Article A written by Ferry Tromp for Haarlemsch Dagblad, july 4, 1974:
His left eye painted black just like in Clockwork Orange, a black walking-stick that he firmly holds under his arm similar to King of the Alley, and a black top hat just like Fred Astaire's that matches well with a snow-white tuxedo. Only if dressed like that does Jan Rijbroek feel real good. Because Jan is 80 % show, just like Booby Trap, the group nobody's going to get trapped in, but still... Booby Trap should become really big, Jan is highly convinced of that and he's gonna go for that totally. He always had a knack for thinking things through, has always been clever, although not constantly. Jan is a man of extremes, and that brought him on TV, with Gert en Hermien, with the Motions, in the Amsterdam scene with Mario the ladies hairdresser and writer Simon Vinkenoog. It also sometimes brought him into serious trouble; Jan, now 23 years old, survived it all.
"I started out as the Dutch Robertino with Gert en Hermien on the telly. I was 13 years old then. Far out, isn't it? I sang "O mama mia", but that didn't get me anywhere. A year later I was gone, singing in Germany. My nephew played in a band there. My dad wouldn't let me go of course, but I managed to get my passport anyway because I told him we were going on a school trip to Germany. I was gone for two and a half years, I was reported here as a missing person. They nicked me when we were playing in some whorehouse in Hannover. And my dad was there! They had been informed of course... "Is this the life you want?" he said. "Yes" I said. "Ok, stay as long as you like then." I stayed there for a couple of more weeks. I still remember when I got home, in a snow-white suit and 1200 Deutschmarks in my pocket and two white-leathersuitcases full of presents for everyone. Fifteen years old but high on speed of course. I think I slept for months after that, or so it seemed."
For Jan Rijbroek it meant a life full of music - "I've always been possessed by that" - and hustling to keep bread on the table. "School, that was over. I felt like an old man there compared to my old schoolmates. Not that I was being arrogant, not al all! But it's just... I talked about completely different things, it didn't even occur to those boys to think of such things. I had a lot more dough and I just didn't fancy a life of school-wife-job-kid-coffin."
So Jan went hustling. At the highpoint of beatmusic, with the Beatles and Stones at their peak, he moved to England. "I felt that I could make it there, and that at least I could gain some more experience as a musician. That did happen, but I got kicked out of the country just when things were starting to work for me. No work permit." Following Eindhoven, he got stranded in Amsterdam, in the scene, that has sometimes been described as paradise, sometimes as the abyss, that 'wonder-world of appearances, soap bubbles, hash and kicks', where writer Simon Vinkenoog and Mario the ladies hairdresser reigned as kings. Jan Rijbroek watched it all and jammed with them. He started doing drugs again and ended up in an old school in de Haarlemmer Houttuinen where the most bizarre happenings would occur. Ranging from kicks with laughing gas that ended at the police station to a striptease of Mario in a bubble-bath on stage somewhere. "A great time and one way or another I'm glad I was part of it, although it almost ruined me." Eventually Jan came back to Haarlem, broken mentally but still a musician. "I just had to come back here, I don't know why. Maybe if you have problems you're automatically inclined to go back to where you're born and where you grew up, somehow that still means something."
As said, in between all of his "troubles" Jan carried on being a musician. And what a musician! In eight years he played in bands such as Sense of Humor, The Motions, The Outsiders, Pennywise, Groep 1850, Sense of Humor 2, a nightclub orchestra, Airmail and Ronnie & the Ronnies. Why all those changes? "One way or another I always ended up in groups that were already on the verge of breaking up, the people in those groups would fall out with each other or those bands just stopped. It never bothered me then, but it does now. I'm hard-headed you know, I just feel I'm gonna succeed one day, whatever they say. I feel nothing less than Mick Jagger, it's just that I wasn't as lucky. Why should a Dutch boy be less than him? Why should there be only one Mick Jagger? Bollocks. That guy happened to be in the country where beat music began, and at the right time too. I just don't like that praising to the skies of foreign bands as you'll always see here. There's nothing wrong with the groups we have here. But here people always tend to forget that a pop group means 80% show. Look, it doesn't have to be like the Sweet or like the Dizzy Men's Band, because that's typically narrow-minded Dutch, I mean belching on stage, nobody would put up with that in England."
Jan Rijbroek is self-confident, and he feels like he's entitled to that, he says. A record contract with Ariola in his pocket, the first single Kelly, Grace & Sally in the shops, all thanks to Booby Trap, the result of "growing up". Jan started Booby Trap at the end of 1971 as a six-piece. "but that got out of hand. Music-wise it was fully realised, far out soul, but the group was too big. People would team up in groups and started competing with each other. And I wanted to get rid of that non-commercial music, I wanted to make money! I've been on the dole for too long now." His wife and year and a half old son have him in their spell, now that he's 23. Although he admits getting the shivers when he's in Amsterdam every now and then "to sniff the tension". "I'm totally mad about that kid of ours, he should have a nice house and that's what he's gonna get" Booby Trap should take care of that and Jan leaves nothing to coincidence. Making good use of his enormous experience with aforementioned groups and with the "business", he developed a formula for success, or "how to get famous and successful as a total unknown, as soon as possible."
