Summer 1972; The sun shines over the meadows and gives a free view of the Stompe Toren, the small church of Spaarnwoude. The planes lands at Schiphol further on. The view is forever etched in the memory. A peaceful time where my gaze reached no further than the meadows in front of us, the shipyard and the water behind us. The song "Het Dorp" by Wim Sonneveld occasionally sounds through the loudspeakers of our wooden stereo.
That summer would ultimately determine my great love for guitars. Because in the context of an exchange program between Belgian and Dutch young people, my parents decided to take a Belgian boy into their home; Didier Ruykersvelde. Didier had his own room and had also brought LPs with him to enjoy the lost hours. One of the LPs was Deep Purple in Rock by Deep Purple. It contains the song Child in Time, a song that was played gray by Didier and to the annoyance of my mother. Since my mother didn't like it, I didn't like it either. Period!
But the seed had already been sown in the subconscious mind, only I was not well aware of it at the time. That awareness did not follow until a few years later. The view had meanwhile been exchanged for a view of a schoolyard in Haarlem Noord. I already listened to music with my brother in 1976 and via Radio Luxembourg hits like "Crazy on You" by Heart, "Peace of Mind" by Boston were aired. Just before that, a friend of my brother drew my attention to Magic Man by Heart. I loved it. A new time had arrived. And in between all this music I also heard Smoke on the Water from Deep Purple. My attention was now focused on learning more about this band, I wanted to know more about it. The heavy guitar work really appealed to me.
My first single, the aforementioned Peace Of Mind, was already in my room. Not far from us was the Kijkgrijp and one day I put my savings together and bought Made In Japan from Deep Purple. After Highway Star, Child In Time started live! Life has never been the same again.
The extreme dynamics between the organ of Jon Lord, the voice of Ian Gillan, the stacatto bass of Roger Glover, the drumming of Ian Paice and especially the guitar work of Ritchie Blackmore made a huge impression on me. The solo is preceded by a lot of feedback from power chords from a Fender Stratocaster, connected to a Marshall stack. The solo is about to begin, wonderful how Ritchie creatively works his strings. But on a 5'13 ”the game changes. A gear is deployed that was very special for that time. Never before had a guitarist played a solo so long and so quickly. This featured Ritchie's legendary staccato guitar playing. The solo continues tirelessly and equally creatively. Each note has its own character. Hammering on's, pulling off's, tremolo movements, triplets are played one after the other. Around 7'25 ”silence falls; also for me.
This experience would be decisive for the next ten years, because at that point I knew I wanted to learn everything from the Ritchie Blackmore playing style and of course I also wanted a guitar like him. Unfortunately, that was not possible for a long period, and I could only enjoy the photos in the various inlays of LPs and the windows of the music shops in and around Haarlem. But the guitar never lost my attention. Of course I took a few guitar lessons, but nobody could or wanted to teach me the playing style of Ritchie Blackmore. For me, that meant that I depended a lot on experimenting and especially listening a lot.
At the age of 16 I finally had the coveted Fender Stratocaster. At least for me it was a Fender Stratocaster, but in fact it was a Custom Stratocaster; a brand that rolled out of the Ibanez Factory Hoshino in Japan. The black body, maple neck and tremolo were proof to me that I could and should play on a Stratocaster. It wasn't until 2005 that I would finally buy the real Fender Stratocaster. And then the Fender Stratocaster Ritchie Blackmore signature. A guitar that is also included in this book.
In the late 80's, the years when the great guitar rock bands dominated stadiums around the world, I broadened my view on the guitar and the guitarists. First in line, I met Joe Satriani. Songs like Satch Boogie and Back To Shalla-Bal made a huge impression on me. A new era dawned and I got more and more inspired by other guitarists. But my preference for guitars also changed. The Fender Stratocaster was no longer the ultimate dream, because in the meantime the Ibanez brand had its own line of guitars in contrast to the 1970s.
Because I was always impressed by the construction of these guitars, more and more has been transported from the brand. The result was that I slowly but surely started to build a collection of mainly Ibanez guitars.
In the early 90s, however, I saw a guitar hanging in a music store in Amsterdam that I had never seen or heard before; the aggressive and at the same time powerful appearance, the fluorescent colors. In short, love at first sight.
This guitar, the Ibanez JEM 777 SP, was presented by Steve Vai at the Chicago NAMM Show in the summer of 1987. Although I was immediately impressed by this guitar, it would take another ten years before I could call myself a full fan of this master guitarist. But by now my fondness for Ibanez had already taken shape.
Nowadays I can call myself a collector with more than 35 guitars around me. Special are the Ibanez JEMs that I have collected over the years. A great moment to photograph a number of those guitars in collaboration with Arnold Bartman of Photo Studio Arnold Bartman and to tell the corresponding stories.