience. You can’t be the only guy in a band with three attention seekers like they all are and not be patient.

WHAT IS YOUR WEAK POINT:
Feyenoord. I wish I supported Ajax, but you have to go with what you’ve got and we don’t have many glory days at de Kuip.

TELL US ABOUT THE OTHER MEMBERS OF TOTEN HERZEN:
We’re a very mixed bunch and I wonder how we all manage to get along. Susan devotes all her attention to making the band successful, creatively, musically. She lives and breathes it and I don’t think the rest of us appreciate that sometimes. Dee is the typical lead singer, very outgoing, very self-confident, very theatrical. And a fucking good guitarist, if you listen to what she’s doing when she’s not singing. Elaine is the second half of the sound of Toten Herzen. I lot of people talk about the moments when she and Susan combine and create that big guitar sound. She’s on the same wavelength as Susan musically. We are the sum of the parts, but individually the girls have a lot to be proud of, I think.

They’ll make my supper now for saying that.

TELL US SOMETHING THAT WILL SURPRISE US:
I’m not really a vampire.

WHAT:
Gotcha.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF TOTEN HERZEN FANS:
Our glorious fans. We’d be a very normal forgettable rock band without them. I think they’re like a lot of fans of rock bands; they don’t follow fashions, loyal to the end. You get the impression they really would fight for you if it came to that. I don’t think fans in other genres can say that, apart from one or two teen idles, but then they grow up and fuck off to the next fad.

WHERE DO YOU SEE TOTEN HERZEN IN TEN YEARS TIME:
My god. Er . . . probably Toten Herzen will be the trading name of Susan Bekker Corporate Music Enterprises and we’ll all be on a retainer.

WHICH OTHER MUSICAL ARTISTS DO YOU ADMIRE:
Ginger Baker was my first influence, John Bonham, Ian Paice. Alan White. But some older jazz and blues drummers caught my attention as years went by. Philly Joe Jones and Gene Krupa come to mind.

WHICH BANDS DO YOU LISTEN TO:
I stopped listening to Cream a few years ago. When you know every drum beat by memory you know it’s time to move on. I’m listening to old Dutch trance at the moment, but don’t tell the others.

WILL TOTEN HERZEN MOVE AWAY FROM A PURELY ROCK SOUND:
Over Susan’s dead body, and it’s too late for that, so I doubt it.

RECOMMEND ONE NON-ROCK SONG:
Via Con Me. Paolo Conte relaxes me when the harpies have been winding me up.

IF YOUR HOUSE CAUGHT FIRE WHAT WOULD YOU RESCUE:
My bed. I had insomnia for about twelve years. I couldn’t get used to sleeping during the day, but I got a bed about ten years ago that was perfect and I’m dead to the world on it now. I can do anything the night after a good day’s sleep.

COUNTRY:
What, music? Country and western?

FAVOURITE COUNTRY:
Netherlands. But I like Switzerland too? Ukraine is interesting.

IF YOU WEREN’T A ROCK DRUMMER WHAT WOULD YOU BE:
Maybe a journalist, then I could write the truth about the band instead of all the lurid lies that have been written over the years.

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO PEOPLE WHO ACCUSE YOU OF NOT BEING THE ORIGINAL TOTEN HERZEN:
Prove it. Find the original members and stand them next to us.

WHY DID YOU AGREE TO A COMEBACK:
It seemed like a good idea at the time.

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FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE BOOKS HERE

READ WALLET’S TOTEN HERZEN ESSAY HERE

READ WALLET’S INVESTIGATION AND HOW HE DISCOVERED THE BAND HERE