Jan is now confident about his mission: "We make cool commercial stomping rock, coupled with a damn horny stage act. A kind of commercial Lou Reed, not like the Sweet, please not, they make me puke. We have our own photographer and our own designer who does the sleeves, stickers and the stage backdrop. We're only gonna do gigs once we have reached a certain status. The same thing goes for a manager, we're only gonna hire such a guy once we're really rolling. Only then you're able to make demands and make a choice.. Normally bands start with a manager and then they get ripped off. I've learned my lesson, I keep control over everything now. Only artists who are able to sell themselves get noticed. Of course, Martin Duiser, who produced our record, is exactly the kind of musical objectivity that we need. That guy is great, he used a synthesizer on Kelly Grace & Sally, although you won't notice it, but still....if it wasn't there you would've missed it. Our first single should become huge. It doesn't necessarily has to become a top 10 hit. Things like that can wait for later, hopefully. Because with changes you might become a summer fly."
Jan Rijbroek found his drummer Henk van de Waal in "Casablanca", an Amsterdam nightclub, where he would be bored stiff drumming in a nightclub orchestra, between hordes of topless waitresses. But while auditioning he turned out to be a hard worker. So now Jan says he's got the Booby Trap stage act all worked out "I'm in touch now with a great black lady-singer, and a choir, a saxophone-player and female dancers. You see, Holland has 300 venues, that means you're through with that quite quickly, so you need to come up with something new every time. And also, we have to fill in whole evenings then, so we're gonna bring our own support act, a steel band. It's hard to impress people 2 x 45 minutes, you need to vary, so that's why I don't want a beat band as a support act. Moreover a steel band is a swinging event, for hippies as well as for old farts. I've managed to clinch a personal deal with Ariola, so not as a group. That has two advantages, they trust me and I trust them, and now I really have the band with something to offer. Ariola gave me money to buy excellent equipment and perfect clothing. So we're really gonna make it big. First in Holland and then abroad, not the other way around. That would be unsatisfying, and secondly, who's gonna pick up on a group that doesn't mean anything in their homeland? No, and our second single is almost finished now. We can record it easily once the first one has done its job."
Booby Trap, 1974
Article B written by Peter Bruyn for Haarlems Dagblad, may 24, 2009:
"Back in 1971 I already had a band called Booby Trap", says Jan Rijbroek. "We looked rather 'glam' back then, with glitter jackets and such. But in fact we were really rock and roll...at that time we performed regularly at the Saxo club. That was over here!". He points over his shoulder to the pub at the other end of the Botermarkt in Haarlem, where we sit and talk in a sidewalk cafe.
The 45 we're talking about is the song Kelly, Grace and Sally, a genuine glamrock-stomper, made in the style of British bands like Mud, Slade and The Sweet. At the time, in 1974, it flopped. Now, 35 years later it is the opening track of the beautifully designed CD Clap Your Hands And Stamp Your Feet, containing two dozens of Nederglamrock classics. Ranging from Bonnie St. Claire - with the title song! - to Catapult, Lemming to Long Tell Ernie and the Shakers. The album, which was presented this spring, turned out to be a downright hype and even got a four-star review in the British quality magazine Mojo. For Haarlemmer Rijbroek, who for the past 40 years played about every stage in Europe with his own brand of rock n roll and who is the closing act of next Sunday's Botermarkt Blues-fest, it was merely a side-step in his career.
"Producers Martin Duiser and Jaap Eggermont (# credited as J. Corgan on the label) felt like also writing such a glam-rock song. And Anton Witkamp, labelmanager with Ariola Records, found me the only suitable rocker good enough to record that song", he follows. "I immediately got money from him to buy glittersuits, haha! Well, and then I heard the song for the first time and I thought it sucked in a big way. Really, completely bollocks. But you know, in those days record companies would tell you what to do. I remember thinking: 'Let me try a shot at luck.' I presumed a record company like them would know what they were talking about when it came to making hit records. But I also negotiated that one of my own songs would appear on the B-side. Because if it would become a hit then I would earn royalties of course. The song was called The Hooker and hearing back on it now I find it much better than Kelly, Grace and Sally."
And then there was some promo-work to do. "Yeah, creating a hype eh. So we got to play in Van Oekels Discohoek TV-show. To be honest I didn't like that at all, but you had to do something. I warned Van Oekel beforehand "if you dare to shout "ik word niet goed!" (# one of Van Oekels infamous catchphrases) during our song then I will chop your head off! And yes, after a minute or so he shouted just that. At that point me and Albert Schierbeek stepped right off stage and we dumped that guy in one of those concrete bathtubs they used as stage props. Unfortunately the VPRO cut that piece out of the final edit. That's why we were only in that show for half a minute. But anyway, that song didn't become a hit record and I also have to blame myself for that. 'Cos I never felt liked doing that song. Whereas the group I had in the late sixties, Sense of Humour, that was a real awesome band. But I just didn't want to have anything to do with that whole popcharts-shit."
Booby Trap is:
Jan Rijbroek - vocals, harmonicas, guitar
Albert Schierbeek - bass, vocals
Dick Jongman - guitar
Henk van de Waal - drums